UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME MEDIA CONFERENCE
November 18, 2012Richmond High School
WAKE FOREST – 0
NOTRE DAME - 38
COACH KELLY: We have a paradigm for winning. It's something we talk about actually in our locker room. It's called four quarters of winning. It starts with getting off to a quick start. We talk about getting off to that quick start how important that is in the first quarter. Second quarter is attention to detail. The third quarter is effort and enthusiasm, and the fourth quarter is finish strong. I think that came together in this football game more than any game we've played this year.
So four quarters of winning for us are those exact pieces that came together today. Getting off to a good start offensively I thought was going to be paramount for us so we can play with a lot of enthusiasm and not have to press and have all of the things that we've talked about during the year of not playing our best at home.
But we played very well today. We saved our butts for the last home game. The goal for all of us was to be undefeated this year at home. We're able to achieve that goal, so our guys are pretty excited about that. We'll really good about the accomplishment.
Q. I was going to ask you about the second string, third string quarterback pecking order, but I'll move on.
COACH KELLY: Thank you.
Q. Do you feel like your team is getting better at this stage? Have you seen them surging?
COACH KELLY: I do. I think we're playing really good football at this point offensively and defensively. Our special teams have been okay, but I think offensively we're growing. We're very explosive. We had nine explosive plays in the first half. I think if you can match with what we've done defensively, we're playing pretty good football.
Q. You mentioned Thursday night you thought Everett had a really good week of practice. Talk about how he pulled that into today, and where you see him going still this year?
COACH KELLY: Obviously, he's a guy that makes explosive plays. He's got the ability to throw it. He can run the football. He's elusive. I think we're seeing a guy that's growing each and every week. Now he made some mistakes that a young quarterback has a tendency to make. We've got to kind of slow him down a little bit. But he's definitely on the right path to providing us the offense that we need.
Q. I don't know if there's a position that captures the essence of Notre Dame football more so than the tight end. Today Tyler sets a program record for receptions. I know you've talked about him ad nauseam. But is there a way to capture him and describe what he's meant to this program ask what you see in him?
COACH KELLY: Well, I think it's been a number of things in terms of what he's meant. First of all, coming back, not going into the draft. Coming back to get his degree says so much about the Notre Dame football player and how important it is to have their degree, but to also play at the level that he's played, to break the kind of records with the great tight ends that have been here at Notre Dame is an amazing feat.
Today we tried to get him the football, made incredible plays, as you know, down the field. So I think it's a combination of a guy that understands Notre Dame, understands the value of a great education, and wanted to be on a championship football team. I think he epitomizes in terms of what we look for as a Notre Dame football player.
Q. You have pretty steadily focused one week at a time. But as it gets later and you played better, does it not get harder to think big picture and all that's going on out there?
COACH KELLY: It's easier now because we have one game left. So for us the focus and all of those things, not looking ahead, we don't have to worry about that anymore. We have one game left on our schedule. Our guys know what's at stake now. This is about an undefeated season. They cannot do anything else but beat USC. The rest is up to other people to decide. But they can clearly focus.
I told them tonight I'm proud of them. I voted them number one in the country for a reason because I think they're the best team in the country, and I think they played like that tonight.
Q. Where do you start in terms of managing that energy and what's at stake in one game?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I understand the question. I think with one game left all their energies are focused on one goal, and that is to beat USC. This isn't a group that plays with extra pressure. We'll make sure they are able to go out and play the game the way it's meant to be played. They haven't done it all year. They haven't played that way. They've played to win, and we'll make sure we play to win on Saturday.
Q. You talked about giving Manti a sendoff there. Is there anything you said to them as they came off the field?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I wanted to make it a special moment for the seniors on defense. They have been obviously the rock. They've carried us while we were trying to find ourselves offensively. It just seemed to me to be a pretty good gesture to allow us to honor those seniors.
Q. Can you talk about Cierre Wood, and what he's brought to you as a football player?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, Cierre continues to do the job we ask him to do. We ran North and South, which that is the one thing that he's continued to work on as a football player. He's getting better. I mean, he's got a long way to go, but he had a great night tonight.
I think we blocked well up front. He saw the things necessary to put his foot in the ground and play North and South. He's a better football player when he goes North and South. I think he's starting to understand that as well.
Q. With Everett and the explosive play that you mentioned, this was probably his best game with those plays. How has that materialized in his development?
COACH KELLY: Well, there are a number of things in terms of his development. He's certainly seeing the field better. He's getting the ball out on time, and he's an elusive player. He can make plays out on the perimeter. He's a very dangerous player if you're trying to defend him.
We showed some option and you saw the way he connected in the option game. He will now be so much more difficult to defend, and we will as an offense be much more difficult to defend when you have those elements of play making outside the realm of your offense.
We've still got a ways to go. We made some poor decisions with the football, but he's learning every day.
Q. Seeing Manti come out of the tunnel for the last time, what did see and feel from him?
COACH KELLY: They were loose; they were relaxed and excited about the game. We had talked about it all week playing with enthusiasm and let the emotions happen after the game. You could see the focus and all of our seniors had a great sense and feel that they were ready to play, and they were not going to be denied today. They were going to find a way to win the football game.
Q. Specifically Manti? What did you see from him?
COACH KELLY: His typical preparation. I didn't see anything different, like being overly emotional or anxious or too hyped up for the game. The normal Manti Te'o is what I saw today.
Q. Beyond getting some of the seniors out that you talked about. Can you talk about being able to get some of those other guys in at the end of the game?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, it was really important for us to get a chance to see some of these guys that haven't gotten a lot of play, because we haven't had many games of this magnitude where we could get some guys in the game.
But Ben Councell getting a chance to play a lot, and Jalen Brown, guys that are still progressing, again, Romeo Okwara, you've got some freshmen, Nicky Baratti, we had a lot of true freshmen out there battling too. So it was good to see that at the end of the game, because that usually means you're doing pretty good.