Kelly Q&A: Part II

Part II of Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly's interview at today's Champs Sports Bowl Kick-off Luncheon.

Click here for Part I

Question: How much of an impact (recruiting) can you get from a bowl win?
Brian Kelly: "I think anytime you can go into a home in January and you can talk about a win in a bowl game can't hurt you. I don't know that it takes (a recruit) away from you. Recruiting now is a two year process, so if you've done the right things over those two years, if you're losing a kid because you didn't win the Champs Sports Bowl, you probably didn't have a chance for him anyway.

"It helps to have that win but it's a process over two years that really decides if you're going to (sign) that kid or not."

Question: Any updates on filling the open staff position (left by Charley Molnar's move to UMass)?
Kelly: "We're very excited that we're going to be able to keep our staff in place. We're going to be able to announce that and I can tell you this: they're already guys that have been on Notre Dame's campus. We're going to have continuity within our staff and maintain that this year."

Question: Do Recruits today know about Notre Dame's tradition, or do you have to remind them?
Kelly: "Well, if you walk in our lobby and you see the Heisman Trophies and you see the national championships, if they didn't know about it, then it gets their attention. Having said that, there's so much more to the recruiting process than just throwing out national championship banners.

"It's graduation rates, it's the value of your degree, it's the kind of guys that you recruit into your program.

"At times you have to remind them and bridge that gap, but they also know a lot about the Notre Dame degree and what that represents."

Question: From the end of the regular season to this point, where do you see your team evolving?
Kelly: "I would say more than anything else, when you're in-season, your focus is on preparation; getting your team ready for Saturday, and sometimes you don't have the opportunity to spend the proper amount of time in developing relationships with players.

"These bowl games give you an opportunity to spend time with the guys. They give you the opportunity to sit down and talk about more than football and who they are. They're getting to know our coaches more and more every day.

"As you know, half the football team was already here when we got here. It's a constant building of relationships on a day-to-day basis. That's occurring, as well as with new guys coming in, trying to get them to be disciplined in the manner of college football. Those are the inside workings that don't get talked about because that's what you do on a day-to-day basis."

Question: Have you ever been in a situation where you started four (freshmen) across the offensive front?
Kelly: "No, I've had three (at Cincinnati). I know what Coach (Rick) Trickett is going through right now. In one end, you're like ‘It is what it is. Let's go.' Coach Trickett is an outstanding football coach so even if they weren't playing, he's coaching them in some manner. They're going to compete. But it's certainly not the ideal situation to have all those freshmen out there, but when you're coaching them, there is that sense of, ‘Hey let's just go play, because we can't do anything about it.'"

Question: Orlando could lose the Citrus Bowl if its not renovated. Could you talk about the bowl trip and would it be a shame if the Citrus Bowl did lose its place in the bowl hierarchy?
Kelly: I don't know how I'm supposed to answer that question politically (smiling), if there's a bond out there that is ready to pass and I should fall on that side of it…I can tell from my experience, that the venue for us to practice; the locker rooms from a logistical (standpoint) have been good. They've been very good.

"The FieldTurf in there enhances the playing field. As a football coach that venue has been good for us to practice in and locker our players. I have no understanding of the infrastructure, who knows, maybe the scoreboard will blow up in the second quarter, I don't know. But from my experience, its been really good."

Question: How do you view Florida State and how the team views Florida State's program?
Kelly: "I think its pretty clear that when you have two programs that have great brand recognition, who does not recognize that brand (Pointing to the FSU helmet to his right) across college football? Coupled with the fact that both teams have a great tradition and history, it's probably the reason (the game) was sold out in just a few days.

"There's a great deal of respect for the program; the building of the program, and both of us kind of being on similar paths to bringing our programs back to elite status. I think that's why there's going to be so much attention brought to this game, because you have two Universities that both respect each other and what they've done on the football end of things and what lies in the future."

Question: What do you think the players' motivation is to win this game?
Kelly: "They're football players. They've competed for their whole careers to get opportunities to play in bowl games – since they've been kids, these are the best of the best. They've always excelled in these games. And when you put another opportunity to play in a game like this, when its Notre Dame/Florida State, and you're playing in a bowl, that's in their DNA. That's how they've been successful all their lives.

"These kids will be ready to play and both of them will be ready to win this game, because that's just who they are."

Question: Do you think there's been too much made of the quarterback situation?
Kelly: "No, no, no (laughing) I don't think so...YES, there has been! It's always going to be focused on the quarterback, that's the way it is and I understand that. There are other players that impact the game as well. The quarterback at Florida State and the quarterback at Notre Dame, the quarterback at any school with that brand recognition is going to be that way.

"And you've heard this cliché: He gets way too much credit for when they win; and way too much blame when they lose. I think that cliché has stood the test of time, because it's true."

Question: If one plays well, does he have the edge going into the spring?
Kelly: "Having a live-game opportunity – there's no better way to evaluate. You could look great in practice but when the game starts it's a whole different ballgame. As you know, Tommy Rees and Andrew Hendrix will both play. They've both have an opportunity to have meaningful impact in the game, which should serve both of them well moving into next year." Top Stories