Kelly Post-Game Comments

Brian Kelly spoke with the media for more than 10 minutes following Saturday's 55-31 loss to Arizona State.

Brian Kelly

Five turnovers and a mishandled (field goal) is the story. You can't expect to win football games against good teams if we turn the ball over five times, two of them pick sixes, two of them in short-field drives.

I think we played well enough defensively, we probably needed one more stop there late when we got it to 34-31. Couldn't come up with a stop there but we played well enough defensively for us to win. We shot ourselves in the foot offensively, battled back to get it to 34-31 with a chance to win the game but we couldn't come up with the big stop.

This game was not set up for us to rely on our defense to come up with a big stop, this game was set up for our offense to win the game. We put our defense in such a bad situation today. Battled back, great character, great resolve. Our kids are as good a group of kids as I've coached. But if you're sloppy…

I just told them, this isn't rec ball. This isn't CYO. There's no pats on the back for being great competitors. We're doing this to win and we didn't win the game. We didn't win it because of the obvious circumstances of the game and that's five turnovers.

Q: What was the halftime message that got things going in the second half?

"We knew there were plays out there for us. There really wasn't much of a change. They kept pressuring, they kept doing what they did. The first turnover, Everett has the ball in one hand (fumble). The second turnover, we don't cut the (defensive) tackle (tipped, interception). We shoe-dust the tackle, he knocks it down. Third one (interception) he's supposed to hand the ball off -- we just did what we were supposed to do in the second half.

"We moved offensively like we were expecting to."

Q: I know it's early to ask this but when you sit and evaluate this, what do you think the reasons will be for coming out as flat as you did…?

"Did you see the first drive? Did you watch the first drive, so how is that being flat on the first drive?"

But you didn't protect Golson in the first half, your ground game --

"Wait a second, did you see the first drive? Do you know how many plays were on that first drive? How many plays was the first drive?
(Editor's note: The first drive was comprised of 14 plays for 59 yards, ending in a field goal.)

After that you didn't play well for the rest of the first half --

"I just went over it. We turned the ball over three times. How is that flat? That's sloppy football. We had a 13-play drive that we would have liked to score on. We balanced it. We ran it, we threw it, we moved it all the way down the field. We took time off the clock. That's not flat. So you need to understand the difference between being flat as a football team, and not executing. We didn't execute. We turned the ball over the next three out of four times. That's the problem.

"Is there a follow-up to being 'flat'?"

You gave up chunks of yards in the ground game, you didn't protect Everett real well --

"We gave up points, offensively. We gave them the ball on the 23 and the twenty--… I'm just wondering what game you were watching?"

I understand the turnovers, there were other areas of the game where you didn't play well in the first half.

"We were in a position, that if offensively, we take care of the football, our defense did okay. Yeah, they probably got a little more running game that we thought, but not to the point -- if you look at the halftime score, take 14 points, or take 21 poitns off the board, it's a whole different games."

Question: I know they're not all on Golson, especially today's picks, but the fumbles, how can you -- "Why are they not all on Golson?"

He was hit from behind once, you mentioned a lineman didn't execute a cut (block) on the defensive end --

"Right."

I think the second pick six went off of Corey Robinson's hands --

"Yeah, he should have caught that."

Not all five turnovers are on Golson but --

"No, I agree."

The fumbles though, were a little sloppy. How do you guys work with him, or is there a way to work with him?

"We've been working with him. I don't know, sooner or later he has to take it on himself to take care of the football. I don't know what else to do. We're at that point now where it hurt us in the game. He knows it. He's going to walk in here, you're going to ask him the same questions.

"He doesn't want to turn the football over. He was extending the ball out (on fumbles). He has to take care of the football."

Question: Was Cody Riggs close today?

"We put him through pre-game and he just didn't have the fire coming out of his backpedal. He was going to be matched up with (Jaelen) Strong and we felt like he wasn't at the level he needed to be."

Question: Stress Fracture?

"No, stress reaction (foot). So no fracture."

Question: DeShone Kizer was shielding you as you were signaling plays. Did you feel like something had been compromised there as far as your calls going into Everett?

"We wanted to make sure that we didn't get any of our signals -- if you put a towel on each side (of Kelly), you'd have to be directly in line to pick up any of our signals. We just wanted to be cautious today."

Question: Did Tarean (Folston) get hurt? He didn't play in the second half.

"No. Coach's decision."

Question: Following up on Folston, was the reason he didn't play in the second half because of Cam McDaniel's ability in pass protection?

"Yes. That was one of the reasons. And then he (McDaniel) started running really hard. But we were throwing the ball a lot and he's our best pass protector."

Question: You mentioned the third turnover should have been a handoff (it became the first pick six interception). Was there an adjustment at the line that you didn't anticipate?

"You know our offense. We have run and pass routes behind them. The ball should have been handed off, Everett saw it differently. That's coaching too. We have to do a better job of coaching him so when he sees that look, he doesn't think he's supposed to throw the football. That's coaching."

Question; Were there some first-half looks from their defense you didn't see (on film)?

"No. Field. Fire-zone boundary. Fire-zone. Pretty standard stuff. Everything we practiced, everything we saw last year we saw this year. Nothing that we saw out there, which makes it even more maddening and frustrating."

Question: On sudden-change defense the last few years you guys have been very good. Is it just the different group, the different scheme? What's been the struggle this year?"

"Couldn't tell you. Couldn't tell you."

Question: When the turnovers started piling up, did you consider removing Everett?

"No. No, our best chance to win is with Everett."

Question: What did you do defensively in the second-half to slow them down?

"Our run fits were a little bit better. Our tight front was better. We moved to a little bit more of a tight front. They moved the ball better than we wanted against some of our bench fronts. That adjustment helped us. They were bouncing it into our boundary and our boundary corner was not where we wanted him to be.

"We needed to make a couple of adjustments there."

Question: Could you evaluate how Nyles Morgan played?

"It's hard (prior to film review). By-in-large he did a nice job of communicating and getting us the information we needed. There was good communication, it was wide-eyed, good back-and-forth, and he gets there quickly. He bothered (Taylor) Kelly when he got there. He's a guy we activated a lot today, as you know. I'd say he did a pretty good job."

Question: Similarly, how would you evaluate (fellow first-time starter) Devin Butler?

"You know, he competed today. He got matched up with Strong a couple of times, I though he did a nice job. There's things we need him to do better. The last touchdown, he's got boot(leg) control and he wasn't there. He needs to force the ball a couple times in that last drive.

"He hasn't played a ton but he competed. I like the way he competed out there. With more snaps, I think he'll get better. I like the way he competed."

Question: Does it oversimplify to say you had a bunch of young players who played really young?

"If you really look at it. Closely. We turned the ball over five times. You can't turn the ball over five times. That's why I take issue to playing flat. Our guys were ready to play. You can't play sloppy like that. That's RIDICULOUS.

"What I'm upset about is how crazy it is that we saw everything for a week that we saw today -- the same stuff we saw it all week. We shoe dust a right defensive end and don't bring him down so we get the ball tipped (picked). We inexplicably put the ball on the ground on a scramble. They're maddening mistakes. I guess that's what I'm most upset about, because we didn't move the ball today effectively.

"And our defense would have hung in there and done enough for us to get a win on the road and it didn't happen today and that's what I'm most upset about -- not at you (directed at initial questioner).

"(Joking) but if you want me to get mad at you I'll get mad at you. Go ahead. Ask more questions. Your my guy today."

(Laughter)

Do you look at today (Golson) as an anomaly or a legitimate backwards step?

"It's one of those deals where he takes one step forward and two steps back, then he comes back in the second half and does some really good things. He's got to strive for consistency. If he plays clean in the first half, who knows where we'd be right now. We just have to get a consistent performance. A clean performance in taking care of the football.

"And again, not all those mistakes were his. But I think the first obviously kind of set a bad tone for the game."


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