Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 17, 2018

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 28 of 55 SEPT. 17, 2018 29 NOTRE DAME HEAD COACH BRIAN KELLY … On his team's performance: "We're happy to win the game. Winning is the goal each week. We accomplished that. There's a number of things we have to do better. First of all, we have to coach better. We have to prepare better. That starts with me … "Ball State did a great job of doing exactly what they needed to do — possess the ball and eat up clock. They did the things necessary to be in a position to compete." On whether putting in junior Ian Book at quarter- back crossed his mind: "Brandon Wimbush wasn't the reason we were ineffective offensively. I could name all the things that I just mentioned. "I don't think we coached very well this week. I don't believe I prepared them the way we should have now that I see the way they played. We didn't protect him at the highest level. There's a lot of things. "Now, I get it. It's going to go back to the quarterback, and he gets the scrutiny. But I don't think it got to the point where, 'Hey, let's pull Brandon Wimbush out of that game.' "It got to the point where, 'Hey, let's execute together.' One of the old [former USC and NFL head coach] John McKay lines was, 'I'm in favor of it, let's execute them all, including me.'" NOTRE DAME SENIOR QUARTERBACK BRANDON WIMBUSH … On the feeling in the locker room: "It's not a good one. You want to perform better. You want to win to the Notre Dame standard. "We hold ourselves to a high standard, and Coach Kelly and the rest of the coaching staff emphasizes that every day. We clearly didn't play to our standard today." On the game plan offensively: "We were able to watch one game of their defense where they imple- mented and incorporated their new [3-4 scheme]. We thought we would be able to take the gimmies and the easy throws, and then make big plays out of them, and we had a good game plan in terms of running the ball. "Some things sometimes just don't work as effectively as you may wish, but I think we did a good job of kind of mixing it up." NOTRE DAME FIFTH-YEAR SENIOR OFFENSIVE LINEMAN ALEX BARS … On where does he go next with his teammates as a captain: "It falls on us, and we'll take responsibility for sure. Next week, we've got to get after them. Everyone. "The whole team's got to come together and play a lot better next week than we did this week." On if he is focusing on areas needing improvement: "Each week there are different areas you need to im- prove on, and we're constantly trying to improve on all those areas. "It's a lot of the same areas. Technique, assignments and effort each week." NOTRE DAME SENIOR LINEBACKER DRUE TRANQUILL … On what Ball State did to keep the defense off-bal- ance: "They played hard and made plays on the perim- eter. I thought Riley Neal played well. They took care of the football mostly. "They just played hard. They had a lot heart and effort out there. They just out-executed us at times." On what you try to convey to the team when the other team is playing with more energy and heart: "I think a lot of guys are not big-talk guys. We're more 'do' guys. We look at each other and square each other up. "Take a look at where we're at, where we want to be and who is going to make the play to get us there. We talk internally on our sideline and then it's about going out and making plays." NOTRE DAME JUNIOR SAFETY JALEN ELLIOTT … On how the secondary has matured since last year: "Just experience. We had a lot of guys coming back, pretty much the whole back end. We've been in those big games and moments where it's been tough for us as young players to understand what was going on. "Now it's moving a lot slower for us. We're starting to get it." On how much of a wake-up call the game was for the team: "We play a tough schedule. Everyone that we play is going to be good. "We have to continue to push each other and push each week leading into the game during practice." Fifth-year senior linebacker Drue Tranquill (left) recorded nine tackles (one for loss) to help the Irish knock off Ball State. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA FROM THE LOCKER ROOM

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