Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 26, 2019*

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

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Page 28 of 55 OCT. 26, 2019 29 NOTRE DAME HEAD COACH BRIAN KELLY … On offensive coordinator Chip Long and his play calling against USC: "I think what you need more than anything else is patience. You're prodding, you're patient, you're waiting for your opportunities to kind of unfold. "If you just say I'm going to give up on the running game here in the third quarter, you're not going to have those opportunities later, and we got in a lot of that — the bang for the buck, if you will, in the fourth quarter by the things that we did earlier." On getting sophomore wide receiver Braden Lenzy involved and his 51-yard run: "We're trying to find roles for Braden and breaking him into our lineup. As you can see, he's got great speed. We pulled both the backside guard and tackle. One of our big plays is the counter play, [against] very aggressive inside backers flowing to the football. "They were over the top on a couple of plays, and we're like, this is a perfect time for it. So, we had set it up ac- cordingly, and I thought the timing was outstanding. Chip called it, hit it at the right time." On their goal in defending USC wide receiver Mi- chael Pittman Jr.: "I think we accomplished what we wanted to. Pittman, four catches for 29 yards. That was first and foremost. He could not be a game-wrecker … "[Our] number one [priority] was to take Pittman out of the game, which we did, and I thought in the first half we executed exactly the way I wanted to defensively." NOTRE DAME JUNIOR RIGHT TACKLE ROBERT HAINSEY … On what senior running back Tony Jones Jr. did to have such a big game: "The way he runs balls the ball is the way I think a running back should run the ball. So we get up there and he makes our job easy. "We get up there and we do our job, make our blocks to the best of our ability. And even if there's not the biggest crease, Tony is going to find it and he's going to run past you, through you, over you — it doesn't matter." On how much the offensive line as a whole has grown since the first two games: "I think incredibly. The growth of our group has been immense ... After the Georgia game, my challenge to the guys, I said 'We need to play our potential, individually and as a group and with everyone working as hard as they can, we'll reach our potential.' "And when we're playing to the highest level that we can, that's a scary group to go against." NOTRE DAME SENIOR RUNNING BACK TONY JONES JR. … On carrying the ball so many times in a rivalry game: "It felt good that Coach [Kelly] had the confidence in me, and I wanted to show him respect and pound the rock." On if Notre Dame imposed its will on USC: "Defi- nitely, they were starting to show that they were tired and beat up a little bit so we just kept pounding the rock and opened up holes." NOTRE DAME JUNIOR TIGHT END COLE KMET … On if the offense is really clicking at its best when the team is in tempo: "You can see a couple of times we caught them when they were tired and fatigued on the drive. "That's when we imposed our tempo on them, that's when we can really start drives and they are not lined up correctly and we can get them with 12 guys on the field and take some shots." NOTRE DAME SENIOR DEFENSIVE END KHALID KAREEM … On beating rival USC: "It was amazing, You want to get a win in general, but to beat our rival USC is just something special. I definitely will remember this one forever. "This is my last one, so I'm happy with the 'W.'" On who on the defense has impressed him the most this year: "Everyone's balling, but I would say, [junior rover Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah], he's balling out of control right now. "We've been expecting this since his return from his injury, but he's blowing my mind right now. He's really having a great year." NOTRE DAME SENIOR QUARTERBACK IAN BOOK … On if he's worried about getting hurt when he runs the ball: "I consider myself a dual-threat quarterback, be- ing able to extend the play. I put my own self at risk, but that's why I play football. "I take a lot of pride in being able to extend the play, and that's part of it. I don't really think about it." On the performance of the Notre Dame offensive line: "I think in the second half our tempo was really what was going well. We started to get in a rhythm, Coach Long was calling the right plays at the right time and we were getting in a rhythm, moving the ball down fast. And the running backs obviously did a great job tonight, and that goes to show you the O-line was also doing a great job. When you rush for that many yards, you can't complain." — Andrew Mentock and Vince DeDario FROM THE LOCKER ROOM Senior defensive end Khalid Kareem led the Irish defensive line with seven tackles, one sack and three quarterback hurries. PHOTO BY ANDRIS VISOCKIS

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