Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 19, 2016

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

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Page 30 of 55 SEPT. 19, 2016 31 Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly … On how far this team is right now from being at that Michigan State level: "We're going to get better each and every week. We're a younger football team in certain ar- eas. But we've got enough guys that have played enough football that they know what it's like to play a Michigan State, too. "It's not like we've got a bunch of guys that don't know what it's like to go up against a physical, Big Ten opponent like Michigan State." On rebounding from the Texas game and what he saw from his defense: "They were really sore. They were physi- cally sore. There was a concerted effort on everybody's part, players, coaches, athletic training staff, nutritionists, strength and conditioning staff. "This was a collaborative effort from everybody within the program to prepare the football team in a manner that we would still get enough work for Nevada but also make sure they had the ability to recuperate from a very physical game on a short week. That's really what was the key to us being able to play and feel like we weren't lethargic or we weren't heavy-legged, couldn't get off to the kind of start, being up 25-0 at the half. "I credit our players and the way they handled them- selves and took care of themselves. They had the will to prepare. That's why we were able to win today." Junior quarterback DeShone Kizer … On his comfort level being the starter: "I approached it the same exact way. This is something that I've been doing for the last year now. It's becoming pretty natural for me. "Routine has kind of set in now. I'm able to just prepare the same way I've been preparing and have a little success along the way." On the team's young wide receivers: "They played great. I had to put an emphasis on trusting those guys in big environments such as their first home game. I had to throw them into the fire and see what they could do. I have to treat them like the guys they are. "They're elite athletes. I have to get the ball to Equanime- ous [St. Brown], let them make plays." On the red zone offense and his ability to operate down there: "You have to understand in the red zone that if the first option is not there, go to the second, or third. If the third isn't open, don't force it. "That was my biggest fault last year. I wanted to take the first, second or third read, and never really considered extending the play. I went out there and was able to extend the play." Sophomore running back Josh Adams … On the offense: "I feel like we're doing really well as an offense. We're executing. We're paying attention to detail, and we're getting everything done that we need to. "In the upcoming weeks, we need to go above and be- yond and become the most dominant offense in the coun- try. That's definitely a goal we have set, and that's what we fight for in practice. It's definitely going to be special for us to work and to get to the level we know we can be at. It's definitely something to look forward to." Sophomore wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown … On the satisfaction of a win: "It feels good to get the first win of the season. We get 24 hours off, and then we've got to get ready for Michigan State." On the excitement level to come out of the tunnel: "It felt good to play our first home game with our great fans, and it felt good to have home-field advantage." Senior linebacker James Onwualu … On matching up with Michigan State: "We've got to play with intensity. You've got to match physicality. I know Michigan State is a hard-nosed Big Ten team. "Playing with physicality, and schematically being smart." Nevada head coach Brian Polian … On playing at Notre Dame: "I thought the atmosphere was great, and our guys were not intimidated by the atmo- sphere. It was execution. It's that simple. Was it because it was Notre Dame with 80,000? No, it didn't matter who it was. "That team was better than us. Doesn't matter what logo you put on the helmet. The crowd was good, but it's not Kyle Field. The crowd wasn't the reason that we got beat. It's because we didn't execute. That's the bottom line." On DeShone Kizer: "He's very impressive and bigger in person than you think off the film. Very, very athletic. Clearly Coach [Mike] Denbrock, Coach Kelly and Mike [Sanford] have done a really good job with him because he solves a lot of problems at the line of scrimmage. "He's a very, very good football player." — Matt Jones FROM THE LOCKER ROOM With a shorter week to prepare against Nevada after the Sunday night opener at Texas, head coach Brian Kelly tried to balance game preparation with tempering the practices in order to recuperate physically. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA

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