Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly addressed the media after a 31-13 win over Georgia Tech.
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On hearing that Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence will not play against Notre Dame next weekend:
“When I heard he got the virus, the first thing I think is, ‘I hope he’s okay. I hope he doesn’t have any lingering effects.’ He’s the best player in college football. Then after that, you’re like, well, the virus is indiscriminate. It doesn’t care. The virus is going to do what the virus does. Then, you start to think, alright, ‘is he going to play? I’m sure he’s going to play.’ Then I heard today that he’s not going to play, which is probably the safest thing.
“It’s too bad he’s not playing. You want the best players to play. But, look, the kid that played today is a five-star recruit as well. I know he’s not Trevor Lawrence but they’re not going to come to South Bend short-handed. It’s a shame that Trevor’s not playing. We wish him good health and a speedy recovery.”
On the play of safety Kyle Hamilton and defensive end Daelin Hayes:
“There’s more than that. Pete. Kyle Hamilton is no doubt… you don’t get many players of that caliber. He sniffs out the two-point plays, he’s all over the field. But elevating the play of Daelin Hayes might be singularly as important as anything that happened today. He was at a different level of play. If he can continue to play at that level with a Kyle Hamilton and the other pieces to this defense, then we’re going to get to where we want to be.
“I guess the long story of this answer to your question is we need to continue to surround other playmakers with a known playmaker and Kyle Hamilton. That’s when this defense starts to really become special.”
On how the Notre Dame defense performed against Georiga Tech:
“We made some critical errors in the second half. We really don’t make too many 15-yard penalties. We had one pressure where we were supposed to peel we didn’t, just some attention to detail things that we need to clean up, some missed tackles. But we didn’t play a lot of snaps in the first half. We had a good stop on the first drive after a big play.
“We come back offensively and score and make it 24-7. I thought that was a good transition there. It’s a really good defense, there’s no doubt. [Georgia Tech has] a good offense. They’ve got some skill players. They’ve put up a lot of points this year against a number of different opponents.
“I think if you ask Clark and me how we played, there are some things that we’ve got to clean up going into next week against a better opponent. That’s how we feel about our defense.”
On if he talked to his team about Clemson after the game:
“I addressed Clemson two weeks ago, so I would think you would think that I addressed them after this game. We talked about Clemson. We’ve been waiting to play Clemson. But we wanted to play Clemson when we upped our performance level. I wouldn’t say it was our best performance today, but we did some good things. We’ve been preparing for this opportunity to play the best team in the country in Clemson at home. So our guys are excited about it.
“They’re ready to go back to work. It’s a short week. We go right back tomorrow, because of Tuesday being an off day [due to the election]. The guys are right back at it tomorrow. They’re excited. They’re going to be a little bit tired, but Clemson will be, too.”
On how the offensive line allowing Georgia Tech to generate a pass rush on occasion against Notre Dame:
“I’d have to go back and look at it. There were times that Ian had to escape. But he was 18-26. He had time on a number of third downs. When you’re 10-15 on third down, you’re not looking to chase anybody down saying the quarterback didn’t have any time to convert third downs. Can we be better? Absolutely. But on my list of things, it’s probably not going to be the first thing that them chasing down is our protection issues against Georgia Tech.
“There are other things that that we’ve got to get better at across the board. They got some penetration and missed a couple of opportunities down there but, by and large, it really didn’t jump out at me as when I take notes on the sideline ‘what the heck’s going on with our protection today.'”
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