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Florida State Rose Bowl: Defensive Coordinator Charles Kelly on Oregon

Transcript via ASAP Sports.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Q. What are you going to see in his game preparation?

CHARLES KELLY: Well, you know, to me, I think there's so many great things about him when you watch him. But just even before we played, I'm a college football fan, you know, so I'm going to watch games throughout the season on TV. And I've watched him the last couple of years, and just the most impressive thing about him to me is his competitiveness. I mean, he is so competitive, and when you're a competitor like that, you know that he's working. You know he's going to do extra work. He strikes me as a person who is never satisfied. That's what he strikes me as. So I would expect him to be at his very best.

Q. Obviously his dad is on your staff. He said his dad and him work out together. Is that what you see in their relationship?

CHARLES KELLY: You know, to me, I've just seen him grow up as a person. It's interesting watching him come into our staff meeting room, crack the door early in the day. He'll be up there getting ready to watch video, just get the extra work in. I mean, that's what‑‑ I've been very impressed with that. We all know he's had the athletic ability to do some great things, but I think just him maturing as a person; and he's fun to be around. I mean, he's a lot of fun to be around, fun at practice.

Q. Do you feel like your personality has translated into the way the defense has played this year?

CHARLES KELLY: The only thing I can tell you is that myself personally, we've been in some situations at times to where I know that if our players see me panic, then they are going to panic. And I've tried to, you know, make sure, guys, this is our plan; let's follow the plan. Once we've done that, we've been able to make some adjustments doing that. So hopefully from that standpoint, that's one thing you consciously I've tried do, because I think again, guys do what you do. They don't do what you say. And I honestly believe that.

Q. How many different ways have you used Jalen this year and have you come up with anything else you can do with this game.

CHARLES KELLY: The position that he's playing is the position that Lamarcus Joyner played for us last year. Some people call it a nickel. We call it a star. He's asked to blitz. He's asked to play man‑to‑man. He's asked to do a lot of different things. You have to be a very good athlete and you have to understand the game to be able to do that. We played him at corner at times in a couple of games. He can do that because of his man‑to‑man skills. But you know, we kind of let‑‑ that position in our defense is a big deal. It's going to create opportunities for you to make some big plays.

Q. Going back to the panic thing and you don't want to obviously let your players see that, has there been a time during these games that you've comeback from where you kind of are on the inside and you're just like, we're down by this much?

CHARLES KELLY: You know, for me to explain it, when you get in the game, I mean, you coach your players to play the next play. I think as a coach, you've got to coach the next play no matter what the situation is. And so from a‑‑ can I say, at times, I've looked and said, I don't remember doing that. All I know is that our job is, no matter what the situation is, you've got to coach the next play and again, you expect players to play the next play.

Q. And when the momentum is starting to turn in your favor; this the sort of thing you say, I told you see, keep doing it?

CHARLES KELLY: I think our guys see that. Again, I mentioned a little while ago, you've got to play‑‑ you play, and the challenge as a coach is to get guys to play no matter what the scoreboard is. Don't look at the scoreboard. You just play. And that's what we have tried to do.

Q. Given all that you guys lost last year to the draft, did you come into this year, the staff, knowing your patience might be important; that there were going to be‑‑ because a lot of those guys have not been on the field that much.

CHARLES KELLY: And the way you get better is to play. Accumulated reps make you a better player. It takes you from being a good athlete to a‑‑ translating that to being a good football player. I knew there would be some challenges because I knew what Kelvin Smith brought to the team. I knew what Timmy Jergen brought to the team. I knew what Lamarcus Joyner brought to the team. I knew what Terrence Brooks brought to the team. I knew what Christian Jones brought to the team. That's five guys right there that have started in the National Football League as rookies this year. So, yeah, we knew there would be some challenges, but at the same time, I think our guys have stepped up. Are we the same team? No. But I'm very proud of what our guys have done and how they have hung in there together and fought through that.

Q. Inaudible.

CHARLES KELLY: I think you see‑‑ I said it in there. You see Eddie Goldman; to me, he stepped his game up this year, as opposed to last year. Reggie Northrup, I don't know, maybe the second leading tackler in the ACC, maybe first, I'm not sure. I mean, he's been productive, has made some big plays down the stretch for us in some key games. Jalen; we are asking Jalen to do a lot more this year than he did a year ago. So I think any time‑‑ I think you can see the development of a lot of different guys.

Q. From a defensive coach's perspective, what problems does Jameis pose to defenses?

CHARLES KELLY: You know, to me, I think the No.1 thing that I love about Jameis, first of all, is his competitiveness. No matter what he's doing, I mean, he's as competitive as anybody I've ever been around. From a technical standpoint, what he can do with his eyes and what he can see, you know, is just amazing to me. And being able to see it and convert it with your hands to go where he needs to go with the ball; to me, that's the most impressive thing.

Q. People have questioned because of personality or image or whatever, that he's a risk at the next level; that maybe people shouldn't spend a high draft pick on him. I realize you're not in the NFL but what are your thoughts on that?

CHARLES KELLY: Me personally? What I do is I judge off what I see. If you watch him, and you watch what he does; and I know him personally; I know what kind of person he is. I know what kind of competitor he is. I know he wants to win. I mean, and he is a team player. I mean, he is a team player. I can't tell you how many times in two years, whether it was going good or whether it was going bad, how many times he'd come by‑‑ defensive player and practice competing against each other. But what he's done on the field and what he can do, and how he can see, that's how I judge people, on what you see. And so much is said. Just judge off what you see.

Q. Do you think the other stuff is just natural maturity?

CHARLES KELLY: To me, I think just because a guy‑‑ just because he laughs or likes to have fun in a situation, doesn't make him immature. It makes him a human being. And I know this about Jameis; I know when the lights come on and in meetings, I know how‑‑ and I'm not in the quarterback meeting with him, but I know how he comes out of that meeting. I know you can judge by what a guy does in a meeting by how he comes and he practices on the field. Now I've been on the field with him two years in practice, so I see what he does in practice and he attacks those practices just like he attacks a game. You know, I just think he's a great player. He's an unbelievable leader. He's very charismatic. He knows I love him and I'm glad we got him.

Q. With Oregen, one of the things is how easily they get free verticals down the field. Can you talk about how difficult it can be to prepare for some of the switching they are doing‑‑

CHARLES KELLY: Well, the one thing that‑‑ I think that's another thing they developed. They have got that, you know‑‑ they have been able to get more vertical step down the field and to be able to create those stacks and things outside, which makes it hard to defend. It makes it hard for you to walk up and jam a guy. So of course we've worked on that and got to have a plan for that in the game.

Q. Before you guys get to half‑time, what has been your message to the defense when you guys get in a hole early? What is it‑‑ because a lot of guys will see that and that will kill their momentum and they are not able to go out and get it.

CHARLES KELLY: It's back to what I‑‑ it goes back to what I said. We coach on the premise that you play no matter what is on the scoreboard. You don't look at the time. You don't look at the score. You just go out and play the next play. We try to coach like that in practice. We try to develop‑‑ something bad happens‑‑ there's some things that you've got to stop and you've got to say, hey, we have to correct this. We have to get this fixed right now. But there are times where, you know, you can't think about the last play. And I think our guys have taken that mind‑set. Okay, something bad happens, come back, make a big play. Make something happen. But I don't think there's a magical answer and I don't think there's a magical thing, switch that you turn on. A lot of people have asked me that, but there is none. You've just got to keep playing, and you just‑‑ it's a mind‑set more than anything.

Q. That's obviously easier said than done; don't pay attention to the scoreboard. But since you guys have done that and been able to have success after being down 21‑0, all of that, how beneficial is that for you guys knowing that they understand that they can come back?

CHARLES KELLY: I think first of all‑‑ and let me go back to this, too. I think a lot of it has to do with your players, the mind‑set of your players. To be able to have that willingness and that tenacity to say, okay, it may be bad, but it's a 60‑minute game and we play that, and that's what we emphasize. But I do think that when you do it once, the second time, it's not easier but you have the confidence to do it. And then if you do it three times, then it's like, okay, I can do this.

Q. What was the pressure like for you taking over? Obviously it's a great job, defensive coordinator, but coming from one of the better defenses in program history, No.1 in the country in almost everything.

CHARLES KELLY: You know, honestly, I try not to think about it in terms of statistics or things like that. My whole thing is, first of all, and it was last year; it was‑‑ we bond together very good as a defensive staff and a staff overall. So I knew I wasn't in this, it wasn't just about me. I've never been like that. I'm never going to be like that. So I do trust the guys on our staff, so I felt very comfortable with that. But I knew there was going to be some development. Any time you look at what you've got coming back‑‑ and I think we've recruited extremely well. I think we've got talented guys. I do think you get better and better the more games you play and the more accumulated reps you have. I try not to think about it, and honestly, I don't know that I ever felt pressure because of that. I think the pressure that you put on yourself is to perform the next play or the next game. I think that's more the pressure of anything.

Q. Would it have been a different feeling season for you? Technically now it's the Charles Kelly defense.

CHARLES KELLY: At times, I guess the biggest thing you try to do is improve, and you try to analyze what you're not getting accomplished and try to improve in those situations. And you go to work every morning, you work as hard as you can work, you put everything you've got into it and at the end of the day, you can live with the results. And that's what I tell our players. If you do everything talk do, and at the end of the day, you can live with the results.

Q. Mario has two interceptions last year, unreal numbers nowadays. Why is that the case? What have you seen from him?

CHARLES KELLY: I think he's very smart with the football. I think he knows where he's going with the ball. I think he's very smart. I think he has great vision. I think he sees the field. I think he can‑‑ he does a good job of buying time in the pocket and that doesn't mean just scrambling. It just means buying time where he can see downfield, where a guy gets open and he makes‑‑ he's a very intelligent football player.

Q. Is it hard for people to be patient as guys go from talented players to football players and get their development in place?

CHARLES KELLY: Coach Fisher always talks about that. He always talks about, that's part of player development is taking a guy that is a very good athlete and making him‑‑ we talk all the time about judging a person's athletic ability and then his production on the field. So we are very conscious of that all the time. The one thing that I have always said about Coach Fisher, player development, is his No.1 priority, and in every phase of the player, not just on the field; off the field, too. He's done an amazing job at that.

Q. Goldman, what's different about him now?

CHARLES KELLY: Eddie Goldman, to me at times this year, he's become more of a dominant player. He's always been a good player and had a lot of ability. At times this year, he's been able to take over a game inside. It's been very obvious to everyone watching the game that, wow, number 90 has taken over. To me that's where he's developed.

Q. When you're playing man coverage and you run the risk of opening lanes that the quarterback breaks contain, what's the balance between the risk and reward against someone as explosive at Mario that?

CHARLES KELLY: That's the thing that you go into the game, and you have to manage and you have to make sure those situations, when you do choose to play man coverage, that it's in a situation to where you can limit damage on the other end. And again, you have to eliminate creases in the defense when you do that, because that's what he finds. He finds those creases.

Q. Do you have to retrain the defensive line to remind him; that you can't just collapse the pocket, because that might be what's good for Mario that in certain situations.

CHARLES KELLY: I will say this about him. He's done such a good job. Even when you collapse the pocket, at times, he can find those lanes. I mean, he's not looking just to scramble out and go. I mean, he finds those lanes and finds‑‑ to me, somebody asked me the other day what I thought the similarities of Jameis and he were. And one of the things is being able to see downfield just like we were talking about. Being able to find guys downfield. And he does that. He's not looking just to get out and run. He's looking through those lanes to find people downfield.

Q. What does that say to you about [Oregon's] wide receivers?

CHARLES KELLY: First of all, how they block on the perimeter. Now they are explosive and they make plays, but when they are asked to do things in the perimeter, I mean, they get after you. They block you. Sometimes when guys‑‑ sometimes you see guys that make a lot of big plays that necessarily don't, maybe not block the perimeter as well. I think they are‑‑ but you know what, I think every position on their team is very well‑coached, and I think they take pride in everything that they do. That's very obvious.

Q. Is there something that you're advising your DBs to be aware of?

CHARLES KELLY: Oh, yeah. There are certain places and it's like somebody asked me about the spy in there. They said, if you're going to spy the quarterback, who you going to spy. I'm not going to say that. But yeah, there are certain situations that we look for of where we're at.