Sept. 7, 2009
Rutgers vs. Cincinnati
Bearcats Head Coach Brian Kelly
Opening Statement: "I think it's pretty obvious we got off to a great start, got into a great rhythm offensively. When you have a veteran quarterback in our system, again, two years is being veteran for Tony (Pike); it's his second year but he's got a better grasp of what we do offensively and essentially we had the pen last when you have a quarterback that understands our system. And I think we made it difficult for Rutgers to stop us today. We wanted to be aggressive offensively and I thought it was important early on to really do some things that a lot of college football teams aren't doing in the opener and that is being really aggressive. Our game plan had been such all throughout the off-season and it was really to push the tempo today. We got some scores, made some big plays which really took the pressure off our defense. We are a work in progress there, we did some good things but we have some work to do there. I thought our special teams were solid. Jake Rogers kicked the ball very well today, both punting and kicking. And really other than the one interception, we played clean. In an opener, you want to play clean. You don't want a lot of penalties, don't want a lot of miscues. And we got out of an opener what every coach wants is a very good road win."
Surprised on time Pike had in pocket: "It took a lot of planning on Tony's part, a lot of film study. We knew we were playing Rutgers last April so he really did his due diligence relative to the schemes. He made one read for the sack which was a mistake on his part which was good because it kind of woke him up a little bit because it got a little easy for him at times. They are a very difficult defense to prepare for if you only have three days. We had an advantage of having three or four month and that really helped us today. They are difficult to figure out sometimes.
Off-season, is this what you had in mind: "You do what you can do based on your personnel. We feel like we have great depth at the wide receiver position with a veteran quarterback. The concern is we needed to be more effective and efficient running the football and Travis Kelce brings that mix to the game where he is a big physical kid and he can also throw it, he was an ex-quarterback so we think we found a piece what will allow us to run the ball more efficiently and again without Isaiah Pead, Jake Ramsey and Darrin Williams, we can throw three or four running backs."
Is your system now in place: "We are three years into it. There is a better understanding as to what the expectations are day in and day out. We thought we could get it going last year but we ran into a lot of injuries at the quarterback position. We had to go manage the game, we could get Tony manage but we didn't have to. I didn't do a lot of heavy lifting today from the sidelines. All those kids out there really made this thing work. "
Offensively, what did you do out there: "The pace was absolutely crucial today and you saw it in the second possession. You knew what Rutgers was going to do and that was (to) control the clock and keep us off the field. We knew it was absolutely crucial for us to push the ball the court as much as we could because we were going to get limited in those opportunities. Most of our scoring drives were under three minutes, they seemed pretty quick. That was what we had to do to win today was really push the tempo. We could not slow it down."
Are you surprised with team's efficiency: "I am very happy with how efficient we were in an opener. I have had 19 openers and I have experienced just want everybody in this room has experienced in opening football games, sloop, sloppy. Jumping off-side; lining up in neutral zone; not enough guys on line of scrimmage (and) all that stuff. We were clean today but I think that has a lot to do with veteran guys."
How does this set you up for BIG EAST and going forward: "The schedule in the BIG EAST obviously is geared towards the four and three break. What year do you get four at home. We can now count this as a great win because we had the four and three on the road. Now it's a 3-3 situation for us going into the BIG EAST and that really helps us a lot. That's how important this game was because now it puts that game back into play for us that if we can hold serve we put ourselves in a better situation."
On Tony Pike: "I don't think this defines who he is as a player and I don't think this game defines our football team either. I think we are a work in progress. We are happy with how we played today and how we executed, that's a sign of good things. Tony has to do it consistently. He has to be able to answer the bell, week after week. Talk to me in about six or seven weeks and if he is still doing this then he will be a guy you need to really pay attention to because I think he can do some very good things."
Not favorable to play this game to start the season: "I loved playing this game now (laughter). Again, I think our advantages are we got a great opportunity to prepare our kids for a very good football team and a difficult defense and a great run; and that was an advantage. But we had to fly here, we had to be mature enough as a football team to handle ourselves the right way on the road in front of a great crowd. At the end of the day, it was up to those players to handle and execute on the field and that was really what the story is."
Rating Defense: "Not bad, not bad. I think there are some things we will look at. (Defensive Coordinator) Bob (Diaco) had a very good plan and it went the way we wanted it to. I think there are some things because we know our personnel a little better. It will allow us to tweak some things going into this Saturday."