BRIAN KELLY: Well, we continue our swing into the ACC with another very tough opponent in Wake Forest, coming off a very impressive 42-32 win against Louisville. Really impressive offensive performance last week, over 600 yards. John Wolford was outstanding at the quarterback position, counting for six touchdowns. Very explosive offense.
Defensively they lead the country in tackles for loss. They get you off schedule and have done a really good job.
This is a well-coached — Dave Clawson has done a great job at Wake Forest, and you can see this is a football team where you have to be on top of your game for four quarters. Another very good challenge for us.
Q. In terms of Josh Adams’ development this year, is he doing certain things better than he did last year, or is some of it the people around him improving, as well?
BRIAN KELLY: Well, I think it’s been his physical development since January. You know, his lower body strength, explosiveness, so there’s a maturation there in terms of his physical. I think there’s also — he last year was injured earlier in the season and really didn’t come to full strength until middle of the year, then really finished strong for us. I think he came into the season very healthy from a great off-season, and I think he’s really just built on where he left off last year. And obviously the five guys up front, including the tight end and receivers, are working so well together in a run-based offense compared to last year.
Q. Did you see this coming? Did you think he was poised for takeoff this year?
BRIAN KELLY: Well, it was a conscious decision knowing the assets that we have. It was a matter of just making sure that we went to the strengths, and I knew that Josh was capable of playing at a high level, and we wanted to take advantage of a great offensive line coming back and Josh’s talents, and that’s why we’ve gone in the direction that we have philosophically offensively.
Q. Talking about Wake Forest, you played them a couple years ago, in 2015. Are they a different team in 2015 than this year? I know they have that running game, we talked on Sunday about the running game, and they’ve been improving each week and they beat Louisville. Are they a different squad than the last time you played them?
BRIAN KELLY: Much more mature on offense. You know, I think from an offensive perspective, the weapons are outstanding. The quarterback, so much more seasoned, if you will. He’s been in the system now. You know, two more years in Coach Clawson’s offensive system, you can see the maturation of this offense, the big play ability, the ability to spread you out, play with tempo. Very dangerous on offense.
You know, there’s some remnants, certainly, of Coach Elko and his philosophy, but it’s still Coach Clawson’s team, so you can see that that defense, although there are some new wrinkles there, they’re still philosophically a similar look. They’re still bringing fire zone pressures and playing very smart defense, very fundamentally sound.
Q. I know this time last year you were dealing with a lot of injuries, and I know Jimbo Fisher is going through the same thing this year. If Jimbo Fisher gave you a call today, what would you tell him to help out with his season because you went through it last year?
BRIAN KELLY: Well, I think Jimbo doesn’t need much of my advice, but I can tell you that from our perspective, it’s always been next man in, and to always have your team prepared for that. He does a great job of not making any excuses. He hasn’t made any excuses about losing his quarterback. You just don’t — college football is such that you’re always going to lose some players, and you’ve just got to be prepared to get the next guy in. You know, I know he’s been at it a long time, and like I said, I think we’re all understanding as coaches that you’re going to lose key players, and you’ve just got to plug the next guy in and get ready to go.
Q. Give us your thoughts about being ranked third in the first CFP rankings last night.
BRIAN KELLY: Well, I mean, certainly we’re better being third than 13th. But we’re only two-thirds of the way through it, so this isn’t a time to look back and see where you are; this is a time to keep your eyes in front of you and keep driving towards the finish line. Our guys have done a great job. They’re going to have to do it for the next four weeks, and then we’ll kind of pick up and take a look at where we are.
But again, we’ve positioned ourselves after two-thirds of the season in a good position. Now it’s up to us to finish it off.