Kelly made the remark after the team’s 41-38 overtime victory over the Seminoles.
“I’m in favor of execution. Maybe our entire team needs to be executed after tonight. We just didn’t execute very well,” Kelly told ABC’s Katie George.
The remarks went viral across social media, and when he was asked about it in the postgame press conference, Kelly said he was just channeling former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach John McKay. The former coach made the remark in the team’s inaugural 1976 seisoen. When asked about the team’s execution, McKay replied, “I’m in favor of it.”
“It’s an old John McKay quote,” Kelly explained, via ESPN. “I was kidding. It was tongue-in-cheek. It wasn’t funny? … I was talking and making a joke about it. It was taken serious? Are you people crazy?”
It was a frustrating night for the No. 9 Fighting Irish. The team had a comfortable 38-20 lead going into the fourth quarter when Florida State scored 18 unanswered points behind a Jordan Travis touchdown pass and a Treshaun Ward rushing touchdown. Kicker Ryan Fitzgerald would tie the game with a 43-yard field goal. Notre Dame’s Jonathan Doerer would win the game with a 41-yard field goal.
Notre Dame quarterback Jack Coan was 26-for-35 with 366 passing yards and four touchdowns.
Notre Dame will face Toledo in its next game while Florida State will play Jacksonville State.