Sept. 5, 2009
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2009 Notre Dame Football Post-Game Quotes
Notre Dame vs. Nevada
Saturday, Sept. 5, 2009 * Notre Dame Stadium * Notre Dame, Ind.
Notre Dame Player Quotes
#28 Kyle McCarthy - Sr. -- S
On the performance of Notre Dame ...
"Obviously, it feels good to put up a shutout on defense. Being a defensive guy, it's something you shoot for. And it's nice to see the offense clicking on all cylinders. We're happy with how we played today. We know that there are improvements to be made, and obviously we have a big test next week."
On whether or not Notre Dame's success today was an extension of the Hawaii Bowl ...
"I'd say it is an extension, because after the USC game last year, this team really came together. So the Hawaii game was going to be a transition into next year, and it let us show ourselves what we could do and it boosted us into the offseason program, and it's working well for us."
On being "businesslike" after the game ...
"We know this is just one game, and Coach Weis does a good job of bringing us down to an even keel and really letting us know that the season is a marathon. This is only one game of hopefully 13 so we know we have a big test for us next weekend and that's going to start for us tomorrow."
On the presence of the Orange Bowl reps ...
"It's nice to have some notoriety back around here after the last couple years. It feels like the old Notre Dame a little bit."
On the improvement of the defense ...
"Having Harrison (Smith) back there with me allows me to not necessarily be the stereotypical strong safety meathead in the box, so his athleticism and knowledge of the game really opens up our defense. Obviously, the front seven do a great job of bringing pressure."
#55 Eric Olsen - Sr. - OC
On the performance of Notre Dame ...
"Obviously, there are still areas that we want to improve on. Late in the game on those third down plays, we have to convert those. There are no excuses for that. So that's something we are going to spend the next week working on."
On setting the tone early ...
"That was a major emphasis we had from Hawaii was to start fast. That's something we haven't done a great job of in the past."
On the offensive line improvement and not giving up a sack ...
"It's definitely a confidence booster but at the same time we know that we have a big game coming up next week, and we have to get focused and go back to work."
On the 99-yard touchdown drive ...
"I told [the fans] when we started that drive on the one-yard line that we were going 99 yards for the touchdown, and when I got into the huddle I said "don't make me look bad, guys, I just told them we were going 99" and we did, so I had to show them some love."
On the continuity of the offensive line ...
"Anytime that we can get more guys into the game, it gives us the opportunity to have fresh legs on the field. In practice we are used to switching guys in and out, so that's something that definitely helped us today."
On keeping focused after the big win ...
"It feels good, but I'm already thinking about Michigan. I'm a cynic by nature, and obviously it's something good and we did a great job all around on every facet of the game, but our work's not done yet."
#72 Paul Duncan - Sr. - OT
About the drive on the two ends ...
"Just go out and do your job. That's my job that's what I'm there for, so go out and block somebody. Just going out and playing as hard as I can and try and block them."
On the performance of the offensive line ...
"I think we did a great job running the ball. Obviously last year, it wasn't so hot. I think we did a great job against Nevada, running the ball and getting that going."
On the balance of the offense ...
"I thought it was great. Running the ball and getting the shots like we had and those big passing plays."
On what pleases him the most about today's game ...
"How we just, in our first drive, went down there. That's a huge start for this game and this season."
#58 Brian Smith - Jr. - LB
On what today's win means for the team ...
"It says that we've come a long way. We came out offensively with a lot of points on the board, and the defense kept points off the board. We didn't say much about it; we just went to work, and at the end of the day it came out in our favor."
On his big plays such as his line play sack ...
"We kind of scanned the quarterback, and we matched up on him. Whenever he rolled out, whether he had the ball or not, my assignment on that particular play was the quarterback so I just got to the quarterback and he had the ball."
On what it was like to play again after the off-season ...
"It was a lot of fun. Guys out there getting rowdy, not just offensive guys with offensive guys, defense with the defense, but the team collectively. We had each other's backs. Whenever the offense was in a bad situation, the defense put us in a good situation. We kind of fed off of each other today."
On what the Notre Dame team showed in today's game ...
"We showed that we're a tough football team. But like we said, we're not going to say much about it."
On the differences in defense from a year ago ...
"It's the same defense, we're just more experienced. We talked a lot about experience, and you guys saw the experience that we have today."
#49 Toryan Smith - Sr. - LB
On the 4th down stop in the second quarter ...
"It was big, it was getting into the hot red zone; the main thing was that we were trying to keep them out of the end zone and we did that. It was a team effort, we just came together and tried to make a stop."
#89 Kapron Lewis-Moore - So. - DE
On Nevada's "high-powered offense...
"We just had to execute our game plan, and I felt like we did that perfectly."
On the highs and lows of the game...
"There are some things - like closing out on the tackle - I wasn't really executing the way I was supposed to, and I don't want to make excuses but it was the first game and there's always room for improvement, not only for myself but for the whole d-line."
On nerves before the game...
"It wasn't hard to keep my head about me, I was more nervous than anything. I was redshirted last year and going out on the field for the first time in about two years, since high school, was just a great feeling. I felt like I settled down after the first couple of plays."
On recovering the first fumble...
"I saw the ball on the ground and I was right on it and I was just so happy, it was one of the happiest times of my life."
#9 Kyle Rudolph - So, - TE
On the first touchdown...
"It was something we had worked on all week and Jimmy showed a lot of trust in me, just wanted to go and make a play on the ball, and it worked in our favor."
On ND's direction for the upcoming season...
"We're really excited about what happened today, and when we watch the tape tomorrow we're going to try and pick up the mistakes we made today and keep moving forward. Coach Weis told us that this season is like a marathon and today was a really good step in the right direction."
Nevada Player Quotes
#34 Vai Taua -- Jr. -- RB
On what was the cause of the final result ...
"I don't think it was really that they did anything. I think we did it to ourselves a lot of the time. We played very well and then got down by the goal line and just got first game jitters it seemed like. We couldn't really punch it in and get the points to show for it."
On the play of the offense...
"I think we did alright. But, obviously, if you don't put any points on the board it's not that good. We moved the ball well and we should have had some points, but we didn't have anything to show for it."
On what happened on the fumble inside the 10-yard line...
"I was really focused before the play that I needed to get into the end zone. I tried to lean before I even had the ball and that's [the fumble] what happened."
On what the mood of the team is...
"Everyone knows that we have a bye this week. We've got a lot of work to do and then the week after that we go to Colorado State. We know we've got to step it up. Our offense definitely has to put some points on the board and our defense is going to have to hold them."
#49 Jonathon Amaya -- Sr. -- DB
On covering Notre Dame's Receivers....
"They have excellent receivers and we made some crucial mistakes on third downs and I don't know what else to say."
On the defense moving up to the next level...
"We have to work, plain and simple. We didn't get it done today, but we had guys in the right position and we didn't do what we needed to do."
On trying to get pressure on Claussen...
"Yeah we struggled a little bit and I struggled a little bit today to get to him we just have to get ready."
On the loss today...
"Yeah we just have to play a lot better than we did today. We're better than what we showed today and it's very frustrating. We have to come back Monday and get ready."
Impressed with Jimmy Claussen...
"He's alright. He's a decent quarterback. We didn't do what we had to do to get a win today."
What are you going to take away from the game...
"We didn't play as well as we would have liked to in the first half. We came out in the second half and settled down a little bit. I feel like we have to come out faster than we did in the first half. We were slow coming out."
#10 Colin Kaepernick -- Jr. -- QB
On the struggles of today's game...
"Offensively we just didn't finish our drives and that is something we've been trying to focus on. We were getting six, seven, eight, nine yards every time we ran the ball, but once we were getting to the 30 or 20 yard line and getting ready to score we made a mistake, whether it be the receiver, quarterback, running back, or whoever it may be. We just didn't finish our drives. It was very frustrating. Everyone went into this game with high expectations. We thought we would be able to put up a lot of points. If we had finished our drives, it would have been a different ball game."
On Notre Dame's defense...
"We knew they were going to blitz. They blitzed from different sides, different angles things like that. We were ready for it, but different times we had little mistakes where someone come through, or I didn't have the right protection."
On the mood in the locker room after today's loss...
"Frustrating. Everyone is really frustrated. We worked really hard to get where we are right now. Apparently, we have to just keep working harder."
On the play of the new receivers...
"Overall, our receivers did very well today. There were a few miscues here and there. For the most part, they were where we needed them to be, and they made plays for us. On a couple of passes I threw bad balls, and there were a few passes where we weren't on the same page."
An interview with:
COACH WEIS: All right. Fire away.
Q. It looked like a continuation of the last time you played, and it's been an awful long time. But how were you able to go from that game to this game pretty seamlessly from the way you performed last time?
COACH WEIS: Well, in an opener, you always worry about just being a little bit sloppy. You know, turnovers, mental errors. But I'm sure we'll find plenty of mental errors and find plenty to critique when we watch the tape. But, overall, I thought the operation, especially in the first half how everything went, it went pretty much like clock work. The few times where something bad happened on offense or defense, we kind of knew what the answer was for that. And I just think that the coaching staff had plenty of time to prepare.
Nevada's going to win a whole bunch of games this year. There's no doubt about that. But I think the fact that we had so much time to get ready for the uniqueness of their style of play gave us an opportunity to be ready to go.
Q. What did you do to neutralize their pass rushers?
COACH WEIS: Well, we did a little bit of everything. We max protected. We cut them. We screened them. We ran right at them. We're a defensive end. Doesn't make a difference how good you are.
When you're getting all four of those elements where they're running right at you, they're cutting you, they're doubling you. Okay, and then they're screening you, you know, now what are they going to do next?
So I think in the first three plays, I think we did three of those four. Well, actually, in the first four plays, we did all four of them. So that was the mentality going in, and the players knew what we were going to do to try to slow those guys down.
(Basped) probably was injured some, you know. He didn't play as much as he normally played. And I watched him in warm ups, he looked like something was bothering him there. So I think that helped us out some. But those two ends, Basped and Moch, they're going to present problems to a lot of teams.
Q. Surely people are going to look at Jimmy Clausen's bottom line, and it's going to jump off the page. But there are a lot of things if you watch the game, moving around in the pockets, selling the screen, can you talk about some of those subtle things?
COACH WEIS: Yeah, all the things that we've been talking about. About how his presence in the pocket, and now he's not just a bailout guy anymore. I mean, that's what you saw. I'm sure I'll find a lot more things. But, in the game, from what I can remember, I can remember him making two mistakes. The one throw to Kyle (Rudolph) down the middle, that could be a home run if we hit him in stride on the play action. Then the one time we threw the fade ball where he got hit in plus territory, you know.
They ran one cover, and originally Golden (Tate) was going to run the slant, he tapped and tried to have him run a go, and really I would have liked him run the slant and go ahead. Because you hit Golden on the slant, you have just as easy a chance for him taking it to the house there, too.
But other than those two plays, I can't remember a play that he wasn't right on. So I was pleased with his effort.
Q. Defense gave up some yards here and there, but pitched a shutout. What is your overall take?
COACH WEIS: Well, I mean, I'll take the yards any day of the week (and pitch a shutout). I think the big play the big play came on the 4th and inches. You know, but when your offense is predicated on a shotgun quarterback and it's 4th and inches, it gives the defense a little bit more of an opportunity. And (the defense) just stuffed that one.
I think that even though there is some play down in plus territory for most of the day, I thought the defense was pretty much on track. Now I'm sure the defensive staff will all be miserable tomorrow saying how many at my staff meeting telling me how many things they screwed up. But I couldn't help but have Kyle McCarthy sing the fight song after pitching the first shutout since I've been here.
Q. Coach Ault told us that he apologized to you for not giving you a good read. How comfortable are you from what you saw from your team?
COACH WEIS: He's going to win a lot of games. We all know he's going to win a lot of games. It's just the way this game went today. It just went advantageous, and we've had some momentum.
You know, Tim talked about it, and you say well, how do you keep momentum rolling from a game that was so long ago? And a lot of it has to do with hunger. You know, these guys are hungry.
As we've talked all week long, you know, especially with all you local guys, this was the first opportunity to go out and show that they're a different team. It was just a good start. That's what today was, it's a good start.
Q. Talk about (Michael) Floyd today?
COACH WEIS: Yeah, that was a big day for him. He's mad at me because I didn't let him sing the fight song, you know. But I said I'll take a team performance over an individual performance any day of the week.
But, you know, the one touchdown, on the one touchdown on the post just outside the red zone, I kind of dialed one up that was not designed to be called in that situation. And we're fortunate because everything we said was going to happen, happened. I told Armando they're going to bring a weak corner blitz, and he they brought the weak corner blitz. And he picked it up, and we hit Floyd for the touchdown.
The one play was just a run play with a pass element. If they brought pressure, and they brought pressure, and Golden gave us the block. Next thing you know, he's up the sideline. And then the last touchdown, we got the ball, backed up. We're in the third quarter now backed up. And I didn't tell the players at halftime, but I told the coaching staff that I'm throwing a go as quickly as I can throw one.
Well, when you start on the three inch line, you can't really throw that go on the first play. But as soon as I got to the 10 or 11, wherever it was, we were going to lay it up there. And I felt when we get 40, then he breaks away and takes it to the house. But that was a big productive day for him.
Q. How far has he come from a year ago and where is he at in touching his potential?
COACH WEIS: He's a really good player because he knows how to use his body. He knows how to use his body to make plays, you know. He's not as fast as Golden, but he's deceptive, you know. He's got a lot of (Jeff) Samardzija in him. Everyone thinks because he's a tall guy he can't run fast, but he can. What he really does, besides having excellent hands, he really knows how to use his body to get open.
Q. Can you talk about the offensive line and what they showed you today and the questions you had coming in?
COACH WEIS: We told them we were going to mix up the run and pass, but at the end of the day we wanted to make sure that they controlled the line of scrimmage and controlled those ends. Now we were really concerned about their defensive ends, but that's why we had an extensive thought methodology to try to take those ends out of play. They were the guys we were concerned with the most, those two guys. And because any time you have a defense to those two ends, it makes it a little bit more difficult, because then you can't just chip on one and go and release on on the other side.
But I think it was a combination of the offensive line and the tight ends and the running backs, for that matter, that are all kind of in this together. I think that that bodes well for success today.
Q. Building a little bit on what you were talking about. The guys all week said they didn't care about style points. A win was a win. I can understand that. But that being said when you put together a performance, a second straight nice performance, what can that do and how can that help?
COACH WEIS: I think that not so much for the coaching staff but for players, I think that sometimes they're a little bit vulnerable to the media, vulnerable to the media during the week. I think that a lot of times they hear everything or read everything or see everything. And, you know, now all of a sudden they go out in their opening game and they just get by or they play a sloppy game. Now they continue to get hammered. And they said a long time ago, enough is enough.
I don't think they're going to have to worry about that for one week here. They get a one week reprieve until we go to the big house. Then we'll see what happens there.
Q. This group hasn't had a day like this.
COACH WEIS: Well, they had one in Hawaii.
Q. True, they were pretty businesslike afterwards. I'm wondering how you feel the importance of how they handled this. You learn to handle disappointment, obviously. But do you need to talk to them about how to handle success?
COACH WEIS: We're thanking Teddy Roosevelt on that one. Believe it or not we've been living off this little mantra, you know, it's not a motto. We're not T shirt bound or anything. But we're not talking about it, we just want to go out and do something about it, you know. So we're trying to carry that big stick that President Roosevelt talked about.
Q. Can you talk about how you felt today just being able to call plays? Were you more liberated on the sidelines?
COACH WEIS: Well, I missed a lot of the game on defense, to be honest with you. Somebody asked me a question about Manti's first tackle and I said that's great, because I never saw it. So there's somebody else because I'll have to watch it on tape tomorrow.
But it's a little bit different because when a series is over, where it really becomes the most different is when the series is over you now have to okay, what did they do? What are we going to do? And get that coach to translate it to the coaches and the players a lot, you know. And I think that was the biggest difference. A lot of times when I'm coaching offense and the defense is on the field. But when you have total confidence in your defensive staff, which I do, it makes it a little bit easier to be able to do that.
Q. How important were Brian Smith's sacks?
COACH WEIS: Yeah, Brian plays the game with a lot of passion, but he's a play maker, you know. He does two sacks relatively early, and they just change momentum. They did. They just changed momentum.
Because this team with the option they've run can, you know, gain ground in a hurry. But all of a sudden, 2nd and 20, now it takes you out of your element where you just can't run the same stuff. Now it forces you to go ahead and throw the ball in a time when the element of surprise is no longer in play.
Q. You mentioned Manti (Te'o), just sprinkle him in a little bit there. Can you talk about your thoughts behind that and how you thought he did with what little you did see of him?
COACH WEIS: The uniqueness of their offense boded more towards making sure he you had the most experience guys out there to play assignment football, because it's unique. You know, it's not like things that you see very often. And I think that the combination of Toryan (Smith) and Brian (Smith) out there for the majority of the time, you know, was a securing type of feeling for the defensive coaches.
We sprinkled Manti in there with the ones and he stayed in there and got reps for the twos, too. There's a bunch of guys that we sprinkled in there, you know. We got Theo (Riddick) in there a little bit. We got Shaq (Evans) in there a little bit. Zeke (Motta) played some. Put (Tyler) Eifert in there some because we're planning on playing him this year, as the year goes on, and we've got a chance to sprinkle him in there some. So there are a lot of guys that got their feet wet here today.
Q. Have you heard anything about (James) Aldridge yet?
COACH WEIS: Yeah, he hurt his shoulder. When he came back and said he was gone for the day, I would have had him gone for the day anyway at that time. We'll have to see where it goes. We have the alternative plan and how he would tweak things if he couldn't go for a week or two.
But he bruised his shoulder. I don't think it's going to be anything major. But we'll have to wait until I see the doctors tomorrow after, you know, we'll see him today and see them again tomorrow and they'll tell me where we are.
Q. Charlie, in that sprinkling guys in, Dayne (Crist) was a guy that you probably got in as much as you would hope. Can you talk about his play and letting him get out there and throw the ball a little bit?
COACH WEIS: Well, besides my gadget play that I thought was going to go to the house, they didn't help me out on that play. And, you know, the first what happens is we had them long cat a couple of times, and the first two times they brought everyone from the weak side. So we had this play in there in case they brought everyone from the weak side.
So I said, oh, we got it. We got it. Well, we didn't have it. So I was wrong. So I guessed wrong on that one. But I thought it was good for him. I kept him in with the first offensive line first if you noticed, because I wanted him to get used to being in there with the first offensive line. Then we came out there and let him throw a pass right off the bat, too. His first play in, we're backed up a little bit. It's going to be a run. Everyone in the house knows it's going to be a run. He goes and throws the comeback to Deion (Walker) right off the bat. I thought that got Dayne his first little taste where we, you know, we can start growing from there.
Q. Talk about how Toryan (Smith) played today?
COACH WEIS: Toryan was in on a lot of action, I know that. I'll be perfectly honest with you, this is the first time since I've been here where I haven't seen the whole game on defense. So I'd be a little ignorant towards saying how everything happened in the game. But I do know there was a bunch of big hits in the game, and he was involved with some of them.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports
An interview with:
COACH AULT: Congratulations to Charlie and Notre Dame. As I told him, I'm sorry we didn't give him a better game so we could see what his ballclub is like.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about the pressure I think you guys wanted to get on (Jimmy) Clausen and the inability to do so?
COACH AULT: Well, we had absolutely no pressure there. Their front did a great job. But more importantly, the breakdown was in our secondary. Manned coverage three different times, big plays, huge plays, in fact. The 99 yard drive and the touchdown there, so... The breakdown, the consistency or inconsistency of our secondaries full out pass rush was adequate at best. They did a nice job.
Q. You had some nice runs up the middle, but they were able to keep you off the scoreboard. Can you talk about their defense and what went wrong with your offense?
COACH AULT: Well, I thought we moved the ball very well. I really do. But it's they kept us off the board, and that's what you do. It seemed like every time we started to move the ball, we'd make one critical mistake that they capitalized on.
They were well prepared and they did a nice job. But we felt comfortable with what we were doing in the first half. But you've got to put points on the board. And I'm not sure of what the difference was. We didn't have the ball very much. I don't know what it was.
And the one time in our first series we had the drive, we missed the field goal. Then we were out and we came back in and had a pretty decent drive and found a way not to get the first down and continue the ball. But at that time, you've got to keep your defense off the field, give them a chance to regroup and go out there and play some better football, and we just didn't execute.
Q. You played some pretty good games over the years. Where does this Notre Dame team fit? Can you get an idea of what they're capable of?
COACH AULT: I think they're a real sound team. Again, I don't think I've got to be honest, I'm bitterly disappointed in the way we played, in particular, on the defensive side of the ball. When you get shutout, you're not going to pat the offense on the back. But they just had the ball too doggone long on us. Made it tough for us to establish anything we'd like to do offensively.
Yet when the offense had a chance to score, missed field goal and the fumble down there on the 9 or 7, wherever that was, you've got to capitalize on that. So that's tough. I think they're a real sound team, though. I really do. I thought they played well.
Q. Can you talk about the challenges of trying to contain their skill guys in the passing game?
COACH AULT: Well, I don't think that's any news. They've got some nice skill. They really do. And they did a nice job protecting. They put some max pro in there and let those guys get down the field.
But when you're one on one and it's a receiver and defensive back, obviously, they made the plays and we didn't. Like the first touchdown. We've got the safety in perfect position. I know we're tied in 6 6 and we got a couple of those ourselves never looks up from the ball, never has an idea, next thing you know it's 7 0. Same with the deep one on the right side there when they took us downtown. So, you know, if you're locked up with your corner. Somebody's got to make a play, and they seem to make them every time.
Q. Adding to that question in particular, your thoughts on first Clausen and (Michael) Floyd?
COACH AULT: Well, I thought Jimmy did a nice job. He kept his poise. He threw the ball very well. It looked to me he did, in my opinion, he had some nice pocket presence, some of the things we're trying to do. And I thought Floyd was outstanding.
Q. What are some of the positives, if any, you can take away from this game for your team?
COACH AULT: Well, it ended (laughing). I'll tell you, you know, the question about where's Notre Dame in all that, I really meant that. I told Charlie, "I'm sorry we didn't give you a better ballgame." Because he would have had a better shot at seeing what he's really got there. I just think we played very poorly, and that's a reflection on us as coaches. We've got our work cut out for us.
Q. Do you feel in any way that your team might have been a little over ranked going into this season, or was this more of a performance issue at this point?
COACH AULT: Over ranked?
Q. Got some points on the board.
COACH AULT: Yeah, well, that doesn't mean a damn thing. We have the nucleus to be a good football team. You know, I feel strong about that. Yet when you commit the same mistakes that you made last year that put you in the hole, especially against a team like Notre Dame, we know we're overmatched in terms of talent.
But the bottom line is you've got people in position to make a play and you don't make a play. Our tackling we've spent more time on on tackling this camp than probably any other camp, and it looked like we hadn't done it. They did a nice job breaking tackles and maintaining ball control.
The bottom line is if you keep that ball and you can't establish anything offensive, that's tough stuff.
Q. Do you see any changes with coverage plans based on what happened today?
COACH AULT: Oh, we'll look at the tape and go from there. There's a lot of things going through my mind at this particular time, and most of them aren't real pretty.
Q. Then one more, I know nobody else cares about this, but if you could talk a little bit about the new punt formations you've got set up there?
COACH AULT: No, I'm not talking about that. You guys don't care, do you? Thank you. I'll talk to you later. Thank you.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports
An interview with:
Q. Your thoughts on what had to be a pretty fun game to play in for you?
Jimmy Clausen: Yeah, it was a great game for the whole team. You know, guys just made plays out there. Had a lot of fun. And that's what Coach Weis wanted us to do, and I think he did a great job of that today.
Q. You have to thank Mike Floyd for a couple of good touchdowns?
Jimmy Clausen: Yeah, I do. That's one of the reasons why he's so good. He just makes plays every time the ball's thrown to him. Like you said earlier, those guys are play makers. All I have to do is give them the ball and they make plays.
Q. You guys were talking about wanting to show something. What do you feel you showed today?
Jimmy Clausen: Actually, I think we showed we can run the ball. We can throw the ball. Defensively, we can play real well. Those guys had a shutout today, and special teams played great as well.
Q. Did it feel like the Hawaii game again?
Jimmy Clausen: It did a little bit out there. I think we just want to have that feeling every game. Going out there, having a lot of fun, and just executing the game plan.
Q. Do you notice any difference with Coach Weis calling the plays and just the vibe on the sideline?
Jimmy Clausen: I think so. You know, he's had a lot of input. Even when Coach was calling the plays, but it's his job now. He's offensive coordinator, and we couldn't be happier to have Coach Weis calling the plays.
Q. Talk about the play of the offensive line?
Jimmy Clausen: They were great. They were great. They kept me clean all day. They were running holes for the running backs. They gave me a lot of time to get the ball down the field.
Q. Last year on the last regular season game against USC, you didn't get a first down until the last play of the third quarter. What's happened? What's changed so quickly in these last two games since then?
Jimmy Clausen: I just think we have set a standard. After that SC game, Coach Weis talked to the whole team, and we were going to take a step forward and never look back. And I think we do that again in Hawaii and obviously out there again today.
Q. How much has a year made in terms of the difference coming out from the first game last season to the mindset and attitude where you guys are right now?
Jimmy Clausen: Yeah, kind of how last year the first game we still had questions whether or not we were good enough. Just coming off the Hawaii game, that was, to be honest, that was the first game of this season and just the second win of this season. Hopefully, we can get another one next week. We're going to have a lot of fun tonight with this victory, and get ready to go tomorrow.
Q. (No microphone) this group of players was pretty businesslike afterwards. Not a lot of running around or celebrating. You were pretty businesslike out there?
Jimmy Clausen: Yeah, we're here for a reason. And every time we step out on the field, we're out there for a reason. Obviously, we want to get a win, but we've got to act with class. And I'm just having a lot of fun.
Q. Looking back at last year, Floyd was hurt. How bad was that for this offense?
Jimmy Clausen: We just lost one of our playmakers when Mike was out. You know, Golden (Tate) was pretty much the only one out there with Kyle (Rudolph) and everything. They could do a lot of different things, double Kyle and Golden. But with both of those guys out there and Kyle and Armando (Allen), and the list keeps going on, but with all those guys out there, we have a lot out there.
Q. (No microphone)?
Jimmy Clausen: I worked hard. When I got here, that was my guy, you know. Coach Weis told me I had to recruit him, and we see how good he is. So thank gosh we got him.
Q. Your arm strength went way beyond where it was two years ago, but even beyond last year. Do you feel that's something that you feel has improved?
Jimmy Clausen: I think so. Just lifting more, and getting bigger, faster, stronger. You know, it's obviously going to increase my velocity on the throws. And I think just working a lot in the off season with the receivers has helped out as well.
Q. I would think that when you're more in sync with your ability to throw and your receivers that you're going to be able to get a little bit more on those passes?
Jimmy Clausen: Yeah, that's one of the main things why I can throw the ball like I do. The timing of routes and just knowing that the receivers know where I'm going to throw the ball, and I know where they're going to be on certain plays. So the timing has to do a lot out there.
Q. What did you do specifically with Michael that made him decide the right place, wrong place?
Jimmy Clausen: I just told him everything that Notre Dame had to offer. He was looking at a bunch of different schools. In the end he was going to go to a place that best fits him, best fits Michael Floyd and his family, and I believe he made the right choice.
Q. What did you find out about it?
Jimmy Clausen: I found out the night I was hosting one of the games. I don't remember which game it was.
Q. (No microphone) how much of a gauge do you feel like this game was for you guys?
Jimmy Clausen: To be honest, Nevada's a real good team offensively and defensively. You know, those two defensive ends Moch and Basped are would be draft picks next year in the NFL. I think our offensive line did a great job setting the tone of the whole game, and with those guys outside making plays.
Q. This team seemed to have a lot of emotion. In fact, as you're coming towards the stadium after mass you're waving at the fans. Brian Smith's dancing around. You even had your uniform on. Was this team just amped up? Comment on that.
Jimmy Clausen: That's how this team is. This team is a bunch of guys that love having fun. Love the game of football. And I think to love the game of football, you have to show emotion, and that's what this team is all about.
Q. The entire "Show us. Don't talk about it" thing, how important is it to come out and actually show something? It's a high risk thing if you don't do it.
Jimmy Clausen: Right. That was the main theme. Coach Weis talked about before the game. We had to go out there and show it. There's been a lot of talk since the Hawaii game and different things like that, but we had to go out and show it today, and I think we did.
Q. How important was that touchdown pass to Kyle? I know it's early in the game, but you want to get the momentum going?
Jimmy Clausen: It was huge. It might have been the first third down of the season in the game. And just throwing it up to Kyle, that's a lot of things that we worked on watching film and different things like that. Just gave him a chance, and he went out and made a great play.
Q. Do you feel like you guys have what it takes to become a BCS team this year?
Jimmy Clausen: I don't know. We'll have to wait and see. This is the first game and first step to the season.
Q. Your last two games have been almost perfect. What can get better or can it get better from what we've seen already?
Jimmy Clausen: I made two critical mistakes. There was one on the fourth down to Golden. I had him on a go, and I shouldn't have done that. I should have just kept the play on on, and we probably would have picked up the first down. He might have run it in for a touchdown. But there's just little things that I can do to help this offense and this team.
Jimmy Clausen: Pretty excited. Pretty excited.
Q. In some ways you can just throw it up there and let them take care of the rest?
Jimmy Clausen: That's the main thing. My job is easier when all those guys are healthy. I can just get the ball to them as quick as I can. Get it in their hands.
You saw on the swing pass. I threw it ten yards and Mike went 70 with it. So it makes my job real easy knowing I can get those guys involved.
Q. Did you feel like there's always going to be a mismatch out there?
Jimmy Clausen: That's pretty much what it comes down to. All the guys are healthy. If they're going to run cover two, throw the ball, be in post safety, they're just trying to dictate the defense and what we're going to do.
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