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    FIGHTING IRISH

    Oct. 4, 2008

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    Notre Dame Player Quotes

    Sophomore OLB Harrison Smith

    On containing Stanford's running game in the second half...
    "We just looked at how they were able to gain a lot of yards against us and just adjusted from that. Our mentality was to not let them run the ball anymore, and we stepped up and stopped them."

    On his run for a first down on a fake punt...
    "We had it planned and they just gave us the right look for it. Coach called it and it happened to work out."

    On Stanford offensive lineman Chris Marinelli's comments before the game...
    "We didn't downplay it like a lot of people say they do. We really took that to heart, and we stepped up and did what we had to do. We're not going to let anybody come into our house and talk like that to us."

    On carrying over the team's intensity on the road trip...
    "We should always have that intensity, even without words being said. It should just be pride. But if someone is going to say things against us, it's just going to light an even bigger fire under us."

    On the defense's success on the blitz...
    "Before, we knew we had the blitzes and we knew we were supposed to get there but never really did. Now that we have gotten to the quarterback, it gives us the feeling that we have to get there and should get there every time. I hope we will continue to be more successful with that."

    Sophomore ILB Brian Smith

    On Notre Dame's lack of success on the blitz prior to this week...
    "We weren't going to get bent out of shape about not getting sacks. We didn't do anything different this week. We just came at the quarterback like the coaches told us to, according to the game plan. We got to him five times today and just made it happen."

    On the team being fired up before the game...
    "We were really fired up before the game, and we even gathered at the fifty-yard line. We wanted to let (Stanford) know that we were ready and were not going to back down to anybody, regardless of what was said or what the circumstances were."

    On trying to have the same intensity at the beginning of every game...
    "I think we all always want to bring it every Saturday. We wanted to bring out the intensity on previous Saturdays but we were 'on the fence.' Today we just got off of the fence and said, 'Let's go, let's get after it.' We call ourselves the 'goon squad' because we were out there being rowdy and acting like goons. The 'goon squad' will be out there again."

    On stopping Stanford's "smash mouth" running game in the second half...
    "They gassed us a little bit in the first quarter with their running game. We just got together with Coach (Corwin) Brown, Coach (Jon) Tenuta, Coach (Jappy) Oliver, and all of the defensive assistants and tweaked what we were doing. That helped us to shut them down in the second half."

    Senior SS Kyle McCarthy

    On starting off the season strong...
    "The biggest motivating factor this season was just getting our respect back. Last season a lot of people and teams lost respect for us. We knew that, and in the offseason we worked hard in order to get it back. We're Notre Dame, so people either love us or hate us and it's hard to earn back that respect, but I think we are getting it week by week."

    On his big day on defense with 14 tackles and an interception...
    "I didn't do anything special. We knew that they were going to run the ball coming in. As a strong safety, I like that mentality a lot, and luckily things worked out the way they did.

    Junior OT Sam Young

    On Notre Dame's passing game...
    "We were really getting Jimmy (Clausen) a lot of time and keeping him off the ground, and it just go going. Our receivers made great plays. I thought the line did a pretty good job keeping Jimmy up and keeping him clean."

    On Notre Dame's lack of running...
    "We were just so effective with the pass game. Why not throw it? Stanford did a great job. They were blitzing and they caught us a couple of times, but the pass game was really working."

    On the entire offense working together...
    "Our coaches did a great job all week preparing us. We've seen 100 different looks and we were able to execute."

    Senior FS David Bruton

    On his interception...
    "I saw that the ball was tipped and I just laid out for it. I caught it with one hand and protected it with the second hand. I felt like I just had to lay out and make a play. I had no doubt in my mind that I had that one."

    On the team's emotion...
    "The comments (by Stanford's Chris Marinelli) weighed on our emotions, but that wasn't the only thing that has us fired up. It's a game, and we're always fired up for a game. The comments before the game helped, and the comments they were making on the field just added fuel to the fire."

    On getting to 4-1...
    "Every game is a big game. You come out and win the first one and gain momentum, then win the second one. You lose one at (Michigan) State, but you come out and win the next two. That's just building momentum for us and giving us more confidence to know that we can go out there and make plays and compete with anybody."

    Sophomore HB Armando Allen

    On his opening touchdown
    "It was a good read by Jimmy (Clausen). I checked my protection and got into my route, and Jimmy just made a good read. I couldn't ask for anything more."

    On Jimmy Clausen checking down to the running backs
    "Check downs are always the last read, kind of an outlet. So once he started looking at it and noticed that there's nothing there, then you always throw it to your back. He did that today and everything worked out smooth."

    On intensity for the game
    "I think all of the guys just noticed that we have something very special. Coming into every game, everyone's emotional and everybody getting hyped up is all it was. No bulletin board material, just a lot of emotion realizing we have something special going."

    Senior DE Pat Kuntz

    On moving to 4-1 on the season...
    "It's not a bad start at all. Sure we would like to be 5-0, like every other team in college football. We've played some good games, and we're a team that's improving. We are just going to keep getting better."

    On the end of the game recovery...
    "I got pushed out of bounds and Kyle McCarthy was mad at me because I didn't pitch it back to him. I figured we might as well just let me spike it out of bounds."

    On whether he talked with Stanford OL Chris Marinelli during the game...
    "There was a lot of talking going on between all of us. It was just a battle. I have to give them credit. They are a good team and they are a very improved team from last year, just like us. Good luck to them in the rest of their season."


    Stanford Player Quotes

    #7 Toby Gerhart - Jr. - RB

    On the tension between the two teams...
    "I think it was just two competitive teams. No one wants to lose. When something goes wrong or you hit someone the wrong way, tempers get up. It was an uptight game, both teams wanted to win, both teams knew it was going to be a close game and it was going to be big for their programs. It can just get competitive out there."

    On why Notre Dame only had one sack going into today's game, but had five today...
    "I don't know, maybe I got a little anxious, the environment got a little loud, I missed some calls maybe, I'm not exactly sure."

    On Stanford playing better at the end of the game...
    "The defense stepped up and made some stops in the third quarter. That's huge. And then we started putting some things together. Just once you get momentum it's hard to stop."

    On Stanford's effort during the game...
    "We came out, we were physical, they were physical, and that's all we can do."

    #14 Tavita Pritchard - Sr. - QB

    On the second half compared with the first...
    "I didn't play well enough in the first half, I let my teammates down in that regard. I have to come out and play better early on. We ran the ball well all day. All we have to do is execute, we really stopped ourselves in the first half. I think we showed in the second half we can move the ball. Personally I have to start better."

    On the first half...
    "We have to start better as a team and I have to do the same personally. We can't give up the ball up or take penalties; we have to be ready to get points and not give them the ball. That [early turnovers] is a big swing."

    On Stanford's play late in the fourth quarter...
    We felt like we could score, we were moving the ball. Credit to them, they made plays when they had to. I guess Whalen's [near catch] was close, I got hit so I didn't see it. We were confident; we felt like we could score but we just didn't get it done."

    On the sack Stanford took with under three minutes to play...
    "I have to be smarter with the ball in that case, I have to get it out of my hands. I was trying to wait for someone to get open and it didn't happen. That one is on me."

    There were some things said before the game about how they had one sack coming in and they had five sacks in the game. Did you sense a different defensive line out there than you saw on film?
    "Nothing different, they just bring a lot of guys in a lot of different ways. Our offensive line played incredible, they were picking stuff up, I just have to get the ball out of my hands in some of those cases."

    Do you think [Chris] Marinelli's comments effected, in any way, the way they came out and came at you guys?
    "No I don't think so, guys don't pay attention to that too much. I know it got blown up a little bit. I think guys just come out and play the game."

    #60 Alex Fletcher - Sr. - C

    On Stanford's first two drives of the game...
    "We did it twice in a row, marched down the field to about the 20-yard line, then we had a key offside penalty and two turnovers. Two great drives but we came up with no points. We were in great field position, you can look back on the game and those first two drives could have been the key."

    On coach Harbaugh's reaction after the 15-yard penalty on punt coverage...
    "It didn't really effect us, we knew we could run the ball and we knew what we could do. The thing about it is that when you get in the red zone, as in the first two series, that's what it comes down to.

    On Notre Dame's blitzing attack...
    "They were hitting on their blitzes and bringing a lot of pressure, they were getting home and hats off to them. They played a pretty heavy box and brought a lot, sometimes it was more than we had to block even when we kept an extra back in to block."

    Everyone knows what Chris Marinelli said earlier in the week, do you think that fired Notre Dame up?
    "I'm sure it did fire them up, we had a similar situation with a player from Washington a few weeks before, and it obviously gives them something to rally around. On the other hand we rallied too, we were all brothers-in-arms, we had to back Chris up and I think it rallied us too."

    On the game's conclusion...
    "The game was over and their linebacker took a shot at our quarterback and that wasn't necessary, the game was over and the ball was on the ground. What can you do? I wish that incident didn't happen, but once again the game was over and all that had to be done was to congratulate them and then suddenly we have a guy that is throwing our quarterback around, it wasn't pretty."

    #32 Sean Wiser - So. - FS

    On ND QB Jimmy Clausen's performance...
    "Someone said he had a career high in passing. We just let him get some long balls in the first half because we came out a little slow. It's a lot different [for me] looking across at Clausen trying to cut off his passes instead of just trying to get them. Pass interference hurt us a couple times. In the second half we picked it up. We made some adjustments that really helped. It was a lot of fun, too bad we didn't come out on top."

    On playing DB vs. Clausen rather than WR with Clausen (at Oaks Christian H.S.)...
    "Once you're in the game, that kind of stuff isn't running through your head. It's just about getting your assignment, get your receiver, you don't really care who's across from you during the heat of the game."

    On his off-the-field relationship with Clausen...
    "I talked to him a little bit [during the week] to see how he was doing, but for the most part we were both just trying to stay focused on the game. We messed around a little bit, but we didn't really trash talk, it was all in fun."

    #22 Bo McNally - Sr. - SS

    On breakdowns in the Stanford defensive secondary...
    "They [Notre Dame] had a good scheme for us. Coach put together a good scheme as well, but early in the game we had a lot of small mistakes, and with a guy like Clausen who can put the ball through a tight window, he's going to capitalize on those mistakes."

    On the effectiveness of a five-DB set...
    "When we had faster guys covering their fast guys, our coverage tightened up a bit. We ran a lot of five-DBs in the first half, too. In the second half we focused on the mistakes we made in the first half and didn't make them again."

    On ND QB Jimmy Clausen...
    "He's vastly improved over last year. Last year he seemed like raw talent, but this year he seems to be put together really well. He was doing a lot of good things back there."

    On a "questionable" fair catch interference call against Stanford in the first half...
    "It's frustrating, but that's the game of football. As much as it would've helped us, we can't do anything about it. We can't control the referees. We can't sit back and whine about it."

    On the limited play by Sr. DE Pannel Egboh...
    "Pannel [Egboh] is a good player, but we have other solid defensive ends, both first- and second-team. We miss his playmaking abilities, but the guys right behind him are playmakers as well."

     

     

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