Notre Dame Assistant Coaches Media Day Quote

Aug. 17, 2010

Ed Warinner • Offensive Line

On the progression of the offensive lineman...
"Now that they are out there and comfortable with how we practice and comfortable in their surroundings they are starting to show the talent as to why we recruited them. They (have) progressed pretty well, they show physical skills, they've showed the mental skills and they have mental toughness. It's been great. They aren't a long way away in terms of physical development. (Tate) Nichols is 6'7" - 6'8", 310 (pounds). Physically he (Nichols) is in good shape. Christian Lombard is in the high 290 range and he is talented as well. Both of those guys have those physical skills, it's just about learning the system and the college technique needed (to succeed)."

On the development of Tate Nichols...
"He (Nichols) has come along faster than we thought, especially since Nichols was a tight end last year, last year he was split out catching passes. Now he is working out at left tackle and he is taking to it well. He did a lot of work in the off-season to get himself to where he's at."

On the ability to run the ball this season...
"There are three factors to that (running the ball successfully). One is your scheme, two is your offensive line and three is your running backs. When I say offensive line, I mean their ability to control the front. But also, our receivers have developed as blockers too. They have come a long way there. When we run plays that are not inside the box plays, but are outside, perimeter or option, we are able to block downfield as well. The whole thing is just a work in progress, but we have made steps to become more physical up front and of the understanding (of blocking). We just have to get the ball in the hands of the running backs, we have some pretty good backs."

Tony Alford • Wide Receivers



On the abilities of Michael Floyd...
"He can't run a 4.3 (40-yard dash). I don't know. He has done everything we have asked him to do thus far. That's all we can gauge off of that, he will do everything we ask him to do within the constraints of this offense."

On the several facets of Theo Riddick game...
"There are multiple things he has to do within our offense. All those guys who can line up in the slot will end up in the slot depending on how we want to call formations and the schemes we want to design. There are different rules to what he does and different things that he does as opposed to the strict wide outs, the exterior guys, but he has been pretty good."

On why Michael Floyd is able to be successful on the football field...
"When the ball is in the air he (Michael Floyd) goes and gets it. He will go after the football, if the ball is in the air, he goes and gets it. He plays that way, he has trust from the quarterbacks, and the team trusts that he will make plays and that's probably the biggest thing, that when a play needs to be made you can expect him (Floyd) to make it."

On the depth of the wide receiver position...
"I think it's a multidimensional deal. We can have different guys depending on what we are trying to get done. Everyone has to be the "next man in." Everyone needs to be able to contribute. It's not a one-man show. It's a team. Whatever your role is on that team you got to be able to fill it."

Tim Hinton • Running Backs

On the importance of running downhill...
"We don't want to play in a little box. We want to play in grass. If we can get our skill on grass matched up against who we want we are going to win our share of the battles on grass. Let's get them out in their spaces, lets run in big boxes, not little boxes and lets see what we can do it those areas."

On the camaraderie and leadership among the running backs...
"The camaraderie in our (running backs) room is outstanding. There isn't any jealousy; I have not seen any signs of that. I have not seen any, "well he's getting this, and I'm getting that." It is really truly a great group to work with. We have a sense of purpose here at the University of Notre Dame about winning football games. It isn't about me, we are trying to emphasize that when we make a good play find that teammate and celebrate with that teammate. You don't do anything by yourself. I have never seen one guy make eleven guys miss and go score. It takes a lot of guys blocking. So you better appreciate what the guys in front of you are doing, so go celebrate with them (and) tell them "good job.""

On Armando Allen's ability within the offense...
"Right now the biggest thing is that he understands our offense well. What he is really starting to understand is that every run play has a certain schematic advantage to it and this hat is going to block this hat in certain directions. He is starting to understand the scheme of that. He is also starting to understand the defense better. We talk about this all the time that when you take a look at that defense, you need to understand the difference between 3 down, 4 down and different looks at where the running back is spacing. In coverage's where it's either inside the safety strong or its coverage's where its corner strong. The better you recognize it, the better you can execute what you see. It's like slowing the game down."

Bob Diaco • Defensive Coordinator/Inside Linebackers

On how Carlo Calabrese and Anthony McDonald compliment each other...
"Coach Kelly is exactly right. Their games are different and right now we are focused on what they need to work on to come closer to the complete player that they need to be. That position has got to be as proficient against the run as it does against the pass. We have one player, at least up to this point, that has shown to be a little bit better feeling the run game and the other player to have a little bit better feel in the pass game. So, we're just trying to get them as close to doing the jobs the same and they are getting better each day."

On what freshmen are jumping out to him...
"I'm really pleased with the defensive true freshmen. There are a couple of guys that have been here since the spring so you wouldn't even thing of them as that. Like Lo Wood, he's a true freshman and it's hard to see him as that because since I've been here he's been here. Lo Wood is really doing well. He's having a nice camp. He's got a real mature demeanor about how he conducts his business, which is good; at that position in particular. The game is on the line every snap there so he's got to be very purposeful and he's been that way.

"Of the guys that just showed up, Prince Shembo. He's really physical, not that he'd be overwhelming for anyone as a youngster against old guys, but he'd be able to hold up. Fundamentally he's not close yet so we're working on him, but physically he's probably the closest to being able to push on the other guys and not look out of place."

On the development of freshman Louis Nix...
"Louis is a developmental player that is practicing and doing the best job he can transitioning from high school to college. The anticipation is that he will continue to conduct himself just like most freshmen do and continue to grow and develop.

Kerry Cooks • Outside Linebackers

On how the outside linebackers look at this point of camp...
"I think our outside linebackers are probably as athletics as any group of young men that I've been around. The jobs that we're asking those guys to do - to be able to read routes, to be able to drop, to be able to rush, to be able to potentially put your hand down - all of those guys from an athletic standpoint are that guy. If you are asking for maybe what a prototype guy would be I'd say Brian Smith would fit the body style, the ability and the athleticism. As well as Kerry Neal and Darius Fleming being explosive, being powerful and at the end of the day being smart guys because we ask those guys to do a lot of things."

On what Steve Filer brings to the table...
"His attributes are obviously that he's big, he's strong, he's fast and he's smart but he's inconsistent. That just comes with time. He's a player that just continues to get better with each play and each rep that he takes. It's tough because he does have some outstanding athletes in front of him, but he's just got to keep getting better. He's got to get more consistent if I said one thing right now. He's athletic as you'd want him to be, but discipline; being consistent; doing it every play, every day that is the progression that he's got to start taking his game to."

On how difficult it is to keep a players consistency/discipline at a high level...
"I think consistency at every place I've been, and even here, comes with time. I think as a young player you are just anxious to get in and to show the coaches what you can do and display your athletic ability. I think that through the course of camp, through the course of each practice and through the course of a season it is tough to be mentally disciplined every day for two hours every play to do it exactly the way that you want to do it. It gets tough but it just comes through training yourself to do it that way."

On what is the biggest obstacle to get the players prepared for the 3-4...
"Just the techniques that we are teaching them. Obviously, they were taught techniques to a certain scheme the last couple of years and the style of defense we want to play kind of involves different components. Sometimes rushing the passer or being down as a lineman. Those involve a lot of different techniques that those guys have to be on point with."

On the biggest hurdles he finds in trying to recruit in the state of Texas...
"I think it's really simple, having recruited that area all of my time in college football. When I went down there this past spring I saw that Notre Dame was relevant. The kids, the coaches, the parents, they love Notre Dame and respect Notre Dame. It's still hard to pull a kid out of Texas when the Longhorns are winning ten games a year, Oklahoma is winning ten games a year and Nebraska is starting to come back alive. I think that the more success that programs like Notre Dame can have, the better off our recruiting down in that area will be because Notre Dame is well respected and well known. Kids get bright eyes when you mention Notre Dame, but at the end of the day in their minds they want to go somewhere that's going to be consistent at winning nine or ten games a year and playing for BCS National Championships."

Chuck Martin • Defensive Backs/Recruiting Coordinator

On the difficulty going from being a head coach to an assistant...
"It really has not been difficult for me. You get older and wiser, and when I made the move I understood what I was going to be doing and what my role was going to be. Once you have been a head coach, it is a lot easier being an assistant."

On Darrin Walls and what he has shown so far...
"He has a lot of God given talent, as well as all the physical tools necessary to play at a high level. He is a very intelligent player and has very god instinct. He prepares at a level that you would hope a great player prepares at and takes coaching very well. I think everything is there for him to have a very good year."

On what is important with the secondary...
"The biggest things we are trying to get from the guys are to play at your highest level consistently, not worry about what that highest level is because the difference between good and great are the guys that do it every down. We are not really as concerned with the top end, but the bottom end. When you do not have your best snap, what is your worst snap look like? Those are the ones that get you beat. You can't start winning until you stop losing.

Paul Longo • Director of Football Strength and Conditioning

On strength and conditioning program...
"We are not looking at how much weight a person can lift one time. That is not a concern of mine but they definitely get up into some impressive numbers. I am not sure what they did in the past but I know where they need to go now and the mileposts they need to be at what certain times of the year. I am not big on the maximum lifts; it is just pulled off their work out dates. To come in one day and do one mass effort on one day does us no good for our training."

On working with the Notre Dame student athlete...
"Kids are kids. They are 18 to 21 year olds. They are similar in so many ways. The unique thing about Notre Dame is that most places you have to find that common thread to bond a team together that they can rally around. I found at least at Notre Dame that thread already seems to exist by the fact that they chose to come to Notre Dame and follow a faith based on education. There is a lot of commonality between all the players so we do not have to go out and find something to bring them together."

On players buying into the system...
"I think it was pretty easy. To get them to buy in is one thing; to get them to continue to come work in a different culture everyday is an entirely different thing. They are well aware of their shortcomings in the past years and they are not happy with it. They want to change it as much as anybody does. To get them to buy in was not that difficult. Now it is just a process for them to learn how to come to work."

On keeping players engaged and changing things up...
"That is already part of the program. Each year the players will go from level to level. Next year they will all be at a level two where this year they are all mostly a level one. We had a couple of guys already graduate to the next level."

Mike Elston • Defensive Line/Special Teams Coordinator

On the importance of the nose tackle being dominate in the 3-4 defense...
"The nose tackle is the middle of the defense and everything is built around him. If he has the ability to smash the center and get off the block and make the tackle as well as keeping the center from climbing to the backers, that is going to be the critical part for him. The defense begins with the nose that can give us good push and be aggressive."

On Ethan Johnson's move to defensive end...
"He is doing a really nice job. All of them are improving in their fundamentals in their ability to defeat blocks and get off blocks and make plays. But with Ethan, if I didn't know it, I would say he has played defensive end a lot longer than anything else."

On the special team's return game...
"The returners have the ability, it is whether we find the right 10 other guys that can get back and get body on body. I think we made a big step in some of the drills we did and showed them how the technique should be done. Now it is going to be on the returners."

On players stepping into their new roles...
"I think they have grasped the roles very well and understand exactly where they fit in on the defense so they have the ability to make the play and/or set someone else up to make the play."

On the players reaction to the new scheme...
"They seem excited and there has been great feedback from the players. It is not just the scheme; they love the culture of a young staff. It is a young staff. We are a loving staff that teach with diligence and excitement. When adversity hits we do not point the finger but instead we love them harder and force them to be better."

Mike Denbrock • Tight Ends

On Kyle Rudolph...
"Kyle is certainly a gifted athlete, not only athletically as far as his ability to run and catch the football and block, but he has an understanding of the game of football that I think is very advanced. There are very few things you can throw in Kyle Rudolph's direction that he isn't prepared for therefore, making him a pretty valuable guy to have."

On tight ends athletic ability...
"It really is a multi-faceted job, especially in the scheme that we run. They have to be physical as an offensive lineman in the run game and have to be able to get out in space and create plays as a wide receiver. I think it's a position that is a lot of fun to play in our offensive system. I think the guys take on the challenge of being physical when they need to be and having the ability to make big plays."

On the new offensive scheme...
"I think they are growing into the role little by little they are gaining more experience and knowledge of where we want them to be and where they fit into the scheme. I like the improvement that I have seen so far in fall camp. We have made leaps and bounds from where we were in the spring and I think that is going to bode well for us in the season."

On the tradition of tight ends at Notre Dame...
"Our meeting room has past great tight ends on our wall and they see their faces everyday, what they looked like at that time in their uniform when they were playing for Our Lady. They get reminded of that and there is a great tradition of tight ends here and we want to make sure we uphold that standard."

Charley Molnar • Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks

On teaching a team how to win...
"The best way to teach a team how to win is to find great examples on video or that happen in practice that you can point out and say this is the kind of decision making a championship team would make. We have had many of those opportunities over the past twelve practices to point where we can clearly show a guy what it takes to be a champion. We use video a lot and we relay our experiences from other times and other places."

On Dayne Crist's instinctual knowledge...
"We call it unconscious competence. There are some things right now that Dayne is on the level of conscious competence. I'm not sure if there is much he does with unconscious competence yet, but the more things he can do with conscious competence right now, as the season progresses he can do with unconscious competence and the offense will flow right through."

On Dayne Crist's foot work...
"He is much further along than he was in the spring, it's night and day. He still has a ways to go before he reaches that unconscious competence level."

On the personality of the offense from day one until now...
"Our pass game over the past couple of days has shown timing that we have not exhibited up to this point including the spring and the fall. We have a lot more offense in now than we did in the spring and sometimes when you start building layers, sometimes the basic things start to slip.  The guys have managed to not only continue to do the things well that they have been doing well since the spring practice, but have quickly adapted to the newer things we have taught them."

On Michael Floyd...
"He loves to play football. When he gets a one-on-one he loves to play and has great confidence in his skills. If a play doesn't go his way, he can put it out of his mind and come back the next play and make a big catch. He is an outstanding blocker and relishes his role as a blocker. He is not only a great intermediate receiver, but a deep threat."

-- ND --

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