Football

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Notre Dame Player Media Day Quotes

Aug. 17, 2010

Michael Floyd • Junior • Wide Receiver

On last year to this year...
"Last year with losing it always feels bad. We had that feeling that we were having a bad year but instead of giving up on it we just went out and played our hearts out. As soon as the new coaching staff came in they uplifted our spirits and showed us that winning should be a part of this whole tradition at Notre Dame."

On his work ethic...
"I have always been a hard competitor and being critiqued by Coach Kelly makes me want to be the best even more as well as developing my teammates that are younger than me and build that competitiveness up."

On how to build confidence...
"Having a staff around us that builds our confidence up helps a lot. They show us that what we were is not what we really are and that we can improve and how to improve."

On changing as a receiver...
"I became a better route runner, getting out of my breaks. Making sure I am at my right land mark and coming out of my breaks as fast as I can."

Armando Allen • Senior • Tailback

On the new jerseys...
"I like them, but a jersey is a jersey to me. The most important part is feeling comfortable when you come on the field. Seeing the other players on the team that are so excited when they put on that jersey means a lot."

On the running back position in the new offense...
"You never know what play Coach Kelly is going to call. It is important to know what everyone is doing on every play."

On mentality coming into this year...
"It is better coming into this season knowing that everyday you have to get better. A lot of my teammates have the same personality that nothing is promised and you have to work hard every day and hopefully that translates on the field."

On the confidence level of the team...
"It is very, very high. When you sit back and think about it, we have been working really hard, the hardest I have ever worked since I have been here. At the end of the day you get what you deserve and it is going to be really exciting to see where we get with how hard we worked."

 

 

Harrison Smith • Senior • Safety

On Coach Kelly's remarks that he will only play safety...
"It has made it easier to know that every snap I will be at safety and knowing that I just have to concentrate at that position. If I am just playing one spot it is easier to figure out all the little things for that position. It is easier when training to focus everything on building my body for one position as well."

On how he has changed...
"I have grown a lot. The experience is the biggest thing in my mind. You can be physically ready but you are not prepared until you get out there under the spotlight and play in the games and get that real experience."

On the core veterans and depth in the secondary...
"That is something Coach Martin has been talking about in terms of keeping ourselves healthy, even if that means getting to the training room for small things just to make sure we can go every practice and every rep because if you miss a practice you are behind. We have so little depth back there that we have to take care of ourselves at all times so we are all ready to go."

On helping new players in the secondary...
"If they have a question about a certain coverage or placement, the older guys try to help them out and make them feel more comfortable so that they can accelerate that learning process."

On his growing leadership role...
"As a freshman I did not talk a lot but every year I tried to increase being a vocal leader more and more. As a safety you are like the quarterback of the defense and if you do not communicate and let people know what is going on that play, people might not understand and you will have a break down in the defense. The more I communicate and make sure that everyone else is doing what they are supposed to, the better off we will be as a whole."

Ian Williams • Senior • Nose Guard

On the new 3-4 defensive scheme...
"I think we are coming along really well; we have a lot of talent that is coming back this year (on defense)."

On being on the losing end of so many close games last season...
"(It was frustrating), you could look at it like that. We made some mistakes, but we have to learn from them."

On the progression of the team...
"I think that the entire team has been the one person who has gotten better, stood out, made plays and gotten stronger. I think that's a plus."

On the development of his numbers in the weight room...
"(My strength numbers) plateaued at the end of my freshman year and going into my sophomore year. With Coach Longo coming in this year he did some different things for us that helped my numbers increase even more."

Kapron Lewis-Moore • Junior • Defensive End

On the development of his body...
"It's a big surprise (on the weight gain). When mom calls and asks, `how much do you weigh this week? How much did you gain? How much have you lost?' It's been fun, but at the same time I'm just getting used to it. I started camp around 278 and I'm probably at 285 right now."

Darius Fleming • Junior • Outside Linebacker

On his personal goals for the season...
"To be a part of a successful defense and to try my best. Personally I want to be a part of a great defense and I just want to win."

On the changes in the off-season training under Paul Longo...
It (the offseason conditioning program) was great; we have gotten stronger and faster under him. We are better able to maintain our body weight after the intense conditioning Coach (Longo) put us through.

Dayne Crist • Junior • Quarterback

On what being the quarterback at Notre Dame means to him...
"This is what I've dreamed about doing since I was a little kid so it's just great that it is all coming to fruition and we're going to have a chance to do it for real on September 4th."

On how much easier it is to play the position with so many offensive weapons...
"The talent around me on offense is extraordinary at every position. As a result of that, you've got a great level of confidence and a real sense of calm going out there knowing that you can trust all other ten guys out there on offense and you've got weapons that if you can get the ball in their hands then they can literally score on any given play."

On getting prepared within the new offense for the season...
"I think it is all repetition. "Intensity through repetition" has kind of been a saying that the team has held tight to throughout the new regime and it's something that they have instilled at every position. Intensity through repetition really gives you that unconscious confidence."

On adjusting footwork for the new offense...
"I think it is just that it was so different than what I was used to. It was a definite change compounded that I was coming in off of the torn ACL. It's not necessarily my foot coordination but my foot speed was lacking. There was a lot going on there so it was a definite challenge to work through that and continually try and improve and build upon what we had established. It was definitely challenging but it was something that we've worked through and we've got a good foundation for going into the season."

On what the shotgun means advantage-wise in the spread offense...
"It just helps with spacing overall. Again, that truly fits the system and what Coach Kelly wants and conceptually what he's asking of our whole offense in general. The spread is just something that really makes defenses, as the name says, spread out and it creates a lot of space and matchups that we like to exploit."

On how good Theo Riddick can be this season...
"I think Theo has a chance to be an incredibly explosive player and one of the nations best. He's incredibly explosive in all facets of his game and I think if he continues to execute as he's been executing thus far in camp he'll be a very special player for us this year."

On the development of Michael Floyd...
"I think he's just being asked to do different things, whether for better or worse, it's just what's being asked of him. But, I think he's doing a great job of transitioning and really doing the extra stuff to set himself apart in the receiving core and maintaining his position as a leader of that group."

On how he feels about the running game heading toward the season...
"I'm confident in it. I think the offensive line is doing great and they're being asked to do a lot and they're getting a whole lot of looks during practice but I think that they're doing a great job, both on the field and in the film room of correcting their mistakes and putting us in a great position."

On what he learned in the time behind Jimmy Clausen...
"You gain a lot of experience. You kind of see the ins and outs of what it's like to be the starting quarterback at Notre Dame. You see some of the things that you face both on and off the field. I think that those two years were incredibly valuable for where I am now and my whole development as a quarterback and as a person."

Trevor Robinson • Junior • Offensive Guard

On what the difference will be with this years running attack, scheme-wise...
"There's a little bit more man schemes than zone schemes but we will run both still. We're relatively balanced where as in the past we didn't really pull as much as we will this season, so I think that's going to help too."

On how the freshmen have looked on the line...
"They were given the opportunity with some guys getting banged up to get in the two deep and gets those reps against those guys who are quality defensive players. Obviously they are a little bit behind as far as the playbook stuff, which you kind of expect, but when they're going in and they're able to compete with guys that are older and more experienced than they are."

On what the tempo of practice will mean for the team when it gets to live game action...
"That's definitely kind of the idea is that we practice at a tempo so that when we get to a game it's like we aren't slowing down. In the spring we kind of got the shock factor out of the way where we'd run a play and we'd go back and stand in the huddle for a few seconds and get our wind back a little bit. Now you finish a play and have to run back to your spot and get in your stance and wait for the play call."

Chris Stewart • Senior • Offensive Guard

On how he has helped the young linemen prepare...
"Basically I think that they know that I have some things that you only get with game experience. I think they lean on me in that sense but they are also very good players. There's a lot of good talent and they know the system and know what they're doing."

On how this summer has been different than years past...
"I guess it's different just because of the way we prepared with Coach Longo's program. Last year I really did think I was in the best shape of my life and this year I'm in even better shape and actually heavier and I'm in the spread which forces me to move way more. So I think for reasons like that, just elements of training that we didn't have before. I think it's going to be great."

Kyle Rudolph • Junior • Tight End

On strength and conditioning under Coach Kelly...
`There is a lot of emphasis on strength and conditioning, the way that Coach Longo goes about things, his efficiency and the time that we have, a lot of people are placing emphasis on tempo in the weight room. We need to get as much done as fast as we can."

On strength and conditioning improvements seen on the field...
"Our ability to maintain throughout a two hour practice. We are constantly going and to have the ability to push that conditioning to a level higher and higher everyday, I definitely feel like our team is in the best shape we have ever been in."

On behalf of his strength and conditioning entering the season...
"I definitely feel like I have had a great off-season. I had surgery back in December and I had to take some time to heal, but once I got into the weight room they worked on training my body and got me acclimated again. I worked hard this off-season and my shoulder is one hundred percent. I feel really good going into this fall."

On fitting in to the spread offense...
"I feel like I have a big role in this offense. Coach Kelly's theory is to put the ball in the hands of guys who will make plays and creating mismatches against the defense, moving guys around. I am excited for the spread offense and have opportunities to get the ball in my hands and make plays."

On the running game...
"Our running game is really improving this fall. To have four guys that can step into the running game is an asset to our team. They all can bring something different to the table."

On the strong voices in the huddle...
"Well there is always one voice in the huddle and it's the quarterback and to have a successful offense there is one voice and Dayne is that voice."

On the level of excitement...
"I think everyone is very excited. There is a countdown in our locker room. We have watched it go from two hundred days to one hundred days down to 18 days. We can't wait to get out there this fall. We have been working for almost nine months now with the new staff."

Darrin Walls • Senior • Cornerback

On being injured for a year...
"There were a lot of ups and downs last season. I never did play like I know how to play. Sophomore year I had a pretty good year, but taking that year off put me back a little bit, but that's all behind me now. I am healthy now and I am just looking forward to the season. The coaching staff has done a great job of getting us ready for September 4th."

On how this year will be personally different...
"I am more mature as a person and player. Our coaches have done a great job of putting us in the right position to make plays. I need to recognize information, recognize what offense they are trying to do, with that being said, I need to be mentally focused and locked into the game."

On the NFL draft...
"Whatever happens is going to happen. I am just going to do what my coaches tell me to do. They are going to put me in some good positions and see where that goes and hopefully it is good. I really don't think about the draft too much, I am looking forward to winning every game. I just want to be one-eleventh of a defense and play my part and with that comes victories and much more."

On physical preparation...
"My numbers have improved. Coach Longo's staff has done a great job and everyone's numbers are increasing. We put a lot of numbers up in the weight room that have shown improvement and I think that's what a lot of guys have done and I feel I have done too. My bench press numbers went up. I believe I have gotten faster from doing sand and hill work."

Manti Te'o • Sophomore • Inside Linebacker

On fall camp so far...
"It has been a mental battle along with a physical battle so far, but that's what we expected so far. That is what Coach Kelly wanted to push our pain thresholds and we have been pushing through and it's been hard, but we have been depending on each other and feeding off of each other's energy and it's been great."

On his role on the team...
"I just want to help my team in any way I can, I just want to help them win and prove to my coaches, more specifically, my teammates that you can trust me, you can count on me to be there when times get hard. For me, it was a mental conversion of getting my confidence on a level where I was sure on my ability to make plays. Coach Kelly and Coach Diaco have given me the opportunity to make plays and I am grateful that I capitalized on them."

On owing Notre Dame...
"Coach Kelly has really taught us and demonstrated that to us as players that we owe Notre Dame, Notre Dame has done so much for us. It has provided us with an education, provided us with friends, with great coaching, we owe them. We have a great tradition here and the least we can do is go out there every game and give it our all."

On individual goals...
"I just want to get better at being an all around football player, just making plays, recognizing things and trusting my instincts about playing the game to help my team win."

On being comfortable as the face of defense as a sophomore...
"At the fall camp last year when I was a freshman David Grimes told me something that has stuck. I was telling him my struggles about being away from home and he told me that the biggest thing about football is whether it be high school, college or the N.F.L., the bottom line is that it's still football. It doesn't matter how big the guys make it or how fast they get at the end of the day it's still football. We just have to play the way we know how to play and things will fall into place. I went with that counsel and it's helped me."

On his personality helping him as a leader...
"I think as my position in my family, I am the oldest. I have four younger sisters and a younger brother, as the oldest of the family and it can relate to how I connect with my teammates. At my home we are a family and here, as a football team we are a family. We can draw parallels between the two. For me, I just needed to get their trust like I did with my sisters and brother. I just need to show them that I will always be there for them whether it is on the football field, in the classroom or out in society, it doesn't matter. The game of football goes further than just the game on the football field and that's what I need to show my teammates."

On his decision to attend Notre Dame...
"I have always said it was a hard decision for me to leave home, to leave Hawaii, all my friends, my family and come here. Usually guys from Hawaii will stay somewhere near home, but I needed to step out of my comfort zone. I am very grateful for everything that Notre Dame has done for me and the people that made the transition easy and they have always been there and not just for me, but my family."

-- ND --

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