Oct. 27, 2010
An Interview With:
Q. Dayne, doing a feature on Chris Stewart, the amazing things that he does off the field as well as on, can you just talk about what he does in the classroom and in practice?
Dayne Crist: Chris (Stewart) is an incredible individual. He is doing something that no one has really ever done before. He was in the football program and he's balancing football and being one of our team leaders and being a guy that's a major contributor, and also, he's going to school every day as a law student, and that's something that I can't even fathom at this point in my life. You definitely have to tip your hat to him and to his work ethic, how he was raised, because there's not many people that can do what he's doing right now and makes you proud to be a teammate of his and a friend of his.
Q. The tenacity you guys showed in practice, can you just talk about the difference from last year.
Dayne Crist: We left that game with a very sour taste in our mouth. The guys definitely came into practice yesterday with a purpose. Tuesday is our most intense day by far, and I think guys matched our normal intensity and surpassed that, really. We have got our backs up against the wall. We've got to win and everyone understands that. Everyone has to raise their game now regardless of what they were doing or how hard they were working; you've just got to do more. And I think guys identify that and came to work yesterday.
Q. Mike, I wanted to ask you the obligatory how is your hamstring question. How is your health and what do you think about your chances of playing?
Michael Floyd: I think my chances are real high Saturday.
I was tempted to play last Saturday but I just felt like I was kind of an emergency, that if the team needed me, an emergency time, that I would come in. I just don't think my hamstring was all the way where I want it to be last week, so I took it easy.
But I'm feeling good and yesterday was my first practice since I messed up my hamstring. The only thing that you know kind of held me back was my stamina in practice, that was it.
Q. Were you fully padded? Did you do everything yesterday?
Michael Floyd: Yes, I was fully padded and did everything with the team. I think I contributed more than what the doctors wanted me to, but my body felt good and that's what I did.
Q. On Sunday, I asked Coach Kelly about you know, a lot of times and Dayne, I think you said this, there's a lot of things going on behind the scenes that we don't see that leads you to believe that things are moving in the right direction. The No. 1 thing was trust that you guys have; what makes you trust his system the way he does things, because you obviously were recruited for a different offensive system.
Dayne Crist: I think that everyone on the team is very aware of his track record. A lot of guys did their research once we found out that he was going to be coaching us last spring. And you just see that he's able to point out the progress that we have made, and although our record doesn't show you a ton of what people will call progress, we are seeing it day to day and we have a trust in him because he trusts us. He told us that he's not changing anything, and that's just kind of our mentality. We are not going to change and we just have to accept the challenges ahead of us and do everything we can to just help our game in every way.
Q. Do you have anything to add in?
Michael Floyd: I think it's always hard, bringing in a new coach in a new system and not having the same coach around. You know, just having a whole new offense, a whole new defense is kind of hard to adjust to. I think that's the only thing now is we all trust Coach Kelly. His track record really shows. It's hard to come in here and be 8 0, 7 0 to a new school. So just taking it how it is, just making sure we all stay positive with it.
Q. There's a lot of questions Coach Kelly gets with how he deals with you on the sideline and sometimes it looks pretty intense from a distance. Can you put in perspective what's going on and what you're getting out of those exchanges?
Dayne Crist: We are both very fierce competitors. All we care about at the end of the day is winning. That's his style of coaching and that's what he does. He's the coach and he's right, and I'm the player and I do what he says. That's basically how it goes. He sees things differently than I'm seeing things and than even Coach Molnar is seeing things. We have three different views of what's going on there and just how we communicate that and finding common ground and making sure that everyone is on the same page. In the heat of the battle like that, obviously it's a very intense situation, just the language and the way the conversations go, it's just all about winning and we have got to do things fast on the sideline, making adjustments between series and things like that. It's an intense situation. There's no denying that. But the intensity is what's driving us to win and compete.
Q. How does Michael look to you in practice?
Dayne Crist: I think he looks great. I have a ton of confidence in him and his ability as always. There was nothing yesterday that I said, 'oh, man, he's not the same Mike.' In that regard, we are just happy to have him back and you know, continually just being in practice and making plays for us and leading the receives and the offense.
Q. It's always tough to do these evaluations after a tough game on Saturday, how would you assess your season and how things have gone?
Dayne Crist: I think the most glaring thing for me is just inconsistency. I feel that I've done some things good, and then I've followed them with some things that are not so good. For me, it's cutting down on the inconsistency and just making sure that I'm just doing things to move the ball down the field, not trying to do too much, and just taking what the defense gives me. But I definitely feel that I've made a great deal of progress from week to week, and I've taken something away from every game. But at the same time, now it's just as much about cutting back on inconsistency as it is about making sure I'm making progress.
Q. How realistic are you with yourself when you are starting for the first time not as an excuse, but how realistic are you that there are going to be inconsistent starts?
Dayne Crist: That's something that is kind of a side conversation with Coach Kelly and I. Unfortunately we don't have the luxury to put that into perspective, and we don't have time to use that as an excuse. We have got to win, and I've got to be a reason that the offense is moving in the right direction and being successful. I understand that a lot of it falls on my shoulders and my back, but that's why you come to Notre Dame and that's why you play quarterback here. It's just got to be a situation where I've got to do a better job each week, no matter what it is, I've got to make the adjustments to get better each week.
Q. Obviously you get tons of advice, teaching, from Coach Molnar, Coach Kelly; is there anybody outside the program that's given you a piece of advice that's back through the season and stuck in your head?
Dayne Crist: Just some guys that have played here before are constantly supportive. Obviously I have got a great relationship with Jimmy (Clausen), but even guys that have reached out to me like Brady (Quinn) has reached out and just tried to give me advice here and there and offer support; Joe Theismann; just some other guys that have done it and understand what I'm doing through right now, especially my first season starting and things like that. But all of those guys have been real supportive and just kind of offered their advice from time to time. It's all stuff that I take very seriously and that I appreciate definitely.
Q. What do you get from that?
Dayne Crist: You just understand that all three of those guys that I mentioned are proven winners and guys that know they did it the right way. So anything they can offer I'm definitely taking to heart and making sure that I'm cherishing that advice and what they are saying.
Q. You mentioned how Michael (Floyd) looked yesterday, I guess we all know what you would say here, but how much of a help will it be to have him on the field?
Dayne Crist: He's the best in the country. That's what it comes down to, having a guy like that out there that can make plays is a huge help. I mean, he does so many things for us. Even away from just play making and things like that, but having his presence out there as a leader and helping the other guys and really bringing those guys along is huge for our offense.
Q. And at the same time, Theo (Riddick) looks like he'll be out three to four weeks, but not having a guy like Theo, how much does that take away for a little bit?
Dayne Crist: You feel for any player that it gets hurt and misses time, because you know, these are all my teammates, I consider all of these guys like family to me really, and I have got a ton of confidence in all of the receivers. But because of that, we just have to move to the next guy. Theo understands the situation. We all understand the situation. But the next guy has got to step in to compete. I have a great deal of confidence in any guy that goes out to play for us. We have just built such a great chemistry with all of the receivers from the summer until now that it's not like a real worry when we are out there.
Q. Coach Kelly was saying yesterday that he has not seen that singular leader or group of leaders jump out; do you think that's something that you guys can do?
Michael Floyd: Yeah, I think we can, but I think we all have different styles of leading. I'm the kind of a guy if there's something really important that needs to be said, I'll say it. But I try to show my leadership on the field, always going hard and just trying to do the correct things on the field. But if there's anything necessary that I think needs to be said to the team, you know, that's when I'll say something.
Q. Do you feel like you have to take more of a vocal role as the quarterback?
Dayne Crist: That's kind of natural at times. But again, I think Mike hit it right on the head when he said that everyone has got their different style. First and foremost, I feel that you have got to lead by example. If you are not doing things correctly, your words don't hold a lot of merit. It's really about taking care of your individual assignment first, but about bringing guys along with you, that's just equally as important. For us, we all ourselves leaders of the offense, it's all about infusing energy in at practice and making sure we are getting best out of guys every period, every practice. And we need to continue to do that and obviously we'll take the necessary steps to improve as leaders each week.
Q. Coach Kelly was saying there are a lot of guys showing leadership. Why is it important to have one or two guys to take a lead in that?
Dayne Crist: There's continuity in the message, and continuity in just the leadership I would say. But I think it is important to have a couple of guys that are really leading the entire team. But it's also not a bad thing that we have got leadership across the board, because that shows that guys are on the same page and that guys really care about what they are doing and want to get the best out of the rest of the team.
Q. When you're trying to figure out things on your own on game day, you have your own stuff to worry about, being a leader to other guys uncertain about what's happening
Dayne Crist: I think it's a little bit more difficult but it doesn't start on game day. It really starts in practice all week and making sure that you're preparing the right way and that while you're repairing the right way, you're getting the most out of guys. I think that's the most important thing about being a leader is making other people better. We try to do all week in practice, although you really see the effect on game day, it really is a week long process and something that we take seriously each day.
Q. Coach Kelly talked the last few days about the end of the second quarter, that pick what did you take away from that play in terms of what you saw, what you did, time of the game, how can that help you going forward?
Dayne Crist: I think I took a lot away from that. It was just trying to do too much. Understanding that you don't have to win it all in one play. And again, just understanding all of those other factors that went into it, it's something that you have to learn from and something that I still have a bitter taste in my mouth about, but it is what it is and you've got to move forward.
Q. What do you see when you watch the tape
Michael Floyd: I never judge anybody by tape. You take some little techniques, how DBs play and stuff like that, but you know, when everybody plays us, they always bring a different kind of mentality to the games, and you can never look back at somebody, how they played somebody or a got crushed by some other team. They are all going to bring their 'A' Game to us. We just have to make sure that we match their intensity when they come here.
Dayne Crist: Very similar. Obviously when you are initially watching film on them, the biggest thing is just understanding what they are doing schematically and how you are going to play your offense. You really have to treat it from a very objective, just what you are going to do and what they are going to do and like Mike said, this is a huge game for their program and this is a huge game for our program. We have got to win. It's one of those situations where like Mike said, you are going to get the team's best effort every time they are playing here and every time they play Notre Dame. It's the nature of playing football here.