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    An Interview With: HARRISON SMITH and MICHAEL FLOYD

    FIGHTING IRISH
    FIGHTING IRISH

    FIGHTING IRISH

    Nov. 17, 2011

    Q. What are the emotions going into this week?

    Michael Floyd: They're pretty high, just knowing this is our last home game as a senior. But it's something that we, as seniors, need to control. We can't let it take a big toll on us. We still have a game we need to win. We'll think about all the other stuff at the end of the game.
    Harrison Smith: Yeah, I think most guys are just trying to make it like any other week. We have a game to win. That is the number one focus. All that other stuff is something you want to value and cherish, but at the same time it doesn't mean anything if you don't win.

    Q. What will you miss the most when your time is done here?
    Harrison Smith: There are a lot of different things, probably just the relationships with a lot of the guys on the team and the coaches that have kind of grown.
    Michael Floyd: Same as Harrison. The guys on the team, the coaches and forming relationships off the field with students and faculty that go to Notre Dame. It's just been a great experience for me.

    Q. Mike, now that you've kind of gotten through most of your senior year, can you just reflect on the last few months?

    Michael Floyd: There's been some ups and downs like everyone else. Unfortunately, mine were a little bit bigger. That's in the past. It's behind me now, and I'm just focused right now on coming out with a win for my last game playing in Notre Dame Stadium.

    Q. How do you think the chance that you got to play here your final year fed into or formed the way you practiced and prepared on the football field?
    Does it change you as a football player in some ways?

    Michael Floyd: I wouldn't say I just think so. My motivation in football is really high. I come out there and compete and play to the best of my ability every single day.

     

     

    Q. Charley Molnar was talking about the little things, volunteering in punt return, working on perimeter blocking. He thought maybe the Michael Floyd of 2010 wouldn't have focused so intently on those things?
    Michael Floyd: I think I just made a bigger emphasis now knowing that I want to be an all-around player, and I want to be one of the best wide receivers in the country, to do that you've got to be an all around player. You've got to be able to block for your teammates and be able to catch the ball and run routes.

    Q. Harrison, how would you kind of describe your relationship with Coach Martin?
    Harrison Smith: It's definitely a strong relationship. It's one that is kind of similar to what most of the DBs have with him. He's a coach that will get after you on the field like nobody I've ever had before. He can see everything that happens in the play, the right side, the left side, the corners and the safety. So he's always on you to get better on every snap. But at the same time, he's one of those guys that off the field he's always making sure that everybody on the team is all right, just talking to anybody, offense, defense, he just kind of like mixes with everybody. So he's always fun to be around. I don't know. He just makes it fun going to meetings and going to practice and stuff like that.

    Q. When he got here, did you know you were going to click with him immediately?
    Did it take a little bit of time?
    What was that introduction like?

    Harrison Smith: There's always a period of not really knowing and getting used to people. I think after a while the whole DB unit we met his family, got close to his kids, his wife. So once you kind of have that relationship, you want to play even harder for those people.

    Q. Can you talk in terms of how much more physical, or what do you think has kind of led to those two improvements not just happening but being consistent?

    Harrison Smith: Really, I mean, Coach Martin and Coach Cooks and Coach Diaco just drilling in the fundamentals of tackling every day, especially Coach Martin and Coach Cooks, sometimes giving me a little extra motivation, making fun of me or something about being a more physical tackler. So that's something I always try to prove to them when I go out.

    Q. Coach Martin was talking about it yesterday - a conversation that Coach Martin and Coach Cooks had in front of you and about your play in that game and their evaluation of it.
    Harrison Smith: Yeah, they're both brutally honest with me, which is great. If I ever have a bad game or something I could have done better, they'll get on me and make sure I get it corrected. At the same time, they kind of do it in a way that they almost kind of take little shots at me or something, but it's all just to make me a better player.

    Q. What do you remember about what they said to you after that game immediately after the game?

    Harrison Smith: They like to call me soft if I'm not playing physical enough. So that's something I don't take lightly when someone calls me soft.

    Q. Coach Martin also said that you babysat his kids.
    Harrison Smith: Yeah. I think a lot of the DBs have baby sat his kids. That's part of the relationship, I guess, that we've built.

    Q. Yesterday when Brian was talking about you - he said you were one of the better stories he has been part of in his coaching career. Do you ever hear people say things like that?
    Michael Floyd: It makes me feel great just knowing that people notice that I am taking a big change in my life. I am maturing and becoming a man that's an experience you have going through college; and the experiences I went through it made me feel better about myself that I needed to change. I feel that I came out as a better person.

    Q. You look at the fact that you're 7 3, and your opponents are 3 7, how do you deal with being distracted in any way, and is that something you have to remind maybe younger guys that, okay, we have to go about our business and do what we've been doing the last three weeks?

    Michael Floyd: How I take it is, being at Notre Dame, you're going to get your best game from everybody. It doesn't matter about the record. It doesn't matter about the record. It doesn't matter if they got beat last week 73 0. They're going to come with a full head of steam because they're playing Notre Dame. We can't look at the record because they're weaker than us, because we know they're a great team. We've just got to come out there and play our game, and do what we've got to do to win.

    Q. Harrison?

    Harrison Smith: Playing at Notre Dame, Mike would agree that you already deal with more distractions than you do at most other places. So just the fact that it's Senior Week I don't really think it will affect the older guys just because we've been around so many distractions our whole career here. The younger guys, it's not Senior Day for them, so I don't think they'll really care. As long as we just focus on winning the game like we do every week, that's all we need to do.

    Q. I know you guys try to think week by week, day by day, but when you're monitoring scores of other games and you see Stanford lose does anything go through your head about BCS and that stuff and not getting hurt or anything like that?

    Michael Floyd: Not too much, just like he said, we're looking at one game at a time. Stanford's down the road. When you look forward, that's when you get beat. We've just got to stay focused as a team, as a unit collectively, and just focus on BC.
    Harrison Smith: Yeah, that's all you can do, just focus on what we're up against right now, you know, starting with today. It's Wednesday, and we've got to go to practice today. That is the number one thing on our mind is getting better today for BC.

    Q. Talk about BC a little bit. They haven't won too many games, but the fact that they just won they're having some confidence coming in?
    Harrison Smith: Any time you're having a down year and you get a win, that's something that's going to boost the confidence and boost the morale and teams want to get rolling. So they'll be coming in on a high note.

    Q. They have good players on the defensive side of the ball. Can you just talk about that a little bit?

    Michael Floyd: Yeah, I've seen great defensive backs, something that we've got to be fundamentally sound and making sure that we run crisp routes down the field and off the block with our teammates. I mean, they're pretty good. They shut out blocks well, so we've got to make sure we stay to our technique and get the job done.

    Q. You guys talk about it being Senior Day, but can you believe it's here?
    You've been here for so long, but can you believe it's the final time going through that tunnel and everything?

    Michael Floyd: When I first got here a teammate of mine, of ours, actually (Asaph Scwapp). He was a fourth year or fifth year senior, I can't remember, but I sat down with him during the week and he said you better cherish these moments because it goes by fast. As a freshman I was like, yeah, whatever. I don't really mind it because I'm a little freshman. But now looking at it now, I mean, time has flown by. What I call it is you're coming up to being in the real world. College isn't the real world. You have to make your own decisions, and do your own laundry and stuff like that now.
    Harrison Smith: Yeah, that's exactly the same thing that I feel. A lot of the older guys when you're younger say time will fly by, and you don't think it will, and you get here and it does. I mean, it's something that you don't really realize when you're in the grind constantly year after year, and then it just kind of comes. I think it's just part of it. You can't avoid it. All the older guys used to say it, and now we're saying it. I think it's just a cycle.

    Q. When you think about when you came in, you probably, like everybody else, had the goal of winning. Do you think the program is in a better place than it was when you arrived?

    Harrison Smith: Well, there's obviously been ups and downs. My first year here was one of the worst in Notre Dame history, so we're definitely better off right now. That's pretty much just how it's been, like you said, we haven't reached that goal that we wanted to. But looking forward, I think that's something that this program's on the right track to do. So after we're gone from here, hopefully we'll just keep moving that way.

    Q. Would you say this week is one of reflection?
    Harrison Smith: Not really to me. I mean, there's time for that after the season when everything's all said and done. I'll probably look back and think about the whole experience here and how everything went, but right now I'm just looking forward to BC.

    Q. What is it that you love about Notre Dame?

    Harrison Smith: Just hitting the sign on the way out is something that's cool just because that's something we've always kind of known about and seen. Then, like I said, just playing with the guys that you've developed relationships with, and that you care about is something that to me over all the traditions, that's far and above.

    Q. Michael?
    Michael Floyd: When I came here, I had the expectation, I had that goal and mindset that I wanted to be the best wide receiver. I tried to do whatever I can to get the job done and to have that kind of accomplishment means a lot to me. But I don't think I'll really think about it until once I leave here when you reflect back, because I don't think it hits you until you leave this campus and you really notice what a great experience you've had here and all the goals that you've accomplished.

    Q. And your mom?
    Michael Floyd: Yeah, I think yeah, she does see that. She's very proud of me. She wants me to get my degree. That's all she cares about really. Just making sure that I'm doing whatever I can to get that degree and walk out of one of the most prestigious colleges around.

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