Nov. 18, 2010
An Interview With:
Q. I think most people on the outside were surprised at the way that you guys performed on both sides of the ball against Utah, but why were you not surprised that you put forth that kind of effort?
Michael Floyd: It just starts off at practice. There's kind of a different mentality at practice and different kind of physicality, also. Coach brought in a whole new kind of drill that kind of set the tone for the whole week.
Manti Te'o: Practice. The main thing is practice. We knew that we had a good week of practice, and we just needed to take what we did in practice and apply it in the game, and we did.
Q. Manti, how much can you apply from the Navy game to Army? I know we're still talking option football, but how much different is their scheme compared to Navy's and how much can you apply to that?
Manti Te'o: They're two different teams. They do certain things in the same and certain things different. They run hints of a regular conventional offense, so there's counters, there's some passing and stuff. So in that case they have their own kind of breed of option offense.
Q. Fans get excited about where the venue is for a game, going to a new facility. Do you guys care about that? Does that come into play at all? Is it neat going into the new Yankee Stadium?
Michael Floyd: Just to have the first game to be played there, you know, it's an exciting time for us. But we've just got to make sure we keep all the laughter and joy down and just make sure we compete on Saturday and do everything we've got to do to win.
Q. Manti, do you care where you play or all the fields are the same size?
Manti Te'o: Yeah, same size, same size field goals, but of course it's going to be different playing in Yankee Stadium. Similar to here, you can feel the tradition there, and it's going to be fun. But like Mike said, we've just got to stay focused on the task at hand and make sure we come out with the win.
Q. Who do people in Hawai'i cheer for in Major League Baseball?
Manti Te'o: I don't know. I don't know. Everybody has their different teams. Personally I'm not a big baseball guy, but I'm sure everybody has their own team.
Q. Are you a Twins fan?
Michael Floyd: Just because Joe Mauer played at my high school, but other than that, I don't really watch baseball too much.
Q. I wanted to ask you about Brian Smith. He has played a lot of football here, but obviously this year the role is much different. Maybe he was frustrated at the start by not playing as much. How have you seen him work through new staff, new role, everything?
Manti Te'o: Brian has done a good job just competing every day, coming to practice every day and competing and doing his best, whether it be on defense or whether it be on kickoff, kick return, punt. It didn't matter to him. He has been a leader on our defense, has been the veteran on our defense, and I think out of all of us he has had the most experience, and he's shown that. Especially this past Saturday he showed his just his natural ability to make plays. He played outside linebacker and he was moved to the inside, and it didn't take him long to get that feel back.
Q. Anybody who's played less feels a little frustrated. Did you sense any of that?
Manti Te'o: Yeah, of course he was frustrated. He wasn't getting as much playing time as he would have liked, but he kept competing. He kept going and kept working hard, and like everyone, his time came, and he made the best out of it.
Q. Michael, can you talk about how your responsibilities or roles have changed with so many guys out and a freshman quarterback? You touched on it a little bit last week, but how has that changed what you have to do each week?
Michael Floyd: You know, not too much. I just kind of do my thing day by day, just working hard, and I think the most thing that changed was just teaching. When I see something that needs to be said on the field to any player, or especially wide receivers, I make sure that I get to them and tell them what they did right or what they did correct, just basically positives and negatives, guys who if you make a good play out there, then I'm going to say you did and what you can do differently to make more separation onto the field. But we all kind of correct each other, and it's going pretty well right now.
Q. Can you guys just each describe the roller coaster of emotions of the whole season, just how many ups and downs there's been? It's just been kind of really wild with all the different turns it's made this year.
Manti Te'o: Definitely it's been a roller coaster ride. There are things that happened that of course we wish could have happened another way. But that's football. You win some and you're going to lose some.
But the fact is we have two games left, and we have Army coming up. That's all we're focused on right now, just getting prepared for Army and finishing off with USC.
Michael Floyd: Yeah, it is a roller coaster like Manti said. You just never know what's going to happen, never know when you're going to get hurt, never know when things in life are just going to change for you, and that's what we have with this program this year. We've just got to move on, and like Coach says with the football aspect, next man in, and I think we've carried that to the fullest so far, guys stepping up for our team.
Q. Manti, what makes you have confidence that you guys will be able to stop Army's offense as opposed to what happened against Navy?
Manti Te'o: Same thing that happened last week, our preparation. Our preparation, we're going to do everything that we can to make sure that when we step on the field on Saturday that we know what Army is going to throw at us and we know how to stop them.
Q. Michael, what's your relationship with Tommy been since he stepped up into that starting role? Have you worked with him in practice to kind of get him ready?
Michael Floyd: Well, people don't know, Tommy is kind of a shy guy, like kind of any freshman that comes into a different program, college. I'm just telling him from my experience and what I see on the field and making sure that we're on the same kind of eye level with everything. He sees the field very well, and I like him a lot out there, and I feel confident with him everybody out there does feel confident with him out there, too. But it just feels good, and our relationship is real good right now.
We could still get a little more timing down with throws and stuff like that, but it's going pretty well.
Q. Did it surprise you how quickly he jumped into that role and really made an impact?
Michael Floyd: Yeah, it does surprise me. Playing as a freshman is really difficult, especially at the quarterback position. You've just got a lot of things thrown at you, and with this offense it's a lot of things thrown at you. Just for him to pick up the whole offense and making sure he makes the right corrections, he's doing well.
Q. I wanted to talk more about the whole season as a whole. You mentioned that it was a roller coaster season but mostly it seems like you addressed that on the field. The season started out with a recruit dying tragically and then losses and Brian Kelly's first season and then Declan Sullivan's death a couple weeks ago. Can you describe if that has been emotional and how it's been emotional for both of you?
Michael Floyd: Well, I think it has emotional for our whole team, just seeing a recruit go down before the season started, and to have Declan Sullivan go down, also. It was just real emotional on the team during that time.
But like I said, everybody keeps it in their memories, and we dedicated that game to Declan. Of course we fell short, but just him keeping both of them in our minds is really what's the best thing for us. But as a team, we've got to move on, and we've got to kind of get past that a little bit and just make sure we keep focused on the task at hand.
Manti Te'o: Definitely in every aspect this season we had our ups and we had our downs, both physically with guys on our own team getting hurt, and not only hurt for a game or two but out for the season, a couple key guys. And of course the team with Matt James and with Declan. We've been through a lot, but our team, we just stuck together. That's all we have to do is just stick together, and we have, and that's basically all we have to do is just stick together and rely on each other and be there for each other.
Q. When you come to Notre Dame, this hasn't been exactly the past couple years that you've envisioned I'm assuming. How have you guys gotten through it and has it been a disappointment? The change of coaches, also, just the whole nine yards?
Michael Floyd: I mean, we really don't have a say into different coaches and stuff like that. But it is difficult, you know, having a new coach, bringing a new system in here. But I think our team did a great job adjusting to it, and it's only going to get better from here.
Manti Te'o: I'm the young guy, so definitely there are things that we wish could have like I said, could have worked out better as far as games, winning games and stuff like that. But the experience here has been great. The coaching change, of course, like Mike said, that's difficult on a program, but as players we bought in and we bought in early, and we worked hard over the off season, worked hard this summer.
The season didn't really work out the way we wanted it to, but like you said, you can't really predict what's going to happen, but what you do know is you have two games left and make the best out of those two games.
Q. You had three players, I guess, de commit in the last month or so. Do you think that was a mistake on their part because you guys had been on a losing streak? Or do you think that those were not the kind of players that belonged at this program anyway because they're looking more at the wins and losses than at the program in general?
Manti Te'o: I think that's their decision. I think what they decide is what's best for them. If Notre Dame is not the right fit, then it's not the right fit. For me and I think for Mike, for us Notre Dame felt like the right fit, and that's why we came to Notre Dame. For other people it's not the same. They'll probably find another university that has a better feel for them and has a better vibe for them. Whatever that decision is, congratulations to them, and wish them the best.
Q. Manti, you had indicated that you were going to seek out Declan Sullivan's sister and offer your support. Did you have an opportunity to do that?
Manti Te'o: Yeah, I met her at his service, at the funeral services, and made a point to introduce myself, and a lot of the guys followed and introduced themselves, too, just to let her not that not only us as individuals has her support but the whole team in general, just making sure that she's okay. I've run into her on many occasions after the service, just said hi to her, and it's always good to see that she's with her friends and to see that she's doing okay, so it was a good experience.
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