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    FIGHTING IRISH Golden Tate speaks to the media on Monday. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond)
    FIGHTING IRISH
    Golden Tate speaks to the media on Monday. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond)
    FIGHTING IRISH

    Nov. 30, 2009

    Golden Tate - Jr. - WR

    On the mood of the day ...
    "It hasn't been easy. Some decisions had to be made today. I'd rather support what the staff is going to do and what (Director of Athletics) Jack (Swarbrick) has done."

    On a potential bowl berth ...
    "I would love to play another game. I'd love to go out and play another game for the seniors and hopefully win for them. No decisions have been made in the locker room or with the coaching staff. We have a workout tomorrow, so I'm going to come out tomorrow and work hard. We'll see where that takes us."

    On how the team received the news ...
    "We had a meeting at 3 o'clock (p.m.) with Mr. Swarbrick. He talked to us and let us know what was going on. That's how I found out."

    On the reasons Swarbrick gave for the decision ...
    "There were many. It is hard to lose a family member and that's how I see Coach Weis. These last few weeks have been tough for us."

    On the emotions that have surrounded the team the last few weeks ...
    "It's tough. Like (Interim Head) Coach (Rob) Ianello mentioned, going to school and having peers ask about outcomes of games and if Coach (Weis) will be back and you really can't answer those. When I signed up, I signed up to be a student-athlete and support all decisions made here at Notre Dame. That's what I'm doing. I'm trying to stay positive and keep this team together as a family."

    On Coach Weis' farewell to the team ...
    "I talked to him personally. As a team, the next time we'll see him is, hopefully, at the banquet. We'll get to spend some time with him, say goodbye and express how we feel about him."

    On his decision about potentially entering April's NFL Draft ...
    "Coach Weis and I will have a meeting on Friday to talk about the possibilities, along with my family and I'm sure I'll involve (Interim Head Coach/Receivers) Coach (Rob) Ianello with that as well."

     

     

    On his relationship with Coach Weis and Weis' impact on his decision to enter the NFL Draft ...
    As far as I'm concerned Coach (Weis) is still a mentor to me. Even if he goes to USC or Michigan, I still plan on keeping in contact with him. Our relationship is very unique. Every time I've talked to Coach (Weis) he's talked to me like (Weis' son) Charlie, Jr. and that's certainly a good thing. He's always told me the truth whether I've wanted to hear it or not. At times he's told me, 'This is what's best for you. Not for Notre Dame, not for me. This is what's best for you.' I will definitely take (his judgment) into consideration."

    On the reaction of the team when Swarbrick informed them of his decision ...
    "I can't really tell you how everyone else felt, but personally, I was down. The guy who recruited me, the guy I built such a relationship with is not going to coach me anymore. The guy who designed plays to get the ball in my hands and the guy who designed plays to help me receive all these awards. To an extent, I want to say it's not his fault for our season. Players have to take accountability. I think if I made more plays, maybe we wouldn't be in this situation right now. From the outside in, it looks like it's all Coach Weis, but there's more to it than that."

    On if Coach Weis' departure will impact his decision to enter the NFL Draft ...
    "It could impact it both ways. (Coach Weis and I) are going to talk Friday, along with my family, and see what's best for me and my family. We'll see."

    On if he has discussed his potential NFL plans with junior quarterback Jimmy Clausen, who is also eligible to enter the NFL Draft ...
    "That's another Friday discussion. I'm sure Jimmy and I will communicate, along with Coach (Weis), and come up with a plan."

    On if he'll be surprised if Clausen returns ...
    "I don't know. For me, I've been all-in for Notre Dame. I've been playing game-by-game, trying to perform and put Notre Dame in a position to win from week-to-week and that's all I've been focused on. Now that the season is potentially over, it is the appropriate time to talk about the future."

    On if he was surprised Coach Weis will not return ...
    "I knew that it was a possibility that he was leaving and I knew it was a possibility he was staying. I took the approach of expecting the worst, but preparing for the best. The administration made an educated decision and I have to support it. I'm in this program and I've got to support the decisions they make and try to make this program a better program."

    On if he believes there is a public misconception of Coach Weis as a person ...
    "Absolutely. I think if any person in this world sat down and had one conversation with him and look at the way he sees things, you would sit down and see a great person. This guy has been through a lot. After the losses to Navy and UConn, everyone was on him. It wasn't fun. But I knew, come Monday, he was going to do his best job to put us in a position to win. It's tough to look from the outside in, but if you get a chance to sit down and talk with him, you'll see the things that he's brought to Notre Dame and his family."

    On if the new head coach will have an impact on his decision to enter the NFL Draft ...
    "That's another thing to discuss Friday. This is all new for me. Throughout my life I've always had my coach. In high school, I had my coach and growing up I knew my coach, so this is all new for me and I don't really know what to expect at this point."

    On what recruits think about Notre Dame when considering their college choice ...
    "If you're in the position to come to this University, you will take advantage of it. Personally, when I signed up for Notre Dame and committed, I knew what I was signing up for - to be a student-athlete. Not just an athlete, a student-athlete. I knew that I was coming to this program to earn a degree and to represent this college playing football and baseball. I think I've done a pretty good job through the three years I've been here so far. I think coming in as a recruit, you must understand that it's not all about football. It's more than that. It's about being a man or woman of character. That's what makes it tough for Notre Dame to choose athletes, because we want people to represent this college the way it's supposed to be represented - high character, great morals and ethics."

    On the impact facilities have on recruiting ...
    "I'm sure that helps. We have nice things and I think that helps. At the end of the day it's about the education you receive. It's about the tradition. It's about the alumni. You go to another country you're going to meet alumni and I don't think there's another base like that."

    On if Notre Dame can still compete on a national level ...
    "Absolutely. We have the athletes to do so. I can definitely see us competing for the national championship or BCS bowls soon. We have work to do, but we have great student-athletes."

    Kapron Lewis-Moore - So. - DE

    On feelings after hearing Coach Weis would not be retained ...
    "I'm down and upset about it. Jack (Swarbrick) made the decision about it and as a team right now we are kind of down and out about it. We've got to move on though. Jack made the decision and feels that it is the best decision for the University, so we will accept it and we have to move forward."

    On what the teams expectations are for Notre Dame Football ...
    "With any university, 6-6 should not be good enough. We always strive to go undefeated and that's every teams goal is to go undefeated and win every game. Obviously, we didn't achieve that goal, so you are right, 6-6 isn't good enough."

    On the unity of the team off the field as well as on ...
    "We are always together but this right now is a trying time. Right now, as a team we have peaks and valleys and highs and lows, and we're in a low right now. This is going to test our faith with each other. This is where I feel that we need each other on and off of the field."

    On what the team meeting with Swarbrick was like ...
    "Jack Swarbrick just talked with us and what he said to us was what he reiterated at the press conference. He obviously told us that they will be searching for a new coach and that they hadn't come to a decision about a bowl game or anything."

    On moving past the pain in the offseason ...
    "I think that is something that we have to do. We are already bonding and we are still going to be close-knit. Jack (Swarbrick) told us earlier that we had lost a family member but that we are still family. We just don't have one with us right now. Right now we have to focus on the next day and work hard in the offseason to get ready for next season."

    On potentially going to a bowl game ...
    "That is up to the leadership committee so when they come up with the decision they'll let us know."

    On what it was like the past couple of weeks with the news swirling ...
    "You see it all over the media but you can't let that distract you. At that moment in time we were in the middle of a couple of big games and I felt like with our team our biggest thing was prepping for whatever game was at hand. Obviously, there was something going around but we didn't worry about it and we stayed close with each other."

    On what he feels will take place in the coaching search ...
    "Honestly we'll see what happens, but right now we are just focusing on finishing out the school year and staying close to each other."

    On if it's easy to stay focused on school at this time without thinking about the coaching search ...
    "Actually with me the hardest thing is thinking about if I want to write about Aristotle in my philosophy paper. That's the hardest thing for me right now."

    On what makes a recruit want to come to Notre Dame and what makes it appealing to students ...
    "Earlier with what Jack (Swarbrick) said, Notre Dame recruits the best student-athletes. I think with us, we recruit people that are leaders on and off of the field and I feel like our group of guys is committed to working hard on the field and off of the field. Obviously, we know that Notre Dame is a real prestigious college athletically and academically, so with the challenging courses here we recruit the best athletes that want to challenge themselves both athletically and academically."

    On how tough it is right now for the team to hear the news ...
    "It's pretty tough, but we can't really focus too much on what is going on outside of the locker room. Right now all that we have is each other. We are a tight-knit group but we've got to look for the next day. We've got to finish up school hard, we've got to hit the weight room and we've just got to keep our heads up."

    On what the mood was like with Coach Weis following the Stanford loss on Saturday night ...
    "We were all disappointed. We lost a hard-fought game, but it is what it is and we just have to keep going."

    Eric Olsen - Sr. - Center

    On the characteristics to look for in a coach ...
    "I think they need to follow in Coach Weis' footsteps in being a Notre Dame man. Obviously the wins and losses didn't work out, but he really was a Notre Dame man and he loved this university with all his heart. He wasn't a hypocrite with regards to academics or any of the little things outside of football that are important to this place. The University of Notre Dame is something special and anyone who has ever played here in the past would say the same thing. Coach Weis has done a tremendous job of keeping that tradition, so the next guy who comes in here will have to do the same thing and do it with integrity. I completely trust that Mr. Swarbrick (Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick) is going to find the right guy to fill Coach Weis' spot and get this team on the right track. I trust Mr. Swarbrick. I know him well enough that I know he's going to do the right thing and bring someone in to fill the spot."

    On his reaction to being told Weis will not return ...
    "A little bit of it leaked to TV before our meeting at 2:30, but at 2:30 was when Mr. Swarbrick officially told us and we found out. For me, it's tough personally because of my personal relationship with Coach Weis. I have a great affinity towards him. I know he's going to move on and get a job somewhere else and be successful. I'm going to stay in touch with him the best I can. I'm very grateful for everything he's done for me, he gave me a scholarship to go to college, which is a huge thing, so I'm indebted to him. I texted him and he was calming me down assuring me he's fine and saying not to worry about it. It's a tough thing to swallow, but that's the nature of college football."

    On Coach Weis' character ...
    "Obviously I'm very close to Coach Weis and this breaks my heart and is tough to swallow. With everything that has been said about him and everything that has gone on he's really taken it with dignity. He's such a stand-up guy and for him to take it week after week, taking all the blame on himself from the media and for him to stand up in front of the press says a lot about his character. As a person Coach Weis is a family man, he cares about his players. And as a coach, it has been great for me to pick his mind about all the little things about playing football."

    On the transition the team is about to go through ...
    "I just went through a position coaching change last season coming into this season, which was nice for me because it provided a little bit of a shakeup and I had to prove myself all over again. It really helped me as a football player. I'm definitely trying to see the positive in this for the young guys coming up. Especially the guys on the offensive line, I'm getting in their ears in the meeting room making sure they're not hanging their heads. I'm confident Mr. Swarbrick is going to bring someone in who will bring us in the right direction."

    On the end of the season ...
    "As much as rumors started swarming, we tried to block them out the best we can. The last thing we needed to do was start buying into that stuff or start worrying about outside distractions. I think the team did a good job with that, led by Coach Weis."

    On the mood after the Stanford loss ...
    "(The trip home) was tough. We came up short again, for the sixth time this season. That was the same team that went out and beat USC, though, so I was trying to keep some of the younger guys on the team up and tell them we're able to hang with any team in the country. We were in positions where we could have won the game or tied the game in a lot of those cases, and we just didn't take that next step. The plane ride home from possibly the last game of the season was tough, especially for the seniors and for myself personally. It was a tough way to end it, and personally it makes me sick. I feel bad losing the last four games of my senior year and Coach Weis' being fired because of it. I took it personally and I take a lot of responsibility and accountability for that as a captain on this team. I just apologize to the rest of the team. I wish I could have done a better job in the end. It's heart-wrenching."

    On a potential bowl bid ...
    "I think Mr. Swarbrick is waiting to see what the options are. Until we're sure we can't make any decisions. Obviously I want to get this taste out of my mouth and end on a high note. I think it's a tough situation, especially with younger guys and those who aren't in the mix for playing. It extends the season even further with finals coming around and we don't know where it will be or who our opponent is going to be with our 6-6 record. It's tough to think that Stanford might be the last football game I ever play in my life. I'd like to end my career with a win if at all possible, so I would definitely be excited if we did end up going to a bowl game."

    Chris Stewart - Sr. - Guard

    On the myth that coaches cannot recruit talent to Notre Dame ...
    "If I believed that I wouldn't be here. And I think that's the same for the other elite recruits. You can go down the list of each class and check off guys who competed in Army (All-American) Bowls and other all-star games. You can recruit because of everything that the University stands for as far as academics and being on the center stage for competition and showcasing your talent. You don't get the opportunity for everyone in the nation and the world to see you play every week at other places."

    On the intense media coverage ...
    "It's difficult. We know how to work in this environment. We see things going on ESPN tickers, but that's nothing new. It has been difficult, but we're strong as a unit and a lot of us are unique individuals who can handle the media attention that comes with playing football at Notre Dame. We're all intelligent young men and can handle the situation."

    On a potential bowl bid ...
    "We'll meet and decide at a later date. I personally love to play football. The obvious benefit is this team being able to play together more, especially for those guys who are leaving. When you live in a crazy world with our schedules for football you really form a tight bond, so any time you can continue that is something you have to jump at the chance."

    On the team's reaction at their afternoon meeting ...
    "When it comes down to it, it's business. People handle it different ways. Some of us are sad, some of us are shocked, some are grieving, for others it's just surreal and they're walking around in a daze. But we have to be intelligent young men who know how to handle these situations, and we're a tight group who is close-knit."

    On returning for his fifth-year of eligibility and whether the new coach will play a role ...
    "(The new coach) will play a role in it. I'm trying to take everything in. I'm in a unique situation - I have graduated, and I can look past undergraduate academics in my decision. The coach will make a big impact. We'll see when the dust clears and decide then."

    Kyle McCarthy - Sr. - Safety

    On the last three or four weeks ...
    "Well, it is impossible not to hear all the rumors and what the media was saying but honestly the team was real close. We have a great group with a lot of character in the locker room and you know when we were here to play games and looking at film and practicing, we weren't thinking about that at all. We were just trying to prepare for the next game. I can honestly say that."

    On what Charlie Weis last said ...
    "I talked to him briefly yesterday morning and he just talked to the team after the game and said he felt bad the season ended the way it did. He said he was proud of us and that's something that you would expect from Coach Weis, caring about his players and how we were doing."

    On finding out about Coach Weis' firing ...
    "The heads of the leadership committee met today with Mr. Swarbrick at 2:30 and he let us know."

    On being coached by Bob Stoops' brother ...
    "Not at all. I don't have any response to that speculation. I just found out today that Coach Weis was being let go, so that is where my mind is at right now."

    On Coach Weis' firing ...
    "I would be lying to say I did not hear all the rumors and the speculation. I knew it was a possibility. Ultimately, it falls on the players, and we did not produce like we should have. This is Notre Dame and a place where people expect us to win and when we don't someone has to take the hit. Unfortunately, Coach Weis was let go and as a player you feel bad about that because he is the type of guy you play for, that we followed, and it is tough to see him let go."

    On feeling in the locker room ...
    "No one is wavering on the commitment to the program - like Mr. Swarbrick and Coach Ianello said - we came here for the right reason. We all love Notre Dame and support Notre Dame and whatever is asked of us, we will be ready to take the torch."

    On a bowl game ...
    "We are still discussing that situation with Mr. Swarbrick and with our Leadership Committee and we are going to see what our options are because right now our options are a little unclear as there has been no formal invitation."

    On feeling of team about a possible bowl game ...
    "It is really an unknown right now. Because we don't know where or what, and Coach Weis being let go is new to us today, so I don't think people are looking past that right now."

    On playing a bowl game ...
    "It is tough to let go of the golden helmet and you always want to play another game with the bad taste in your mouth."

    On meeting with Mr. Swarbrick ...
    "I think Mr. Swarbrick handled it very well. I knew him but I got to know him a little better. He is a very professional man and a guy I have respect for and it is a tough position but I feel like he handled it very well."

    On talking to Coach Weis ...
    "I have yet to meet with Coach Weis. I have been told we will be able to meet with him on Friday."

    On defensive struggles ...
    "Well I feel responsible for the problems the defense has had. I am the captain of the defense and ultimately it falls on my shoulders. We are a team and no one will point any fingers. We did not perform like we should have, but hopefully it improves next year."

    On what Notre Dame should look for in a new head coach ...
    "A guy of high character. I am not at liberty to answer that question. Whatever happens, I support this university and I love this university and support whatever goes on."

    On a sad day at Notre Dame ...
    "Absolutely. Coming from a guy who has been around him a whole lot in the last five year, you really form a connection with him and saw the type of person he was. There is a big gap between the perception of Coach Weis and what kind of person he actually is. We respect him an awful lot and wish him well. He has done an awful lot for me as a person and a player and I can't thank him enough."

    On coming out of the tunnel against UConn ...
    "We did not know anything at that point. We just were aware of the speculation. We just wanted to show our support for Coach Weis. I have alluded to it earlier, but people don't know what kind of person he is. When you get to know him on a personal level, he is very caring. He is a guy who cares about his players and his team. He cares about you as a person most importantly. I am just thankful and appreciative of what he has done for me."

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