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    Player Quotes Following The Hire of Head Coach Brian Kelly

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    FIGHTING IRISH

    Dec. 11, 2009

    
    

    Player Quotes Following The Hire of Head Coach Brian Kelly

    #3 º Michael Floyd º So. º Wide Receiver

    On his initial impressions of Brian Kelly...
    "I like him a lot. He's really enthusiastic. He's really energized and pumped up to be here and I'm really excited for that."

    On what the past two weeks have been like...
    "It's been kind of laidback. We've been going through things that our coaches have been telling us to do. We've also been on our own getting work done ... Guys are just trying to get their schoolwork done and not worrying about the coaching situation and what they've been saying on TV."

    On his impressions of Cincinnati's offense under Brian Kelly...
    "He likes to run the spread offense. Whatever it takes to win, I'm for. Watching him at Cincinnati you know he likes to throw the ball a lot. Any way we can win is what I want to do."

    On Brian Kelly's personality...
    "He's a funny guy and I like that. He's an energized guy and he wants to be here."

    On what Brian Kelly's message was to the team...
    "He just wanted a high-energized team and people that wanted to come out and play. That's what we're going to give him."

    On how Brian Kelly introduced himself to the team...
    "He came out with a serious face and after he said a couple things he was making us laugh. He sounded like a laidback guy, but he also can be serious. We really like that."

    On accepting everything that's happened over the past two weeks...
    "You just have to start over. It's a new guy you have to meet so you have to form a family-type relationship with him. We'll see how that goes."

    On tracking the coaching search...
    "When you know what's going on you don't really listen to the media because a lot of the stuff isn't even right. When you talk to the people in charge, they know what's going on."

    #9 Ethan Johnson º So. º Defensive Tackle

    On his impressions of head coach Brian Kelly after this morning's team meeting...
    "I could definitely tell he was fired up, and it fired me up to see how excited he was. It's amazing to hear how for a successful coach, it has been his dream to coach here. It's really nice to move forward and start working during the offseason.

    "It's always nice to have an unknown turned into a known. I like to know what's going on. The team didn't really know what was going on [over the last two weeks] during the search, but I respect that. It's not like it's my decision, and I'm just happy it's been made. I wanted someone that would have a great relationship with his coaches and players.

    "He's exciting. And he's got some jokes you can laugh at."

    On the last two weeks since the football season ended Nov. 28 at Stanford...
    "It's been very tough. It's really tough when you lose four in a row and you had great expectations for the season. It's time to move forward.

    "It's an interesting time because I'm sitting here right now, when I was expecting to be preparing to for a bowl game. It's turned out very different than what I thought it might have been. With finals around the corner - I had a lot of papers to write last week - I never had a lot of time to see what the media was saying. I figured it didn't matter, because the decision was going to be made regardless.

    "There is now a chance to sit back and evaluate how the season went and how to become better. I think I need to do that, take some time off and relax."

    On finding out who the new head coach was going to be...
    "I'm excited to see what changes he will make. I'm sure they're all going to be great changes or great keeps. I'm excited to see what happens with everything."

    On Brian Kelly's involvement with the Notre Dame defense...
    "I'm sure every head coach recognizes the importance of defense, offense and special teams. I think improvement is going to be made and we'll be a lot better next year."

    #89 Kapron Lewis-Moore º So. º Defensive End

    On his initial reaction to meeting Kelly...
    "When Coach (Kelly) talked to us this morning, I felt a great energy. He came in very demanding, but also cracked a couple of jokes. It's very exciting. As players, we're just excited about the new transition. He's a good coach and knows what he's doing. Obviously, his resume is awesome. I'm just ready to get going. Like coach said, we'll get back (from the break) and hit the ground running."

    On if he was surprised at the hiring of Kelly...
    "I wasn't really surprised. I know (Director of Athletics) Jack Swarbrick and Father (John Jenkins, University President) made the best decision for us."

    On Kelly's belief in "RKGs" or the "Right Kind of Guys"...
    "At Notre Dame, all we recruit are the right kind of guys. Guys who want to work hard in the classroom and on the field."

    On Kelly discussing offensive or defensive philosophy in the team meeting...
    "We didn't really talk about X's and O's and offense and defense. It was basically getting to know him and how he does things and a little bit about his personal life."

    On the attitude of the players...
    "Everybody is just excited that we have a new coach and we're ready to get things going."

    On what Kelly told the players he expects...
    "The one thing he said that stuck out to me was 'If you're not passionate (about football), we can't get along.' That really stuck out a lot to me. I definitely want to get along with the head coach, but I know I have passion for the game. Not only me, but I think we have 105 guys who are very passionate about the game, so I think it's going to be a really good transition."

    On Kelly bringing a shot of life to the program...
    "I feel like it is. It hasn't been very long, but I got a good feel for him and I feel like we're going in the right direction."

    On being one of the players Swarbrick relied on during the search...
    "It was exciting. We had a few guys to talk about it with. Jack had a good plan, a good process and made the right decision. I feel like we helped Jack throughout the process, but I still have confidence in him and what he's doing."

    On watching Kelly's introductory press conference...
    "It helped to get to know him and his personality. It's a shot of life in the program. You can tell how he is - he's real demanding. It's going to be an exciting year."

    On Kelly's successful resume...
    "We have to catch the ride. Nineteen years, 18 winning seasons, obviously he knows what he's doing and it's going to be very positive for our program."

    On Notre Dame's struggles the past few seasons...
    "Like Coach Kelly said, you can't live in the past. You can bring up the past, but you can't live in the past. You have to live in the present. Right now, we have a brand new coach with a very positive resume and that's why we're headed in the right direction."

    On quarterback Dayne Crist's description of Kelly's energy as 'contagious'...
    "Dayne is right. As soon as he walked through the door, he had a very positive effect on is. He spoke pretty loud, he spoke really loud actually, and I feel like it's a good burst of energy right now for the program, which is what we need."

    On what he knows about Kelly's teams at Cincinnati...
    "All I know is they spread the ball a lot and they put points up. Obviously he's a good coach, 12-0 right now, so he's doing something right. He's had success, so whatever his plan is I'll buy into."

    On what the last two weeks have been like...
    "Obviously it's been crazy. With the whole situation and the rumors here and there. Now, I feel like a weight has been lifted, not just off my shoulders, but off the team's shoulders. We know who the coach is going to be, now we've got to find a staff and everything and it's going to work out. We're relieved and ready to move forward."

    #10 Dayne Crist º So. º Quarterback

    On Cincinnati's play this year...
    "I just saw them a few times as a college football fan, maybe after we played or something like that. I know it's a high energy offense so obviously that excited me."

    On his role as a leader and bringing the team together...
    "I feel as a quarterback that is your role; it is the nature of the position. It can't be fake or feigned and I am just one of many guys on the team that care about winning and making a positive change with the team and program. There is plenty of leadership on this team and I am happy to be a part of it."

    On the rumors that Kelly was going to be hired as the next head coach...
    "As a quarterback his name was an interesting one to hear, but it wasn't so much about schematics or anything like that, much more goes into the decision. But everything coach Kelly stands for and with our first impressions of him, the team is very impressed."

    On his recovery from knee surgery...
    "Its going very well. As it gets better I am gaining more confidence with my knee so that's good. It [gaining confidence] certainly needs to happen with any knee injury. At the same time, I want to take it slow and make sure everything his healing properly. It's one of those things where, in rehab, things can change very quickly one way or another."

    On Kelly's development of quarterbacks...
    "To be honest, I don't know to much more than any of the other guys on the team or anyone else in the room. I look forward to building a real strong relationship with Coach Kelly and obviously that needs to take place soon, but I haven't had the chance to do that so far."

    On the team's impressions of Kelly...
    "I think the team responded really well; it was a very positive meeting and guys were excited. We fed off his energy and his passion and it was very evident from the time that he started speaking to us at 11:15 that his passion is very contagious and I think that was the biggest thing we took from it at this point. Again, there is a lot of getting to know each other involved and we are excited. At the same time he said it best, 'there is a lot of work to do.'"

    On the criteria the football players suggested to Jack Swarbrick...
    "It was pretty standard characteristics, just things we felt were necessary to help get this program back to where it belongs. We were looking for a leader; everything Coach Kelly is, a lot of passion, a high-energy guy, very approachable and a guy that cared about winning. A guy who wanted to win at every level, on every snap and I think that is what we got from Coach Kelly."

    On the team's emotions today...
    It's exciting. With everything that has been going on the past couple weeks I think, for one, the whole process has now brought some closure in that we now have a head coach and we've all had a chance to meet. I think everyone is very excited and, more than anything, we are ready to get to work."

    #9 Kyle Rudolph º So. º Tight End

    On how this hire feels to him being from Cincinnati and being recruited to Cincinnati...
    "It's awesome. Like you said I'm from Cincinnati so my phone has been ringing quite a bit. My friends are calling me and I've got friends on the team down there. I've got friends that work as managers on the team, so I've got a lot of perspective from the people at Cincinnati. I've heard nothing but great things so I'm really excited to get things going."

    On Coach Kelly recruiting him to Cincinnati...
    "Yes he did. For me personally I just didn't want to stay home and go to school. I love everything Cincinnati had to offer but I wanted to go away to go to school."

    On what the team meeting was like...
    "It was very similar to his speech today. He was just informing everyone of his background and kind of laying down what he expects from us and what we should expect from us."

    On what criteria the team and Jack Swarbrick had discussed...
    "We were just looking for a guy that was energetic and passionate about the game and things like that. Obviously, if you look at Coach Kelly and you go through all of the criteria that Mr. Swarbrick had and that we added to that then he fits every single one. I think that's why he (Jack Swarbrick) says he kept coming back to the same conclusion with Coach Kelly. I feel that he made a good decision and we're all very excited."

    On if this season at Cincinnati helps show the players his ability to coach...
    "Definitely. Like he said and as Mr. Swarbrick mentioned is that all he (Coach Kelly) has done is win in the three places he's been. I think Mr. Swarbrick was informing us that in the 19 years that he has been a head coach that he has only had one losing season. To do that at three different places and take programs and get them to the level that he has says a lot about his coaching style and character."

    On what Jack Swarbrick's and the players exact criteria was in looking for a coach...
    "We had different criteria than what Jack Swarbrick had set up. Obviously graduation rate and academics, stuff that you have to have when you are the head coach at Notre Dame. Then we added stuff like being energetic and being a younger guy that really gets in with the players and runs around practice. We got into development and strength and conditioning, things that we kind of expected would put us into the best situation to win."

    On what his friends and players at Cincinnati are saying about Coach Kelly...
    "I have been talking to them this whole past week, since things began coming out as him being a candidate. I've just been getting to know him through the players at Cincinnati and just talking to them and seeing what they think. They are all very excited for him and they understand that this is a business and they understand that this is a great opportunity for him."

    On how ironic it is that the guy who recruited him to Cincinnati is now his coach at Notre Dame...
    "It is kind of ironic when I was sitting through the press conference and kept hearing everything about the Cincinnati Bearcats. Growing up as a kid in Cincinnati and when I grew up Cincinnati football really wasn't a big thing. It was always Coach Huggins and Cincinnati basketball and now to see where he got that program is just phenomenal for that city."

    On his first impressions of Brian Kelly...
    "My first impressions were the way that he carried himself. He's a very energetic guy and very passionate. You can tell that he has a love for the game and he has the passion to be here. He wants to be here. As he said, he's kind of always had the dream to be here and for us to hear that and know that he truly cares and wants the best for us says a lot about him."


     

     

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