Dec. 28, 2015
Q: When you look at guys like Joey Bosa on defense, what’s the biggest challenge you see in him?
Ronnie Stanley: He just gets off blocks and makes plays. You just gotta be fundamentally sound and use your technique against him and not try to get too forward or too ahead of yourself or try to do too much.
Q: People talk about the o-line being the strength of your team. What kind of pride do you guys take in that?
Ronnie Stanley: Oh, we carry a lot of pride in that. We come in every day to practice and try to get better and everyone can see that. We’re definitely the most intense group on our team. We’re happy about that and we’re proud to be that part of our team.
Q: You’ve already declared for the NFL Draft, obviously winning the game is the most important, but do you see this kind of battle with you and Joey as kind of a resume for just how high that first round you should go?
Ronnie Stanley: I definitely look at it as an opportunity. Not just him but the entire defense, they have a good entire defense. Just playing an all-around good game and with a player like that, that makes plays it makes it more challenging but it’s an opportunity I’m trying to take full advantage of.
Q: You’ve already mentioned the skill-set but is he maybe one of the best guys you’ve faced?
Ronnie Stanley: He’s definitely one of the top guys I’ve faced all season and my whole career.
Q: That defensive line is pretty impressive. What have you seen on film that really impresses you about Ohio State’s defensive line?
Ronnie Stanley: They’re well-coached. They’re really well-coached. They use some of the same technique that I think offensive lines do and that can give offensive lines problems. So its technique and leverage against technique and leverage. That’s just more will – which guy has more will.
Q: When you’re looking at two programs with this level of prestige what kind of hype do you guys feel inside the locker room?
Ronnie Stanley: We’re very hyped. Especially with two historic programs like Ohio State and Notre Dame. We know what type of game this is and all the hype behind it and we’re definitely very happy to be put in a place like this and given the opportunity to play a top team like Ohio State.
Q: At the same time, you look at the Buckeyes lose on a last-second field goal. You lose two games – Stanford and Clemson – by four points. Do you feel like the field went from four to eight teams would be a more accurate format?
Ronnie Stanley: Yeah, that’d be fun. But it’s not so we can’t really think about it.
Q: How much have your guys – like DeShone and Malik – talked about this game?
Ronnie Stanley: They haven’t really said too much to me. I’m just doing my thing.
Q: Coaches said that bowl games are all about mentality of the team – who wants to be there more. What do you think the mentality of the team is right now?
Ronnie Stanley: I think everyone wants to be here. I could see it in the first practice yesterday. We had no pads on but everyone is flying around full speed. It didn’t really look like we had missed a beat from when we left. That was very happy to see, very pleasing to see.
Q: Notre Dame hasn’t won in January in quite some time, in fact back in ’06 a loss to Ohio State. Is that history? Are you guys very aware of history and does that motivate you guys to change the course of that?
Ronnie Stanley: No, I wouldn’t say so. I didn’t know that until you just said it, so that definitely hasn’t been a motivation for anyone that I know. It’s more along the lines of us wanting to win now. Its team 127 and it’s our team. We’re just thinking about now and how we want to go out.
Q: Now that you’ve kind of wrapped up the regular part of the season, how do you look back and review and rate how the season has gone?
Ronnie Stanley: You know, I’m very proud of how our team played all season. I still feel like we came up short than what we wanted to. You can’t go back and change things but I’m very proud of how we performed, especially with how much adversity our team went through. We never really missed a beat with our little mishaps or whatever but that’s football.
Q: How about yourself personally?
Ronnie Stanley: I’m happy with the way I’ve played. You know there’s always mistakes can be cleaned up and that’s what practice is for.
Q: When did you first know that you could be this good? That your career would head down this path?
Ronnie Stanley: I don’t know. I guess I’m just out there playing, trying to play the best that I can. My best is good and I guess it is. That’s just how it is, I just try to play at my best and everyone else just talks about it, I don’t know.
Q: How did you come to that decision to declare for the NFL Draft?
Ronnie Stanley: ‘Cause I wanted to leave. I almost left last year and I was not thinking about staying two more years.
Q: How do you guys get the victory in January?
Ronnie Stanley: We just gotta play our game. We can’t lose to ourselves. We gotta play a clean game, no turnovers. We gotta use our fundamentals and players gotta make plays.
Q: You look at Joey Bosa gets a lot of attention. What about the linebacking corps?
Ronnie Stanley: Their whole box is one of the top boxes that we’ll go up against the whole season. They have a great defense. It’s not just Bosa that is good, their whole defense is good and we’re ready for the challenge.
Q: The mindset of you guys, you know its bowl week, you get prepared for your final game here at Notre Dame. What’s the mindset of your team?
Ronnie Stanley: We’re just trying to stay focused. Don’t get distracted by the whole bowl mania stuff. You just gotta stay focused. The reason you’re here is to play a football game and win a football game.
Q: Is this a different feeling for you now knowing for sure it’s your last game and how you go about it?
Ronnie Stanley: I’m definitely thinking about it a little differently, just in terms of the people I am around. Never going to be around these people like I have been the last four years. The preparation is still the same and still the same training to play my best on game day.
Q: You got a heck of a challenge, especially with Bosa, just how exciting is that?
Ronnie Stanley: Oh, it’s very exciting. It’s an opportunity and that’s the way I look at it. It’s up to me to take advantage of it.
Q: How good of a player is he?
Ronnie Stanley: He’s a good player. He makes plays and that’s what he does. Good players make plays.
Q: And then when you saw this matchup and you saw ‘ok we’re going to Fiesta’ how fired up were you?
Ronnie Stanley: Like I said, I looked at it as an opportunity. It’s just an advantage for me to really separate myself from offensive linemen out there.
Q: And then, you know, this program hasn’t won a major bowl game in 23 years. What do you think it will mean to you guys as a part of that team if you were to get the victory?
Ronnie Stanley: Yeah, we really don’t think about it. I didn’t know that stat until you said it. We’re really just trying to have our team go out on a good note. We’re really thinking about how our team is going to be remembered. We don’t want to be remembered as the team that broke the losing streak or whatever, the bowls lost. We’re just trying to go out and show how team 127 and what type of team we are. Even though we didn’t make it to where we wanted to go. We are going against a good team and we’re going to finish the way we want to.
Q: How do you want this team to be remembered?
Ronnie Stanley: I want to be remembered as one of the most talented teams – you can’t say best because we didn’t go to the playoffs or national championship – but I can say, or at least one of the most talented.
Q: And how much do you think a win over Ohio State would mean for you guys, it’s the next best thing I guess.
Ronnie Stanley: It’s huge, we’re definitely blessed to be playing a game like this, especially coming up short on the playoffs. I don’t see any different caliber game, this is still a playoff-caliber game to me.