"Not really. Not as much as maybe some people, like my friends who were really into it, wearing Notre Dame stuff to school every day. But 'Rudy' is one of my favorite movies that's why I watch that a couple of times a year. It reminds me of the tradition I've always been a Notre Dame fan, not die-hard, it's kind of in everyone's blood to watch and see what that program is made of."
How does it feel to be playing Notre Dame?
"I think it's a tremendous honor for us especially with the season they've been having - undefeated - to play a team like that, to have them finally come down and play where they haven't wanted to play in a long time from what I hear. It's a great opportunity for us. That's how we need to look at it, and not get caught up in all the hype and all the tradition, or the rivalry these two schools have had within the years, and treat it like a regular football game and focus."
Is this more than a game? Get a win while you're still 11th nationally and this can open some eyes?
"Hopefully, yeah, it is definitely a big football game for us, it's not just another game. We want to show that a couple of weeks ago wasn't a fluke, that when we play together and we execute our game plan on both sides of the ball and special teams what our team can do. A lot of people might say, "Oh Miami had an off day' and we want to prove them wrong and show that when we play together we show what we are capable of. I think if we come out and play well against Notre Dame and ultimately beat them, the bottom line is we want to make another statement that it wasn't a fluke against Miami."
Are you going to have to throw a little more against Notre Dame?
"Honestly, I'm sure Coach Dickey's and my wishes are to do that, it's really a matter of taking what the defense gives us. The past two weeks they've been not wanting to give up the big play and taking their chances against the run. Clemson and Miami both we were able to run the ball very effectively. Hopefully we'll be able to throw the ball and throw it deep. I think we'll get our chances, but it'll probably be balanced. I think we'll be able to do both. They have strengths all over the field, they're experienced in the secondary as well as the defensive line, but I agree we need to be able to throw the ball more than a hundred yards a game or whatever we're averaging, and keep teams honest, so that will probably be part of our game plan, but on the other hand you take what the defense gives you."
When you've thrown, you seem to have a little something going on there between you and Talman Gardner. What's that all about?
"I can't explain it. It's not something I've focused in on. Maybe more of our plays are designed towards him or called to his position, rather than a backside receiver like Robert. He's just a play-maker and he makes plays, great catches, especially when we need them. Other than Iowa State he's had a terrific season. It's not something we've been focusing on or we need to get the ball to Talman, he's just been in the right place at the right time and made the plays."
Notre Dame is the underdog. How do you counter that emotionally?
This is a very big game for our program, our team and for Coach [Bobby] Bowden, really, so that's the way we're looking at it. Hopefully everyone has their perspective on how big of a game this is. It's not just any game. We need to be aware of all the confidence they have with them being undefeated.I just found out [Monday] that they were an underdog, so I 'm sure that gives them more motivation, which is surprising It's gonna be a fight, a great game and a great college football game to watch and a great opportunity for us to make another statement.''
You were booed at home the last time you played here. What are you feeling about playing at home again?
"My emotions are the same. To do my job on the field move the ball and put points on the board, I really could care less what goes on in the stands, what goes on outside of this program and our locker room. If they cheer me great, if they don't that's fine. If they've watched the past couple weeks, whatever their reaction is will probably determine what they know about the game of football. So I can't really control what goes on there. I'm happy to come back home and I'm sure the rest of the team is, and play in front of our fans, in front of the people that support us, against a great ND team. I'd rather be playing here than up there, tha'ts the bottom line."
But you did pay attention to the boo-birds, because you glared at the students. It appeared you know what's going on.
"Yeah, you try to be oblivious to it. You hear it, but you try not to let it affect your game negatively if anything, you use it for motivation and extra fuel to do even better. So there's a limit that that can effect your game. Just try to use it in a positive way and not let it get you rattled or anything along those lines."
How big of a leader is Brett Williams?
"I think Brett's always been more of a quiet leader in the past. He' s a little more vocal this year. I think him and Robert (Morgan) kind of the guys that lead by example. The rest of the line has stepped up, whether they're saying things or doing something on the field, people are noticing that and feeding on that. Tha'ts always good to have that senior leadership, even if it's not that yelling and hollering."
Talk about the cohesiveness of the offensive line.
"That's probably what most people think the first time they look at how they perform is, ' Oh they've played together so many years and I'm sure they know all their assignments and they know what they do.' Well, that's the foundation of it, but I think the biggest thing is the relationship, they have with each other. They're all very close, they are great friends, they hang out, they know everything about each other, because they've been together so long. I think that's the biggest thing, they know what the guy next to them is gonna do, they know each other's personalities, that definitely helps with the chemistry."