"Big week. Obviously, the more you win and the more success you have, the bigger the challenges and the greater the opportunities. I thought that our players handled this weekend very well. Going through the film yesterday and just trying to go through the mistakes that we made in the game, I think that it's a healthy environment, from the standpoint that they're willing to listen.
"It's always easier to make corrections [when you win], because we didn't play well in certain areas. We made some improvements in some of the areas, but this is a huge challenge. This Notre Dame football team is a very good football team… It's exciting, and it will be a very important week in preparation."
Do you feel like this ranking means more people are paying attention to this program?
"That's hard for me to say. I kind of live in the bat cave a little bit. We're really worried about ourselves, practicing and just taking it one game at a time. The rankings are nice – I'm not going to deny that. I think everybody likes the fact that there is some recognition for the hard work and the things that we're doing [and] the direction of the program, but as far as its significance right now, it really doesn't add much."
How did the offensive line grade out on Saturday?
"A couple of guys really did well. Garrett Reynolds had probably his best game since we've been coaching here. He graded out right at about 90 percent with no sacks, no pressures and no hits. He really did a nice job.
"We thought that Aaron Stahl [and] we thought that Alan Pelc did a nice job. Alan has become a pretty valuable player for us because he has the ability to go in and swing at guard. I think he played 26 or 27 snaps Saturday, and I think it was pretty split between left guard and right guard, which is something that you would like to be able to do, to get some of those guys into the game.
"One of the things that you hated – the score indicated that we should have had an opportunity to do this, but unfortunately, the possessions didn't turn out this way, but we really would have liked to have gotten a couple of the other backup offensive linemen into the game. We wanted to get Carl Gaskins into the game [and] we wanted to get Mike Ingersoll into the game, but the last possession of the game was us taking a knee and the possession before that, we really didn't get a chance because Ryan [Houston] popped a big long run and we got down real close and never really got a chance to get those guys in. But hopefully we will sometime before the season's over."
Does Draughn give you more flexibility with the run plays you call?
"Not really. We don't really entertain, like, ‘This guy's in the game. These are the plays that we're going to feature and these are the things that we're going to run.' We don't have enough time during the course of the week to have six runs that Shaun runs and five runs that Ryan runs and four runs that Greg [Little] runs. You can't get that many runs ready. Our run sheet probably entails between six and eight runs every single week, and that's about all that we can run."
On the improved ground game against UConn:
"It was great watching them because that sets us up for the play action pass and takes a little pressure off of me. There was a couple times watching film, where I saw myself getting excited back there when guys were breaking big runs. That is always good to see and we always say they are the playmakers we are just trying to get them the ball."
On being ranked:
"We are enjoying it no doubt. Football is a lot of hard work and to have some success now - we are enjoying it. On the flipside, today is Monday and we have gone back to work on Notre Dame. We have moved on now."
On the defense's 12 interceptions:
"That is what we try to do on defense is create turnovers and get the ball back to the offense. We want to try to get the ball back as many times possible."
On his maturation process:
"I would say this year, Bruce [Carter] and I feel a lot more comfortable than last year. Last year, we were kind of just thrown out there. This year, we know we have more responsibilities as a linebacker and know the technique more. I would say this past spring I started to really feel like a linebacker."
On sharing time at running back:
"It is not really difficult to prepare. Everybody should prepare as if they are the starter. If you want more you have to do more. You have to have that mentality because you never know. For example, Paulus didn't know that T.J. [Yates] was going to go down. So, you have to prepare as if you are a starter."
On being ranked:
"It is a big confidence booster. We knew confidence-wise that we were a good football team, sometimes I think we don't realize how good we can be as a team. Every game is a statement game."