"Anytime that you get ready to play Notre Dame, you know that you're going to face a team that's got an awful lot of talented athletes. They're rated toward the top of recruiting every single year, probably for the last 25-30 years. And this football team is certainly no different. You can see the effects of the success that Charlie Weis and his staff have had. They've an extraordinarily talented quarterback that was the No. 1 quarterback in America. As a true freshman last year, he learned by baptism under fire, but he learned an awful lot as evidenced by his growth and development this year…
"He's throwing to some very talented wide receivers on the outside. They're big and tall and fast. They've got – as Notre Dame will always have – a big, strong, physical offensive line. Defensively, they're probably more athletic than some of the Notre Dame defenses that I remember back in the 80s. They've got some very fast linebackers… Their secondary has got a lot of speed and they're playing very well on special teams. They've got some guys that can really cover kicks extremely well. They're a very sound, fundamental football team in all three phases."
Were you concerned with how Cam Sexton or Mike Paulus would respond when T.J. Yates went down?
"Well, I think you're always concerned when your starter goes down, because he's the guy that's had the lion's share of the work and preparation. Certainly in our situation, [Yates] has had the lion's share of the experience, having played all of the games last year… You never know. You try to prepare both of the quarterbacks in Mike and Cam to be as near prepared as possible that if something does happen, that they can go in and just be effective and run the offense and to allow the supporting cast to help them make plays.
"And I think that Cam has certainly done that. I think his experience of having been a quarterback and starting before, has definitely helped him to handle this transition into being the starter now for two weeks in a row. I think we're fortunate in that respect. He's a good kid and he works hard and he's taken advantage of the opportunity."
On the secondary:
"This will be the biggest test that they have faced in the passing game, because the offensive line at Notre Dame does a great job in protection. They do a good job of keeping their tight ends and backs in at times, and they don't let you overload the protections… [Jimmy] Clausen is throwing the ball very well. They're very knowledgeable in the passing game, so this will probably be the biggest test, from a passing perspective, that our secondary has faced."
On Trimane Goddard:
"I think the biggest thing is that he's been fortunate enough to stay healthy. You feel so bad for Trimane because he had gone through a variety of different injuries throughout his career. He's just a good quiet leader. He's a professional in the way he works, the way he studies film. He's infectious to the younger kids, as they see the by-product of his work ethic and the way it manifests itself on Saturday by having the awareness and being savvy enough to be in the right place to take advantage of opportunities to make plays."
Has Shaun Draughn surpassed your expectations through five games?
"I think I would probably be remiss if I didn't say, ‘Sure, absolutely.' Because you didn't know. He showed flashes during training camp in scrimmages, but as is the case with everybody, until you do it in front of 65,000 people under the lights on national television, you never if you're going to get what you think you might get. There are an awful lot of people that are really, really good practice players, but it never translates to the field. But Shaun's already played better in games than he has in practices."
On playing against Notre Dame's tradition:
"You can't hardly have played football at any level and not appreciate what Notre Dame's place in history has been… I think even with today's generation, it carries a certain element of mystique and certainly excited anticipation. I think what we've tried to do is the same thing we did against Virginia Tech and against Miami and against UConn and against Rutgers, [which] is don't get caught up in the hype.
"There's a million things in life that you can't control. The only thing you can control is yourself, your own practices and your own preparation. All of the exterior things that go around about games – you've got no control over that. So I think our guys are trying to learn to take advantage of each practice and each day, and then show up and hopefully we'll play the best that we can. Because we're the only one that we can control on Saturday."