Senior tight end Tyler EifertEifert and classmate Theo Riddick caused a minor ripple at Friday's media session noting that if there was a possible place to exploit in Alabama's defense, it was likely the secondary. He was asked to clarify that today.
"Yeah, their linebackers are good cover guys, too. They can run. They have some really good cover corners. That definitely will be a challenge. People talk about their secondary being a weakness, but it's not. The rest of their defense is so good that it's -- I guess if you want to pick out a weakness, maybe that's it. But their secondary is still very good."
On what it means to play at and for Notre Dame: "Yeah, at Notre Dame we always say we don't play for just ourselves or our coaches, we play for all the guys that have played at Notre Dame before and set the stage for us now."
On team discipline: "I think it's huge. Coach Kelly when he first got here he put a picture in our locker of how our lockers have to look every day. If our helmet is not in the right spot, then you get in trouble. It just started from day one with Coach Kelly, the discipline, attention to detail aspect."
On Golson's leadership style "In the Huddle." "The only time we really are in a huddle is kind of in practice. We don't huddle on the field.
"But yeah, he's kind of embraced that as the year has gone on, been more vocal. Being a freshman starting quarterback it's kind of hard to come in right away and kind of boss people around. But he's kind of proved his -- proved what he can do and earned his stripes, so people really respect him."
On his facial hair and some of the defensive players growing beards: "I went No-Shave November for a while, and I didn't go with the season-long beard. This is kind of maybe a little bit of laziness, if anything."
Q. There's no significance? "No, not for me."
Manti Te'o on what it takes to get to the BCS Championship Game: "I think it's a combination of both the players and the coaches. You know, we're led by one of the best assistant coaches in college football, Coach (Bob) Diaco and his coaching staff, and they're not just -- they don't just teach us the techniques and fundamentals of the game. They help incorporate the mentality that you must have in order to be dominant in this game.
"We're fortunate enough to have coaches that have played the game, so they know how we feel at certain points, they know what makes us tick because it's the same thing that made them tick. I think with that and the combination of the guys we have -- in order to be here you can't just have some Average Joe players, and the same goes with Alabama. We know they have really, really good players, and so do we."
QB Everett Golson on when he began to see true progress in his game: "I think it would probably be the Miami game for me is where I really settled down and tried to get back to what I do best as a quarterback, and just improvising and kind of just being me. So I kind of played a little bit looser, and I think as the season went on, that's what you kind of saw in the Oklahoma game, the Pitt game, was just me being myself a little bit and just playing loose."
OT Zack Martin on the similarities of the team's defenses: "Everyone has asked me what do you compare Alabama's defense to, and I've said our defense is very similar. They run a 3-4 (Base), they've got a big talented nose guard, physical defensive linemen and guys who can run. It's helped. We did a lot of ones versus ones this last month versus our defense to try to get ready, and hopefully it's going to pay off."
DE Kapron Lewis-Moore on winning close games: "I think the ability to close out tough games, that's what good teams do. Past teams that have had some National Championship runs, they've had to win close games. Notre Dame, obviously we have won close games, and I'm pretty sure Alabama has won some close games, as well. You're going to have some adversity through the season, and it's how you prevail in those circumstances that make you a good team."
Lewis-Moore asked if he thought this was possible when he signed at Notre Dame: Y"ou know what, to be honest with you, when I first was getting recruited under Charlie Weis, the year before I got there was the worst season in Notre Dame history. A lot of my friends were saying, 'Why are you going to Notre Dame? They're horrible.' Coach Weis, he challenged our class, 'Let your class be the one to try to get Notre Dame back on top.' When he told me that, I thought that was awesome. At the same time I thought it's a challenge that could be met."