Video: DeShone Kizer avoids national spotlight

National attention comes with being Notre Dame’s starting quarterback. DeShone Kizer has done his best to avoid it, even with some members of the media touting him as a first round pick in next spring’s NFL Draft.

Q. Do you have any sort of superstitions you've done over the years?
DeSHONE KIZER: Superstitions, as far as game? Not really, no. I try to stay away from it. You get too caught up in one idea of something and all of a sudden it goes away. And every time you think you have a superstition and you don't do it, you want to blame it on it, and I try to stay away from it as much as I can.

Q. DeShone, I was trying to remember, did you say after the Clemson game last year that you had played in weather like that before in high school? You did, didn't you?

Q. And what was your anticipation going into that game with regard to the weather? You had a great game. Were you concerned about that at all?
DeSHONE KIZER: No. I've never really had issues with whether. You know, playing ball in the Midwest, we've been through it all, from rain to sleet to snow to negative-degree temperatures. Last year I was obviously apparent that I'm pretty capable of throwing the ball in the rain, just a couple of adjustments in my grip and I can rip it just the same. Weather doesn't affect me too much when it comes to throwing the ball.

Q. You had no grip issues?
DeSHONE KIZER: No. There's some balls that kind of slide away, but you've learned that in wet games it's not about putting the ball exactly where it needs to be. It's about just getting there somehow and we were able to do that successfully.

Q. The wind wasn't a factor; correct?
DeSHONE KIZER: No. When you're out there and the blows are flying, you really don't notice too much of the rain. I remember coming off the sideline a couple of times and not noticing the rain until I got to the sideline and how windy it was. You're so locked into the play and your reads, you really don't notice. You just try to play.

Q. But you do notice the wind; right?
DeSHONE KIZER: Yeah. You have to gauge that when it comes to being accurate, and sideways-blowing wind can definitely affect the ball. But typically inside of a stadium that sits as high as the stadiums that we typically play in, down by the field the wind really doesn't affect too much unless it gets to swirl.

Q. Last week our focus obviously was a lot on the defense because of the changes that were occurring. I was wondering, because of what was going on on that side of the ball, was there a different feel to practice last week? Did it impact you and the offense in any way other than, of course, Coach Kelly was on the defensive side of the ball a little bit more?
DeSHONE KIZER: Yeah. It was a complete team attitude change. We completely bought into the idea of just having a good time and going out and enjoying the game, taking all the stress off of our back, as I mentioned last week. And now we're kind of buying into the idea of kind of building off of a win, and the way to build off of a win is to take all the good things from last week's series of practices and applying to this week. And yesterday was a great day of going out there and enjoying ourselves and having that same attitude, and we'll continue to move forward from there.

Q. NC State, pretty standard four-man front. They don't seem to like to blitz a whole lot. Does that -- I mean obviously you're prepared for them to blitz. But does that take some burden off you when you don't have to focus on or stress as much about protections?
DeSHONE KIZER: Yeah. They're a very sound defense, very strong up front. They have two great corners who will lock up outside on the end, and they like to play their base defense a lot. It does take a little pressure off of you when you aren't too worried about protecting checks every play, it also puts a little more into some of the smaller things to make sure that the plays that are designed for the specific looks that are being executed the way they are, from understanding the fronts, understanding (drop in phone line) the protection and apply to something else to make sure you're still executing.

Q. DeShone, you guys from last year to this year lost Will Fuller, C. J. Prosise, a couple guys on the offensive line, and you guys are scoring more points per game this year than you did last year. Where has this offense sort of evolved to overcome losing those guys and still be just as good on Saturday?
DeSHONE KIZER: Yeah. We recognize the talent that we have at all the skill positions. We're not afraid to throw it down the field. Everyone kind of expected us after losing Will to try to take away some of our vertical threats, but we quickly found out that we had the same speed and same size to do so. And quite frankly, it's all about execution. The game plans aren't too much different from last year. The mindset on offense isn't too much different. But we've just been put in a couple of situations where we're required to throw the ball down the field and we're making big plays. It's all about just executing. We have the opportunity to score every time we step on the field, and we know it. And so far we've done a good job of being pretty successful when we do step on the field.

Q. What's been the key for you guys for your ability to score so much when you get not only inside the 20, but inside the 40 this year?
DeSHONE KIZER: Yeah. It's a mindset, just to relax and play ball and keep it simple. Last year, being a little inexperienced, I was down there thinking that the red zone was some foreign object to me, and I was just trying to fit in tight throws and do a little too much. Now I'm just trying to keep it basic, continue to run the same plays that we're running from the other 20 that's getting us down there. And when things aren't there, not forcing it and taking what they give me. If I need to extend the play, I'm going to use my feet to extend the play and hopefully make something happen.

Q. What have you seen from all these freshmen corners that the defense has going up against them in practice? What sort of mentality and mindset do you pick up from that?
DeSHONE KIZER: Yeah. It looks like they haven't skipped a beat since high school. They have the same confidence that they've always had. They're flying around, they're not afraid to get in your face and play like the direction that they're playing like. All the way across the board we have a bunch of young talent, and we knew we were going to need it coming off of quite a few seniors leaving and some adjustments that needed to be made over the off-season. And they're playing just as we expect them to as the season progresses. With a bunch of young guys you can't really expect them to come out and be studs in the first couple of games, so they're developing right on track, and the second half of Syracuse showed how good our secondary actually can be and what we expect them to be moving forward.

Q. What can you say about Mike McGlinchey and what he brings to your offense?
DeSHONE KIZER: Mike McGlinchey is one of the best leaders I've ever been around. He has the verbal presence, the size, you know, the ability to truly take over a team. And all the way across the board, on offense, defense, special teams, he leads us completely. His experience and his ability to understand what he's good at and what he's not good at and to coach us up out on the field allows us in our quarterback room and at the skill positions to rely on someone who's going to be a rock to us and kind of a cornerstone for our offense.

Q. I know this could be probably a hard thing to pinpoint right now, but speaking of McGlinchey, he seemed pretty confident that he was looking forward to coming back next year. I was just wondering what that is like for you with the national attention that you've been receiving these first few weeks of the season of returning next year, what the thought process is for you on that right now.
DeSHONE KIZER: What attention? We have so much going on with our game plan and so much that we're trying to get accomplished, trying to get some wins put together that my focus has been nothing but on our offense, no thoughts have even come across with the national attention that you say I have. I've been so focused up on what we can do to get wins, that none of that has come across my mind.

Q. In terms of the run game and sort of maybe getting that a little bit more efficient, are you just seeing more guys in the box this year than you were last year when you watch how defenses are defending you?
DeSHONE KIZER: Yeah. Playing the schedule that we play, we've come across some sound two-high teams, who like to keep safeties low. Kind of -- I'd say that the push right now in college football is to do whatever you can to get an extra guy in the box while maintaining the structure to stop the pass game by using tainted defenders. Whether it be the safety or linebacker, there's more of an emphasis on keeping guys close to blocks. And anytime teams are going to do that, we're not afraid to go out and throw the ball behind them. This is kind of a season where we're just taking the defense they're giving us. We're not kind of forcing whatever we have to do to get the ball down the field. It's more just allowing our game plan to come into play when people want to add guys to the box. When you have Dexter Williams and Josh Adams and Tarean Folston along with the line that we have, you gotta expect that guys are going to continue to respect the box the way that they are, because I mean we're deadly. If you take a guy out of there, we're going to run all over you and we'll respond accordingly if we need to pass the ball if they do do that.

Q. I know you want to give full respect to the receivers that you have now, but is some of that just Will Fuller is not here that teams had to take that guy out of the box last year because of him?
DeSHONE KIZER: You know, it was game plan to game plan. There were some teams that were stubborn and they liked to stick to their identity. There's other teams that wanted to throw exotic coverages to stop a guy like Will. But no matter what the situation is, there's always opportunities to run the ball, and we were really successful in doing so. And now saying that we are a vertical passing team and we want to extend the ball down the field maybe you'll see a little bit of a difference to stop us from doing that. As soon as that happens, once again, we'll respond accordingly and get the run game going.

Q. And the next year question, in all seriousness your friends, family are not like, I saw you 18, I saw you No. 1, that kind of stuff?
DeSHONE KIZER: Yeah, no. If you know me, you know that's the last thing I want to talk about. And the circle that I keep close to me knows that those conversations aren't going to happen until they need to. Right now we're a 2 and 3 football team who's trying to turn some things around, and that's all the focus that's on from me and my friends and family.

Q. Just wondering what you've seen from Miles Boykin as far as his progression to work his way into a role this season.
DeSHONE KIZER: Yeah. His size is uncomparable. He's sitting at 6-6, has a 40-plus vertical, and he's really finding his way into that kind of third-down, big-play type of guy. EQ playing great ball, and we like to get it to EQ as much as we can, and if the defense allows us to throw the ball back side, which they tend to, we like to throw the ball to EQ a lot. So with that he takes his breaks and he steps out, and we don't lose a step with Miles. He's done a really good job with developing his routes and getting better as the weeks go on, and with a guy like him who doesn't necessarily have the most playing experience, he's definitely maturing as the year goes on and becoming a guy that you truly can trust to get the ball to on big plays.

Q. I know you guys were traveling, but last week when there was a quarterback matchup at Louisville and Clemson, do you keep your eye on that one and maybe see how those guys and maybe throw yourself in that conversation and kind of think about that?
DeSHONE KIZER: You know, I did enjoy watching those guys go at it. Being a big fan of the game, it's hard not to go and watch those guys who were putting up crazy numbers. Really cool to see. To compare myself to either of those guys would be dumb on my part. They're two completely different style of quarterbacks than I am. But it was truly entertaining to watch those guys go out and battle, and having good relationships with Deshaun Watson, it's fun to go out and cheer for a friend.

Q. Just curious, with Coach Kelly taking a bigger hand on the defensive side of the ball, what's different for you guys? I don't mean in a sense of him necessarily not being there, but different atmosphere at practice?
DeSHONE KIZER: No. We really haven't skipped a beat. A lot has changed quickly. As much as the emphasis has been on defense and the attitude that they're going through and getting Coach Kelly more involved and new defensive coordinator, we're making adjustments on the offense, too. And part of that is just have a guy like Coach Denbrock kind of take the lead during practice, and Coach Denbrock has always been a guy who completely commands the offense at the offensive coordinator position alongside Coach Stanford, and those guys are just a little more verbal than usual. The things that Coach Kelly typically would say kind of adjust to Coach Denbrock, still the same message is being pushed through and we're responding great to it. We really haven't skipped a beat on offense other than the fact that we're just going out and having a little more fun and having a better attitude about the game.

Q. Does Coach Kelly still have hands-on role? Is he spending the whole practice with the defense the whole time or is he kind of --
DeSHONE KIZER: He's all over. He's all over. He's been a part of the team all the way across the board, in every aspect of the game. When you start off the way that we started off, obviously all eyes go on him, the head coach. He's come out and demanded greatness out of everyone in every position, and in order to do so, he goes around and coaches every position. Instead of having offense emphasis and putting emphasis on the quarterback because he's in our meeting room, he's gone through and coached every position as if he was kind of a second position coach everywhere, and from that we're getting great responses from the guys and it's really working out for us.

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