Quotes From The Blue-Gold Game

The Irish held their 75th annual Blue-Gold game on Saturday and Irish Eyes was there getting the scoop after the game. Here are some quotes from Irish players and coaches after the game.

Billy Palmer on becoming a receiving threat.

"That felt great. Just being included in the offense and to get a chance to do some good things and to move the ball a bit—it definitely felt great."

Palmer on his impressive grabs.

"Anything you make an impact in the offense—whether it's blocking or receiving—your goal is to go out there and contribute and help the team win. I'm just happy to contribute and do well."

Palmer on the number of tight ends competing for the starting job.

"Every single one of those guys has brought their "A" game to practice every day. It elevates the level of competition and we've all gotten better from each other, and I hope that continues through training camp and the season."

Rashon Powers-Neal on improving his overall speed.

"I worked really hard on that in the off-season. I worked really hard on getting my speed up. It's kind of showing off right now."

Rashon on how much he's improved his speed.

"Quite a bit. I'd like to think I was always fast, but I think for much weight I've gained, it's improved a lot."

Powers-Neal on receiving out of the backfield.

"We work on it every day. I try to go in there as much as I can, get extra work at it. I just need to go out there and make sure I concentrate on what I'm doing."

Powers-Neal on switching to tailback.

"It's not up to me right now, I just want to play."

Defensive coordinator Kent Baer on the game.

"I was happy with today. The main thing is we have had some injuries, but I don't think there's any serious injuries."

On seeing what he wanted out of the young secondary.

"I don't know if you ever get what you want. I'm really pleased with what some of the younger guys have done in the back end. Tommy Zbikowski has had a really good spring. (Chinedum Nduwke) has had a great spring. Freddie Parish has, and we've had a number of those younger corners. The three guys that have the most playing time didn't practice this spring. So, a lot of guys are getting more reps. It's almost a way, even though you don't like to, you develop a little bit of depth that way."

On Ndukwe.

"He's going to be a heck of a football player for us. He's got a lot to learn—made some mistakes today I noticed just watching him real close. Very talented, really likes the position, I think he's a really good learner, just needs a lot of reps. He's going to be a real good player."

On Brandon Hoyte's coverage in passing situations and his overall spring.

"I'm glad you mentioned that because I noticed that--especially first half—breaking on the ball and making plays. He almost had an interception. It's an area where we've really focused on with him, and he's gotten better. It's just something we've got to keep working on and getting better and better at."

On the starters along the defensive line being hurt most of the spring.

"It's hard to develop continuity in the spring. With all the guys missing, the school, and I don't know if we really plan on developing continuity in the spring. I think you concern yourself more with teaching the defense, the fundamentals, the technique. I think you really start to develop some continuity this summer and obviously fall camp."

Offensive coordinator Bill Diedrick on Rashon Powers-Neal.

"If he's going to continue to be a huge playmaker like that, and have the ability to make plays, he's going to get his time—whether it be at tailback and/or fullback."

On Powers-Neal's spring.

"I think that it started slow, it gradually got better. I think he got healthy and then towards the latter part of the spring it really started showing as a running back.—probably more so as a blocker and the things that he can contribute. I think he's always been a good receiver. I think where he's really stepped it up a notch is what he did with the ball as a ball carrier. With some of our injuries, we moved Rashon back and forth between tail and fullback and it gave him a chance to give him more touches."

On Jeff Samardzija.

"I think one thing we always knew with Jeff is that he has great hands and he's also very, very athletic. The one things that he has done all spring long has been truly consistent in his catching the ball and he's really has had a knack for making plays. That really has been the trademark all spring. I think it's been a pleasant surprise because he's definitely put himself in a position where he's in the rotation."

On Samardzija getting the ball a lot more this fall.

"I think definitely. I think that now when you look at the stack of tight ends on the inside, if you have Jeff inside as a receiver, you feel a lot more confident as a quarterback if you've got some inside routes. If he's an outside receiver, he's matched up with a much smaller defensive back, you know you've got a chance to put it up there and he's going to go up and fight for it. I think wherever you've got him you've got a chance to get him the ball or work the ball to him."

On the improvement of the offensive line this spring.

"When we were healthy, we worked 1s on 1s a lot. So, I think that, especially early in the spring, we got great quality work against each other. I was pleased with our progress there. I think our O-line and has gotten better. We have seen so much pressure and so much blitz this spring. Every period it almost seemed like a blitz pickup."

On Quinn and not seeing much pressure during the game.

"It's like when you're in skeleton, you expect your quarterbacks to be at 85-90 percent with no pass rush. Now you put a little bit of pass rush, you've still got to make those reads—you've still got to deliver the ball. The pass rush doesn't bother me because he's got great poise in the pocket and (he's) shown that all through spring. I think we did that more as a caution thing today so that we come out of spring healthy. He's seen a lot of pressure and a lot of blitz this spring."

On being pleased with Quinn picking up the blitz.

"Ah, very much. Very much."

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