Countdown to 2004 Season Has Begun

The 2004 Media Day was held in the Joyce Center on Monday and the Irish players appeared eager to kick off the 2004 season. Irish Eyes was able to talk with and get quotes from some of the players who will be counted on to be leaders of this 2004 Irish team.

Brady Quinn:

"You are going to see big things from this offense. The entire unit is back for the most part and there is going to be big strides made compared to last year in the running and passing game."

"As we prepare for BYU, we have to make sure everybody is on the same page with adjustments, execution, and things like that."

"The speed of the game has slowed down a pretty good amount for me. I'm looking for it to slow down more this season, but right now I think it is where I want it to be."

"I worked with the wide receivers and all of the receivers this summer doing seven-on-seven, one-on-one routes and getting a feeling what they are like and in certain situations predicting what they are going to do and what their next move is going to be."

Mark LeVoir:

"We still have a long way to go, but we made great strides this spring and we built on it this summer. We need to continue to do this and the good thing, everybody realizes that, and we all are working hard toward that goal."

"The only way to get better is by hard work and you have to be your toughest critic."

"It's always tough to lose. No one here wants to lose and our goal every game is to go out there and win. The only thing you can do is learn from the losses and not let it happen again. We just have to work harder to get where we want to be"

"This off-season conditioning was more intense because everyone knew we had to work harder, but it was fun. The coaches made some of the workouts fun, but we worked hard. There wasn't any goofing off and everybody was serious and working and pushing each other to get better."

Carlyle Holiday:

"I think I am a lot more prepared, not only to play the position, because you have to be in shape to play receiver, and I have lost a couple of pounds. I had to lose pounds because I was dying out there when I first started running with them this summer. Now running with the pack feels good and being around the guys helps out, too, as you learn what they do and what their demeanor is. I have really learned a lot over the summer."

"Two years ago we had strong leadership with the seniors and I see that right now from the seniors as we all realize this is the last time to take a run at it. I see a lot of similarities with the type of players that were on that team two years ago and the things that evolved throughout the whole season. I really see us coming together as a team and we all see that and we are comfortable. We all see great things for this team from every position and we just have to take it from there."

"Brady and I get along real good. I realize that he is the man. Everybody loves him; all the girls love him. We are real good friends and we talk all the time and he comes over and visits at my apartment. There is no animosity with Brady at all. I saw him when he first came in and I said that guy is going to be a player."

"The seniors as a group have talked about leadership. All of us fifth-year seniors and seniors pretty much hang out, and we took it as our objective to take control of the drills during summer workouts. We realize the success of this season depends on the senior leadership on this team, and us leading by example, and that is a big priority for us right now."

Ryan Grant:

"I want to do whatever it takes to win games. I'm not happy with the way I played last year and not happy with our season. More than anything, I want to win games. I want to do whatever it takes. I know what I can do for the team is to run the ball and run hard and make plays and things like that to help the offense."

"I've learned a lot in my three years. With ups and downs in my career and seasons, I've learned you can't take anything for granted. You have to keep working and step up and take each game one game at a time. Each week we are going to play great teams and everybody wants to beat Notre Dame, so we have to come out ready and stay focused and perform."

"Looking at film, one thing I did as a sophomore that I didn't do last year was break tackles, and a lot of our offense is based on breaking that first tackle and making a big run and we focused on this during spring. I've been known as a north/south runner and I think last year I got away from my own style of running. I think I also need to be patient. I need to wait for the whole play to develop."

"I am definitely one of the leaders on the team and I accept that role and want that role. It is not an easy role, but I understand that is what is needed and that is always the type of person I've wanted to be. If you ask the players you will find out that I have been leader and I think one of the ways you can do that is through actions, and I believe the guys will follow you if they see you doing the right things and working hard."

Rhema McKnight :

"You can't keep worrying about last year as it is past. It is a brand new year and a fresh start. We have a lot of new guys and talent coming in to join us, and we feel confident. We have to build off of last year - that is my motivation. I don't ever want to be 5-7 again. I felt low after last season and that has made me work harder."

"The off-season conditioning and work has been good. I think this has been one of the hardest off-seasons we have had and it has been very helpful. We focused on speed drills, leg strength, and lots of things like that. I think the work we put in this summer will really pay off for us."

Justin Tuck:

"I think our linebackers are going to be the strength of our defense. They are going to be a real stout group and combine that with our d-line and secondary, it is going to be a good group. Our secondary is going to surprise a lot of people with their speed, and our coaches are using that to our advantage this year. I'm really excited about our defense."

"Summer conditioning was in one word, hard, and I'm glad it was. Mickey got real creative on us this summer. He had us pushing dump trucks and a lot of other things. You'll see we are ready to go. If we aren't the best conditioned team in America, I don't know who is."

"It's big having Goolsby back with his ability, experience and his knowledge of the game. I'm looking forward to playing with Goolsby, and I told him I am glad he is back as he will be a big focus of our defense this year."

"I think I stepped up to the plate last year and became a better all-around player. I'm never satisfied. I'm still real hungry. I'm always looking to become a better player.


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