Offensive Thoughts on BYU and Michigan

A number of Irish players were made available to the media on Monday to discuss last week's loss to BYU, and to talk about their rival game this weekend against Michigan. The Irish players have been pointing to this game after their disappointing loss in Ann Arbor. Here are some thoughts on both last week's disappointing loss, and this week's big game against Michigan.

The Irish barely used wide receiver Carlyle Holiday in Saturday's game and the senior left the field without a reception on Saturday.

From the quotes given by Holiday on Monday, one can tell he wants the ball. If Holiday isn't the best athlete on the team, he's one of the top three, and we think the Irish coaches should listen and get the ball into his hands.

Carlyle Holiday on the game this weekend.

"It's a big game. It's a game to get us back on track. Right now we see it as a big challenge. They're probably one of the top three or four teams in the country and we've to start to get the confidence back and go out there and win ballgames."

On how he can get on field more.

"I've just got to get out there and show the coaches that I'm ready to play. I'm not a quarterback anymore, and try to get me on the field. Anytime you have someone sitting on the sidelines, and you know you can make plays, I think that hurts the team and yourself."

On what positions he's learned at wide receiver.

"I play all the position in the receiving rotation. I'm not just an "X" or a "Z," I play X, Z, slot, that's isn't a problem for me."

On if recognizing coverages is a problem for him.

"I don't have any problem recognizing coverages, people usually ask me about the coverages so those kinds of things are not an issue right now."

On if he could find another role on the team besides wide receiver.

"I feel I can do whatever is asked of me. There's a lot of options, when I'm in the backfield, that I can do, so I think we've just got to take advantage of those kinds of things."

On if the Michigan loss last season was hard to recover from.

"It hurt the team a lot. It was an early loss, but the way we lost, just being shut out. It hurt to lose that way. It took a lot out of us and those kinds of things are always hard to bounce back from."

On his thoughts on why the Irish lost so badly last year to Michigan.

"We were kind of young up front. They were able to capitalize on turnovers and we weren't. They were able to execute and we weren't. As the game the game rolled on, we just lost confidence, and the final score showed that."

On if it's hard to watch other offenses execute at a high level, and then watch their offense struggle like they did on Saturday.

"Just watching the games before our game—just offenses, what they're able to do and how they're able to execute. We look at ourselves, we have talent, and we're not out there executing and not putting up the points we expect to, it hurts. We don't see why this isn't happening for us."

Sophomore quarterback Brady Quinn endured the relentless BYU rush this past weekend and is set to play in his first Michigan game of his career. Quinn completed 26 passes in 47 attempts last week, for 265 yards and his first touchdown of the season. Quinn says he's excited about the game this weekend.

On starting against Michigan.

"I'm excited, it's a big game. I think we're trying to put last week behind us, other than using it as motivation to take into this game."

Brady Quinn on how he can help improve the offense.

"I've got to make plays and try to make something happen. I think, at times, I just need to force things when we need a big spark or a big play. We just need to make sure we take advantage of opportunities when we have them."

On why the Irish couldn't get the ball down field in the passing game against BYU.

"I think there were a lot of different factors that played into why we weren't getting the ball down field more.

"It was a combination of things. They were bringing a lot of pressure and showing some different fronts that we had some problems picking up. They were playing pretty soft coverage and it was hard for us to eat up their cushion and it's going to take a little extra time for guys to get open down field."

On having success against Michigan's secondary.

"I feel we have an extreme amount of talent on offense and that we will rise to the occasion. It's a challenge, going against Michigan, they're a great team, but we look forward to that."

On almost choosing Michigan out of high school.

"That's just part of how things go. You sign that letter of intent and everything changes."

On if he hates Michigan now.

"I don't really hate anyone, but I dislike them very heavily."

On not establishing the run last weekend hurting the offense.

"I think that played some part in it. Anytime you can't have a balanced attack it makes it a little easier for the defense to kind of hone into what you're trying to do. But that's on me to pick it up in the passing game to make sure I'm getting the ball to the receiver on time."

On why Michigan would try to do anything on defense different that BYU did.

"Michigan will line up a little different. For (identification) purposes, it will be a little easier for us. BYU runs a little bit different defense. It was kind of tough, picking up certain things coming out of the secondary, I anticipate Michigan doing pretty much the same thing, but after being through it with this past game, we should have some experience with it."

On what went wrong with the running game on Saturday.

"It's hard to tell looking back at film. I think there's some things that we really need to work on going into this week. It's hard to tell, though."

On where they should see the biggest improvement this week.

"Obviously the running game is the one thing we should improve, but also in the passing game. There's definitely a lot of things we can work on, and work into the game plan going into this week. I think you'll see improvement, big time, in both places."

On if this offense lacks confidence at times.

"I think there are times where we've maybe come out a little slow, but picked it up in later quarters. I think at times it can be, somewhat, confidence playing a role."

On if getting on the scoreboard early is vital this weekend.

"Going into this game, we really feel a sense of urgency to get on the board. I think we did as well with this past game, but things didn't seem to work out. That's definitely one of our goals this week--to get on the board early."

On if there is a lot of desire to make up for the defeat against Michigan last year.

"I think there's a lot of desire, obviously coming from last year's beating, but also from this past week. The X factor would have to be the hunger that this team has for a win right now."

Ryan Grant on when he found out he wasn't able to play last week.

"It was kind of a game-time situation. On Friday, I warmed up really well, did a couple of sprints, and it was just a decision where the coaches felt it be better to hold me out."

On if the team needs him.

"I feel like the team needs me because I know I can help this team. I definitely don't think that's an excuse for what happened. We as a team; didn't play up to our ability. I feel like I can be a boost to this team in a lot of different ways."

On if this is game is a statement game this weekend.

"We're only going to go up because we're not going to allow ourselves to go down, and the coach won't allow us to go down. I think this is a statement game. This is a great stage for us. You've got a great team like Michigan coming into our home. We've got to get after them. I really think we need to start off fast. That's one thing that didn't do last weekend."

Will he definitely be on the field on Saturday.

"Unless I get struck by lightening or something—right now I'm on course to play."


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