Quotes From the Spring Game

The Irish interview room was crowded and noisy following the completion of the 76th Annual Blue-Gold Game. The atmosphere was similar to a regular season win over a top-ranked opponent. Irish Eyes had to opportunity to speak with a number of the players after the game, and one could feel the excitement of a new era of Notre Dame football begins.


How different was today compared to a practice scrimmage?

"Anytime you put in the simulation of a game I think you can obviously get out of it the mechanics of running the offense and going through the plays against a live defense and that kind of thing. We got a lot of things out of it today and sort of closed out the spring and kind of got an idea where we are as an offense."

How much of the offense is in right now?

"It is so hard to tell right now; we have a strong foundation, but I don't know if I can put a percentage on that. But we have a good idea of what we are trying to do as an offense, but I don't think we are anywhere close to what is going to be put in by next fall."

What did you do best today?

"I guess just going through the mechanics of leading the team and using the mechanics of being a quarterback. I tried not to have any penalties; no mistakes in communicating what the call is and that kind of stuff. Obviously there are things I could have done better today.

What is the biggest difference between coming out before 20,000 people and a regular practice?

"I think you said it right there. Playing in front of 20,000 people spooks some people and maybe gets them off their game a little bit and may affect them the way they play and how they think. So obviously playing in front of a crowd like that kind of changes some things and might even boost some players in the way they perform."


How do you think Brady has performed in the new offense this spring?

"I think he has handled the new offense, and he is going to continue to improve on his skills. We have a long summer ahead of us and we are going to try to use all of it to improve, and we'll go from there, and I think Brady is going to be just fine for us."

"In this offense you just can't be a runner, you just can't be a thrower. You have to overall become a smarter, more balanced quarterback. I think Brady has all the attributes to become that, if he's not close to being there already. When the season comes around, I think we're all going to do our best to be where we need to be for the first game."

How much of a grasp do you think you have of the new offense?

"I think we have a good one. Right now we are just going from what we know, and I think for the offense that we have put in, we're pretty happy with how things have gone. I think we have a pretty good grasp for the things to come and for what we know right now, so we can only go step-by-step."


Was it a change when Coach Weis said there would be competition for positions and playing time?

"With him doing that, even in the fifteen practices of spring, that has ignited a little bit of a fire under us, so that has been the biggest change."

Would you say the new system is an overhaul?

"For me, football is football. One of the ways the transition of this offense, in my mind, I have related the plays we have gotten in this system to the plays we had in the old one. And as far as the play-calling and stuff, we haven't gotten into situation where we are going to do that yet. So I really don't know how different the system is going to be. It is too early in the game for the center or left guard to be able to tell you that."


How do you feel about the personnel on the teams today?

"The odds were against us, but that is no excuse for us to go out there and play the way we did. We have a lot of things to work on; we've only had four weeks to get prepared for the spring game. So there is still a lot of stuff we have to get done."

How do you think you have progressed this spring?

"I feel pretty comfortable with the system. Coach Weis has only put in about half the playbook, but I'm feeling pretty comfortable about the job of being the back-up quarterback."

How did it feel being out there as a starter today?

"It felt good. I was excited to go out there with that atmosphere. Some things I didn't do well, but I think I did okay. It was an exciting time."


Your thoughts on spring ball.

"To tell you what, I think a lot of guys came around. I think we learned a lot about the coaching staff as far as the schemes are concerned. I'm just really happy how everybody came together and put that work ethic there day-in and day-out."

What about the progress of the younger players?

I think one of the things about our young guys that we are fortunate about, they have unbelievable feel for the ball. They fly around and try to make plays, and I think that is the one thing you have to keep in mind."

What do you need to do between now and fall?

"Simply get better. As a team, I think we have to take this summer and work out very hard so we can be ready."

Coach Weis mentioned about retention of all the new things. Is this very difficult?

"We are really fortunate because I think we have a really good group of smart guys, and I think it is just taking it up to the next level and learning as much as we can and moving on."


How do you think things went out there with the offense?

"I think we jelled very well. We had a good day on both sides of the ball as far as offense and defense is concerned. Offensively we executed the way we wanted and everybody remembered their plays and whatnot, so I think it went well for us."

Did you meet the expectations you had coming in this spring?

"I don't think you can ever grow enough, and in a sense, I think we really did jell and we really did grow a lot this spring. But again, during the summer we still have a lot to do, and we have a lot to learn and a lot of growing to do, and we have to jell even more come season-time. But the spring was definitely good for us, especially coming into a new system and new coaches and all of that. So we're all really excited how things are planned out, and we are all feeling good."

Do you know how the Patriots have won all those Super Bowls now?

"Yea, you know you can see a lot of that coming out now. You really can."

Coach Weis in his press conference had some high praise for you. How does that motivate you?

"Whenever coach Weis speaks, I think as far as any player is concerned, we are there to listen and learn from him. And when he actually says things to you and commenting and things like that, I think it really hits home to me as a player. Because this is someone who has NFL experience, and who knows how to get the job done, and who knows the game in and out, when he says you are doing things well, that just motivates you to work harder and keep doing those things and keep getting the praise from him."

What's next for you? Do you take some time off?

"I definitely need to take a little time off. The springtime is the roughest time, and it will be nice to get a few days of rest; then get ready to go back at it in the summer."

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