Senior wide receiver Maurice StovallCan you talk about going against bigger defensive backs?
"I think going against bigger guys, you have to use technique. Wide receivers coach Rob Ianello always talks about using techniques whether the guy is 5-8 or 6-2, basically getting body position and running good routes and coming sharp out of your breaks. It's just a matter of getting open and getting body position downfield."
What do you know about Ohio State and have you seen them play?
"Actually, I haven't seen any of them and haven't watched any film of them either. I've been pretty busy writing papers and preparing for finals. So we will get ready for them today in meetings and get ready for them next week as far as watching film."
Is this offense like paradise for a wide receiver?
"It definitely is, but we also have to block. A lot of games we'll pass the ball a lot and others we might run a lot depending upon the type of defense we are playing, but it does allow our wide receivers to have more opportunities to make plays. I think that is why Samardzija was up for the Biletnikoff, and we have 1000-yard receivers on the team. Just playing under Coach Weis is very exciting."
Do you like to block?
"I like blocking. I enjoy playing wide receiver, and being a wide receiver on this team you are required to block and make plays downfield."
How do you explain all the touchdowns you have scored in the last four games?
"It's all Coach Weis and the type of offense he has and him giving me the opportunity to make plays. Like I said, it all changes with the type of defense we play against. Some games we might pass and others we might run. Some games we might have a balance of both and there are opportunities for the wide receivers to make plays."
How much leeway do you guys have to tell the coaches about situations where you feel you might be able to get open and beat the back?
"I don't think the coaches tell us but Brady might ask us individually when we are on the sidelines. We definitely let him know. We are always communicating when we are coming off the field after a series whether we were three and out or converting on third down or just scoring. We always communicate on and off the field as far as getting open on different plays and getting open on different routes."
Junior quarterback Brady QuinnWhat do you feel about the bowl losing streak?
"I'm on a one-in-a-row streak [laughing] but that needs to stop. I think our program and the university and all of our fans - everyone - have been there to support us for these bowl games. It obviously has been upsetting and a misfortunate outcome for them."
Do you think there has been sort of a snowball effect?
"I think bowl games are so different than games in-season. During the season, it may have some kind of a snowball effect, but I don't think with bowl games you necessarily go in thinking, ‘wow, 4 and 0' and you feel like you can't win a bowl game especially when it hasn't been consecutive years for this team."
Do you get anxious waiting for the bowl game to come around?
"I think the biggest thing is not to have that rusty feeling. Obviously, you have a lot of time off, especially through exam time, like right now. You just have to keep things moving and keep things going, and I think the coaches have done a good job in keeping us involved and not out of the loop of football practice and everything."
Does the bowl game feel sort of like the first game of the season?
"It kind of does because you have all the preparation before; it's almost like getting back to fall camp."
Does it feel different this year than last year because of all the turmoil before the bowl game? Do you think there will be a different atmosphere this year?
"I think it will. I had the opportunity to stay out there an extra few days after the bowl game last year and the difference between the BCS bowls is just crazy and being around all those Utah fans out there at that point in time; the excitement they had and what was going on in Tempe was cool. I'm just looking forward to the opportunity of being out there and hope to be able to pick up a win."
What has been the biggest change for you as quarterback this year?
"Probably the mental things that Coach Weis has had me work on as quaraterback.There are a lot of physical things you can work on but the mental aspect of the game is probably the biggest. He has taught us as a team how to prepare and how to know your opponent and how to face different forms of adversity. Coach has taught me a lot as far as working through defeat and bad plays and just moving on."
Did you think the game was this mental before or did coach Weis make this more apparent?
"Yes he did, and I think a lot of that plays on the system he brought in. Obviously, it places a lot more responsibility on the quarterback, and it deals with a lot more mental things coming up to the line of scrimmage and even playing in a game. There's a lot more to playing quarterback in different systems or even in your overall offense then I had realized before."
Do you feel Coach Weis has ridden you harder than you had been in the past?
"Yeah, I would say just because of his attitude; the way he kind of motivates different players and does different things. I think it is pretty obvious how Coach Weis rides his quarterback and what he wants from him because I think you have heard him say the quarterback has to be an extension of him out there on the field. It's tough for me to be exactly as he is, but at the same time, I have to be somewhat of an extension of what he wants as leadership and as quarterback out there on the field."
Are you disappointed to be here today?
"I'm definitely disappointed that I'm not going to New York and doing that, but at the same time, I have the opportunity to practice and to prepare for our upcoming bowl game which to me is more important than being somewhere where you probably are not going to end up receiving the award those guys are going for. I think we all know who is going to win that."
Did you feel bad about being snubbed?
"Not at all, it's not for me to decide who goes to those sorts of things, and when you look at the players who are there, they obviously deserve to be there. They have had tremendous seasons, and it is not really up for me to decide if I go and everyone there is playing on an undefeated team and playing for the National Championship. How could you argue you should be there when you are playing in the Fiesta Bowl and not the Rose Bowl?"
Being the Notre Dame quarterback is high profile. Sometimes do you feel you have the weight of the world on you?
"Nah, I wouldn't say that. People build it up to be so much more than what it is. When you look at it, I'm 21 years old, playing a game that I love to play. It's not a life or death situation with me. I think there are a lot of people out there who are definitely doing more extreme and special things than what I'm doing."
Sophomore running back Darius WalkerCan you explain the difference for you between this year and last year?
"It takes awhile to catch on, being a young freshman I think, and I'm really excited for our freshmen this year, Asaph Schwapp, David Grimes, D.J. Hord, and all those guys, they seem to have handled the transition very well."
What has made you guys so good in the second quarter of games?
"Coaching, I think has made us great. Our coaches stay on us regardless of whether we are winning, or if the game is close, or if we are losing. That is what I like about our coaches. They have the same mentality regardless of what is going on in the game. It sort of helps us to stay grounded and helps us to stay focused when the coaches are going to be the same all the time."
How alert do you have to be in Coach Weis's offense?
"You have to stay very alert in this kind of offense because Brady can change a play from run to pass or pass to run at any time. So I think as a running back you have to understand when he is going to do that, understand coverages, and when safeties spin down, he's going to change the play from this to that. So everybody has to be alert and know what is going on because you never know what Brady is going to do."
What do you think of A.J. Hawk?
"From what I have seen of him, I think he will be the best linebacker we will have played all year. And it's just going to be interesting to get a chance to go out and play against a player like that. It's really what I think Notre Dame is all about; playing in these kinds of games and getting a chance to play these kinds of teams. That is really why you come here as a player."
You guys have shown a lot of confidence this year. How was it in that last drive against Stanford?
"That drive sort of symbolizes our season in a way. It sort of symbolizes our mentality. I remember when Stanford scored and went up by one, and we as an offense on the sidelines, our expression never changed. Everybody knew what we had to do, and everybody knew the task at hand, and everybody was definitely up to the challenge. So when we got out there and actually started running plays, it was almost as if we weren't playing anyone, it was almost as if we were out there by ourselves, because we are so instilled in our minds by our coaches and things, that we can do this and we don't worry about those kinds of things anymore; it's just going to happen for us. I don't know if it's the luck of the Irish (laughing) or confidence from this year, but we really feel that we can play with anyone."
How different is the attitude going into this bowl game, than last year's bowl game?
"Big, big difference. I think these two bowl games from last year and this year - as far as distance, they are kind of close - but I think the gap is way bigger than the distance geographically. It is so different going into this bowl game. I remember last year, there was a bad taste in our mouths, even going into the bowl game, let alone what happened in the game (laughing). So the stakes are so much different here. We're so excited about the season we had, and we just want to end it on a good note."