Captains Excited After Spring Game

The 2006 Irish captains, Brady Quinn, Travis Thomas and Tom Zbikowski, met with the media following today's game, which was won by the Blue team on a 20-yard field goal as time expired. What did the captains think of Saturday's game?

Senior Running Back Travis Thomas

Would you tell us about your touchdown run?

"I saw daylight as two of our linemen doubled up on the Mike and the safeties had rotated to the right and there wasn't anybody on the backside, so I just hit the crease and took it all the way. I was tired, but made it."

Could you evaluate how you thought the game went?

"The final score was 10-7 so obviously it was a battle on both sides. It took awhile for the offense to get going on both sides, and it was fun and very competitive."

Do you think your stock went up a little out there today?

"Definitely. Every time I go out there, I try to perform at a higher level each time. I tried to make the best out of every play they gave me today and I think I did so."

Did you know that Leo [Ferrine] was closing on you when you scored?

"Yes Leo was coming right down behind me, and I think Bruton [David] was right behind him and I was counting the yards as I was running - five more, five more - and I looked back and he was right on my tail so I leaped in there. I was really tired, but I made it."

Coach Weis said he wasn't too impressed with the dance in the end zone. What do you think?

"Actually, we came up with it in the huddle and decided we had to do something if we scored, but I thought it was too bold, but finally said all right whatever. Then I almost forgot to do it and everyone said come on back, and I liked it."

Senior Quarterback Brady Quinn

How would you assess the game today?

"We didn't do exactly what we wanted to do obviously on offense. I think we were more or less just trying to work the ball around and trying to do some different things to get us going. We started off slow and we needed to pick things up so we went to the two-minute offense for awhile."

At the end it seemed like you guys were wanting to go for the touchdown - is that right?

"Yes, especially since the guys running and carrying us all the way down there to the one-yard line and then the coaches called a timeout with three seconds to go."

Do you think you accomplished your goals this spring?

"My goals coming into this spring initially were to develop a relationship with guys like John Carlson and get back on the same page with Rhema (McKnight) and start to work through all those kinds of things. And obviously we want to keep building on those fundamental things and building on the mental part of your game. I think there are some goals I obviously felt strong about that we accomplished. I have established a good rapport with John, and I think Rhema and I are definitely getting back to where we were two years ago. A lot of things have been accomplished but personally I don't feel as if I did as well as I would have liked this spring. You just have to go out today and show your best, and it was fun."

How much fun is this game for you guys?

"We have a lot of fun. Obviously, we were talking back and forth and saying things to each other; and talking trash and exchanging jokes while we were out there. It's a lot of fun and it's good to go up against each other."

Was today about the total picture, not just a game, but all the fans and everything?

"Obviously, when you have a game like this, a lot of things play a part. It certainly is a big recruiting weekend for us. And it allows us to showcase some of the younger guys and allows them to get their work in, in front of a big crowd. I think it was a successful weekend for our program."

Senior Defensive Back Tom Zbikowski

Were the big plays a disappointment for the defense today?

"I think so because I think today you saw we played pretty decent coverage throughout the game. One big play was a mental mistake and that's what we have been focusing on, but I think the big plays have been cut down a lot from what we have seen in the past. And we just have to keep working to get better."

Were you happy with the overall defense today?

"I think so, but you're never going to be happy when you lose or you give up a touchdown. But under the circumstances we've made progress this spring, and I think we're pretty happy."

How important is it to bring in the honorary coaches for this game?

"I think it's very big. Everybody talks about tradition, but to actually have the players come back and tell us what it was like and what it means and how to win championships; just being around people who have won championships and someone who just recently won a Super Bowl championship, is absolutely great. And for us to get to know them is big."

Having Jerome Bettis back, was that big?

"Just to see somebody who had success in college and the pros, and he definitely relates to us. We saw him play when we were young, and it's great to get to know him."

How much time do you spend with these guys when they come back?

"They talked to us yesterday for a pretty significant amount of time. Jerome didn't get into town until today, but he talked to us before the Pittsburgh game and talked to us today too. It was definitely great to see Bettis, the Rocket, and all the guys and hear what they have to say."

Do you think the defense erased some of the doubts today?

"I think you saw more of a team effort and we got some pressure on Brady, including sacks and tackles for losses. Maybe the coverage wasn't always that good, but it was a team effort except for the one or two big plays given up, but we've still got to eliminate those to be a dominant defense."


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