Spring Game Quotes

A record crowd of over 51,000 witnessed the 78th Annual Blue-Gold Football Game under sunny skies and warm temperatures. After the game, Irish Eyes was able to get quotes from David Bruton, Junior Jabbie, Tom Zbikowski, and Maurice Crum.

Junior Safety David Bruton

How would you rate your game today?

"I've tried to get better day-by-day, day-in and day-out."

Can you tell us about that flip in the end zone?

"I was just going to stick the ball out; then I just decided to end up flipping and go ahead and do the Lambeau leap. That's something I always wanted to do and I took advantage of the situation."

Describe the interception that you had today.

"I got a good break and then I ended up over-breaking it. So I had to step back to catch it and I just took off running. I noticed all our guys were blocking, making great blocks. Then there was a block that I set up and ended up hitting the crease and went the distance."

Do the defensive schemes help your comfort level?

"It's definitely helped my comfort level. It's great to be out there more relaxed and trying to direct traffic and everything. You just play with confidence and poise."

Do you feel like these schemes help you use your athleticism?

"I feel like it can just by helping me relax. Obviously, you don't have the tension of being pulled back and forth and things like that. I can just drop down in the box and do free-lance play and just be relaxed and calm."

You've gone through 14 spring practices, does it make you feel good to play like you did today in front of 51,000 people. Is this 15th practice a little special?

"It feels real good and feels different in many ways. The excitement level and how tired you are after the celebration. It's completely different within the game-setting. It was fun and a great experience to be able to realize the difference between doing it in practice and doing it in a game. Doing it in practice has kind of helped me be prepared for doing it in a game."

How hard is it going to be to wait several months before you can get back out there again?

"It just gives me time to go ahead and enjoy this moment and then try and get better in every aspect that I have a little problem with; then when it comes down to it, doing the same thing in the real game when it counts."

Do you feel like you've done enough to earn a starting spot?

"I feel like I became a strong contender for it, but not everything is set in stone and when September 1st comes, we'll know who the starting free safety is. I feel like I have stepped up and kept get better and better each day."

Did you appreciate having a couple of legends out there for coaches?

"It's great. Coach Holtz on the gold team was giving us inspirational speeches. After my celebration, he pulled me over and talked with me about celebrating; showing as for me or showing for we as a team and everything. It was actually fun being coached by the coaching legends who won national championships themselves."

Senior Running Back Junior Jabbie

Do you feel like you have sort of been overlooked and came in with that attitude?

"Just coming into the spring, I knew everybody had a fair chance to get some playing time because all the main people in our offense last year are gone. So I feel the coaches were going to look at everybody fair and give everybody a chance to play."

You were a defensive back and you asked to move over to offense. Did you always feel that you were a natural tailback?

"Yeah, growing up ever since Pee Wee Football, I've always played offense and I never really played defense. I got recruited by a couple schools to play defense but most were offense. I felt like I would make a better impact by playing running back. I asked Coach and he approved it."

How would you categorize your running style?

"I put myself as a slasher. I can do a little bit of everything and I'm just continuing to do that. We all have different running styles and I think that's what the coaches like about all of us."

What was your adrenaline level like for the spring game?

"I mean it's a game. The main concept behind it is it's a game and you're going to go out there and compete as hard as you can. Even in practice and every time you play football, you go out there and compete as hard as you can. We're being evaluated by everything we do this whole spring and this game. It's going to be a big evaluation of what's going to happen this fall."

How did it feel playing in front of 50,000 fans?

"It feels good; it really feels good to get a chance to do what I like to do in front of a lot of people. It was just a great opportunity for me and I'm just happy that I got a chance to do it."

How hard is it to have to wait several months before you get to do it again?

"That's no problem because I know every day before fall is a chance to get better and work on things that we weren't as sharp on in the spring."

Senior Safety Tom Zbikowski

What's the attitude and similarities between this team and last year's team?

"I think for the most part before the season, there wasn't any big names; there was no Jeff Samardzija or Fasano (Anthony) or people like that and I think there are guys that have the talent and want to make names for themselves and make plays and I think that's what you are going to see right now. You look at our offense and there's a bunch of no-name guys that by year's end are probably going to be well known."

How's the defense look this spring?

"For the most part, I think it's been looking good. We haven't been giving up big plays and we've been going for turnovers and making interceptions and things like that. So that's what we need to keep building on in the fall and we're going to be a solid defense."

What went into your decision of coming back and when did you make the decision?

"I can't remember exactly when it was. I wasn't just happy with the way that I played really. I just had too much pride to leave on that kind of note."

Losing guys like Jeff and Brady (Quinn), do you feel like you have to step up into more of a leadership position?

"Not really, with the three other captains we've got, we've got pretty good leadership roles. I've been saying all spring, being a younger team, we have some hungry guys who want to make plays and they're going to go out and be working hard. So I don't think there's going to be any problem with leadership. I think there is definitely a different attitude that we haven't had around here."

Were you happy with the defense today and what have you been seeing from them all spring?

"I think the secondary has concentrated on the deep routes and making sure we don't give anything up like that. If we give up a four or five yard route, we're going to be able to live with that and play defense again. If you give up big plays that turn into touchdowns, it's going to hurt you all the time and Coach Brown expresses his feelings that he doesn't want explosions, which is big plays, and for the most part we haven't been giving them up."

You've had different position coaches in your career, when did you start feeling comfortable with Coach Brown and how did he make you feel comfortable?

"I think actually the first time I went into his office and started talking with him; it was more on a personal level than strictly talking football. So once you get to know someone on a personal level, he's a family guy and he's intense and he's going to get in your face, but he wants you to succeed and you can tell that when you talk to him."

Senior Linebacker Maurice Crum

Are you glad that spring practice is over?

"I'm happy to have a couple days off, but camp will be here before you know it so you just enjoy the time off when you can."

Being one of the leaders on the team, what did you observe about the quarterbacks this spring?

"I really wasn't paying any attention to the quarterbacks because I was trying to make sure on the other side of the ball that we held our end up. I'll leave it to Coach Weis to make those kinds of observations."

What did you like that you saw today?

"All of them throwing the ball; I definitely saw that. I haven't had a chance to see them throw but I got a chance to see them throw some passes. It seems to me like there's a big difference going into camp and going into summer, I think their confidence continues to grow."

You've been around the other quarterbacks; what has impressed you about Jimmy Clausen coming in?

"Off the field, I think the thing that impresses me about Jimmy is his attitude. He's a quiet guy and he stays to himself. I think he's an old man with a young person's body. I think he really is beyond his years and I think that will show."

IrishIllustrated.com Top Stories