Freshmen Transcript

The freshmen met with the media this morning and Irish Eyes was impressed with the way these young players dealt with the media. There definitely seems to be a strong bond within this group of freshmen. Irish Eyes was able to get quotes from the following players:

Quarterback Jimmy Clausen

"Hi everyone, I know a lot of you guys have questions about my health and other issues so I just want to first of all start and address these issues so we can talk about football. Following spring practice, I had a procedure on my elbow to arthroscopically remove a bone spur. It was a minor setback and I have been rehabbing ever since. I've been throwing and practicing every day during camp and my status right now is day to day. In regards to my recent legal issue, I used bad judgment in being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I have learned from my mistake and obviously I'm a lot more informed about the Indiana state law. I'll have no further comment about these issues and I'm here to talk about Notre Dame football."

How do you handle being in the spotlight so much?

"It's good being in the spotlight and you get a lot of praise – and sometimes you don't get a lot of praise and you get backlashes and stuff like that. It's just great to be a part of Notre Dame and be a quarterback for Notre Dame."

Did it help you a lot going to the game in San Antonio?

"It helped me a lot going to San Antonio. Coming here, it took me about two days to get used to the speed at the college level, and I think that helped me a lot coming to Notre Dame."

There's been a lot written and said about you, but just who is Jimmy Clausen?

"It's kind of hard to ignore, but a lot of people really don't know who I am. That's why I am here today; I want you guys to get a chance to know who I am as a person and a player."

What kind of guy are you?

"I'm just a laidback kid from California. I'm a teammate and I like hanging out with the guys and having a lot of fun and just being a college student and a college athlete. Some people like me and some people hate me, and I just have to deal with that. I'm just living a life of being a Notre Dame quarterback and being at a prestigious school like this."

Is it frustrating to know that people hate you even though they don't know you?

"It's not that frustrating because they really don't know me; and if they did know me, they wouldn't hate me. It's a two-way street and once they figure out who I am, they know that I'm a good person."

Running Back Robert Hughes

What's it going to take for you to get on the field early?

"Whatever I can do to help; I'm just trying to get on the bus whether it's special teams or kickoff return, punt return, long-snapper (grinning); whatever it is that I can do to help."

Have you been working on special teams?

"Yes, everybody reps on special teams so they can get a feel for how different guys can help the team."

Have you even done long-snapping?

"No (laughing)."

How different is this fall camp compared to your last high school camp?

"Obviously, the competitiveness. In high school you pretty much knew what was going on your senior year. You were The Man, but now you come here and it's a whole different type of M.O."

What's your opinion of Coach Weis?

"I think he's a great guy and I think he's a great coach. I love playing for him and I look forward to playing for him for a long time."

How has Travis (Thomas) helped you so far?

"He has helped me learn the plays and everything. He tells me how to read the defense. He's been a great help because he's been here for a long time and he understands the whole system. He helps me in learning the different techniques and everything."

What do you think of the running back competition?

"We try to help everybody out and whatever Coach says, we try and go and do."

Wide Receiver Golden Tate

When did you start taking notice of Notre Dame?

"I didn't know much about Notre Dame until my junior year; that's when it started popping up about Notre Dame being such a great school. So I figured I'd give it a look and here I am."

Where does the name Golden come from?

"Actually, that's my father's name and I'm the third. My father had a father named Golden and it was passed down to me and people say it just fits me."

When you were growing up, was that a blessing or was it a curse being named Golden?

"When I was younger, people messed with me, but it never really got to me because it got old real quick."

If you have a son, would you name him Golden?

"I'm not looking that far ahead."

How's that transition to being a receiver progressing?

"I'm slowly getting better, but I have to work on my footwork and getting my steps down. I feel like my hands are okay but I have work to do there too."

Did you realize how precise it was going to be at receiver?

"No, I did not realize it was like that. When I got here, I would run an in-route or an out-route for 14 or 15 yards then Coach would say you have to run it at this amount. I didn't really take it to heart until he kept pushing it upon me."

Is that a visual thing or were you counting steps?

"When I first got here, I didn't have a feel for my steps. When I got close, I would have to look over to the sideline to see where the little markers were."

Is the goal to get to that point where you're not thinking about it?

"Yes, hopefully, once I get comfortable I'm confident that I will be able to go out there and feel my steps."

Wide Receiver Duval Kamara

As a member of this class, what do you think of all the attention on Jimmy?

"Jimmy's a great guy. He handles it well; he's a great guy."

Does it surprise you how much attention goes to one guy?

"It comes with the territory. If you're the number one prospect, you're going to get all the media attention and things like that."

What have you been able to pick up from the older guys at the wide-receiver spot?

"The preciseness of running routes is important and David Grimes has helped me out a lot. It's a big transition."

When you were in high school and you worked out with some different quarterbacks, how do you think that's helped you?

"It was great because you got to catch balls from different guys. Guys don't throw the same so it helped me a lot with three quarterbacks throwing here."

Is it hard not being too interested in who the starting quarterback will be – or is that a topic you don't talk about?

"For me, it's not too hard not being involved because I'm just trying to learn the offense and go day by day."

Have you been getting any special team reps?

"I'm just trying to get on the field any way that's possible – special teams, offense, defense, anything."

Do you feel pretty good about your chances of getting on the field for Georgia Tech?

"I'm hoping to get on the field."

When you go out there, you know it's going to be high intensity and the drills go real fast. Does that help you?

"You have to get going from the gate and that is a transition that I have had to learn to do and it's been tough. But you have to get out of the gate."

Offensive Lineman Matt Romine

What has been the biggest transition from high school ball to football at Notre Dame?

"For one, it's just been the time that you put into the game. In high school in fall camp and two-a-days, it would be about five hours a day you'd be putting in. Here, it's eight or nine hours a day with meetings and practice. You are basically living here. Another thing is the speed of the game. The players are bigger, stronger, faster, and better techniques and it's just something you have to adjust to. And that's what I've been trying to do the past three weeks."

What is your opinion of the coaching staff, especially Coach Weis?

"I like them. It's really one of the main reasons I came here because of Coach Weis, Coach Latina, Coach Haywood and all the coaches I'll be working with."

Do any of them remind you of coaches you had in high school?

"Not really, my offensive line coach in high school and Coach Latina are similar, but different too."

How would you compare your high school weight-training to your weight-training now?

"This is a lot more sophisticated and a lot more demanding. In the summer, you come in here at 6:00 in the morning and run and lift for two hours. I know that's something that I need to work on and that's what I am shooting for is to live in the weight room."

What is your goal for this year?

"First of all, just to make the bus and be on the bus and go to Penn State. Second and most of all, just to do whatever I can to help the team win."

What do you think your chances are of getting on the field early?

"I just have to wait and see. We have been juggling the depth chart. I'm just working real hard and trying to understand the offense and understand the reads and see where it goes from there."

What veteran player has helped you the most in camp?

"With Paul (Duncan) playing the same position as me, he has helped me a lot; whether it's patting me on the back or telling me when I've done something wrong. Sully (John Sullivan) and Sam (Young) over on the other side, they have all helped me. Every day it's someone different helping me out."

Are you looking forward to classes starting on Tuesday?

"I will be, but it's going to be a different animal because of having to juggle football and classes. I'm definitely looking forward to the challenge."

Running Back Armando Allen

How would you compare your running style to Robert Hughes?

"I've watched him, but being freshmen, the only thing that we ever talk about is doing anything to get on the field, whether it be special teams or running out on the field to hand people some water; whatever we can do to help the team."

You'd do that, run out on the field to hand people water?

"If running out on the field and handing people water would give us a victory every Saturday, I would."

What do you like to do away from football?

"Sleep."

Is that because football wears you down?

"I'd say that; it's pretty hard. It's a contact sport. Whenever you get a chance to get some rest, you'd better take it."

Do you know what your major is going to be yet?

"As far as a major, I'm undecided right now."

Being highly recruited, why Notre Dame?

"I knew a lot about Notre Dame, but once I came on my visit for the first time, I automatically knew this was the place for me."

How did your family and friends react when you chose Notre Dame?

"My family and friends supported me 110 percent, and they actually felt Notre Dame was the place for me and respected my decision for going away from home and stepping up to the challenge of being a better man."

What has been the biggest transition from high school to Notre Dame?

"Meetings; in high school you really don't meet that much. It's a big challenge going to every meeting and giving 110 percent, paying attention to everything that's being taught."

What's your opinion of Coach Haywood?

"Coach Haywood is an awesome coach and is probably one of the better running coaches I have ever had in my life."

What's your opinion of Coach Weis?

"I love him; he's a great guy."

Have you ever had a coach similar to Coach Weis or Coach Haywood?

"Not at all; not at all."

Will your family be able to get in for some of your games?

"My mom will probably be at almost every game."

Are you looking forward to classes starting on Tuesday?

"Yes, I'm actually looking forward to classes starting. The fact that I came in early, I kind of know what's ahead on Tuesday, and I'm looking forward to that."

What is your position on special teams?

"Kickoff returns and punt returns."

Linebacker Brian Smith

You have been impressing the coaches. How have you done this?

"I came in here in shape and I came in the summer and did what I could in the weight room and on the field position-wise to put myself in a good position to get on the bus."

Tell us about your decision to come to Notre Dame and is this the place you always wanted to be?

"This is the place I've always wanted to be, and I've come here 50,000 times to games and things. Coming up as a kid, this is the place I always wanted to be and when that opportunity came, it was hard to pass up."

How many games have you attended here?

"Seven to ten."

Have you been on the field before; did you have that opportunity as a kid?

"There was one time when all the alumni made a tunnel for the players, and I was down there with my dad."

How's it been learning the defense with Coach Brown?

"Coach Brown is a real cool guy; he makes everything simple for you. He always refers to page one; whereas if you get confused, refer back to page one and you'll be all right."

Has that philosophy worked well for you?

"It has worked real well; it has worked real well."

Has it helped having a lot of other freshmen learning the same thing at the same time?

"Actually, during camp, my roommate was Kerry Neal. So having him as a roommate, if we had any questions, we would sit around with the playbook and go over things and write questions down."

You said you were a Notre Dame fan. Is it everything you expected now that you are here?

"It's pretty much what I thought it would be, having a father go through it all. But coming into the situation, I expected the absolute worst. I expected to be running all day and not be doing anything and just watching other people play and stuff like that. So when I came here, it was actually a little better than I thought."

Kicker Brandon Walker

What is the longest field goal that you have ever made?

"I can hit the ball well but let's be honest, how many times are you going to hit a 60 yarder in the game. Inside 40 yards, I want to be 100 percent. Outside 40 yards, I want to be 100 percent. I'm just trying to do my job."

What's been the toughest adjustment from a high school kicker to a college kicker?

"A lot of people say kicking off the block and kicking off the ground. But I went into my senior year kicking off the ground all summer. The competition is stronger and you can't worry about it, you just have to keep going."

Have you ever had 15 people asking you questions at the same time; you seem pretty relaxed?

"I kind of focus in on one, but I'm a relaxed type of guy and take things in stride. So it's all in fun."

What have you heard about the flood conditions back home?

"I came in the other morning and my friends told me CNN had something on Findlay. I was going to send some money home to my family to buy a canoe so they could get around. My family's actually okay and my high school played their first game last night. Sounds like everyone is safe and people are beginning to make fun of all the water. We're used to it; we flood easily."

What was the deciding factor in choosing Notre Dame?

"Completely the academics and the doors that it opens afterward. I'm not going to lie; my first decision was based way too much on football and the coaches. The chance of anyone going to the NFL is tiny; let alone a kicker. I'm going Business major and probably Finance. The Mendoza College of Business is third in the nation and that just sets you up right off the bat."

What has been the biggest change for you in this camp?

"I guess the expectations out of each individual and how focused and organized practice is. Everything is on the dot; dotting the I's and crossing the T's."

Nose Tackle Ian Williams

Late in your recruiting, you seemed to have cold feet about the 34. Are you sold on it now?

"When I was coming out of high school, I liked playing in space. It was a new thing and watching the NFL; I knew guys 320, 330, 340 playing nose guard and truly, that's not me. But the coaches have sold me that I can play different positions; I can play the end; I can play nose guard; and you don't always have to be like 330 or 340. He's got me sold on being 295/300 which is a good weight and I can be quick and athletic."

Is that what you weighed in high school?

"In high school, I was actually 290/295."

There was a report that your grandma thought you were going to come here. Is that true?

"Yes, my mom told me after I committed. My grandma passed away when I was in the first grade. She told my mom before I was born that her grandson was going to go to Notre Dame because she was a big Notre Dame fan, and I never knew that. My mom found Notre Dame cups that she saved and she actually said I was going to come here."

So your mom didn't say anything because she didn't want to influence your decision?

"Yes, she didn't want to influence me."

Did you follow Notre Dame growing up?

"Not really, one of my real good friends played at Florida State. They played up here and I watched the game. That's when I started paying attention to Notre Dame. I was a Florida State fan when I was younger. But as they started recruiting me, I started looking at the games, and when they came back against Michigan State, that's really one of the big things that stands out in my mind."

Have you picked a major yet?

"Business-Marketing; I like to be around people. I'm a real people person and I love sports so I want to be around sports."

Did you run into any negative recruiting at all?

"I didn't really experience any negative recruiting. Basically, Florida and some other schools down there, they said stay home, it's close only about an hour and a half away. But I decided to go where I knew I would be treated good."

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