***On being conservative on offense, as was the case in the win over UCLA when Bruins quarterback Ben Olson got knocked out of the contest: "It's difficult for me personally, but I think that if you truly want to follow your philosophy of playing each game to win that game, then as the offensive player caller it's difficult for me. As the head coach it's easy for me. Fortunately or unfortunately, I wear both hats and the head coach wins over the play caller. I think that my job is to put us in the best position in the to win the game, and I think that's exactly what we did."
***On teaching more this year than in past years because of the inexperience: "More than I ever have in my life. I've spent more time mentally and psychologically this year than I ever have before. I think that I've had to make sure -- I wouldn't say you temper your comments, but you be more instructive. You don't take things for granted. You have a veteran team and you sit there and tell them you know they get it. You have a younger team and they might be shaking their heads, ‘I get it,' but they have no idea what you're talking about. I think you have to make sure you spend the time to make sure they understand what you're talking about."
***On Kerry Neal, who's been elevated to starting outside linebacker: "He's a bigger body than some of those other guys, and he's more of a -- he's not as tall as John -- but he's more of a John Ryan-type of player. When those two guys are out there, it gives you more of a mirrored look on the right side and the left side."
***On the biggest accomplishment in the first half of the season: "I think the greatest sense of accomplishment in a team that's 1-5 is it doesn't act like a team, doesn't practice like a team that's 1-5. I only can credit the players. I'd like to sit there and pat myself on the back, but it's really the character of our team because most teams when they're 0-5 don't act like a team that still thinks they can win. They don't practice that way, they don't act that way, and it says a lot for the character of our players.
"I'd have to say that's probably the team's biggest accomplishment, that despite the fact that we have had a very down year to this point, but there's no indication by the mannerisms of our players that that's the case we're at."
***On the offensive game plan against Boston College: "It has to change significantly (from last week). You can't stay conservative. They know that, too. This isn't like I'm giving away any big secret. It's not like we're going to go in with three tight ends and run the ball inside the whole game. We're going to have to score some points to win.
"Last week especially after (UCLA QB Ben) Olson got knocked down, you knew you weren't going to need to score a whole bunch of points to win the game. This week, you're going to have to score some points to win."
***On the defensive line, especially Trevor Laws and Pat Kuntz, knocking down a lot of balls at the line of scrimmage: "I think we had our hands last week on seven balls in a game. I think that not all of them were defensive linemen, but I think we had seven pass breakups in the game that we recorded. Not what the official stats are, but I think that those two guys, and there's been some times where you wondered how did they know to get their hand up at that point, but there's several times where the easiest way to cover them is one of these defensive linemen knock that ball down and the ball never even get there. So I think they've both done a very nice job on that aspect right there."
***On John Carlson, who caught a season-high six balls last week vs. UCLA: "It's just where the balls went. Every week we go in there, I'd say there's 10 of the passes we throw, he's a primary receiver. But when you go in there on those 10 passes, six of them the guy is sitting inside of him, a guy is sitting outside of him. I'm not saying they designed their coverages to double team John Carlson, but if the rotation or the coverage dictates not throwing it to him, we just don't throw it to him. I've never really believed in saying -- you design plays that he's the primary receiver, but that doesn't mean that he's going to get the ball."
***On Boston College being a physical team: "I don't know if it's a reputation. You develop a mentality on your team. They have a better team; a lot of experience and a lot of guys who have bought into – this is how we are going to play the game. Even though there was a coaching change, the defensive staff didn't really change and the mentality of the program didn't really change. That was started with the last coaching staff, and it has carried through to where they are right now."
***On the confidence of the team after the victory over UCLA: "Actually, it has been pretty similar to tell you the truth. There is more confidence, but yesterday's practice wasn't one where you were worried about their confidence. It was to continue the mentality to continue to improve. Anytime you get in a situation where you've been losing for awhile and when you win a game, obviously, there is going to be a boost in the confidence. But I think practice has been very similar to tell you the truth."
***On playing the role of spoiler in the next few weeks against BC and USC: "Obviously, when you know you have some teams ahead in your schedule that it could affect, you're not playing to be spoilers; you're playing to win that game. It's not where I'm playing to try to beat Boston College to ruin their chances. But that's what we're supposed to be doing. We're supposed to be playing to win. So I don't find any solace in the fact that you could put a damper on somebody else's season. I think it's more important that we do something good for ours."
***On freshman quarterback Jimmy Clausen: "He's always been kind of a gym rat by nature. But a lot of times as a quarterback, people get you stereotyped as someone who just wants to throw it 50 times for 400 yards. There was no one happier than him - what did we throw for 85 or 87 yards, whatever it was - there was nobody happier than him, and I think part of the development of the quarterback when they realize it's not about your stats, it's about the team winning. It's not like how many yards did you throw for how many touchdown passes. Did the team that you were running win the game? Sometimes it takes people awhile to buy into that program."
***On Eagles quarterback Matt Ryan: "He gets rid of the ball fairly quickly, but most importantly, he does a very good job of reading coverages in getting the ball to the open guy. They don't have like one star in their pass game because he involves everybody. He reminds me of the quarterbacks that I'm used to being around. They're not looking to create a star out of a receiver. He just can read coverages and throw the ball to the open guy on time and he has done a very good job of doing that."
***Prediction: Boston College 31 Notre Dame 23. The game plan is simple for the Irish: knock Boston College's Matt Ryan out of the game and then force the backup quarterback to commit turnover after turnover. All joking aside, once UCLA's Ben Olson went out of the game last weekend, the Notre Dame defense saw blood in the water and capitalized with an aggressive scheme. Also kudos to the offense, while despite being ultra conservative, did not turn the ball over.
Moving on to this week, if Ryan gets time to throw the ball, the Eagles quarterback should be able to pick apart the Irish defense. This will be the best signal caller Notre Dame will see all season long. Pressure is paramount for the Irish defense to make Ryan feel uncomfortable in the pocket and force an errant throw or two. If not, expect Boston College to come close to their 35 PPG average.
On offense, Notre Dame will be facing a BC defense stout against the run (3rd in the nation) and vulnerable to the pass (110th in the country). Notre Dame will need a few big plays through the air to keep up with the Eagles offense. But beware: Boston College is tops in the nation in passes intercepted with 16 pickoffs. It's feast or famine. The Irish's Jimmy Clausen would be wise to throw the ball away from Eagles cornerback DeJuan Tribble.
Emotions will be high on both sides. Boston College is looking to go to 7-0 and continue a possible national title run. Notre Dame will be playing the role of spoiler and this would be the signature win that's eluded Irish head coach Charlie Weis. In the end, the Eagles have a tad too much offense and an experienced quarterback at the helm to get out of South Bend with a victory.