Tuesday Transcript

Freshman running back Robert Hughes met with the media Tuesday evening to talk about the death of his brother last week. Robert graciously answered all questions with composure.

Could you talk about the touchdown on Saturday and what it meant to you?

"It was really huge for me and my family, especially coming off the loss of my brother. Me getting back here and scoring a touchdown was pretty big. It was my mother's birthday so it kind of made her day a little bit."

Did you have any idea that this was going to happen? Had Coach Weis mentioned it to you?

"Naw, I came back Friday night after the funeral and we just went over the game plan and stuff. And game time came around and he threw me in there."

Can you tell us what football and your teammates have meant to you the past week or so?

"Being around the coaches and the players was a huge difference-maker for me and keeping my mind off everything that was going on back home. It allowed me to get active and run around and release some of the pain and pressure that I felt."

What did it mean to you to have your teammates at the funeral?

"It was a real big comfort knowing that I had the support coming from all the players and the coaches and the whole Notre Dame family."

Could you describe the touchdown and the feeling you had?

"I crossed the goal line and the offensive line and the other guys, the quarterback, and everybody jumped on my back and congratulated me. It was pretty huge and I went to the sideline and gave the ball to the coach. Everybody pretty much congratulated me."

Could you talk about the impact your brother had on your life?

"Everything that I stand for today was because of my brother. He pushed me and taught me everything I know as far as growing up. As a young guy playing pee wee ball, we always worked out together. He was such a motivator for my life and what I stand for today."

Would you tell us what he was like?

"He was always a guy of few words. He never really argued with me. He thought he could show me by example. He was a tough guy."

Did you feel you were honoring him when you scored the touchdown?

"I just felt like he was looking down on me and I knew wherever he is, he is smiling and saying congratulations. He was at the Michigan State game when I scored my first touchdown and I seen how happy he was so all I could do when I scored the touchdown in this game; I just went back and related to when that happened."

What have your emotions been like because of this senseless tragedy?

"Pretty much confusion; so much stuff ran through my mind when I got the information on what happened. A lot of stuff ran through my mind and I have just been basically trying to get back into the swing of things and turn to my family to keep going and keep motivated because I know that's what he would have wanted."

What have you learned about yourself, your teammates, and the school during this time?

"That everyone here stands for goodness, especially when guys like me go through situations like that. It's very important for everyone around you to rally behind you and lift you up in spirit. And they definitely have done that."

Do you have a favorite memory or story about your brother?

"There is a ton of stories. I guess my most memorable moment with my brother; we were in the rodeo and we were going through the event called the relay race and we were on a team with me and my sister. His saddle got loose and he was slipping off the horse and I ran out there and he jumped onto my horse. The whole idea of me saving my brother and us being together on the horse and him not being hurt or anything; that was one moment that I'll never forget."

When was that?

"About three years back."

How did a kid from Chicago get involved in the rodeo?

"My dad pretty much introduced us to it as a little kid. He's from the south and was always into horses. That was always his dream and he introduced us to it. We grew up around horses and it was fun for us."

Coach Weis drove you back to Chicago. Could you tell us what that was like and what it meant to you?

"It showed me how much he cared about all the players on the team. It was actually really easy to talk to him and express the way I was feeling. It just gave me room for comfort."

Was your brother a physical trainer?

"Yes, ETS Plus Performance."

The person who did this to your brother is still out there. Do you want to see that person brought to justice?

"Yes, not only for the personal matter; because I don't want to see anyone else go through what my family is going through. He did it once and is capable of doing it again."

Is it hard for you to go forward knowing that this matter has not been resolved?

"I know what my brother and I worked for and I have to move forward and I can't worry about what's going on. I have to let the police handle it and everything. Knowing what he would want and what I want kind of pushes me forward and motivates me to keep going."

Did your brother train you?

"Yeah, a lot of times it was just going to the park, running through the park, throwing the football. He was a running back in high school and he was always a level ahead of me so he said I had to get bigger, faster, and stronger. We were always working on different things and doing different stuff. Yeah, he basically trained me."

Did you get to keep the ball that you scored the touchdown with?

"No, Coach told me he was going to give it to my family. So he's going to send it there."

How is your family doing?

"They're holding up pretty well."

Your family came to the game. Was that sort of an escape for them too?

"Yeah, most definite. Before the game, I asked my mom if she was coming so I could put her on my ticket request. She said she needed to come and wanted to come. So it was a good trip to get out of Chicago and to come here and see the game and get the whole Notre Dame atmosphere."

As you go through this week are you trying to find normalcy or is that impossible right now?

"Since it happened, nothing has been normal. So I'm just moving forward and whatever comes, I'm just trying to take it one step at a time and go about things."

It must be hard to deal with not knowing who did this and is it hard not knowing why this happened?

"Of course it's hard to deal with. When you don't know why something happened, it brings about confusion. It's pretty hard to deal with."

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