Irish Player Quotes

Several of the Irish players met with the media following the win over the Stanford Cardinal. The Irish now stand 4-1 on the season.

Harrison Smith, Sophomore Linebacker

What went into slowing down their running game?

"Just kind of seeing what they did and how they were getting yards against us and just adjusting to that. It was just having the mentality that we can't let them run the ball anymore and just stepping up and stopping them."

Talk about the fake punt call.

"We had it put in and they just kind of gave us the right look for it so we went ahead and called it and it just happened to work out."

What happened at the end of the game?

"It was just a little scuffle. Obviously things were pretty heated with everything that happened before the game. The whole game was pretty heated so at the end they obviously didn't want to lose so it just kind of got a little bit feisty out there."

What was said in the locker room about those comments before the game?

"We didn't downplay it like a lot of people say they do. We really took that to heart and that's what they were thinking over there so we stepped up and did what we did. I don't know how many sacks we had but we had a bunch of turnovers. We aren't going to let anybody come into our house and talk trash about us."

How do you pack this same intensity and take it on the road with you?

"We should always have it without any words being said; it's just pride and just own people. If someone is going to go ahead and say things like that, it is obviously light a bigger fire under us."

Jimmy Clausen, Sophomore Quarterback

How would you describe this team?

"I think this team is just real motivated. You know, coming off a big victory last week against Purdue, we tried to translate what we did in the second half to this game."

How big was it carrying that over to this game?

"It was huge. You know, we played a great second half of football last week against Purdue. Coach Weis stressed this week being consistent and that's how we have to play each and every quarter to win games."

What's this locker room like with you being 4-1?

"It feels great and there was a lot of emotion coming into this game and in the locker room and there's a lot of celebrating after the game and I think that's good for this team."

Coach Harbaugh said he didn't see you after the game.

"To be honest, after the little thing that was going on at the end, I went up to him and stuck my hand out and said good game coach. He obviously didn't want to talk to me."

Were you really surprised that that happened?

"Yeah, I was actually. He's a great guy and a great coach. He recruited me a little bit and I was just going up to him to show good sportsmanship and I just said, ‘Good game,' and he obviously didn't see me or he just didn't want to talk to me."

He said that he didn't see you after the game. There's no doubt in your mind that he saw you?

"He either saw me or he didn't see me."

You were right in his path weren't you?

"Like I said, I put my hand out and said, ‘Good game, Coach,' and like I said, he didn't see me or didn't want to talk to me."

After your season last year, do you feel like this season is payback because you owe a few people because of what happened last year?

"Last year was last year and we have moved on. This is a different team than last year. We just have to go out each and every day and practice and get better. We can't take any days off. Like I keep stressing we just have to come out and be ready to go each Saturday."

What do you see out of Kyle Rudolph?

"He's developing faster than everyone thought. He was a great player coming in and we knew he could be great for us but we just didn't know how fast. He's done a great job with (Mike) Ragone going out and him stepping up big for us. I think he's progressing each and every day and each and every week and his confidence is skyrocketing as you guys can see."

Sam Young, Junior Offensive Lineman

Where does this team go from here?

"Keep getting better. We've got some good spots and we've got some bad spots. All we can do is keep improving. We go on the road this week and it's going to be a challenge for us. We've got to get a good week of preparation in and shore up all those spots. I think the biggest goal for this team right now is to play a complete game, wire-to-wire, and that's what we're working to."

Have you guys seen Jimmy's development and accuracy getting better over the last couple of weeks?

"He's been getting better and better every week. Last week he was making calls that weren't even on the play sheet and this week he did it again. He's showing a maturity that is just fantastic. He's got a lot of confidence and every week he's getting better."

Last year you only won three games. How does it feel to be 4-1 at this point?

"Every game is its own entity. I don't think it was a goal of where we won three games last year, let's win four this year. We have to take it one game at a time and it came down to the wire today and we were able to finish it off. It was a good team win. The defense showed up and the offense showed up and so did the special teams."

Brian Smith, Sophomore Linebacker

Were you guys beginning to feel a little pressure because you only had one sack going into this game?

"I don't think we were feeling any pressure but we were discouraged because we only had one sack, but at the same time we knew if we just worked that much faster or if we executed that much better, we would have had 30 sacks this year. We didn't get bent out of shape, we just went out on the practice field and kept working on these timing issues and technique issues and today we saw that we are on our way."

Are you relieved that it finally came?

"In a sense I am. Other teams when they scout us, they want a three-step drop, so we won't have enough time to get back there. Stanford came out and he held the ball a little bit longer and kudos to our secondary and safeties for that, and our corners, and we were able to get to them."

How fired up were you guys at the beginning of this game?

"We were fired up. We brought it up on the 50 before the game. We wanted to let them know that we were ready and not backing down. No matter what you say to us, what the circumstances are, we're going to be there and we'll be ready to fight."

Do you think this is the type of emotion you guys should bring out every Saturday because you guys were really fired up today?

"I think we always want to bring it out on Saturday. We wanted to the previous Saturdays but we were kind of on the fence. Now today, we got off the fence. We were like, let's go, let's get it. We called ourselves the goon squad at times, out there rowdy acting like goons and that's what we want to be like at the end of the day."

So we'll see the goon squad again?

"The good squad will be out again. That's the entire team, defense, offense; it's just the good squad."

Pat Kuntz, Senior Defensive Lineman

Could you talk about what happened there at the end of the game?

"Honestly, I was spiking the ball and trying to celebrate and I see collisions at mid-field. It was just two teams that were fired up. It's always hard to lose, especially in a game like that and I understand where they're coming from. Luckily, it didn't get out of hand and it was just two teams that were fired up and getting after each other the whole game."

How does it feel to be 4-1?

"I wouldn't say we're on a role but we are taking it week by week and game by game. I just feel like we need to keep improving and we have a big test next week at North Carolina."

Coach said the next step for you guys is winning on the road. How big of a step is that?

"For some people, it's sort of hard to adapt to that kind of change and going out to other people's stadium but my whole life I have loved playing on the road. I feel like it motivates you more and it's sort of like you against the world and I always like that."

How much did you appreciate the interceptions today, especially with you getting one of them?

"It's funny, after the play, I was so fired up I sort of forgot that it happened."

IrishIllustrated.com Top Stories