Senior linebacker Brandon Hoyte has been named a quarter-finalist for the 2005 Lott Trophy.

Brandon Hoyte/Brady Quinn USC Week Quotes

Oct. 12, 2005

Senior linebacker Brandon Hoyte and junior quarterback Brady Quinn, the 2005 Notre Dame football team captains, held their usual Wednesday afternoon media session on Oct. 12. The Irish captains talked about the upcoming matchup with USC, among several other subjects. Here is a selected group of quotes from the session.

Brandon Hoyte –

On facing the USC offense…

Hoyte: “The thing with USC is that they have so many different weapons. They pass the ball with great receivers and their quarterback. They have two running backs that can probably start for any team in the nation. It is really a balanced attack that they represent. Some say that they pass the ball well or are one-dimensional and run the ball, but what makes them such a good team is their balance on offense.”

On the makeup of the 2005 Notre Dame football team…

Hoyte: “The fact is, on a daily basis, I get a chance to walk with a group of guys that are so hungry and are so willing to do what is necessary to win. And we have a group of coaches that have give us unbelievable direction. They make the game easy to play. It is not a point of thinking and trying to analyze. It is just going toe to toe and making plays. Come this weekend, we get to show what we are really about.

On the dual threat of USC’s LenDale White and Reggie Bush…

Hoyte: “It is thunder and lightning. They both possess different strengths and I think the combination of their strength and speed is what makes USC such a tough team. You can’t just say that LenDale White is a power back, because he is one of the best in the country. You can’t just say that Reggie Bush is all about speed. They can do different things. The way I look at it is, it is always 11 on one. How fast can our team get to that ball carrier?”

On the significance of facing the top-ranked team in the nation…

Hoyte: “Every college program wants that opportunity. Every college progam wants that dynasty. And they are on the verge of doing it. But, at the same time, every college program wants the opportunity to be that team that stops that dynasty. We are fortunate to be in that situation.”

On any possible benefit of the previous bye week…

Hoyte: “It depends on how you look at it. It could be an advantage as a chance to get rest and be prepared. Or you can say that we haven’t played a game in two weeks. It just depends how you look at it. We look at it as a great chance to prepare for this team and we are going to go show it.”

On what the defense will have to do to be successful against USC… Hoyte: “We have to go out there and play defense like Notre Dame has been known for over the years. That is a defense that flies around and makes plays. That will be one of the biggest statements we can make this weekend. We can’t sit back in a bend but don’t break and hope they don’t score. We have to be aggressive and go in and make plays ourselves.

“We have to go out there and play a whole game. Everyone is making a big deal out of this game because they are a great team and because of the situation we have put ourselves in. We have to approach it the same. Obviously, there is more hype. Obviously, there is more enthusiasm. But the same preparation goes into this game just like any other.

On USC putting the defense in difficult matchups…

Hoyte: “My point of view and bottom line is – players play. If I am on the field it is my responsibility to make plays. If I am playing linebacker, then it is my job to get to the ball as soon as possible. If that doesn’t happen, then I am not doing my job well. There are times when they got us in great positions for them. But I think it is your job as a player to go out there and make a play, no matter what the situation might be.

“Our coaching staff has done a great job of simplifying it. When you get on the field, there is not time to think. You are just reacting to what you have been taught all week. Come game time, you are just out there having fun. Who is going to make the first tackle? Who is going to make the hardest hit? That is what I am focused on.

“I think it is just lining up toe-to-toe and going at them. That is how I was raised to play this game. I don’t know any other way. I am not big on hiding anything. I am not big on finessing anything. The bottom line is, this game is football. It is not about luck. It is about lining up and beating the guy across from you.”

On the level of hype for this weekend’s game…

Hoyte: “You digest the level of enthusiasm. You absorb everything around you and it depends on how you take that and transfer it back onto the field.

“It is a combination of a lot of emotions. I have heard people say `payback.’ I have heard people say `tradition.’ And I have heard individuals talk about just how great this game is going to be. The bottom line, from my perspective, is that it is a football game.”

Brady Quinn –

On the strengths that Coach Weis brings to the offense…

Quinn: “One of the things he does best is be unpredictable. I think anytime you are able to have a percentage of plays called on certain downs, or in certain situations, that are from all across the board. It allows you to become tough to predict or difficult to play defense against. That is one of the things that Coach does extremely well.

“He mixes up different personnel and moves people around to put defenses in tough situations.”

On what challenges the USC defense offers…

Quinn: “They put a lot of guys in the box. They like to free up a lot of guys on the outside. Obviously, they have a lot of talent all over the field. They have speed and get to the ball quickly. They like to man up on the outside receivers and shut down the run.

“Their front four do an extremely good job of rushing the passer and finding ways to create hurries, knockdowns and sacks. A lot of times, it gets to the point where they don’t need bring pressure, they can create pressure just by their front four.”


Junior QB and offensive captain Brady Quinn



On any difference between Maurice Stovall in 2005…

Quinn: “Physically there is a difference. He dropped a significant amount of weight, some where between 10 and 15 pounds. The biggest thing, he has a lot of stamina and can run deep routes down the field all day at top speed. He is not getting tired. He has become a huge player not only down the field, but as a possession receiver. You have seen him do some great things after catching short passes.”

On quarterbacks coach Peter Vaas…

Quinn: “Coach Vaas and Coach Weis are on the same page in what they desire from their quarterbacks. The always try to get the most out of you. Coach Vaas is on us a lot of time no matter what. Even if the throw appears perfect, maybe there is something fundamentally we didn’t do well. He is extremely hard on us and he is always making sure we strive for perfection in everything we do.”

On his appearance of becoming more comfortable with the offense…

Quinn: “I felt that way the entire year. Obviously, there have been times when we haven’t been as successful as other points in the season, or maybe during a game. Starting off the season, you notice that significant difference from the season before. That is something I saw from my freshman to sophomore year and something that I have seen this year.

“The biggest thing our offense has done this year is come out and set a tone. We have always moved the ball and given the guys confidence of what we can do in the game. That has snowballed and progressed through the game. That is something we have done well and we will need that to be successful in this game.

“The biggest change I have noticed is not to let the last play affect the next one. That is something that Coach Weis has helped me deal with a lot through the spring and fall – to have a short memory.”

On his feelings of being the Notre Dame quarterback…

Quinn: “It is a big responsibility. It is a big pair of shoes to fill, looking at the past players who have played here – Montana and Theismann. I think you can catch yourself looking at that. It is just a position I am trying to fill to the best of my ability.”

On Jeff Samardzija playing football and baseball…

“I have a bias because I have seen him make all those catches in games and at practice. But I hear he is a pretty good pitcher as well.

“It is a big compliment when someone can do both (sports). It is not like he is not a significant part of both teams. He is one of the best pitchers and players on the baseball team and he is a standout guy on the football team.”