Dec. 4, 2005
Q. Can you both just talk about how exciting it is to officially get the word?
Brandon Hoyte: I think it’s definitely exciting. It just feels really fortunate because we as a team realize where we came from and where we are now, and I think it’s just something that you’ve got to definitely hold onto and use that as motivation.
Brady Quinn: For me it’s one of those situations where we had an idea that that’s where we were going to be going. We weren’t exactly sure where we would be playing, but it’s an ideal situation for me playing a Bowl game out there, the Fiesta Bowl, and against a team I always grew up watching, basically in their backyard.
Q. Explain how that will obviously give you a lot of attention, but especially for you in your home town. Does that add a little bit to the whole thing?
Brady Quinn: Definitely. I’d be lying if it didn’t. Growing up all those years watching them, even rooting for them I think gives you a little extra added excitement about this particular match up.
Q. And just last year when you got the Bowl bid, a lot of things happened right afterwards. What’s the difference between right now going in knowing how you’re playing and just the situation?
Brandon Hoyte: I smile a lot more. I think for me as a fifth year senior and for our fifth year seniors or guys with no eligibility left, it gives us a chance to go on top and feel we’ve put a mark on the Notre Dame program to leave it in the right hands.
Q. I had a question for Brandon on that same note. You came here in the fall of 2001 on the heels of Notre Dame getting blown out in the Fiesta Bowl on national television, so how important is it for you to leave a really strong positive legacy for not only the guys who are staying but for the kids who are coming in, high school seniors who might be watching Notre Dame on TV?
Brandon Hoyte: Personally I feel I owe it to the guys that have come before me, guys who I played with and guys who I might not have had the opportunity to meet who played Notre Dame football, but most importantly the guys on this team because those are the individuals who have seen the ups and downs of this program. All we did was work harder and do things the right way. I think it’s only fair to go out and play the hardest ball that I can.
Q. For both guys, have you had a chance to see Ohio State play this year on television, and what are your impressions of them?
Brady Quinn: I’ve had a couple opportunities. I obviously want to pay attention to the defensive side of the ball. But looking at the defense, I think they’re all around pretty solid. They’ve got speed, size. They should be physical, and knowing a lot of those players, I know what they’re capable of and the different things that they bring to the table. Offensively obviously we’ve got a tough match up, but I think it’s something that we’re going to be looking forward to.
Q. Brandon, did you get a chance to see them at all?
Brandon Hoyte: Most definitely. The one thing you notice from the offensive standpoint is they just have athletes. Toward the end of the season they’re passing game really came on, and they got a lot of guys that you put the ball in their hands, they can do a lot of great things. So I think as a defense you look at that and you pay respect to it and you just get ready for it.
Q. I was curious if either of you two were aware as the days got closer before you jumped into the top six if you heard, “do they really deserve to be in the BCS,” if you heard that and what you thought about that?
Brady Quinn: That was something that after we beat Stanford, making us BCS eligible, a lot of people, commentators, you’d hear say this or that about whether or not we were worthy of a BCS bid. But obviously things worked out to where we ended up being one of those teams that gave us an automatic bid. We’re where we should be, and everything is going to work out in the end.
Q. Brady, coming from the Columbus area, are there guys on the Ohio State team that you know, that you played against at the high school level?
Brady Quinn: There are a couple guys we played against at the high school level through scrimmages and different ways. AJ Hawk and Nick Mangold are two players that my team played against in the fifth grade, and I think they played for the Centerville team and they actually beat us 13 7 in the championship. It dates back even that far.
Q. I guess being from that area, how would you describe kind of the nature of Notre Dame and Ohio State? Not necessarily a rivalry but something a lot of fans like to talk about.
Brady Quinn: I think both schools are rich in tradition, so it’s one of those things where they love to see two teams that play similar styles of football, physical, hard mouthed, nasty football, and that’s part of, I guess, the rivalry, if you want to throw that in there, of these two schools.
Q. Brady, going a little bit off topic if you don’t mind, talk about post season awards after the season is over. Can you talk a little bit about when you first started hearing your name pop up as a Heisman candidate and what your thoughts are on the whole thing?
Brady Quinn: Really it’s an honor to even be placed among some of the nation’s top players, especially with Reggie Bush, (Matt) Leinart who is a past winner and Vince Young and all the things they’re capable of doing. That’s all something that, like I said, really just something that my team has allowed me to be able to be a possibility for.
Obviously the offensive line is doing a great job this year, our wide receivers making big plays and big catches, and Darius (Walker) having the run game to open things up for the passing game and even protecting, as well; really those things have been what has allowed me to be at this point and up for those types of awards.
Q. Was there a certain point when you first heard your name? I was under the impression you were on the Heisman watch list, but was there a time when your name started popping up where you were like, wow, people are starting to notice?
Brady Quinn: I don’t know if it was a certain point in time. It was one of those things where I was going to try to go out every day and get better and better and hopefully perform that way in games. At the end of the year those things would end up coming up if I performed the way I wanted to.
Q. And one of the things last year was when you had big games a lot of times (the team) didn’t do so well. This year you performed well in big games for Notre Dame. Was it something that you learned, or what was the difference between last year’s big games and this year’s big games?
Brady Quinn: I don’t know, I think it’s just been a different style of offense, a different philosophy. It’s one of those things where sometimes this past season we used the passing game with the running game and those sorts of things. Coach Weis put a lot of different pressure on my shoulders and on the offense to kind of make certain things happen, and in doing so there are different game patterns. Some weeks would call for a big passing game, and we have a lot of talent at the wide receiver position, so that was something we wanted to try to utilize, and it’s allowed for good, physical games.
Q. You mentioned the pressure. The success of this year is going to put a lot of pressure on next year’s team. That’s just the way of Notre Dame, and Coach Holtz talked about it the other night. What does that mean for you next year going in with the focus of a Heisman favorite with guys that are …
Brady Quinn: It’s so far ahead right now. I really haven’t given it much thought. We’re still focusing on Ohio State, if anything, now. I think when that time comes, hopefully that pressure would have mounted to we’ll be putting that toward working harder and doing the things that we need to get us to a point where we’re playing on January 4th and not January 2nd next year.
Q. Brady, how heavily recruited were you by Ohio State, and when it came down to it how much interest did you have in considering them?
Brady Quinn: If I hadn’t come to Notre Dame, Ohio State would have most likely been my second choice. Looking back over the recruiting process after I committed to Notre Dame, Ohio State kind of still recruited me all the way up through even after they won the National Championship, they were still trying to get me to take an official visit. At that point I realized their interest was true where maybe some other schools had kind of dropped off or maybe they just respected the verbal commitment, but obviously I realized the desire they had and I realized the opportunity it would have been to play at such a school, but if it wouldn’t have been here, it quite possibly could have been Ohio State.
Q. Was that a difficult decision? You said you were a fan as a kid growing up. Was that a difficult decision to turn your back on the team that you followed growing up?
Brady Quinn: Somewhat, especially when you have people in town that would love to see that scenario, growing up watching them, someone who played in that area and had gone to the Ohio State camp for a long time; a lot of people wanted to see that scenario play out. Really when it came down to it, it wasn’t the right fit for me.
Q. Can you name one or two deciding factors why you chose Notre Dame?
Brady Quinn: You know, it’s hard because when I first came here there was a certain feeling that I got when I stepped on campus and when I kind of walked around campus and went through the stadium and different parts of Notre Dame. I really got a feeling that this is where I saw myself the next four or five years. That’s really what it came down to.
Q. Brandon, how aware are you of the bowl streak Notre Dame is on and is that something Coach Weis has talked about with you guys?
Brandon Hoyte: I think it’s something that’s a motivational factor, and just to be able to for me personally, just to go out there and leave this program where it should be and make sure that Notre Dame stays on top through my tenure, I think that’s important.
Q. Brady, as far as the Bowl streak, seven straight for Notre Dame?
Brady Quinn: That’s something that obviously needs to end. It’s been going on far too long. You know that we’ve been working towards that as one of our goals, ending that streak.
Q. I want to just ask, obviously talking about post season awards, there’s been a little bit of chatter towards the ends of the season that Brady Quinn is making Maurice Stovall and Jeff Samardzija look good while Maurice Stovall and Jeff Samardzija are making Brady Quinn look good. How gratifying has it been to see your two targets come into their own this year and all three of you are getting post season award talk?
Brady Quinn: It’s great to see all the hard work those two have done, especially with Maurice. In his case a lot of people looked at him as maybe having underachieved in some circumstances, but since Coach Weis has been here, he’s done everything he’s asked. You start to see him slowly come alive and really just turn it on throughout the season and do the things that he was capable of. The strides he’s made and the things he’s done for this team are really remarkable when you look back at them.
Q. Are either of you tempted to look back and think about the possibility that was really there to be 11 0 with the two losses by five, six points, or is it totally looking forward and not looking back?
Brandon Hoyte: Do you want the political answer or the true answer (laughter)? It’s something that you can’t not think about, you know, but at the same time, that can show you how good this team really is. And the fortunate thing for us is we all believe that we’re one of the top teams in the country and we can play with anybody, and we’ve shown that, and therefore that in itself, that helps us move forward toward this Bowl game.
Q. Was there a point during the season that you realized you could be a BCS team because obviously at the beginning of the year people weren’t very high on you guys?
Brandon Hoyte: The thing is people weren’t, but we were. That might sound cocky and arrogant and it is, but I think that’s the bottom line. I think a lot of people doubted us, and from day one when Coach Weis got here, everyone got on the same page and no one doubted. We just worked hard, and we’re just really fortunate that things are paying off.
Q. Sitting here right now, was this the scenario that you saw before the season?
Brandon Hoyte: Yes (laughing).
Q. Brandon, you talked about going out, the fifth year guys kind of putting a stamp on things. Do you kind of look at this as like the signature game?
Brandon Hoyte: Without a doubt. It’s mainly because you’ve put – like one thing Coach always says is you always pay in advance, and we worked and we sweated during the summer and the springtime in order that we can play well during the season, and now we’ve positioned ourselves in a spot where we have the opportunity to play in a big time BCS Bowl. This is what we’ve worked up the whole season to get done, and it’s time for us to get it done.
Q. Brady, when you were growing up over there did you go to a lot of games at Ohio State, and could you talk about how big a fans or how passionate they are about Ohio State football over there?
Brady Quinn: When I was growing up I went to a good amount of games every season. It kind of decreased as I got older and started playing high school football. It was crazy because you’d hear if they had one loss or two losses in the season it just wasn’t ever good enough for their fans. They’re extremely passionate about football there and the Buckeyes winning a National Championship every year.
It’s funny because it’s almost like here where they don’t talk about conference championships very much, they talk about two things, beating Michigan every year and winning the National Championship. That’s kind of similar goals with us; every year you look at winning the National Championship, not really the conference. It always seems to be our goal.
Q. I just wondered if you could talk on the match ups in this game. A lot of people are going to talk about Notre Dame’s offense against Ohio State, their strong defense.
Brady Quinn: When you break down their front seven, they’ve got great forward linemen, I think they’re pretty athletic for their size and can move around for the most part. Their linebacking corps speaks for itself. They’re ranked up there with the top or the best of them, I should say. As far as when you look at the secondary I think they’re pretty solid all around, as well. Really it’s the type of match up that we would like, playing against tough defense that poses a big challenge for us.
Q. Brady, did you attend the Notre Dame Ohio State game in ’95 in Columbus?
Brady Quinn: No, I actually didn’t.
Q. Do you remember those games at all?
Brady Quinn: I do. Obviously at that point in time, my being a Notre Dame fan really came on, so being a Notre Dame fan in Columbus during those times was hard, especially two years back to back like that.
Q. I wonder if either of you could talk about whether you watched any of the games yesterday and how much interest you had because you probably were going to be in a BCS game. Were you watching them from that perspective?
Brandon Hoyte: I was watching them for more pleasure, not having to play yesterday. It’s cool because yesterday we just got to sit back and be a fan, and that’s something that when you’re playing college ball you don’t get a chance to do a lot. I just sat back, had some chips with my parents and watched the game.
Q. Brady, just wondering if it surprises you, looking through the years, these programs have only met four times. Considering they’re bordering space, just wondering if that surprises you and if it’ll be fun to play two Midwest teams that never play each other, to be a part of that?
Brady Quinn: Looking at the past history of this rivalry, it’s kind of weird to think that they’re so close and such rich programs that they wouldn’t play more, have some sort of deal where they’d meet every so often. But obviously it’s going to be a fun game for me, especially playing these guys, the chance to have one of those rare opportunities to play Ohio State.