Nov. 19, 2011

Tommy Rees: It’s a win, and I think people will look at it and say, you know, B.C. is 3 7 or going into the game, you know winning is hard, and I don’t think people give guys enough credit when games are won late in the season. When you got a lot of things going against you. I couldn’t be more proud of how the team played and performed and kind of it’s a win, you know?

It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t at times the most successful offense we have had, obviously, but anytime you can get a win this late in November you’ll take it.

Q. What about Jonas?

Tommy Rees: He talked to the team after the game in the locker room, and I don’t know the extent of the injury, obviously, but anytime a senior goes down, and especially a guy like Jonas who has been so important to our team and has stepped up as a leader and kinda been, you know, put together a great senior season.

Him and I have been close a long time, and I just thanked him for everything he’s help me with and to be honest, I probably wouldn’t be in a position I am in if it wasn’t for him, so he helped me out a lot. I feel bad for a guy when he gets banged up like that so my best toward him.

Q. How do you find a rhythm in the offense when it isn’t working well?

Tommy Rees: You’ve got to create plays, take opportunities when you get ’em. Hats on off to B.C. They played a great game and they came out here ready to play and they did some things we haven’t seen before, but we got the victory.

Q. So your block sprung on that 18 yard

Tommy Rees: I missed but I think the intimidation factor

Q. Tommy, do you get frustrated with the field position that you had all game long?

Tommy Rees: You can’t get frustrated, because we didn’t get ourselves out of that position. If we would have moved the ball down the field then, you don’t leave it where they are punting and have a chance to put you inside the ten. Obviously it’s not the most ideal situation, but we could have done some things to help ourselves out.

Q. You guys were able to march right down the field on the first drive. Did they adjust after that?

Tommy Rees: You know, they did some different things throughout the game. I don’t know quite what the difference was the, but I think the first drive went well, but I’m happy for how we performed throughout the day, gutting out a win.

Q. How does the field position change the play calling in terms of being more conservative?

Tommy Rees: Yeah, you know, when you’re down there and closer in the end zone you don’t want to risk giving up a sack or throwing the ball down field when you don’t have as much time, so things change, and Coach did a great job of mixing it up down there, you know, we through the ball a couple of times to get out. Something that we have to continue to improve on.

Q. How much of a factor was the wind?

Tommy Rees: It wasn’t as bad as it was thought to be and you can’t let weather affect you.

Q. Would you say that was the worst whiff in your career?

Tommy Rees: It’s my only whiff in my career. And I was taken by surprise when Mike reversed field.

Q. Tommy, four years ago Jimmy Clausen performed against their defense. What do they do that makes it so difficult?

Tommy Rees: I think they do a great job week to week coming up with a scheme against the team they’re playing. Their coordinators and coaches did a great job of game planning for us, and at times it was frustrating because you weren’t getting as open guys weren’t getting as open, and you’re missing throws. You’ve got to stay patient and know that it’s a long game and you have to make plays down the stretch.

Q. What did they take away from you?

Tommy Rees: They did a lot of stuff where they were leaving extra guys on coverages, especially in passing situations. I think they did a good job on the first and second down of mixing up looks to kinda take away some of our running options.

They have a good player on the defensive side in Kuechly, and he was definitely on his “A” game there.

Q. Did they bait you in to trying to throw down the middle?

Tommy Rees: Um, you know, they did some things where they take advantage of teams. We hit Toma on one, and we almost had one to “Eif”, but they were taking away the rotation and they were keyed in on Mike and “Eif” and where those two guys were on the field.

Q. Even though it’s not pretty, you are still 12 2 as a starter. How do you grind through a game like that?

Tommy Rees: You have to. You rely on your teammates, you rally together and you know that you’ve got to find a way in the end to win. You’ve got to find a way to win games in November against a good opponent, and I’m happy with the victory. I can’t be bitter about it, obviously there are things we need to learn from, and we’ll make those adjustments and get ready for next week. But you feel good after a win.

Q. Do you think it’s more difficult to win in November?

Tommy Rees: I think a lot of the things that you go through throughout the season get built up, guys get injured, you wear down a little bit, but the flip side is you kinda build some chemistry and camaraderie, but things change, the weather comes into play and there are factors that come into play, but I think our guys did a great job of playing consistently to get the win.

Q. What does it mean to win on Senior Night?

Tommy Rees: It means everything. It’s great. You can’t give a senior anything better than a win. I’ll be in that position one day, and I would want to go out on a win and two years in a row now where we put together a win for them and you see the guys get emotional. It really shows how special Notre Dame is and how much it means to all of our guys.

Q. Do you feel like this is more of a rivalry game for them than for you guys?

Tommy Rees: No, you know, I don’t think we take them lightly. They always play Notre Dame tough, they always have historically. And we knew we were going to get their best. If they could, maybe not have the season they were looking for, but if they could beat Notre Dame, that’s something they could hang their hat on, and we take every opponent the same, but there is a little juice in the rivalry game.

Q. Did you get a chance to talk to Jonas?

Tommy Rees: I talked to him after the game. I just thanked him. He’s done so much for me that people probably don’t know, and he’s helped me through my maturation process and kinda grow as a football player. You never want to see a guy go down on senior night, especially one that has helped us out so much. So my thoughts and all the thanks to him.

Q. (No microphone.)

Tommy Rees: Um, yeah, he’s a good player. I don’t know how to rank him, but he’s definitely a special player, he’s smart, instinctive, he does all the things you want your linebacker to do.

Q. (No microphone.)

Tommy Rees: It’s a win. You learn from all different types of games, and I think this is a learning process for us and a learning experience, and I think coming out with a victory brings the guys together and prove that we got some we’re not getting beat up and we got some guys in there that really gutted one out.

Q. (No microphone.)

Tommy Rees: Never stop. When things aren’t rhythmically going well, just try to keep playing and do everything you can.

Q. How important was it to get a win on Senior Day?

Tommy Rees: It’s huge, that’s the best gift you can give your seniors, and they have done so much for this program helping them out and getting a win means everything.

Q. What did you talk to Jonas about.

Tommy Rees: Like I said I thanked him, he’s done a lot for me and you never want to he see a guy go down this path and he’s been so great this year, it’s a tough situation, I just thanked him and gave him my best.

Q. (No microphone.)

Tommy Rees: Yeah, I think he stepped up as much as anyone has, and he’s really taken a lot of accountability and lot of burden on his shoulder to be a great player and he’s done an awesome job for us all year.

Q. (No microphone.)

Tommy Rees: Um, you know, it’s huge. To finish November strong, finish the season strong against a good opponent, I think it gives us momentum headed into a bowl. We look forward to it just like any other opponent, can’t focus on everything going on around it, it’s another football game.

Q. They are a top 10 team, do you have something to prove, redemption, maybe?

Tommy Rees: You want to get that win as much as anything and I think we put ourselves in the situation where it becomes a big game for us and I think it would definitely help out some of the things that are the outlook on us.

Q. (No microphone.)

Tommy Rees: Staying together as a team, working hard and never having a moment where, you know, there has been doubt or struggle, just leaning on each other and making sure that we’re in situations to win the game.

Q. (No microphone.)

Tommy Rees: I just kept telling the guys we’ve got to keep playing. We’re going to get our points, and I told them we had the lead, guys, were getting down, and I told them we’re still winning this game, we’re going to find a way to get this one done, and we have to keep our heads up. We needed to find a way to close it out.

Q. (No microphone.)

Tommy Rees: It hurts, but if we were able to move the football out there the first time, then the field position switches, and we don’t keep getting punts inside our 10 yard line. So doesn’t help the offense very much but, we could have helped ourselves out.

Q. (No microphone.)

Tommy Rees: It’s kind of an internal matter. He pretty much thanked us and had some good stuff to say.

Q. Sounded like you guys took it worse than he did. Sounded like he was in relatively good spirits?

Tommy Rees: That’s the kind of guy he is. He’s a competitor. I couldn’t think more of him this year, how he’s treated me throughout my career and it’s a tough situation for sure.

David Ruffer o Sr. o Kicker

On the importance of the game…

“Getting a win more than anything. I’ll look back on this game ten, twenty years from now and I’ll just remember the feeling of winning with a bunch of guys that I’ve spent a lot of time with. We are basically a family.”

On how he was utilized in today’s game…

“You’ve got to wait for your time to go and always been ready. You’re on call and you have to answer the call whenever it comes.”

On today’s wind…

“The wind was kind of swirling the entire day, but I made it a game plan to just aim down the middle and smoke it. Because when you start playing games with the wind, you’re usually going to lose, especially out here. So I just aimed down the middle and hit it.”

Michael Floyd – Sr. – Wide Receiver

On what today’s win means for the team…

“We’re a strong team. We came together as a team, and when there I things going wrong for us; somehow the defense picks us up. If the defense is going wrong somehow the offense picks them up, so as long as we are picking one another up, we will be fine.”

On running back Jonas Gray’s injury…

“It was heartbreaking for me (to see him get injured). He’s a good friend of mine. It’s just hard to see that happen to a senior on senior night and also see one of your best friends go down. He stayed strong, stayed positive, so we’re all staying positive too.”

On Gray addressing the team after the game…

“He just said stay strong. Obviously, he’s in a bad situation right now, with getting hurt. So just strong spirits for him, strong spirits for the team.”

On the discipline of the offense…

“We had to be very disciplined. Obviously some of the plays didn’t go as well as we wanted them to go, but we stuck in there and stayed strong and came out with the victory.”

Harrison Smith – Sr. – Safety

On what the team can take away from today’s performance…

“Whenever Notre Dame and Boston College get together it is always going to be a battle no matter what. That’s what it was today. It showed the determination we had, no matter what the score was or what type of game it is. Its just good to get the win.”

On playing against Boston College’s offense…

“We just did a good job playing football – stopping the runs, keeping big plays off the stat sheet – but there were definitely plays we wanted back. Especially on those two (BC scoring) drives, overall we did a good job.”

On what this win means…

“You’re not going to win every game by a large margin. No matter what team you are in the country there are going to be teams you have to grind down to win. That shows the maturity of this team.”

On Jonas Gray’s injury… “He’s a guy that’s always going to keep moving forward and will always look out for everyone. When something bad happens to him he’s a guy that will take that and try to make something positive out of it. Trying to help out the rest of the team even when something bad happened to him.”

Robby Toma – Jr. – Wide Receiver

On playing Boston College…

“Boston College is a really tough team and although they are 3-7, their record didn’t really show how good of a team they are. They are always going to play hard and they’re always going to come after you so you really have to be on your game. So we are really excited to get out of here with a win.”

On field position throughout the game…

“With the goal line on our backs’ it is obviously not where you want to be. I feel as a team we did a great job keeping our heads in the game and coming away with a win.”

Manti Te’o – Jr. – Linebacker

On the health of the team going into the game…

“There were a lot of guys sick coming into the game, but everybody knew the significance of this game – especially for the seniors. Everybody just tried to get after it the best they could.”

On Jonas Gray’s injury…

“It’s the hardest thing. I would never wish that upon any player, let alone a senior and let alone a guy like Jonas who’s put in so much work. He sacrifices so much for this team and he’s one of the leaders on and off the field. But knowing Jonas, it’s not going to stop him from making and impact on this team.”

On what Jonas Gray said to the players in the locker room after the game…

“Just how thankful he was to play for Notre Dame and how special it was for him. Basically, he said it was never about him and always about this team and how happy and how lucky he felt to be a part of this team. That just goes to show what type of person he is.”

Darius Fleming – Sr. – Linebacker

On what Jonas Gray said to the players in the locker room after the game…

“He just said that he loves this place and he told us how much he cared about us. It’s an unfortunate situation for him to be in right now, but he’s a tough kid who’s been having a great year and it’s been fun to watch him play.”

On talking to Jonas Gray on the sidelines after he was injured…

“It was actually really hard for me. Jonas is one of my really good friends on the team and pretty much all of my good friends on the team have been injured recently. It was a tough moment for me, but like I said, he’s a tough kid and he’s going to handle it the right way. God has a plan for him and he’ll be fine in the long run, but I do feel bad right now for his career. With it being his last game (at Notre Dame Stadium), that’s hard to accept.”