Dec. 26, 2004

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Player Quotes from Notre Dame’s Insight Bowl Press Conference

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Notre Dame Quarterback Brady Quinn:

On Coach Willingham:

“He’s definitely someone we’re still thinking about, coach Willingham and the seniors, we want to send them out on the right note.”

On his development:

“I feel I’ve progressed a lot and learned a lot since the first of the season. Coming into this season I feel I’ve made some progress and turned some numbers around and I feel pretty comfortable in the system.”

On taking momentum into the offseason:

“It’s a big thing for us as far as taking this momentum into the offseason and ending the season on a high and showing that what’s happened in the past hasn’t affected us.”

On Charlie Weis:

“Anytime you get to work with someone like coach Weis, as a quarterback, you have to be excited just looking at what he’s done in the past and what he’s doing right now and his success. Obviously, that’s something I’m excited about and looking forward to.”

Notre Dame Wide Receiver Carlyle Holiday:

On being focused for the game:

“We’ve worked hard for the past two weeks regardless of the situation we’ve been in. We’re going to come out focused and try and win this ball game.”

On the transition from quarterback to wide receiver:

“It’s been a journey. It’s been difficult at times, but its been fun. Being able to play at Notre Dame has been a pleasure for me and I’m going to try and finish it off right on Tuesday.”

On Oregon State’s secondary:

“They are very athletic and they shut people down one on one. It’s going to be a challenge for us as receivers to get open and get separation. We realize going into the game that they have an athletic team and their defense is very athletic. We just have to try and win match-ups whenever we can.”

On Oregon State’s defense:

“We realize they have a lot of guys on defense that can make plays. It’s going to be a challenge for our offensive line to step up and try to protect Brady (Quinn) for the whole game. We know what kind of team Oregon State has and the athletes they have up front.”

On the team’s vote to play in a bowl game without Willingham:

“We saw it as a challenge to go out and try to win a game because 7-5 looks a lot better than 6-6. We deserved a celebration at the end of the season.”

On Oregon State’s offense:

“They rarely run the ball and the problem is that a lot of people look at our secondary as the weak part of our defense. It will be a big challenge. We realize that as an offense we need to keep the ball on the field and keep the defense off the field.”

On Notre Dame’s offense:

“We are definitely balanced. We try to establish the running game and then go over the top of them. We try our best to be balanced and maintain confidence.”

Notre Dame Defensive Tackle Greg Pauly

On Notre Dame’s season:

“We just couldn’t play at the level we knew we could play at all the time and it shows by our record.”

On Oregon State’s Athleticism: “They have the athleticism to come out and play a really high scoring game.”

On Oregon State’s offense:

“They are definitely pass-oriented. They don’t run the ball often and we are going into the game with that in mind. We’ll try to get after them as much as we can.”

Notre Dame Running Back Ryan Grant

On coach Willingham:

“He’s put so much into this team and he’s so much a part of all of us and we just think it’s important to go out and finish things off right.”

On the team’s vote to play in a bowl game:

“I think it was a tough call because guys want to play. It’s the last time for a lot of these guys to play with each other and for the coaches. Once people calmed down and realized what we could accomplish, I think this is a great opportunity to come back and play.”

On Oregon State’s defense:

“They are fast and they play hard and they don’t stay on blocks very long. That’s something you don’t like as an offensive player. They have pretty good safeties and I like how they cover. It’s going to be a physical game for us and that’s one of the things we take pride in. They run well, especially their middle backer. He’s the core of their defense.”

On the future of Notre Dame:

“I think they are only going up. I think they are in a great position right now because everybody looks down upon them. I expect great things, and I expect the guys to stick together and just keep moving. Get Notre Dame back to the place where it needs to be.

On his career at Notre Dame:

“I don’t regret anything. I look back at my career and I feel good about the things that have been done. Of course, there are always things that could have been done a little better. I think the opportunity we have here could leave a great mark on the younger guys.”

Notre Dame Linebacker Derek Curry

On winning the game for coach Willingham:

“That’s what we’re here for. A lot of the guys feel the same way I do. We’ve got something to prove in this game. We are trying to win this game for coach Willingham and our program and also for ourselves because we’ve been through so much. We are trying to help the young guys get through it in regards to the situation. We want to show the country what coach Willingham has done for us in the past as men and as football players.”

On Notre Dame’s Program:

“Anywhere you look people love to take shots at us and that’s OK. I guess we kind of set ourselves up for it with the way everything went down. Regardless of what people say we still know what kind of program we have. Our job is to go out and play football and not get caught up in that. So, hopefully what we are going to do is go play football and hopefully come out with a win this week.”

On Oregon State’s strong finish to the season:

“I think they can get even hotter because they have won the last five of six games and lost to SC by eight which is a big accomplishment considering SC smashes pretty much everybody these days. We know with two weeks of preparation they can only get better. I think our secondary has got some more confidence back and our team has got some more confidence back so we’re excited.”

Notre Dame Linebacker Mike Goolsby

On motivation for the game:

“There are a million different motivations for this game. If you have a hard time getting yourself up for this game there’s something wrong with you.”

On the previous game against Oregon State in the Fiesta Bowl:

“It’s kind of one of those things that is burned into your memory and you never want to go back to that place. That’s something you don’t forget about.”

On coach Willingham:

“He’s our head coach. Anytime the biggest cog is missing it’s huge. He’s our motivator and our leader. We’re going to take a lot of things that he’s given us and shown us and use them in this game.”

On Notre Dame’s Program:

“It’s in good shape but at the same time there has been a lot going on. I have all the faith in the world in Kevin White, our A.D. (athletic director).”

On the challenges the Oregon State offense poses:

“We’ve definitely got a huge challenge in front of us and there’s no way of getting around that. Big time players step up in big time games.”