Sept. 13, 2008
Coach Weis Quotes
Q. Charlie, are we day to day or questionable?
COACH WEIS: I’ll show up as a coach, but I’ll be gone for the year as a player. Tommy Brady’s got nothing on me.
Q. In all seriousness, what happened?
COACH WEIS: The play was already past me, so I’m very safe because of my bad feet, I’m always safe on the sidelines. I always error on the side of caution. So the play was by me, but my vision went to the right and then one of their guys hit John Ryan, and I never saw it coming. I just knew as soon as I got hit. I’m layin’ down there, and other than the fact that I knew my knee got blown out, you’re sitting there, and they want you to pop back up and I said, “Let’s relax here for a second, fellas,” because I knew I wanted to regain my composure. You know when it gets blown out; it was blown out. You didn’t have to guess.
Q. Was there an official diagnosis?
COACH WEIS: MCL/ACL. How do you like that? I feel like an athlete. First time in my life! (Chuckles.)
Q. And just for the team today, obviously for the team it would be maybe a watershed moment in terms of where they were, where you were. How do you characterize this for your guys and where do you go from here?
COACH WEIS: We challenged them as a team to pick it up in the fourth quarter because as we all the question was for everyone; it wasn’t just for media. It was for players, for the coaches, for everyone: Where are we going to go from here, fellas?
I think you could tell by how they started the game how this was going to go. We knew the weather report. We knew it was supposed to get bad later in the game, and we wanted to get on top of them, and it was going to be bombs away. That was the game plan going in. We had more, we just didn’t get to ’em. It was bombs away. We had respect for Michigan’s front, and we felt if we nickeled and dimed ’em all day, it could be tough sleddin’.
Fortunately the game played out the way we wanted. The second thing was, I had all over the locker room and all over our meeting last night and this morning that turnovers was going to determine the outcome of the game. And you’re not going to turn over four times like we did last week and walk out of here a winner, and fortunately we won that significantly.
Q. Charlie, you said you wanted to use Lou Holtz and the ’88 team being here. Talk about the atmosphere.
COACH WEIS: We used them yesterday; today was ours. Yesterday was to show respect for the ’88 team, and we did it at the pep rally, and Lou came to dinner last night and I had him talk to our team for about five minutes last night. And today was not Lou and not the ’88 team, it was those guys steppin’ up and trying to earn the respect that Mo Crum was talking about at the pep rally yesterday. They wanted to make a statement that Notre Dame is not some garbage school out there that everyone can crap on all the time.
Q. Last week you felt good about a team that came back in the fourth quarter. You learned that your team could come back. What did you learn about your team today?
COACH WEIS: I learned that they could pick up where they left off, and I think that was the most significant factor of everything. Obviously when you get on top of ’em, boom, boom, boom, early, the whole complex of the game changes for both teams; it isn’t just for us.
Neither one of us is really built at this time to play from behind in a significant margin, at this time. I think the fact that we got on top of ’em big early gave us a decided advantage in the game.
Q. Was this a game more about the big picture and the emotion and inspiration outweighs, the nitpicky stuff?
COACH WEIS: First of all, I don’t know how much tape I’m going to be watching here tomorrow morning, although I still intend to get in and do my job, but I don’t think it will be a nitpicky job. The players have tomorrow off and I hope they handle themselves well tonight, but this was a big win for our program and for our kids, and I’m happy for ’em.
Q. Charlie, you talked the first day you were in here on media day about we’re not going to talk about 2007. Today maybe the rest of the world doesn’t talk about 2007 anymore?
COACH WEIS: Let’s hope so. You know, as usual is the Notre Dame way, it will be, “Well, they beat Michigan, and they’re a growing team and going through transition. Let’s see what they do against Michigan State.” Every week it’s the same old story, but I tell ya what. For our team and for our students and for our alum and for our fans, today was a big win.
Q. How happy were you for your players there at the end?
COACH WEIS: I was very, very happy until the ice got dropped on my head. I said, “I’m already having a bad day, fellas!” That was the nicest ice bath I’ve ever had, though, I have to tell you; it felt pretty sweet.
Q. Charlie, without obviously having a chance to have seen the film yet of today’s game, how much better do you think your team was today than a week ago?
COACH WEIS: Well, I think that to play in inclement weather as the game went on, and to play a complementary game, which is what this was, we made some big plays on special teams and offense and defense, and I think at this stage of our program I think it’s important that we play a complementary football game.
I think all three units have to step up and make some big plays, and I think that’s what we did today. As long as we show up every week and get some plays out of all three elements, you know, I think that gives us a chance.
Q. Charlie, can you talk about the impact that Mike Anello had on this game with what he did early?
COACH WEIS: I tell ya what, you figure after last week, having four solos in a game and becoming achieving cult hero status, especially in our locker room, you wouldn’t think that he would be in an opportunity to make so many plays, but I don’t know if it was I was right, it looked to me like he caused three fumbles or caused a couple of fumbles. Every time I turned around he was around the ball.
I tell ya, sign me up. Give me a bunch of Mike Anellos on special teams that run like that and show heart, and he doesn’t just show heart, he’s a playmaker. I’ll take a bunch of guys like him.
Q. Charlie, you talked about bombs away early. What does that say about your confidence level in Jimmy (Clausen)?
COACH WEIS: Well, I mean, we didn’t even get to the away until after the first two touchdowns had been scored. So the first two plays after that were the first two plays of the openers, so the pass interference on the pass to (Michael) Floyd followed by the touchdown pass to Golden (Tate), they were the first two plays we were we on our own 5 yard line, and we were callin’ em, and if it was pouring, we were still calling ’em, so obviously I must have confidence that the quarterback will make a good decision and make the play.
Q. I think it’s the second straight game now, no sacks allowed. Can you talk about that? That’s a pretty good front they showed you.
COACH WEIS: (knocks on wooden podium) Okay. Let’s just leave it at that okay?
Q. At the risk of repeating that and having you knock on wood again, how much better is your offensive line from last year?
COACH WEIS: They’re much better in two facets in particular, much better in pass protection although Jimmy did get us out of a couple. He rolled out, and he’s learning now, he’s growing up, throwing the ball away, instead of doing something stupid, which we might have done last year so they worked together.
And in a running game you’re running against a team that’s giving up a yard a carry. This is a stout defensive front four, and they will continue to be a stout defensive front four all year long. But when they knew we were running it, and it turned into a slug fest, it showed that our guys are willing to go toe to toe with them.
Q. Charlie, once you went up 21 0, you wanted to hit ’em quick and early, but at that point did you want to slow the pace down? Because they started to pick up the pace offensively.
COACH WEIS: The intent was as we got into the openers, we were so far into the game it was 21 0. We had run two plays of the openers. So in the game, we had three step drops to get the ball out quick, and we had some inside runs figuring that they were going to cover four or bring their linebacker blitzes, and we wanted to play conservative, keep everything in front of us.
Not put us at risk. And I said to ’em, “If we have to punt a bunch of times, then we punt a bunch of times, that’s just the way we’re going to have to play the game today,” because I think that’s the way you have to play against this Michigan team. You can’t figure that you’re going to have a bunch of drives where you’re going to go up and down the field all day long.
Q. What’s that next step with your knee? Is surgery certain?
COACH WEIS: Yeah, I’ll get it done sometime, you know. We’ve got a bunch of recruits in. We got stuff going on. I’ll get through the next couple days and get through the game plan on Monday, and then probably get it done Tuesday or something like that.
COACH WEIS: Maybe instead of having a press conference on Tuesday, now that I’m thinking about it. That timing might work out just great.
Q. “To hell with Michigan” is a compliment?
COACH WEIS: It really is a compliment. I’m a big fan of college football, and there are certain coaches there are certain coaches that really, really you know, I looked up to and respect, and Bo (Schembechler) is one of the guys at the top of the list. I found it humorous growing up how he would hammer on Notre Dame all the time; I thought it was humorous.
I think that’s funny, so I say it, and it’s not funny. I’m sorry. I’m sorry I’m not funny, but I tell ya what, there is no one who respects Bo more than me. And the funny parts about it is I told Schem and I have the talked about it, because I told him the whole story and he said, “My dad would be rolling over in his grave. He would love this stuff.”
This is what college football is all about; it’s not personal. I’ve got a lot of respect for Michigan and always will.
Q. Charlie, on that note, Michigan and Notre Dame is a rivalry game. How sweet is the win against a rival?
COACH WEIS: I think it was big for us to step up against a top opponent at home, okay, after a question mark game last week, and to see how we were going to show up. We definitely showed up against a good opponent, and it’s pretty sweet.
Q. Is there something about what you guys do defensively in the red zone that allows David Bruton to make the plays in the red zone?
COACH WEIS: I don’t know, but tell him to keep doing it. Defensive coaches have done a nice job in the red zone and fortunately for us offensively we did a much better job in the red zone as well. What did we score, three out of four times we got down there? That was big after last week going one for four.
Q. What is the feeling for Golden Tate two games in a row, better than the previous game?
COACH WEIS: He’s got a lot of confidence. He’s a legend in his own mind, just go ahead and ask him. (Chuckles.)
Q. Coach, Mike Floyd was out there all day today. Could you talk about what got him on the field so much?
COACH WEIS: What got him on the field so much was David (Grimes)’s back. David was a go, but we only used David in three wide receiver sets, so that’s what we used David in, so that put Michael’s behind him, and the last couple days of the week when David’s back tightened up on Wednesday, or whatever.
Ironically, it tightened up after his press deal with you guys, so I don’t know if that’s coincidental or not, but his back tightened up and okay, well, his back tightened up on Wednesday and Thursday, and Michael was getting the reps with the first group, so it was better for us rather than get away from the flow, what we’re doing, just to practice it the way we did it.
Q. Was that the same deal with Chris Stewart and Trevor Robinson?
COACH WEIS: Chris got rolled up that day, and Chris played first half and then it looked like he was starting to hobble some, so we pulled the switch and went to Trevor. I think Trevor played the whole second half, I think. I’m not positive but I think so.
Notre Dame Player Quotes
Jimmy Clausen: They made plays. My job was to get the ball to the athletes, get them the ball and do what they do.
Q. How does that make you feel when Coach tells you about a game plan, saying we’re going to come out bombing away with the quarterback?
Jimmy Clausen: It’s great. I mean, he has confidence in me and the receivers coming out of the gate throwing bombs, and we’re going to do that from the start of the game, and Coach has confidence in us.
Q. After what they did to you guys last year, how good does this feel?
Jimmy Clausen: It feels great. I was talking to the guys after the game about it. Feels great not to do what we did last year.
Q. You and Golden Tate
Jimmy Clausen: It’s not just me and Golden, it’s all the receivers and the running backs. We have a great time and great confidence in one another.
Q. You haven’t beaten any of the big name teams. Did you need a game like this?
Jimmy Clausen: We wanted to get another win. 4 0 now, you know what? We’re going to celebrate that win and try to get the win next week.
Q. No sacks. Big change from last year?
Jimmy Clausen: It’s huge. I told the offensive linemen in the locker room, I said, “Pick a place you want to go to dinner. I’m buying this week.” I’m giving them a bonus.
Q. How do you feel now? Did you think this is what college football would be like, versus last year?
Jimmy Clausen: Definitely, playing a hard game against a great team, Michigan, and coming out and earning our respect; that’s one of big things for this team. Yesterday in the pep rally we said we needed to go out and earn respect, and we did that today.
Q. Jimmy, what about the gloves?
Jimmy Clausen: I put ’em on when it started raining.
Q. Had you done it before?
Jimmy Clausen: I’ve done it messing around, but today I needed them.
Q. How did it feel?
Jimmy Clausen: Felt good.
Q. (No microphone.)
Jimmy Clausen: It’s huge for this team, you know, just to be able to come out and get a good win against a good opponent. Michigan is a great team. We just wanted to come out today, earn our respect and get another victory.
Q. Golden said that before the game he saw fire in Charlie that he’s not seen in a long time.
Jimmy Clausen: Yeah.
Q. Screamin’ around saying “this is Michigan”?
Jimmy Clausen: Yeah, I did see that, and Coach Weis was fired up before the game. I’ve never seen him like that before. The team was fired up and ready to go, and we give the credit to Coach Weis and the other coaches for getting us ready for this game.
Q. (No microphone.)
Jimmy Clausen: What do you mean by that?
Q. Did it drop off when you came in? Now you have a win over a traditional power house team, did that help your confidence?
Jimmy Clausen: My confidence wasn’t an issue at all. I’m confident in what I can do and what this team can do. We showed it today.
Q. You were fired up after the touchdown. Do you think maybe you were feeling the emotion?
Jimmy Clausen: That’s why I came to Notre Dame. We have the greatest fans in the students, the greatest student section in the country, and you’ve gotta have fun. This is football; this is what I love. This is what I love to do. You’ve got to have fun.
Q. How big was it to feel this place? This has to be your best win.
Jimmy Clausen: Coming out and putting 21 points early on the board was huge for this team.
Q. Did it feel like it was clickin’ and you had everything working right?
Jimmy Clausen: We felt good today, not just offensively, special teams and defensively. We felt strong.
Q. The opportunities, kept getting the ball back?
Jimmy Clausen: That’s why you play the game of football. It’s not a 30 minute game, it’s a 60 minute game and you’ve got to take each play one at a time and play your best each and every play.
Q. Jimmy, how much did the fourth quarter of last week help you with the quick start this week?
Jimmy Clausen: I think it was huge. I think that last week in the fourth quarter when David (Bruton) and Kyle (McCarthy) got that fumble, you know, that started the season for us. I think we just, you know, moved forward from that play and we’re going to keep on going.
Q. How much better did you feel starting out? Seems like your confidence and your performance is really climbing exponentially.
Jimmy Clausen: It’s not just me being confident, it’s the offensive line, tight ends, receivers, backs, myself, and this team is confident. We’ve got to go out each and every day and keep working hard.
Michigan State is next, and we’re going to celebrate this win tonight and get ready for Michigan come Monday.
Q. You said early on that your abilities compared to last year there is a huge difference. Now that you know the world is watching and there is confidence with the fans, where do you think this feeling is for this team?
Jimmy Clausen: Like me and David (Grimes) said, it was either last week or two weeks ago. The sky is the limit for this team, and we’ve got to keep going out each and every day, work as hard as we can, and we can’t take a day off. We’ve got to work each and every day, get better and get ready to go on Saturdays.
Q. When you were at the College Football Hall of Fame, the feelings you must have had and the ending last week, the win this week, being part of a huge program?
Jimmy Clausen: This is big time college football. This is why everyone comes to the University of Notre Dame, and playing games like this against Michigan and a big rivalry and coming out with a victory.
Q. The longer you stand undefeated the better you keep playing?
Jimmy Clausen: This is great. This is what we work for during the off season, keep winning and keep practicing hard, get better each and every day.
Q. (No microphone.)
Jimmy Clausen: When it started downpouring the second half, we stressed ball security. I think that was the biggest thing that we did to give us the edge over Michigan today, is we took care of the ball, ball security. Running backs, receivers, tight ends, we did a good job there.
Q. (No microphone.)
Jimmy Clausen: I think so. Like Maurice Crum Jr. said during the pep rally, we had to earn our respect today, and I think we did that today.
Q. Nice to come out and get a big win today? You guys have to come back from a tough game last week. Did that make today more serious, carrying it over from week one?
Jimmy Clausen: It does, just a carryover from what we did last quarter of last week to this week was great for us.
Q. Can you talk about the offensive line, how they’re playing right now?
Jimmy Clausen: They’re playing great. That group is real confident, and I couldn’t give more praise to those guys. I think they won the game for us today, the way they played, run, block, and pass protection, they did great today.
Q. (No microphone.)
Jimmy Clausen: (Chuckles.) No, it’s not scary in front of him. He’s ready to go each and every play, each and every day, and we’ve got to have that in our offensive linemen.
Q. Is this the beginning of something, a new chapter for you guys?
Jimmy Clausen: Yeah, it felt like that last week in the fourth quarter when David and Kyle made that fumble recovery in the end zone. I think that was the turning point for this team.
Q. You guys put last year behind you, and do you think the rest of the world will be able to do that after they’ve seen this dominant performance?
Jimmy Clausen: The rest of the world can do whatever they want to, looking at 2007, but this team is moving forward.
Q. (No microphone.)
Jimmy Clausen: I don’t know, I told ’em they needed to figure out where they wanted to go to dinner, and I’m going to take ’em out.
Q. They said Ruth’s Chris.
Jimmy Clausen: If it’s Ruth’s Chris, it’s Ruth’s Chris.
Q. Can you afford that?
Jimmy Clausen: We’ll see! (Chuckles.)
Q. How are you feeling?
Jimmy Clausen: I feel great, you know, no sacks the past two games, the offensive line has been great, I couldn’t give more praise to those guys. They work hard each and every day.
Q. What’s the difference?
Jimmy Clausen: I think it’s a few things. They’re older, know what they are doing each and every play, and their confidence level is really high right now and they’ve got to stay at it, keep working hard each and every day during practice and keep playing like they’re playing.
Q. Executing off of turnovers, keys to the game?
Jimmy Clausen: I think we needed to put points on the board early and we need to do get it going. Thanks.
Sophomore OLB Brian Smith
On Michigan running back Sam McGuffie:
“He’s a good back. He’s got great vision. He’s just a great back.”
On what this game means after last season:
“I think people outside the locker room can see the change. There were a lot of question marks after last week, but we knew we were a good team. We came out here today and we fought hard and came out victorious.”
On the fumble recovery and touchdown:
“I was just thinking about jumping on it (the football) and recovering it. When I looked, there was no one near the ball. People said it was a good scoop since it was so wet outside, but we run that drill every week, so there was a lot of practice there.”
On the rest of the season:
“We just have to keep climbing up, keep climbing the ladder. We’ve got to keep going to work every week and keep getting wins.”
On the playmaking ability of Notre Dame’s defense:
“When our backs were against the wall, we bent but didn’t break. When they got into our red zone, we did not want to let them score. We worked on those types of plays in training camp, practicing a lot with the ball on the one-yard line. We are always ready for those types of situations.”
On waiting for a big win like today’s:
“We have been waiting for this all year. Last year, we were embarrassed by this team. They came out and beat us 38-0. We always remembered that as we were training, and we came out today and showed that we were ready for this game.”
On his first fumble recovery:
“On the first one, I was coming off the edge and I didn’t know if it was a fumble or not. Whenever it’s a swing pass there is always the chance that the ball is still live. I was going to make the referee call it dead.”
Junior OG Eric Olsen
On the game as a turning point for the Irish:
“It was definitely a turning point. It was a big win, but at the same time, we still have work to do. We got a win today over a program with some tremendous players, but we have to get right to work starting tomorrow and Monday to get ready for Michigan State.”
On Notre Dame’s success against the Wolverines’ defense:
“I was watching College GameDay this morning, and (Kirk) Herbstreit and Desmond Howard and the other guys were saying that we weren’t going to be able to do anything against Michigan’s front seven. Don’t get me wrong; they are tremendous players, but we are good players too. And today, keeping Jimmy up and getting the running game going when we needed it proved a lot to us and hopefully proved a lot to everybody else too.”
On the rivalry between Notre Dame and Michigan:
“Michigan and Notre Dame is one of the most storied rivalries in college football. Anytime you can beat them, it’s a great thing. One of my best friends growing up is now an offensive lineman for Michigan, and it was great to be able to give him a hug after the game and say, ‘We got you this time.'”
Senior FS David Bruton
On Michigan’s ability to move the ball well against the Irish:
“We know they have some playmakers on their team. But once they got into our red zone, we were like, ‘This is our red zone.’ We stepped up to the plate and made some big plays.”
On his stellar play on defense:
“I had a lot of opportunities to make plays. Every drill in practice we work on stripping the ball. Anything you can do to help the team you have to do when you can.”
Sophomore WR Golden Tate
On playing rival Michigan:
“Anytime you have a rivalry you’re going to play hard. We always knew we had a chance. We knew their front seven were strong, and the offensive line did a great job of handling them. We knew their DB’s were fairly young for the most part and we took advantage of that. It’s a great win. It’s always good to beat Michigan, or any rivalry team. It’s a great feeling. The history behind it makes it even better.”
On catching in rain:
“It’s tough. It’s more than catching- you’ve got to stop it first then worry about catching.”
“I go to practice, work hard, and trust in my ability to play. I trust Jimmy to give me the ball and he gave me the ball this week.”
On having Lou Holtz in town:
“Anytime Dr. Holtz is in town, he’s got some great words. We took it to heart. We’re Notre Dame. He’s happy to be back. Last night, he spoke about when he was coach.”
On Coach Weis before the game:
“Before the game, he was pumped. He got us pumped. He said, ‘This is Michigan. It’s time to play. It’s time to earn some respect today.’ And I think we did.”
“We practiced it all week. I knew that the QB was behind me, so I just ran. Jimmy made an outstanding throw. I didn’t lose stride, caught it, and walked in a touchdown.”
Senior CB Mike Anello
On injuries during the game:
“The problem with that was, I was jogging out, and as I was jogging out I felt my left calf cramp a little bit. As soon as I got off the line both calves started cramping. I was hobbling off. We just tried to work it out and I was able to get back out there.”
“I’ve been lucky they’ve put me in the right place at the right time.”
Junior OLB John Ryan
On a team effort for the win:
“We came out today and wanted to play hard as a defense. We gave up some plays but we also made a lot of good plays on defense, which obviously helped us win. Our offense played great again. I don’t think our offensive line gave up a sack. Kudos to them. It was a good team effort. We’re off to a good start.”
On rival Michigan:
“It’s always a big win against Michigan. No matter where the teams are. Each team’s going to come out to play.”
On the accident with Charlie Weis:
“I feel terrible. When they told me about his knee, I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’ I apologized three or four times throughout the game. But I probably won’t sleep tonight. I feel terrible. I already owe the man enough. I’ll never be able to repay him. I’m further in debt now. I owe him my football career.”
Sophomore HB Robert Hughes
On the inclement weather:
“It was very fun, knowing that we were up. It’s fun going out in those conditions. When it’s rainy and muddy like this you’ve got to protect the ball and we did. “
On the fast start to the game:
“We planned on starting fast, so it was already in the back of our mind. We knew that we had to keep putting the pressure on.”
On teammate Golden Tate this year:
“He’s turned around. Everything is working out for the better for him. Jimmy’s throwing the ball well, he’s catching the ball and getting yards. That’s what we expect from him- big plays.”
On having the ’88 team here:
“At the pep rally, you’re seeing guys from a national championship team, and they were fired up. They actually said they wanted to get out there and play Michigan. It was a great feeling having them here.”
On capitalizing on turnovers:
“When a team allows you to put points on the board, you most definitely have to put points on the board. That’s how you win games.”
Michigan Head Coach Rich Rodriguez Quotes
COACH RODRIGUEZ: The turnovers, are you kiddin’ me? Sorry I made y’all wait. I wanted to hurry up, take a shower, get out of here as quick as we can. Obviously disappointed in our execution, certainly didn’t help ourselves early, put ourselves in a tremendous hole with some turnovers, and turnovers will hurt you anytime but the once that are really discouraging are the unforced errors.
I mean, wasn’t anybody knocking the ball out or stripping the ball out, it’s just dropin’ the ball.
The guys are trying hard, and they don’t mean to do it, so it’s nothing other than just telling them to relax and take care of the ball. We had Steve Threet out there competing, and I thought we had a potential touchdown, and instead of 7 for us it’s 7 for them.
So it was a nightmare, but as I told the team, we’ve got too many things going for us that maybe the outside public doesn’t see, the work ethic and the commitment. We have tremendous support from the school, our fans, I have a great staff and our players are really trying. We’ve got to execute better and not make mistakes that cost us in a game.
Q. Rich, do you feel at this point you gotta protect them a little, buck ’em up or ride ’em harder? What’s your approach?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Do what we’ve been doing. Everybody outside you know, I’m not going to have outside influences affecting the way we’re running our program. We’re going to keep doin’ what we’re doin’ and we’re going to watch the tape and see where the mistakes are at. I can tell you a lot of ’em are unforced errors. Maybe it’s inexperience, I don’t know. I don’t think we’re of that off. We’re not good enough to play poorly and win; we’re not. Maybe in the future we will be. Like I said, there is a lot of positive things going on. The guys are working extremely hard. Michigan football will be back, you know, all the naysayers out there, whatever, I’m not I’m disappointed but I’m not discouraged. Michigan football will be back, hopefully sooner rather than later.
Q. Rich, Greg Mathews, was he injured?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: I think he was crampin’ up; I think it was a matter of cramps. I haven’t talked to the trainer yet, Steve Threet was cramping up at the end. I don’t know if Greg grabbed his stomach a little bit. I don’t know if it was a stomach virus or something else.
Q. Coach, talk a little bit about what you were able to do against Notre Dame’s pressure. How were you able to neutralize that?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Coaches had a pretty good plan, and I don’t know what we ran for, but we were running the football, had some good drives goin’ and then we would have a turnover or a mistake here and there that stopped that.
I felt we were making steps again, I have to watch the film and see if we blocked every play the way we were supposed to, but I thought our I thought we had a good plan coming in, we just didn’t and we got behind early and stuck with it, which I thought was important. We were creepin’ our way back up there, and then we had the one turnover late in the second half that could have pulled us within one score, and that was a tough one.
Q. What’s your impression of this Notre Dame team?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: I thought they played pretty hard. They made a few big plays; they made a few more plays than we did.
Q. (No microphone.)
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, they did a nice job blocking. I don’t know what they ran for, but the defense was putin’ us in tough spots, and they did a lot of quick game stuff, which it’s hard to get to your quarterback when you’re catching and throwing and doing some quick game. We didn’t bat any balls down, but they did a nice job of protecting on the quick game, and they hit a few plays.
Q. Can you comment on the effort out of McGuffie today?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Sam runs hard. He continues to get better. I thought he saw some things a bit better today, and he’ll keep getting better. We have a good crew of running backs. I would like to have been able to get Mike Shaw a few more reps today but he missed most of the week of practice, so he’s better, but I don’t think he’s 100%. We’ll get him cranked up hopefully in time for the next one.
Q. Rich, you had some guys in the secondary today who had some touch moments. Any idea what happened?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: They made a few plays, and you know, but they also bounced back a little bit, too. We had a couple of really close penalties on there, and I have to watch the film to see what those were, but he was pretty accurate with deep balls, and they got some pretty good wide outs, but I’ll have to see the film to see if it’s a technique issue or what happened, but that’s going to happen on occasion.
Q. Was that fake punt by design?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: That’s a read play; it’s part of our base punt. We have it built in there. Zoltan did a nice job, and we needed time to get some momentum, but like I say, the guys’ effort has been good. I don’t see guys that are dogging it, and they’re going to continue to work, and that will always be continuous. They will continue to work hard, and as I told the team we’ll keep pressin’ on and pressin’ on, and we’ll get it right.
Q. Did you see what happened with Butler at the end?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: I didn’t see it.
Q. Coach, Threet played the majority of the game. Was that by design or
COACH RODRIGUEZ: He’s been playing better. I thought he played well at times. He missed a few things, but he competed pretty well and made some passes, and fortunately we had one or two out there maybe we didn’t get, but I thought he did okay. Thank you.
Michigan Player Quotes
#10 Steven Threet – So./Fr. — QB
On the turnovers …
“I think the most frustrating thing about today was the unforced errors. Too many times we gave them the ball with a short field with turnovers and things like that, and that is never going to be a good thing. They are just things we have to get corrected, when you get inside their red zone you can’t have fumbles and turnovers; its just too many mistakes”
On the weather …
“That’s part of the game, everybody played with it. You know, they played with the weather too so you can’t blame the conditions, you just have to go out and do what you can with it.”
Talk about what you thought you did better today…
“There were some things I thought I got better at but there were still mistakes. You have to keep learning from them.”
On playing in a hostile environment like Notre Dame (Threet made his first road start)…
“It’s different, you’re on the road, you’re not at home but at the same time its still eleven-on-eleven. You’re still playing football.”
Talk about your fumble…
“I was trying to get the laces and the ball slipped out of my hands. I’m not going to blame the weather. It’s frustrating but the wet ball didn’t help.”
On the team …
“We’re looking forward to the Big Ten season. We haven’t lost a Big Ten game yet so that’s what we are working for now.
Did falling behind early change your offense at all?
“No, not at all. In the first quarter there is still a lot of game left, we knew we could move the ball. Just too many times we hurt ourselves.”
Talk about Sam McGuffie …
“Sam did well today. He ran the ball well and he ran the ball hard. You are always going to get a big effort out of him.”
#3 Stevie Brown – Jr. – S
On the action from the midfield for the touchdown in the first half …
“We came up on the play action and then they got the receiver behind us. That’s all that happened.”
On how he feels at the end of the game …
“We don’t have our heads down because we know who the better team was. They did beat us today and that happens, but in our hearts we know we’re the better team.”
On what coach said in the locker room …
“He said we’re going to go back out there and get the problems fixed and that we’re going to get it fixed tomorrow. Then next week it’s on to Wisconsin.”
#14 Morgan Trent – 5th Sr. – CB
On the overall defensive effort …
“We played alright, considering where we were on the field, and not being in the best situation. We fought hard, we still had a chance.”
On Notre Dame taking the early lead …
“They had momentum. We made a few mistakes.”
On Notre Dame having success throwing deep …
“We expected it, but we had some miscommunications in the secondary.”
#6 Donovan Warren – So. – CB
On Rich Rodriguez’ message after the game …
“He told us to keep our head up high, to keep fighting, and to learn from our mistakes. We have two weeks until Big Ten play starts.”
On Notre Dame’s aggressive passing …
“I was ready for them to take shots at us. We could’ve made some plays, we expected them to go up top on us. [Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy] Clausen made some good throws.”
On the Michigan offense’s mistakes …
“They put us in a tight spot. But that’s defense, that’s what we’ve got to do. We have to come out and execute. That’s our place. We were in a hole. We made some plays, but it was an uphill battle.”