Sept. 6, 2004
A few of the Notre Dame football players sat down with the media to discuss last Saturday’s loss at BYU and how they are preparing to play Michigan this weekend. The Irish will take to the field for their home opener against the nationally-ranked Wolverines this Saturday, Sept. 11. Derek Curry On the leadership roles of the linebackers .. It’s funny because we are all kind of the same yet we are all so different. We all bring a drive and a passion to the game. I’m probably a little more vocal in terms of just talking in general. Mike’s (Goolsby) more of a play guy. He doesn’t say a whole lot but he plays really well and makes plays and people see his passion and his leadership through the way he plays. Brandon (Hoyte) is a combination of both, he’ll talk and he’ll play. On having played with the same group of linebackers for awhile .. We were talking about it just the other day before the game. I was telling Mike (Goolsby) that it was good to see him back. I’m glad to see him back out there with us. And Brandon (Hoyte) said the same thing. It’s good to know that you are with guys who’ve been there with you three years strong, playing hard, working hard in the season and in the off-season. On the biggest difficulty when playing Michigan last season .. One thing we didn’t do was shutdown the run enough early. Once you shutdown the run early on in the game it eliminates a lot of the things they are able to do. Their game plan is going to shift as well as ours will if we can’t stop the run. So we have to stop the run from the start and then force them to pass and then stop that. On the play of the Michigan offensive line year in and year out compared to others .. It’s hard to compare them to every other team that we play. But I know one thing that when Michigan plays Notre Dame they play as hard as they can play. So that’s one thing we are looking forward to. It’s a challenge for them to come out and play their hardest and for us to go out and play our hardest against them. On the Michigan wide receiving corps .. They are definitely a big play threat. They play really well together and they go down the field well and they run well and run good routes. Basically we just have to go out and play. That’s what this week is about, being physical and just going out and playing. Kyle Budinscak On getting ready to play Michigan .. This is always our biggest game of the year especially early on. After last year, the embarrassment we had and this past Saturday us coming out and not coming up with a victory is not an option. Our backs are against the wall and this game means everything to us. On how to improve on last week’s game against BYU .. We played pretty well but we let up big plays. A couple times we didn’t get to the quarterback and sometimes we didn’t make plays on the ball. As a defense we have to eliminate big plays. Other than that we played solid. We know what we have to do to fly around and make plays and I think we’ll do that this week. On playing against Michigan’s freshman quarterback .. At this level a lot of times you don’t even worry about who in particular is going to be starting at what position. You look at what their offense does and things that you want to try and do as a defense but you are not really too concerned about who is going to be in there. It may work out to our advantage that they don’t have an experienced guy in there but that is not something that we are really going to game plan. Justin Tuck On the confidence of Michigan compared to the confidence of Notre Dame .. Coming into this game a lot of people aren’t giving us a chance. We are going to surprise a lot of people this week. Michigan is going to be a great test and we just have to get up for it. If we play our football then we can hang with anyone in the country. We didn’t do that last week so we have to redeem ourselves this week against Michigan. They are in our house so that’s to our benefit. On forgetting what happened against BYU .. I don’t think you do forget what happened this past weekend I think you build on it. You definitely can’t forget what happened last year at Michigan. We just have to find a way to take both of those and put them to our advantage. Brady Quinn On what he and the offense can do to pick up the pace .. Individually I have to make plays and make something happen. I think at times you need to force things when we need a spark or a big play. Offensively we need to make sure we take advantage of opportunities when we have them. On playing against the Michigan secondary .. I feel like we have an extreme amount of talent on offense. It’s obviously a challenge going up against Michigan because they are a great team but we look forward to that. On what the team needs to do to play better .. Just consistency, obviously you saw at times we were moving the ball down field. But then in other parts of the game we were going five and out or six and out. Ryan Grant On not playing against BYU.. I think that (not facing contact in practice) was part of it. It was more of the fact that there were other guys who had taken more reps and they (the coaching staff) just felt that if I would have went that maybe I wouldn’t have been prepared and maybe that would have hurt my leg more. On the team needing him to play .. I feel like the team needs me because I know I can help the team. I definitely don’t think that’s an excuse for what happened (on Saturday). We as a team didn’t play up to our ability. But I’m just happy because I feel that I can be a boost to this team in a lot of different ways. On helping Travis Thomas after he had fumbled .. I know as a back, especially in your first game there was going to be some jitters and things like that. When that type of situation happens the biggest thing is to keep your confidence. I kept telling everyone on offense to make sure the confidence is there and let the backs know that you have confidence in them. It’s easy for any position when things aren’t going well in this game to put your head down and that’s the thing you don’t want to happen. The team did a good job in helping Travis. Anthony Fasano On the disappointment of losing the opener .. It brings you down but it’s only one game and it’s the beginning of the season and we have a lot of football left in the season. We all know that we can turn it around real quick with a win this weekend. On the loss to Michigan last season .. Personally, it was a complete embarrassment. We didn’t play anywhere close to our potential and we really didn’t show our best stuff when we needed to and that was really disappointing. It shot a lot of our hopes down for the whole season. It was still early in the season but it was a big loss for us. To lose the way we did and not bring our `A-game’ when we needed to was really disappointing. Brandon Hoyte On what happened against BYU .. It’s very important to take those negative aspects and quickly turn them into positives. I think there was a turning point in that game, I believe when it was 20-3 and there were a lot of people in this country who didn’t feel we could come back from something like that to even be within three points at the end of the game. So that is one positive aspect you can look at. After film review there were a lot of instances where we put ourselves in bad positions. On maintaining the confidence that it’s going to take to beat Michigan .. I think you look inside your inner-person and after you fall down you get up and keep going. I think if you can’t do that on this level then you shouldn’t be on this level. I’m very fortunate to be around a group of guys that has that ability to get up and keep working hard. Mike Goolsby On the importance of the Michigan game .. It’s a chance for us to bounce back in a huge game where all of the chips are stacked against us. It’s another chance for us to go out there and prove that we are the type of team that we want to be. On the positives of the BYU game for the defense .. There are a lot of positives that we can take away from the game. Mainly that we were successful against the run and we did force a number of three and outs. There were a lot of good things that we did. But again it’s a team game and if all the pieces of the puzzle aren’t there it’s going to be tough to come out with a win and I think that’s the biggest thing we learned from that game.