April 16, 2011
Notre Dame Blue-Gold Game
April 16, 2011
COACH KELLY: For us, the concerns coming into the game were depth at certain positions, so it forced us to slow down a lot. We were pleased with overall no major injuries of any kind. We got an ankle here or a bang here, but that’s your first concern is that you get out of the spring game without any major injuries, so we certainly accomplished that.
We got some young guys some quality reps in a very competitive environment. So the next time they come out of that tunnel against South Florida when it counts, they know what it feels like. They know what it’s like to play in that stadium.
It’s hard to evaluate individual performances today given the circumstances of the game. Not having great continuity at certain positions and the ability to work with a group on a day to day basis.
So I stay away from those right now. All in all, I thought it was a competitive atmosphere. Our guys played hard. I saw great leadership from our seniors working with the younger guys that got on there and got a chance to play.
And we got all four quarterbacks some work. We got Dayne and Tommy some work early on, and then Andrew and Everett got a ton of work.
So, again, I click off all the boxes that I had set up for us, and that was stay injury free, give our young players an opportunity to compete in a game like atmosphere. Then get all those young players an opportunity to compete at the quarterback position, which we did. So, I’ll open it up to questions.
Q. What did you learn about your team today? I mean, you said it’s hard to evaluate individuals, but were there some things that jumped out?
COACH KELLY: I think they’re much more comfortable with the procedure and the game day, and the routine, and how we do things.
But what we tried to do as a coaching staff is to create a game like atmosphere. We did everything the same way that we would do, other than the walk over here. We had our pregame film, talked to our team, we came out.
So we tried to create that competitive consistency of what game day is like. So for us it was another opportunity to kind of cement down what our routine is. Just easy comfort to everything that we did. A number of comments on coach, why are we going so slow? So that’s a bit of a change from last year.
Other than that, I don’t know that we learned that much about our team.
Q. I know that you want to temper expectations with Aaron Lynch and you want him to be a complete player. But he’s making it difficult when people see what he did today. What can you say about him?
COACH KELLY: He’s a good football player. You know, we’ve got to go slow with him. The one thing that he did today is he went against our first offensive linemen, he went against Trevor Robinson and Taylor Dever, and that would tamp down the expectations too.
I’d also like to give him credit for what he did. But it’s going to be a process with him. We’ve got to keep doing little things right with him in terms of where he’s playing.
But you saw, we moved him around. He played inside; he played outside. He’s going to be a great addition.
Q. What did you think of the two young quarterbacks today and how they played? What did you think them going live did to help their development today?
COACH KELLY: I think it helps immensely just getting in there. Little things like we’re huddling, a couple times Andrew Hendrix is on the wrong side of the huddle, on the back of the huddle instead of the front. It’s first time out there for those guys. So there were a lot of jitters.
I thought they really calmed down in the second half. I that you go you saw Andrew really settled down. Early on they were throwing the balls with everything was a 99 mile an hour fastball instead of feathering balls in here and there.
I thought it was a great, great opportunity for them in a game like atmosphere. We had a nice crowd early on when they got in there before the rains really hit. And I think they got that sense of playing in a big time atmosphere. So I thought you can’t replace that kind of experience that they got.
Q. So much is generally made about with your offense, the spread offense and having that run pass threat. What did it mean to you to see two guys wearing your jersey at this university able to do that the way those two youngsters did?
COACH KELLY: Well, I don’t know that we have expectations to just run that kind offense with those two guys. I’m more interested in winning football games and whoever that quarterback is that gives us the best chance.
Obviously, for me and what I’m used to, it’s a comfort level in terms of play calling. But we’re going to make it work whoever the quarterback is. I think it’s pretty clear that we saw that they had the ability to do both, and that’s pretty exciting when you’re in the spread offense.
Q. Can you assess Tommy’s performance today? We all know he’s not the most mobile of quarterbacks, but can quarterbacks become more mobile as they age in this offense and get more experience? Is that possible?
COACH KELLY: I think it’s capability over speed is what Tommy brings. He can see the field. He had three legitimate drops out there today where he put the ball right on.
I think in terms of accuracy today, and, again, I’ll go back and watch the film, but I think Tommy was the most accurate in throwing the football. He was a little late in an overdrag off the play action where the ball got deflected. But by and large I thought he was right on.
He showed his fire. We kicked the field goal because we want to see a kicker out there. He said, coach, what’s wrong with you? We would have normally gone for this. I said, Tommy, it’s a spring game, relax.
So he’s a competitive kid. He wants to be out there and that’s what you love when you’re working with a quarterback like him.
Q. Having gone through the second spring, who would you say has really enabled or set up enough in this second spring to put himself more in the forefront that wasn’t there as much this past year, like Louis Nix or Dan Fox? Who helps themselves the most, perhaps?
COACH KELLY: I think we’re getting a lot of tight ends work. So today you saw Alex Welch played very well today. He got an opportunity to get a lot of work. We played four tight ends.
So I think the tight end position benefited in the spring. And we found we’ve got pretty good depth there. Louis Nix, our concern is how long can he play at that level? Because when he’s out there, he’s a pretty good football player. He was on today. He’s hard to move. We’ve just got to continue to develop his work volume. He would be another guy.
Shembo and Spond are two guys that can play and space very well. As I mentioned, developing the cornerback position, Lo Wood had a high interception coming off the high low combination, which so many times a younger corner’s going to drive on that smash out. Well, he sank and played the flag, so that’s another guy that I would point out to you.
Then at the safety position, Collinsworth got a lot of action out there today as well. So I think all those guys helped themselves.
Q. Have you shifted Riddick to the outside? I noticed T.J. was on the slot?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, he’s got the ability to play a number of different positions for us. It’s really about we had so few players that really could lineup for us at that position, that we had to move him around a little bit today. He had some knowledge base because last spring we worked him out of that position.
So he was really filling a role. We haven’t made a decision yet as to where he’s going to end up.
Q. You mentioned you didn’t really learn a lot by design today. But throughout the course of the last four weeks, what did you pick up about your team’s big picture that maybe you didn’t know?
COACH KELLY: Well, I think we were hoping that we were going to continue to show the strength on the defensive line. I think we showed that again today.
Look, it’s hard. Of course, we didn’t show any of our defensive fronts today that we didn’t want to get on film.
But certainly we’re going to be pretty good upfront. I think our defense was, again, very difficult to move the ball on and running the football. I think I know that coming out.
When you go into the Fall and you feel like your defense is going to be able to stop the run and play the ball in the air, that is a pretty good feeling. It allows you to really play smart on offense. Not that we’re going to play sloppy on offense, but we can really cater to having a solid defense. I know that for sure.
Q. With the quarterback situation, anything you can rep for in spring? Time is not ticking, where do you go next with that? Do you continue to rep for it in August or what will you do there?
COACH KELLY: That will be early on repping for, and we’ll have to obviously cut back and hone in on who the starter and back up in that order is.
So, no, we don’t have the luxury, but we have knowledge now. Now we can move forward in making some of those tougher decisions relative to who is one, and who is two.
Q. Bennett Jackson made the switch to the secondary this spring. He made a lot of plays today. Can you evaluate that transition for him last spring?
COACH KELLY: I think I mentioned it in our last press conference as we finished up spring ball. He’s had a good spring. That transition is very, very difficult. But he’s a good athlete. He’s a smart kid. He understands the game of football.
So you really not many times have I moved over somebody to the corner that has put himself in a position to compete at that position. He’s usually been a fill in, somebody to get you out of the game, you know what I mean? It’s been more than that with him.
He really has some natural instincts to play that position. So that, you know, if you’re writing down what are the pleasant surprises, I would think that you’d have to include that as well.
Q. I know your goal is to play a lot of young guys today. But it seems you have a lot of really young guys that look like they could play on Saturdays in the fall. Do you feel that way?
COACH KELLY: I do. I think with spring ball we know a lot more about who we can factor into depth, and who can play winning football for us. And certainly there are a number of freshmen that we found out today that can do that.
Q. Could you comment about the wide receiver group as a group, and your comfort level with how they can perform in the fall with it?
COACH KELLY: Well, obviously, Robby Toma had a nice day to day. He had one drop early on, Tommy Rees third down play where I went up to him and said, listen, you’re short, you’re not very fast. You’ve got to do something really well and that’s catch it. He made every catch after that.
He had a nice game for us. He factors in there with T.J., and certainly Theo Riddick we believe is an explosive wide receiver, and Goody’s coming for us as well. I think Deion put himself back in the two deep. We were questioning whether he would be a two deep player for us, but Deion has done a nice job to put himself.
And we’ve heaped a lot on Luke Massa. He’s not ready yet, but he’s a big kid that can make plays for us. He had a nice third down conversion on a screen.
So we’re a work in progress in certain areas. We know we have a couple of dynamic players. I think the thing we have to consider when we talk about the receivers is that we’ve got some real good pass catchers at tight end with Eifert and Welch as well.
Q. You were mic’d today for VERSUS, some of your quarterbacks were mic’d today. How did that go and how did that affect your ability to have a successful spring practice?
COACH KELLY: I think the mic’ing was just to give some insight to what we’re doing on the sideline and teaching and coaching our kids. We were just trying to give our partners an opportunity to see the kind of what it’s like on the sideline and what’s going on.
It’s not as frantic as some people think. There is a lot of coaching and teaching. Hopefully they had a three second delay (laughing).
Q. What were your thoughts on the running game, namely the two front line running backs?
COACH KELLY: I like the way Cierre looked. Confident in running the football is the way I would describe him. He was confident and decisive in his decisions. If he couldn’t hit it at the front door, he was going to bend it back.
I thought Jonas did a nice job. We’ve got to catch the football. We’re a little sloppy catching the football out of the back. The protections were solid. Both of those guys were obviously where we want them to be.
Now we go into the off season, and I think they’ve got some confidence.
Q. Did Cierre get banged by Nix? Is that why he didn’t come back?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, he twisted. He may have a little bit of a pull back in the rib cage. Didn’t break anything, but certainly 345 pounds, that’s not a smart thing to do.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports
Q. Just your assessment of today?
Dayne Crist: It was sloppy. It’s tough when you split up a team close and have the scrimmage and stuff like that. But you know you do some things well, and obviously didn’t do as well.
But I think it was a good ending. It was good to see guys competing and really trying to simulate more of a game like setting.
Q. What did you get better at out there?
Dayne Crist: I thought just my recognition of everything that was going on improved dramatically. Being able to recognize defenses and then knowing what we’re doing offensively I think was huge. With that came a huge increase in comfort level.
Just being out there, I felt like the game slowed down for me this spring, and now it’s about going out there and being more precise.
Q. Coach Kelly decided not to name only one quarterback coming out of spring. How does that make you react?
Dayne Crist: I don’t think that’s going to change what we’re doing. We’re going to continue to give everything in every practice, and I think that’s what he expects out of us and that’s what we’ll give him. So nothing changes from our end.
Q. How do you view yourself going in to the game being a starter (no microphone)?
Dayne Crist: Yeah, again, it becomes an individual thing. You’ve got to go out there and make yourself better every day. You can’t worry about the three other guys. You have to worry about making yourself better.
As soon as you start worrying about the outside things and what everyone else is doing, you can’t make the same kind of progress as you would if you were just focusing on yourself and bettering yourself.
Q. Next time we see you, are you still going to have a mustache?
Dayne Crist: No, no stash. Some guys I told some guys if they shaved their heads, I would grow it out. And we had a bunch of guys that did that, so i had to live up to my word.
Q. What was it like being out there?
Dayne Crist: It was great. Just being out there and in the stadium again and competing. It’s something that you miss. It’s something that I’ll never take for granted. It was just great being out there with the guys.
Q. What was going through your mind though?
Dayne Crist: Just enjoying being out there, just having fun. Going out there and not thinking too much, just going out there and playing. Letting it fall where it may.
Q. Coach gave you sheets of what to work on in the summer. What do you want to work on?
Dayne Crist: I just want to continue to improve accuracy. That is the biggest thing now. I know where I’m going with the ball and the decision I want to make. And improving accuracy, that comes with reps.
We’ve got so many players in the offense, you can’t nearly rep everyone as much as you’d like. So a lot of thing that’s we were asking to do today as quarterbacks were things that we wanted to get better at, not things that we were comfortable at.
It was really just about trying to get better at the things we hadn’t done so much early on in the spring.
Q. Can you talk about how comfortable you were trying to get back? It seems like I don’t think people thought you would be this good at this point?
Dayne Crist: To be honest, I think I surprised myself a little bit. I’m just happy to be where I’m at physically. To be able to just kind of be smooth out there and be relaxed.
I think that was one of the biggest things I tried to emphasize. Just go out there and play and not think as much. But I think that comes with experience in the second year. Being able to just recognize what’s going on out there, and just get my feet wet a little bit.
Q. Can you take a breath at all or is now when the real work begins in the summer?
Dayne Crist: No, no, now we’re going uphill. We start our climb to winning games for Notre Dame. You know everyone thinks spring ball has ended, but we’re really just getting started and transitioning into the next phase ask we’ll keep moving from there.
Q. A lot of the media sees this is a real competition. Do you see the same thing when you look around and there are some good players?
Dayne Crist: Absolutely. It comes with work. We have tons of guys competing. That is what spring ball is about. You’re battling for a spot. Nothing is guaranteed in this game in college football. This is something that we’re going to continue to try to do is compete every day and make that a point of emphasis.
Q. Does it make you excited about the potential?
Dayne Crist: Yeah, it’s really exciting. There are two or three guys out there that are all battling. (Indiscernible). Just establishing the depth increases the accountability you have in your guys and builds trust. It’s all great things.
Dayne Crist: I think it was a combination of things. We’re not used to huddling very much, so that was kind of hard at first. I think it’s a combination of things. We are just slowing things down, trying to get quality instead of quantity in a game like this when conditions aren’t as ideal. Just trying to get the most out of every rep is pretty important.
Q. When you go out there and you have you and Tommy and the two young kids and you have to show the mobility and associate more with the spread offense. As you see them doing that, you know what you want. Where’s your stance now in the position?
Dayne Crist: I think it’s just being content with what you do best. I think that you can’t really say I want to do this like so and so, and I want him to do this like me. It’s more being content with what you do best. Working with them and within your skill set.
If that’s what certain guys do well in terms of mobility and they toughen up, and that’s where they should drive for. They should live in that world where I know what I do best.
Q. How close to 100% is the knee?
Dayne Crist: I would say if not 100, it’s real close.
Q. What are the plans for you now from this point forward until September 3rd?
Dayne Crist: To continue to get stronger and get my strength back in the weight room. I think that would be huge. Just continuing to stay in shape and then obviously maintain what we were doing in the first round with the strength staff. Just getting guys in and throwing.
It will be more player run practice in the summer. The coaches can’t be there. So now it’s transitioning and bringing guys together and making sure that we’re not losing any progress that we could have had by not doing something the right way.
Q. I know how humble you are, but as far as a quarterback position goes, is this your football team? Do you believe that?
Dayne Crist: I think you have to. I think you’ve got to. I’ve got to believe that I’m a starter. I’ve got to believe that guys have faith in me.
I know that I’m very confident in my ability, and it is something that I’ll continue to work at and make sure that I’m establishing and trying to establish yourself as a starting quarterback. What you’ve got to do is not give them another choice.
I have to continue my play to where there are no clear choices but me, you know. No better choice but me.
Q. I realize it’s only spring, but in your eyes how much better is this football team now than a year ago?
Dayne Crist: It’s night and day. The experience, there are so many intangibles you can’t really show on paper or anything like that. But just being able to see offensively and specifically how much more confident guys are playing, how much faster guys are playing. Not worried about where to get lined up, it’s how am I going to beat this defender this time because I beat them the last two times.
It’s about making sure we’re developing the nuances within each play and progressing on every possession and getting better every play.
Q. How do you temper the enthusiasm? There is so much anticipation for the 2011 season.
Dayne Crist: You’ve got to apply that to your work. The excitement of the season, you’ve got to feel it in every rep of your looks. Everything you’re doing in the off season, all the stuff, the nitty gritty, you’ve got to remain and improve that time as well.
Q. Can September get here quick enough?
Dayne Crist: No, not possible.
Q. We heard you talk about the younger guys like Andrew out there?
Dayne Crist: I think they’re making plays. I think with their skill set they’re doing things that they do best. I think it’s great to see them go out there and be comfortable and play in their own skin.
Q. For you today, did it feel like for some of the older guys to get some work in there and get out?
Dayne Crist: Yeah, we knew it was going to be more about the young guys going in. So whether the focus was there or not across the board, that’s not to say. But it was about going out there and trying to be efficient with the reps that we had, and just making sure that once you were removed, it was about staying engaged and helping the younger guys and developing those younger guys especially.
Q. Did you hear anything about the team over the last four weeks that surprised you? Made you feel differently about the season?
Dayne Crist: I’m continually encouraged with the way that our guys compete. That’s nothing new to us. Just seeing the way our guys battle is really encouraging.
Especially when you’ve got injuries in spring practice or something like that, really guys stepped up and really made sure that we weren’t taking a step back as a result of that. Guys were getting hurt and taking on an additional duty and things of that nature.
So it’s great to see where everyone’s head’s at, and being confident across the board. It’s consistent with what we’re trying to accomplish.
Q. The strength of the running back and the receiver, now it seems like the defensive line out of nowhere this group is probably as good as Notre Dame has had a long time. What are your impressions of that?
COACH KELLY: Just battling in practice and seeing what they can do is another huge sign of encouragement for us. Being able to as a quarterback to come inside like that, and that helps you in terms of playing against real opponents and things like that.
But also knowing that that’s going to help you get the ball back and get more touches and more of an opportunity for the offense to put points on the board. So it’s great having that. I’m the biggest supporter in the world when it comes to our defense doing well.
Q. I know the first time in spring we talked to you. In just a couple of days we’ve seen a different Brian Kelly, just a little more calm and teaching. Did that continue?
Dayne Crist: I didn’t jinx it. It stayed the same. But I think it was because from the start of spring practice he told us what his expectations were. It was different this time. We understood what he was asking.
I think the seniors did a great job. I think all the upperclassmen did a great job remembering what it took last year, and what it was like last year and we didn’t want to be like that again.
We understand we have a lot of work to do and still have a lot of work to do. We’re moving in the right direction, and definitely different from a year ago.
Q. When you don’t hear him over the shouldering, that’s a positive?
Dayne Crist: That’s a good sign for us, yes.
Q. With four quarterbacks in the mix today, how crucial was it for you to be able to come back healthy enough to take part? Because a lot of people probably originally wondered if you’d be able to do that?
Dayne Crist: Yeah, I think I feel incredibly blessed to be where I’m at in terms of where my knee is and being healthy enough to come out there and compete and play the game I love. So obviously that was important.
But at end of the day that was out of my control. A lot of it I can control and rehab it. It came down to the way that I was healing and the way my body healed overall. But it was great being out there and just so much fun being able to do everything I love doing in the spring.
Q. Can you talk about the tight ends and wide receivers and your comfort level with their ability to do the job in the spring and the fall?
Dayne Crist: The comfort level is 100% there. Whether it’s the first guy out there or the third guy out there. I think what we did this spring which was really important for us was to establish a great depth.
Having confidence in the number one is important, but if he can’t go, are you confident in number two and number three? I think we established that confidence level across the board with the receivers and tight ends.
It’s unknown, and they did a great job competing and proved that they could do a great job and make some plays for us.
Q. Can you talk about Tyler and what kind of target he is for you?
Dayne Crist: Tyler is extremely lethal. When he’s out there, he’s such a combination of size and speed. He’s got great hands. I think that he’s going to cause a lot of problems for a lot of defenses this year. We love having him on our team. He’s going to be a great leader at that tight end position as well.
Q. And Goodman?
Dayne Crist: Goody has continued to show his worth all across the board. He played so many different spots as a receiver last year. He’s established himself as quite a leader for the younger guys and things like that. Just showed continually that he’s getting better and making plays for us and showing the great hands that he has.
Q. As one of the leaders on this team, Aaron Lynch is getting a lot I mean, people are going crazy after seeing him out there today. Coach Kelly wants to tamper down the expectations a little bit. As a leader of the team, how do you help Aaron deal with the expectations that are coming out?
Dayne Crist: You know, it’s one of those situations where you just continue to encourage him and let him know he’s going to have bad days. Things have been going great for him and you’re continually trying to make him better and getting him to compete against the older guys.
He’ll understand he’s going to have his down days too. Just really being there more in those days where he may not have experienced what it was like and trying to teach him how to bounce back from that.
But you love his motor and the way he operates. If he continues to work the way he does, he does have unbelievable potential for us.
Dayne Crist: It was different. You forget about it. You’ve got to watch what you say, obviously. But it’s one of those things to continue to go out and play.
Q. Speaking of guys watching what they say. Coach Kelly was mic’d up. Can you give us your perspective?
Dayne Crist: Yeah, it was cool. Guys were joking with him and trying to get anything they could on camera or not on camera, but on microphone. Guys were having fun with it. But at the end of the day, it’s just another thing and you’ve just got to go out and play.
Q. Offseason stuff, did you set up any trips or anything like that among the guys yet?
Dayne Crist: Yeah, just talking to receivers. Getting them to come out and throw and stuff like that. But it’s an open invitation for all guys.
We just want to get better and make sure we’re developing guys throughout the summer and not having any time that we’re wasting.
Q. You were on the sidelines for the entire second half of the game. Talk about your relationship personally since you enrolled last January until now?
Dayne Crist: I think our relationship has grown tremendously. I really do consider Tommy like a little brother to me. He’s great on and off the field.
We’re great friends. We can bounce stuff off each other. He knows I’m there for him, and he’s an extra set of eyes when I’m in there as well.
We work well together. We’re confident trying to get each other better because at the end of the day it’s best for the team. So I think our relationship has grown, and it will continue to grow. I don’t see us ever stopping with that. We’ll continue to be friends for as long as we know each other.
Q. Despite the fact that you’re competing for this job, how important is that from a team standpoint for you guys off the field? Can you be successful competing when you’re friends?
Dayne Crist: We’re definitely competing, but the quarterback position is a little different. You have to compete with yourself more than anybody. It’s not something you can wind up two guys and have them run a straight line and do certain things.
It’s really a competition with yourself, and getting the most out of yourself each day, getting better and progressing out in that way.
We understand we told each other from the beginning of spring we’ll make each other better, and that hasn’t changed. I will continue to do that.
Dayne Crist: I would win.
Q. You’re confident saying that on the record?
Dayne Crist: Yeah.
Q. Having the position of a leadership role on this team, how was it (indiscernible)?
Dayne Crist: It was really good seeing them out there being comfortable and making plays. At times in spring they’re young and they may not understand everything right away.
But they did a great job going out there and managing the offense, and making plays and doing what they do well. They felt good in their own skin and doing what they know they can do.
Dayne Crist: We’re always trying to help him out with things that they may not see or may not be looking for. But I think they did a great job. I’m proud of both of them, and we’ll continue to get better as the summer progresses.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports
Everett Golson – Fr. – Quarterback
On running out of the tunnel…
“The first time I came out, before the game actually started, I was just in awe even though there weren’t that many people in the stands. Just running out of the tunnel is a great experience.”
On his 23-yard run…
“It felt like 70, seriously. Just trying to make something happen. Sometimes that takes running all across the field. It was definitely tiring.”
On the speed of the game changing from high school to college…
“I felt like I rushed a lot of things on my own. As far as my progressions, I didn’t think I passed the ball too well today. I kind of took my eyes off the end of the field a lot. It’s just about working with the coaches and working in the film room and working until I improve.”
On working on his ball security…
“Ishaq [Williams] is a great player. He kind of played a game with me. I stepped up in the pocket, and he stepped back in, and then I stepped back, and I was just dead from there. It was on me. I didn’t keep the ball tight. He came and pulled it away from me. The coaches have been working on that real hard with me.”
On improving his mechanics…
“Mechanics are probably one of my biggest weaknesses right now. I can sense myself falling back into my high school ways – in holding the ball correctly or positioning my foot. The coaches are helping me to improve that.”
Theo Riddick – Jr. – Wide Receiver
On how the game went…
“It went well. I feel very content with our performance. I believe as a team, we’re getting better. With that, we can incorporate extra time for the young guys to learn the playbook and get some experience playing the game.”
On feeling pressure to compete for his spot…
“We’re all here to just to start. But at the same time we’re here to help the team. Whatever way Coach Kelly chooses to go about it, we’re all for it.”
On Michael Floyd’s absence…
“I believe we’re just given more opportunities. He’s a great player. He makes the best out of his opportunities. Without him today, we saw what the rest of us could do.”
Cierre Wood – So. – Running Back
On the things that he thought he did well today…
“My footwork was much, much better. I thought my reads were much better. I only really messed up on one read. I think that my reads and my footwork are a lot better than they were last year.”
On where he is now compared to where he was after last spring…
“I am way ahead of the curve. I think I am ahead of the curve in every area. I know the plays now. I know the system. I know everything. Now it is just about getting out there and taking care of business. It is just a mentality. Last year I was out there playing a bit passive and tentative at times. Now when I see the hole, I know where I am supposed to go, and I just accelerate right through it. Nine times out of 10, if I shoot through it as fast as I can, everything that is coming at me is arm tackles.”
On what he would like to polish up before fall camp…
“I would just like to work on making more plays, and making them more often. I consider myself a playmaker, so I just want to make more plays in practice and in the games. Being more explosive is something that I would like to work on.”
On his assessment of the running game…
“We did a good job. We just need to get everybody at 100 percent. Honestly, we didn’t really even show anything this game with it being a spring game. Once the season starts, that is when everything is going to start snapping.”
Danny Spond – So. – Linebacker
On the spring game…
“Today was awesome. It was nice to get out there and just play football. We’ve been working so hard this past month, it’s like a pay-day to get out there and have some fun.”
On fighting for positions…
“Prince [Shembo] and I have been working really hard – all of the linebackers have. We’re all just out there having fun. Whoever it’s going to be, it’s going to be and the others are going to support that person. We just want to get as many wins as we can.”
On the defense…
“We come out to practice every day and feel that we have one of the best coaching staffs in the country, by far. They just want us to be the best players we can be. We fully trust them to put us in the positions to make plays and get wins.”
On the type of defense…
“It’s very important. Up front, we need to be able to stop the run and pass. With our different coverage, our main duty is to tackle and if you can’t tackle, you can’t win.”
Tyler Eiferto Jr. – Tight End
On expectations for this season…
“My expectations changed definitely because last year I didn’t expect to play at all. But now heading into this fall, I expect to play quite a bit.”
On last season’s back injury…
“The main worry was trying to figure out what was going on. We tried a lot of different things but nothing was really working. Finally we were able to help it. There wasn’t really a question of whether I would play again, more just trying to figure out how to help it.”
On moving into Kyle Rudolph’s spot…
“There’s still going to be competition in the fall. There was in the spring. I just want to do my best to be a leader on this team and help us win.”
On the quarterbacks…
“I’m happy with where they all are. Dayne [Crist] and Tommy [Rees] both know the offense really well and are really good quarterbacks. The two young guys are really coming along fast and learning the offense and their role. I’m comfortable with whoever we have in there.”
On Aaron Lynch …
“He was causing some problems for our offense and doing a really good job out there.”
Andrew Hendrix – So. – Quarterback
On first chance to really play at Notre Dame Stadium…
“It felt awesome. Knowing that I was on the bench the entire last year, to get out there an actually play, in a stadium that was half full, but felt like it was full. It was a really special experience.”
On figuring out how to huddle…
“I lined up on the wrong side the first time, but that’s how we did it in high school. I haven’t huddled here yet, so it was on the fly. I eventually got the hang of it.”
On having a positive experience going into the off-season…
“I wanted a confidence booster going into summer camp. It really gives me something to build on. I didn’t want to come out here and just throw the ball out of bounds or at the ground. I wanted to have something to build on, which I think I did that today.”
On Aaron Lynch…
“I told him after the game that I can’t wait to see him do that to other quarterbacks. It was pretty painful.”
On knowing where you stand at quarterback position…
“At the end of the day, it’s Coach Kelly and Coach Molnar’s call. Everett performed today, he was outstanding. All the quarterbacks performed well. It will be their job. I think we all did really well today.”
Robby Toma – Jr. – Wide Receiver
On going into the fall season…
“I definitely feel a lot stronger than I did coming out of last spring. As a team, we’re stronger. Although we’re short on bodies, we really fought today.”
On potentially playing on Saturdays…
“I’m just going to work hard and do all I can. It’s all in the coaches’ hands after that.”
On getting something out of today’s game…
“I think one thing we can get out of this is that the receivers are tougher. We really fought this spring and I’m proud of the guys.”
Tommy Rees – So. – Quarterback
On Coach Kelly being pleased…
“Coming out of the spring game, we knew we weren’t going to get a lot work. It was kind of sloppy out there a little bit, but we put together a nice job there in the beginning. We had a few things not go our way there; we had a couple drops and bad balls. Overall when I was in with the gold team I thought we did pretty well moving the ball and got acclimated.”
On his relationship with receivers without Michael Floyd…
“You saw Robby Toma out there working, John Goodman with a touchdown catch, Luke Massa got a lot better and we used our tight ends so much. All those guys are doing a great job. Without Mike out there, we started to build a good relationship with the guys that we haven’t had to throw to as much. It was good for them this spring, for sure.”
On four-person race for the quarterback position…
“It’s competitive. At the same time we all get along really well. There’s no competitiveness out there. We all understand that it’s the coaches’ decision and whatever is best for the team. We are all going to support one another and whatever they decide we’ll be behind them 100 percent.