Nov. 5, 2005

Recap | Final Stats | Notes | Photo Gallery

Notre Dame Head Coach Charlie Weis

On Tom Zbikowski …
“He lifted my spirits a little unless that was him who got called for the personal foul, which I think it was (laughter). He had a big punt return for a touchdown. The more he’s out there, the more you want him out there because chances are something good is going to happen.”

On Tennessee …
“I think Tennessee is pretty good. There were two critical things. Number one, we turned the ball over on that swing pass. That was a fumble and it was a good call. I tried to argue but they were right. All of a sudden it was 21-3 and they get the ball back and go down and score. We’d like to have that play back … They have a good defense. It was like a fight out there. You feel it out and see how things are going. I felt the biggest play of the game was when it was 21-21 and it’s third-and-ten and we throw it out there to Jeff (Smardzija) and he takes it up the sidelines.”

At halftime …
“If I were in that (Tennessee) locker room I’d feel pretty good because I thought I had a chance in this game. They were fighting and they are a good football team. You say that and people don’t listen.”

When he was concerned about the outcome of the game …
“My concern was when it was 21-10. I was concerned long before it was tied. I was concerned at halftime.”

On the play of the special teams …
“We have been emphasizing our special teams from the day I got here. We wanted to improve them in a hurry. I wanted to play starters on special teams but people may criticize me if they get hurt. But I don’t think I’m looking like a dummy today because of what (Tom) Zbikowski did.”

Notre Dame Player Quotes

Junior DE Victor Abiamiri –

On the level of play in the game…
“It got tough. Our defense rose to the challenge. Tennessee got a little comeback there but I think we took all the shots they had. They are a good football team.”

On the team’s attitude during the Tennessee comeback during the game…
“Coach Weis always talks about composure. That was his message at halftime and what he kept saying on the sidelines. Things don’t always go your way in the game. You cannot lose your mind and not lose your composure.”

Junior DT Trevor Laws –

On the physical level of the game…
“It was a fight out there. Just big physical guys that pound every play. We knew that coming in. Their record is not who they are. Just looking at the film, they are all great players and they do not deserve the record that they have.”

On the play of Notre Dame’s secondary today…
“The secondary stepped up great today. They played well. The interceptions, we got to the quarterback a lot and that helped out. We were in the backfield most of the day and they looked uncomfortable back there.”

Junior QB Brady Quinn –

On facing a Tennessee team that entered the game 3-4…
“It was a tough situation facing a team that a lot of people said were underachieving and maybe didn’t think was that good. The obviously don’t fit that. They have a great defense and played tough the whole game. It felt good to get the victory.”

On the Tennessee defense…
“You have to give them credit, they are a great defense and made some plays. But when it came down to it, we made plays as well. They maybe had some coverage sacks that were not about anything they were doing against us. You have to give our offensive line and backs credit for their performance today. We had some time in the game when we were unproductive, but we challenged ourselves to see how productive we could be against this defense.”

University of Tennessee Head Coach Phillip Fulmer

Opening Statement:
“I would like to Congratulate Notre Dame on their victory today. They have really improved in a year. Our hats go off to them for how they played today against us. I thought our team battled throughout the game. When we got the score back to 21-21 I thought we had a football game. Obviously, the kicking game and the turnovers in the end did not truly reflect what the score was. I thought our defense played well probably well enough to win us the game. We really improved in some areas on the offensive side at times, and other times we were our own worst enemy. I don’t want our team to be discouraged, because I really feel that the effort was there on both sides of the field, but obviously they were not the results we were looking for.”

On the Tennessee special teams:
“We have got to continue to look at that. We had two special teams plays that were our demise against Florida, and today we had two special teams plays that were our demise. We just need to get our young punter to learn to kick it towards the sideline rather than down the center of the field.”

If Notre Dame was in the South Eastern Conference (SEC):

“I think that if they were in the SEC they would definitely be in the upper echelon of the conference every year.”

On the Tennessee offense:

“That got blown up out of proportion during the course of the week, and I am not sure where that came from. We did the play calling as a staff tonight and it had a lot of effect on the game. I had a lot of fun calling the plays tonight, or at least some of the plays. “

Tennessee Player Quotes

Kevin Simon, LB

Overall Comments:
“The game plan is always going to be to stop the run first and force them to pass. When they pass the ball we have to get pressure on the quarterback and there were just a couple of times their receivers made some big plays. We stopped them at times but we didn’t stop them when we needed to.”

‘Whether it was miscues on defense, offense or special team we have had to deal with it all year and it amazes me that with all the turnovers we were able to tie the game heading into the fourth quarter. That shows the fight and character of the team but when it rains it pours for us.”

On the play of Brady Quinn …
“You really have to take your hat to Brady Quinn. He is a very good players and will probably be the best quarterback we play against all season. He makes that team go.”

Jayson Swain, WR

On the offense’s execution …
“This is the story of our season. We were able to get open but we weren’t able to make the plays we needed to. We didn’t execute enough and we have to stop turning the ball over.”

Erik Ainge, QB

On his execution at QB …
“It was better today than it has been at times, I am still inconsistent. I made some plays but just didn’t make enough.”

On the 2 INT’s
“Those were mistakes on my part. It was a miscue on both me and receiver and I made a bad throw each time and in the scheme of things those really changed the game.”

Arian Foster, RB

On his rushing effort …
“The offensive line did a great job today. They keep pushing and keep fighting till the game was over and I knew that I was going to make plays behind them.”

On the game calling duties for Coach Fulmer …
“I’m not really sure that made a difference in the outcome today. Coach Saunders did a great job but we just didn’t execute enough. We did make some more plays today then we did earlier in the year but that had nothing to do with who was calling the plays.”