Oct. 29, 2011

Q. Could you talk about the effect of not having your main starting quarterback? How did that affect your play?

COACH NIUMATALOLO: Not having Chris hurts you, not having your starting quarterback but they whipped our butts today. Not going to make any excuses. That’s my 14th team playing Notre Dame, and that’s the most full butt whipping that stutters me. Coach Kelly did a great job getting his guys ready, bouncing back after the USC game. They came prepared and focused and they got after us in all two phases. They got after us offensively, defensively and special teams. Just a total butt whipping.

Q. Talk about, also, this really puts a damper on your post season hopes. Talk about that a little bit.

COACH NIUMATALOLO: Well, right now our thoughts is we have got to get better, you know what I mean. Just obviously there are a lot of things, goals, that we would like to try to get. But we just have to come back Monday, go to work and see where we can try to get better. We lost to a good football team today that played well and they got after us. Like I said, our hats are off to them. We have to try to find ways to get better but there are so many things, we wanted to get off to a great start.

Thought we had a great opening drive. The blueprint of kind of how we were hoping we could stay in this ballgame: Long, sustained drives, we would liked to have finished it with a touchdown, but we are fine with the field goal. We missed that. And the game just kind of just kind of how the season has been. Just need to have some good starts, especially against someone like Notre Dame.

Q. Can you talk about Manti Te’o’s game against you and also your impressions of No. 7?

COACH NIUMATALOLO: I thought both of them played well. The difference for us offensively against their defense was Manti. We could not block Manti. We have been doing this for a long time. We tried a lot of different schemes and tried a lot things to block him but the kid played phenomenal. Give Bob credit, defensive coordinator. Thought they had a good plan and Manti played well. We just could not block that guy. We just played a phenomenal game. We tried to mis direction him, tried to get him lost and try to do some different things with eyes and that kid’s was dialed in. Like I said we tried a lot of different blocking schemes and we could not get him blocked.

Q. Getting to 14 7 and they go right in for a touchdown, can you talk about that?

COACH NIUMATALOLO: That obviously was a huge play. You know we were actually in two deep, you know, so we had to have those safeties there anticipating the pass. And you know, then up on the playaction, which he should not have been doing; he’s a half safety and he had been up on it and we got beat.

We are trying to make them throw it underneath, and that play shouldn’t have happened. At least if somebody came on the knees, but definitely trying to take away the post and they hit him and came back with the kickoff after that which kind of snowballed on us, and playing against a good team like Notre Dame, that can’t happen.

Q. Giving up a whole lot of points

COACH NIUMATALOLO: You know, they got after us, and I mean, it seemed like they could do a lot of things offensively against us, defensively and that’s obviously a concern. But the concern, too, we couldn’t move the ball. They stopped us. We couldn’t move the ball, which compounded things for our defense, because they kept coming on the field, we couldn’t get any conversions. Notre Dame was (indiscernible) today, and like I said, they got after us in a lot of different phases.

Q. You came out in a 4 3 look, can you explain your thinking on that? Obviously you have not played that in nine years.

COACH NIUMATALOLO: Just try to stop the run a little bit, try to get nail the guys down and stop the run. We have had struggles stopping the run, but he could pretty much do anything today. He could throw the ball, run the football. You know, we were putting our fingers in a lot of different holes to try to stop things, and exploit something else, like I said, but you’ve got to tip your hat off to Notre Dame. I thought they played an unbelievable game. They played very well, and Coach Kelly, like I said, got them ready, bounced them back after that the USC and they whipped our butts.

Q. How do you feel Trey performed?

COACH NIUMATALOLO: He did okay. I thought he played a little slow at first. We would loved to have him play faster but that wasn’t on him. We didn’t block the greatest. He could have done some things better, but again, they did a nice job against us offensively.

Q. What were your impressions of Floyd today and what he was able to do?

COACH NIUMATALOLO: The guy was unbelievable. What Floyd did against us we have seen him do against everybody. The guy is a big time receiver. You throw the hitch out to him and he stiff arms guys, most of them, for touchdowns. He’s catching the ball underneath; catching the ball over the top.

I mean, the kid is a complete player. The guy played well. What he did wasn’t a surprise. We knew we had to try to find a way to stop him but we couldn’t get it done.

Q. Obviously at this point you would have to win all four of your remaining games to finish at .500, can you talk about the position you’re in?

COACH NIUMATALOLO: Well, the position, we’re not looking that far ahead. We have got to get better. We can’t even catch a punt. Can’t even kick a field goal. Try to line up in two deep and keep absolute our safeties back, so they can throw it underneath, making some of those underneath, just some of the basics we need to get back to. That’s kind of our approach now. We have just got to go back to being fundamentally sound, and that’s normally been us. We have been a fundamentally sound team.

We start trying to reach and grasp and try to do our own deal, we are not a very good football team. Because it’s hard enough for us to compete from a size standpoint and all of that, if we are doing what’s right. But if we try to start doing our own deal, it makes for a long day for us.