Nov. 7, 2009
Notre Dame vs. Navy
Nov. 7, 2009 Notre Dame Stadium
An Interview With:
COACH Charlie Weis
Q. Their head coach just said that they used what happened last year to their advantage this year, that they felt that you would play the same, take the same defensive approach that you did last year. Did you go in with the same defensive approach against their running game and just weren’t able to adjust?
COACH WEIS: Well, I think the first thing you have to do is stop the fullback. That’s where the whole defense starts, with stopping the fullback. He had too many yards, some of them easy yards, and he had a couple of big runs.
But one of the plays that stood out for me is we pin them back, we’re pinning them back deep into their own end, and I’m over there talking to Clausen who had just fumbled the ball on the 1 yard line, next thing I know I see the fullback running for 40 yards and changing field position.
I think when you’re playing against Navy, who plays so fundamentally sound offensively, everyone has to do their jobs, and think that it starts inside out. And inside out means the first thing you’d better do is take care of that fullback and not let him get some easy yards, and I thought he had a nice day for them.
Q. Their coach also mentioned that there was a lot of BCS talk going on with Notre Dame, not necessarily from the team, but did you at any point sense that your team was not focused on this game?
COACH WEIS: No, I think it came down to red zone production for us. I think that’s really what it came down to. We missed a couple of field goals, we turned the ball over, we missed a couple of field goals. I think in the first half not I think, we had the ball four times in the first half. Getting the ball down into position to score was not the issue; it was scoring that was the issue. And I played it safe there, played it safe there a couple times and went for the field goal, and that didn’t pan out.
And then we had the one 4th and 3 where we had a play we had been practicing for that situation, and they hit us with a blitz where we just didn’t have time to get the ball off. I think that other than that, I think they played the game the right way. Navy played the game the right way, and we kind of spit the bit in the red zone when it came down to red zone production.
Q. Any news on Rudolph, what happened to him, and also what happened to Jimmy?
COACH WEIS: Well, at first, the first word back to me was collarbone, and I thought, oh, here we go again. But then the medical people came back I don’t know for sure what the complete diagnosis is, but the medical people came back and said he’ll be gone for the day, but we should have him back. All I’m thinking is Michael Floyd revisited. That’s what I’m feeling. But I really don’t know other than the fact that during the game they came back to me, he’s out for the game, but he’s not out. I’ll have to wait and see what they say tomorrow.
Q. And what was Jimmy’s injury and how close was he to not coming back into the game?
COACH WEIS: Well, at first when he’s laying on the ground, my first concern was his head. That’s what I’m concerned with the most. But once he got up, he was sore all over, but the only thing that was really hurt was his left hand. We weren’t going to be underneath the center with the way the game was going, we were going to be in shotgun, so after he regained his composure I told him that if I was looking at him and I didn’t think he could do it, he’s not going whether he wanted to or not.
After he gained his composure and took a couple shotgun snaps and there was a little timing lapse, like we didn’t have to go right back out there because they had a little drive going. But the time that happened he had recovered and he was pretty much ready to go.
Q. This is the kind of loss that is going to put focus on you and your future. How do you handle that and how do you address your team?
COACH WEIS: But that comes with the territory. It comes with the territory. You know, the sad part about it is that’s this job every week. It’s a week to week deal. You lose a game against Navy now, let’s not diminish or slight Navy in any way because they deserve a lot of credit for how they played and winning this game. But I think that as I just told the team, I coach the team exactly the same way every week regardless of the situation, whether it’s a win or lose. One thing they know from me is I never change, never, ever change.
Those type of things affect the people around you more than it affects you personally because I never change. I’m going to roll in tomorrow morning exactly the same way, whether we had won or lost. Does it feel bad? Yeah. Does it hurt? Yeah. But it’s not going to change my approach of how I coach.
Q. What’s out there for this team now? Obviously you talk to them about Pittsburgh, but what are you guys chasing at this point?
COACH WEIS: Right now that’s the only thing you are chasing. You can’t be worrying about two or three games down the line, you’ve got to worry about Pittsburgh 8:00 Saturday night. Pittsburgh just ended up beating Syracuse soundly today, and they’re ready for their dog and pony show. It’ll be the largest crowd in Heinz Field history. They’re all ready for their major celebration when Notre Dame rolls into town, and we’re going to go there with the intent of spoiling it.
Q. On Navy’s touchdown pass, it looked like some of the players were saying the player might not have been eligible. What did you see there?
COACH WEIS: They thought it was an illegal formation. One of the things that happened in the game, Navy plays a lot of unbalanced line, and guys get on and off the line of scrimmage, so sometimes a guy who looks like he’s legal is illegal and vice versa. From what I gathered from looking at it, I thought the receiver was legal, not illegal. I’ll have to wait and see it, but from what I gathered, he looked to me to be legal based on me asking some questions to make sure whether or not they had seven on the line of scrimmage or not.
Q. Could you talk about the play where the ball hit him in the back?
COACH WEIS: He thought it was a screen. We’re throwing the ball to him. We’re throwing the ball to him, and he just missed a signal on the play. So I mean, we’re isolating him, we’re throwing it to him one on one, so Jimmy is throwing it out there, and he was throwing a block because he thought it was a screen, so he thought he was just going to block the force out there. He missed that one.
But you can’t say enough about Michael’s effort for the first rattle out of the box after being gone for a month and a half. I thought his effort was very, very good.
Q. And you mentioned red zone. That’s been something that’s been plaguing you for a few weeks now. What do you think the issue is there? Is there a lack of identity what to do to in that situation, or how do you see that?
COACH WEIS: Well, there were different problems in different situations. For example, we get the ball down close, and we’ve got a 2nd and 2 or 3rd and 2, and we get an illegal formation because both receivers were off the ball on the play. You know, so we’ve got both receivers off the ball and it’s an illegal formation.
Now all of a sudden you lose some yardage, now you’re trying a fade or a quick out or a scheme play where you’re spinning over the top right there instead of just being able to run the ball again. We were intending on just trying to run it in at that time, and it just didn’t work out on that play.
Q. Were they doing anything differently offensively this year compared to what they’ve done earlier in the year?
COACH WEIS: No, they’re a game plan team, so they have certain packages that show up in certain games, like unbalanced or bringing in a third tackle. They have some things it’s not where they haven’t showed up during the year, it’s just what you go against and what you practice, and I think they had a bunch of runs where they went back into the boundary and either tossed the ball or ran a little option right there and gave them a couple plays right that were big plays.
Q. Have you ever been involved in a game where you didn’t punt and you lost?
COACH WEIS: To be honest with you, I wouldn’t have even known that we didn’t punt, but you’re right now that I think about it. I don’t know that. Not off the top of my head.
Q. And also in the beginning, Dobbs was following the fullback in on the dive a lot in the first quarter. It seemed like that didn’t work for them the rest of the game, especially in the second half. Did you guys do something differently?
COACH WEIS: That was one of the things we had practiced against, the follow, because when he plays that’s one of the things he likes to do. We call it a follow or a trail, and he likes to fade to the back, and before he even gets to an edge just pull it up and pull it in there. So we’ve practiced that a lot, we just got better as it as the game went on.
Q. I wondered before the game about the young some of the young players up front, assignment football as opposed to just chasing the ball. I know you haven’t watched film yet, but do you think that was maybe a problem on some of those gashing plays?
COACH WEIS: I’d have to wait. I don’t know if it’s the middle linebacker’s fault or the defensive lineman’s fault until after I see it. Right now I’d really be guessing, and I don’t like guessing.
Q. You’ve obviously bounced back from the first two losses. It seems to me this would be the toughest one to get the guys going. What will you tell them?
COACH WEIS: What will I tell them or what did I tell them? It’s one and the same. Well, you’re going into Pittsburgh Saturday night, national TV. Pittsburgh is riding high and they’ve only lost one time and in contention for the Big East Championship and an outside hunt of playing themselves into a major, major Bowl. Start off the game a little bit today, start off a little bit today just maybe thinking about Notre Dame. They’re all ready to go. Sell out crowd, standing room only is already old out, they’re all ready to go. It’s like the sacrificial lambs are rolling into town, and we don’t intend to be that.
Q. How important is this game for the program?
COACH WEIS: Every game is the same. They’re all important. Navy was important today, and we lost. It’s just as important this week going against Pittsburgh, just like the next week it’ll be just as important going against UConn.
But I think it’s important to be short sighted, especially after a disheartening loss. I think it’s important to be short sighted and put all your focus in on one thing, and that one thing is beating Pittsburgh. You can’t look down the road; you just have to put all your energy into beating Pittsburgh.
Q. What was your thinking in not going for a field goal on the 3 yard line?
COACH WEIS: Well, I had missed a couple field goals in the game, and sometimes that taints you. It taints you a little bit. But more importantly, what was really on my mind at the time was I thought that the possessions in the game, especially they were up two scores, but the two scores were touchdowns, I think the possessions in the game and the time of possession as the game was going was going to warrant that we were going to need some points.
Like I said, we have a play that was dialed up; if we get a 4th down inside the 5 yard line, this is the play we’re calling, and we ran the play, and they won.
Q. Leading up to this game you talked about passion. How do you evaluate the team’s passion, and was that a problem?
COACH WEIS: Well, I think that my biggest concern when you’re playing against Navy, it’s not how hard our guys are going to play, it’s that in the game, the way they play the game, the game is the clock seems like it’s eternally running. Like I said, in the first half, we got the kickoff and we only had four possessions. That’s getting the kickoff, we only had four possessions in the first half. You come out of it scoreless, having missed a couple of field goals, turned the ball over, I mean, you can’t play the game like that.
We were fortunate to be honest with you that they missed a field goal right at the end of the half because that put you in a position where it was still a two score game because if it was a three score game and they’re getting the ball to start the third quarter, I mean, it was only 14 to 0. It wasn’t like it was 100 to nothing, it was 14 to 0.
But the way the game played out, it really came down to not being able to stop the run in critical situations, a play action shot that they end up hitting and a lack of production in the red zone. That’s a simple analysis of the problems from the game.
An Interview With:
HEAD COACH KEN NIUMATALOLO
COACH NIUMATALOLO: First of all, I want to say it’s been a great honor for our program to come here to South Bend. The people here, Coach Weis and everybody, has been so hospitable. We came yesterday, and just the people that have been here have been phenomenal to us and our kids and our program. We thank all the people here for making this being nice to us, and I want to say it was a great game.
I’ve got to take our hats off to the kids, both teams. It was a hard fought game. Both teams battled. Jimmy came back after it seemed like a concussion whatever happened to him, he continued to battle and come back.
But I want to give our kids credit for continuing to fight against a great Notre Dame team. I don’t have much more to say about our kids. I’m speechless with our kids.
It’s a great honor for me to be a coach at the Naval Academy because these young men, this is it for them. So this is a great honor for me to come here and help these young men to progress as leaders and to come in a great, historic place like Notre Dame because next year they’ll be serving our country. But phenomenal, phenomenal young men to coach.
Q. Notre Dame’s offensive series when you got the safety on them, you had the two sacks. What did you do in terms of your rush differently that you hadn’t really done much in the other game?
COACH NIUMATALOLO: I don’t think it was anything different. We were doing the same things. I think our kids just dug deep. Jimmy wasn’t moving as well as he was early on. I think he’s obviously backed up and looking to make a play to throw the football and held on to it a little bit too long, but he had been making plays holding onto it.
Our kids just battled. We had a hard time getting to him. They do a great job protecting the quarterback, and our kids just battled there at the last two plays.
Q. Ram may have big plays every week, but it seems like here in the stadium he’s had very memorable plays. Can you just talk about him?
COACH NIUMATALOLO: Well, I thought our defense did a great job in the red zone. They moved the ball down the field, and our kids buckled down once we got down there. I’m sure they’ll look that they had some missed opportunities in the red zone, and obviously that was a big turnover that changed the whole momentum of the game.
But I think that happened a lot, it wasn’t just that one series, but there were some drives, it seemed like from 20 they kind of moved the ball pretty easily, and then we got down there down into the red zone, and I thought our kids battled and made plays there in the red zone.
Q. It seemed like it was kind of a reverse of last year’s game; they did a pretty good job against the option defensive, and this year you really got up on them. What do you think the key there to getting that hot offensive start?
COACH NIUMATALOLO: I think the one thing that helped us, and I really hope this doesn’t come across wrong, but I think the thing that helped us this year was last year because we knew that they’d line up the same way. We didn’t execute very well last year, and coming into this year they did a great job against us last year defensively, so we had a pretty good clue that they were going to come back and do the same things as they did last year, and we had a few things. We were expecting that same defense that we saw last year.
But it was still a grind. I mean, they’re still a great defense, and we thought we had some alignments in some of our formations. But it was a grind to get yardage against them even though we thought we had some numbers advantages in certain formations.
Q. Can you just talk about the emotion of this victory as compared to last time? I mean, you guys were a little more subdued. Is it because you had done it before and it wasn’t as historic?
COACH NIUMATALOLO: We talked all week, we felt like we had them in a perfect situation, similar to Ohio State. There was a lot of talk this week on BCS Bowl games, not from their team, but media thinking about what BCS Bowl game was coming up. I know Pitt is coming next week, and they’re a phenomenal team, so we kind of felt like we had them in a perfect storm. Just looking to the postseason, very, very good Pitt team coming next week, and it’s us coming.
So we kind of felt like, hey, if we come out and execute, we’d have a chance to compete. We feel like we’re a pretty good team, too. We’ve had some tough losses, but we feel like every ballgame we’ve been in we’ve had a chance to win.
Q. Sort of in that same vein, so many of your defensive guys who made big plays today had big plays in the last win here. How did that sort of experience just sort of carry over today?
COACH NIUMATALOLO: It was still tough. Our guys, we had a ton of guys that played but every time we saw that ball in the air going on the fade on the sideline, I held my breath. They’re so good at the deep ball, so good at completing it, and they came millimeters away from catching some other ones.
Our kids just battled. I don’t know what to say. Normally they’ve been making those catches, and our kids made a nice job of making some plays and breaking on the ball. But like I said, every time the ball was in the air, all of us on our side held our breath.
An Interview With:
Q. How disappointed are you?
Jimmy Clausen: I’m all right. I’m as best I can right now.
Q. How disappointing is this loss?
Jimmy Clausen: It’s real disappointing. Obviously we want to win every single game, and just a heartbreaking loss, I guess.
Q. Did they do something different do you guys in the red zone to keep you guys from getting into the end zone?
Jimmy Clausen: No, I think it was just our execution as an offense. Once we’d go down in the red zone for whatever reason, we didn’t execute, and we’ll watch tape tomorrow and see what went on.
Q. What’s your recollection of what happened on the play that you fumbled at the end of the third?
Jimmy Clausen: I just got hit. A guy made a good play, and I fumbled the ball.
Q. Were you woozy at that point? Obviously it looked like you were. How long did it take you before you were able to kind of realize where you were at and everything like that?
Jimmy Clausen: I’m not going to get into like details, but the guy made a good play, made a big hit on me, made me fumble and they recovered it.
Q. Can you talk about the interception that bounced off Michael’s back, what happened on that play?
Jimmy Clausen: Yeah, we were trying to get a double cadence and we just miscommunicated. He was blocking the screen, and I was just trying to throw a slant, and it went off his back and a guy made a good play on it.
Q. Overall how nice was it to have him back out there?
Jimmy Clausen: It was good. Obviously having a playmaker out there who was one of the better threats. It was just good to have all the guys out there helping.
Q. Was it an inaudible on that play? Did you change the play and that’s why there was miscommunication, or what happened?
Jimmy Clausen: No, I didn’t change the play. On the cadence I was giving them signals, and we just miscommunicated.
Q. Did you expect Golden Tate to be more involved early?
Jimmy Clausen: Did I expect him to?
Q. Yeah, in terms of plays that were called, after what he’s done the last four or five weeks.
Jimmy Clausen: Yeah, plays are based not based, on getting an individual the ball. I’m reading my progression, and I’m throwing to an open guy, and some of those routes are second or third option, and I just didn’t get back to him.
Q. Could you talk about the 4th and 3 situation when you guys went for the TD instead of field goal? What went wrong there early in the game?
Jimmy Clausen: Yeah, we were trying to go for a touchdown. Obviously we got down there a few times before that and weren’t able to put the ball in the end zone. It was actually a good drawn up play, and it just didn’t work out.
Q. Did they blitz on that play?
Jimmy Clausen: They blitzed the Sam on that play, yeah.
Q. So many of your good plays today were made after you were flushed. It was almost the primary receiver than where you went, a little more than usual. Is there anything to that?
Jimmy Clausen: Not really. I felt pressure a few times, which made me get out of the pocket, step up and get out and just trying to make a play down the field.
Q. The two sacks that ended up in the safety, did they send more people? Did they send the blitz, or was it their normal number rushing?
Jimmy Clausen: It was just their normal guys rushing. I don’t really know if they dropped a tackle in or anything, but it was three or four guys.
Q. What’s the frustration factor right now?
Jimmy Clausen: You know, just having a loss, whenever you have a loss, you’re frustrated and you wish you could have done something better and I could have done something better and the rest of the guys on the team could have done something better. It’s just frustrating right now.
Q. You look at the numbers you put up and it’s hard to believe you guys only scored 21 points.
Jimmy Clausen: Yeah, it’s not about statistics at all, it’s about production and putting points on the board and at the end of the game coming up with a win.
Q. As a leader how do you get this team ready to play again?
Jimmy Clausen: The season is definitely not over. There’s three games ahead of us. We’ve got Pittsburgh next down there, and they’re a real good team. We’ll be ready to go. We have meetings tomorrow, and get a little workout in. But trust me, this team will be ready to go.
Q. Is this loss different than Michigan and USC?
Jimmy Clausen: A loss is a loss, it doesn’t really matter who you play. It’s just heartbreaking right now.
Q. How tough is Navy, just what they do out there?
Jimmy Clausen: They play the game until the whistle is blown, and they played hard, and I give those guys a lot of credit. They fought and they fought and they fought some more, and their offense did a good job today executing the game plan, and I give a lot of credit to the head coach and the defensive guys making a lot of plays.
Q. You guys have done it so often before coming back down the field. How surprised were you that they were able to get the safety on you and keep you from moving down the field the way you have the last few games?
Jimmy Clausen: Yeah, I was surprised they were rushing three, four and just dropping everybody in the cover, so it was kind of hard to get the ball down the field.
Q. You’ve been kind of struggling in the red zone for a while now. Is there something you can point to, kind of an overarching reason why?
Jimmy Clausen: I don’t know to be honest. I’m going to have to watch the tape tomorrow and just see where I can improve to get the offense in a better position to make plays and just execute the plays more and just be more efficient down there.
Q. Was the timing off for Floyd at all, some of those routes that you threw down to the end zone?
Jimmy Clausen: No, not at all. I think just miscommunication and him just coming back, obviously he’s going to be a little rusty. But I think he did a good job today of stepping in and making some plays.
An Interview With:
Q. Can you talk about the red zone and why it just did not work out for you guys today?
Golden Tate: I’m not sure why we couldn’t get them in the red zone. That’s definitely something we’re going to be focused on working on next week and hopefully change that around.
Q. How much of a detriment was that to you?
Golden Tate: It was huge. I don’t think we even punted today, so that means we were in the red zone a bunch of times. We’ve just got to be better.
Q. How crushing is this loss?
Golden Tate: For me personally it hurts a lot. You know, from the start of the game I didn’t feel like us as a whole were as excited as we usually are, so I think we’ve just got to step up our intensity, focus on one game at a time, and just finish the season off.
Q. Was the team looking ahead to Pittsburgh do you think?
Golden Tate: I really don’t know. Personally I tried to stay focused on tonight’s game. I don’t know.
Q. Were you expecting your number to be called a little bit more in the first half?
Golden Tate: No, I expected Coach to give me the ball, which he did. I knew that Mike was coming in, so it would go back to the way it was at the first. I knew I was going to get the ball, and I did get the ball, so I’m happy with getting the ball.
Q. Is there a reason why it took a half to get yourself involved more?
Golden Tate: No, I don’t know. We came in at halftime and readjusted a little bit, so we kind of saw what they were doing and went from there.
Q. How was it different what they were doing compared to what the defense were doing when Michael was playing?
Golden Tate: For instance, one side they played soft two, my side they played hard two, vice versa, just simple things.
Q. What’s the difference between hard and soft?
Golden Tate: Hard is around five yards the corner is going to jam you, soft is the corner is going to run with you, backpedal so get some of your other options.
Q. What went into the decision to have Goodman return punts instead of you.
Golden Tate: I’m not sure. I guess Coach commented that if Goodman could get back there and break some tackles, so maybe it was to give me some more rest. I’m not sure what it is.
Q. Did you know going into the game that he was going to field some punts.
Golden Tate: Yeah, I practiced it at all week, give it him a chance, see what he’s got, so I think he did a good job.
Q. Did he talk to you about it? What did he say?
Golden Tate: Not really. He told me plus 50 and safes, I was going to be out there catching it, but not really.
Q. You talked about how tough it was for you personally. What do you think it means for the team for the rest of the season as you guys move forward now?
Golden Tate: Obviously this one hurts. It hurts. Navy, they showed up and played really well. We knew they were going to play hard the whole game. But from here we’ve just got to come in and fix our problems and look to Pittsburgh. One game at a time, one step. If we can do that, I think we can still finish strong.
Q. Their coach said he thought they had you in a perfect storm, meaning the team, because of all the BCS talk, not from you guys but from everyone around you. Did you feel like maybe you guys were listening or hearing that stuff?
Golden Tate: Like I said, I can speak for myself, I try to look at each game, next game as the most important opponent on our schedule. That’s the way I look at it. I’m not sure how other guys looked at it.
Q. How do you assess Michael’s return?
Golden Tate: I think he played hard. There were a few balls him and I both thought we should have caught. That just means we need to catch more balls after practice, during practice. I think he did pretty well the first game back. After a shoulder injury, a lot of guys are kind of scared and not sure if they should land on the shoulder. But I think he came in, made some plays and definitely helped us out a little bit.
Q. How frustrating is it not to get the ball back? Until the very end there, it seemed like Navy just had the ball so much.
Golden Tate: Yeah, we knew this going into the game, that they take a lot of time on offense, and we knew that we weren’t going to get very many chances on offense. We knew that going into the game, and we knew we needed to make every time we got the ball happen.
Q. I know Coach wants you to look ahead and just look at Pittsburgh, but is this going to set in, Navy has got us twice at home now, or do you just move on?
Golden Tate: Me, I try to have a short term memory. Tonight I might lose some sleep and it might hurt, but tomorrow I’m coming in and I’m ready to correct what I did wrong. I’m going to start watching film on Pittsburgh and my focus is on Pittsburgh. It’s going to be a big game away, so I’m just focusing on them and hopefully we can get it done next week.
Q. How do you keep negativity from kind of seeping into this team after a loss like this?
Golden Tate: We’ve got leaders on the team like myself. We just keep telling people that the season is not over. The season is not over. We’ve got to show up, we’ve got to work harder, remember how it felt, and just make sure it doesn’t happen again. I think with the leadership on our team we can do that.
Q. Did it feel flat in the first quarter? I know you didn’t get on the field as much as you wanted to anyway, but did the whole atmosphere feel flat?
Golden Tate: Yeah, I think it did feel a little flat. I’m not sure why. I definitely did feel it, but I’m not sure why we felt that way, why I felt that way.
Notre Dame Player Quotes
#28 Kyle McCarthy â€¢ S â€¢ Sr.
On what went wrong in the loss…
I don’t know if you can put your finger on any one thing. You just have to give credit to Navy; they played their tails off, they played a great game, and we just came up short.
On failure to contain Navy’s FBs…
I can’t give you a clear-cut answer, I haven’t seen the film, but that’s inexcusable against option offense. We have drilled all week that we have to take care of the fullback. That was a big part of our game plan and I guess we just didn’t execute it. We made any adjustments that we felt we needed, and Navy just beat us; there is really no excuse.
On the morale of the team following the loss…
It’s pretty low. We obviously expected to win and felt that we are capable of winning, and anytime that you lose everyone is pretty devastated. I think it helps that the team we have next week will hopefully get our minds off of this week. We expected to win, we didn’t expect to be in this position, but we knew that Navy would come out and play their best game, so it’s a disappointment. Disappointment is probably the best way to put it.
On how BCS talk from the outside affected the team’s focus…
We knew what kind of team Navy is; they always play us tough. We weren’t looking ahead at all.
On the week of practice leading up to the game…
I thought we had a great week of practice. It was up-tempo practice, we were focused, we knew what they were going to give us, and there are no excuses.
On the difference between last year’s game and this year…
We didn’t execute as well as we did last year. They did some different blocking schemes, but we made some adjustments on the sidelines so that’s not an excuse. They just flat out beat us today.
#95 Ian Williams â€¢ NT â€¢ Jr.
On what Navy did to win the game…
They just played harder. They out-schemed us, and they just played harder. I know we played our hearts out, I played my heart out, but I guess they just had a better scheme than we did. They watched film and obviously did the right things and made the right changes [from last year’s game]. They spotted a weakness in our defense, they knew what scheme we were going to come out in, and they put a great game plan together.
On refocusing the team after a disheartening loss…
We just have to pick everything up and get ready for next week. You just have to forget about it; it’s in the past. People make mistakes; I mean this game was a mistake. We let this one go, but we need to forget about it and come out next week and play our hearts out.
#22 Harrison Smith â€¢ LB â€¢ Jr.
On Navy’s running game…
Early in the game, we just weren’t tackling the fullback [Vince Murray]. We made some adjustments at halftime to what we were doing and decided to shut the fullback down.
On the future of the team…
We play to have fun. We play because we love Notre Dame and love football. We really play for pride. We just plan to go out and win. If you’re a competitive person you’re not going to quit. We felt like we should have more wins than we do when we came into the season, but you are what you are. We’re 6-3 right now, so we just have to try to win the rest of the games.
On having a similar defensive game plan to last year…
A lot of the stuff we were doing on defense we did last year. As long as you do what you are assigned you’re going to stop them, but we just weren’t doing that. Once we made some adjustments though we started to stop them.
Brian Smith-#58 â€¢ LB â€¢ Jr.
On having a similar defensive game plan to last year…
They knew where we were going to attack because we had the same game plan as we had last year. Option football is relatively simple. A few plays in the half and they knew what we were trying to do.
On the team’s game plan going forward…
You play to win. This team is not going to give up. That would be stupid for us to do. This team still has a lot to play for.
On Navy’s ability to move the ball…
I was surprised [at their ability to move the ball] at first, but then I wasn’t. All of those guys go out and do the same thing we do every week. They go out and try to find weakness and try to attack, and they did a good job of doing that.
On the weakness of defending the fullback position…
They changed up their blocking schemes and were able to get more yards with their fullback.
Navy Player Quotes
#34 Ram Vela â€¢ Sr. â€¢ OLB
On the overall play on the defensive side of the ball…
“The guys going into the game were just talking about wanting to get at [Jimmy Clausen] and playing as a team. That’s the only way we can win is if we all pull together and put as much effort in as we possibly can. That’s what we ended up doing. All of the guys were all in and that’s what it takes to beat a team of this caliber.”
On how this win compares to the victory in 2007…
“I don’t know why but I think that this year was more of a joint effort on both sides of the ball, as well as special teams. I think everyone put their all into it and everyone rose to the occasion. I think that is what separates this game from the last time that we beat them. I feel the last time that we beat them there were just some things that weren’t happening for them that allowed us to win.”
#51 Ross Pospisil â€¢ Sr. â€¢ ILB
On how special this win is…
“It’s just a blessing to see something like that come together. We’ve all been together so long and it’s just unreal to be a part of something like this. Not just people playing, but it’s about all of the relationships that we have with each other.”
#8 Wyatt Middleton â€¢ Sr. â€¢ S
On the outcome of the game…
“That was crazy. A lot of people doubted us, but we just came out and played like we knew how. If we believed then we could make things happen. They are a great football team and you can’t really stop athletes like that and only can hope to contain them and I feel we did a great job doing that.”
On winning in South Bend…
“It was a great win and kind of reminded me of 2007, but we didn’t have to go into all those overtimes.”
#84 Greg Jones â€¢ Jr. â€¢ WR
On the offensive alignment on the touchdown pass…
“We had a different formation and they were keying on the inside receivers. It was a play we were working on all week and saving it for Notre Dame.”
#4 Ricky Dobbs â€¢ Jr. â€¢ QB
On game planning against Notre Dame…
“If we execute and do the things that coaches give to us then we can play with anybody. There is a lot of want to and 100 percent effort on this team. Everybody believes and that goes a long way.”
On overcoming a injury…
I just played and put it all in God’s hands and let him work it out. They (trainers) said I shouldn’t be playing for 3-4 weeks and I just had faith that God was going to work it out.
On the offensive game plan…
It’s just not Notre Dame they are a good football team and very athletic. They’re not used to being cut and blocked and it’s a whole different look for them. It has a lot to do with execution when we play anybody.