Oct. 13, 2012
October 13, 2012
An interview with…
COACH KELLY: Well, just a great college football game. Great win. So proud of my football team the way they overcame adversity.
We had not been in that position at all this year. I told to them at halftime, I said, listen, what did you think, we were going to go the whole year and not trail and do that the whole year? You don’t do that in college football, at any level.
I said, stick with the plan; here is what’s going on out there. Continue to play. And, look, we found a way to run the football, late, again, which tells me a lot about our physical preparation; that we are clearly a football team that can match physically with Stanford. And then obviously a great goal line stand, where physically we controlled the line of scrimmage.
Again, very good opponent in Stanford, but today Notre Dame was better. Really proud of the way our kids fought and persevered.
Q. There are two plays inside the one yard line, even with your defense and what they have done, are you really expecting them to make those two stops?
COACH KELLY: You know, I think, again, as you know, with didn’t give up a touchdown to a team. We gave it up obviously on offense.
No, I think you think something is going to happen, you know what I mean. You’re going to get a tackle for a loss; the ball is going to come out. But I was not starting to look at my play sheet for calls. I’ve done that at other times in my career where you’re in overtime and you’re going, okay, this one is going to another one.
I was focused on the calls that were being made defensively; that we were going to find a way to keep them out of the end zone.
Q. Can you talk about what happened to Golson that knocked them out of the game?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, blow to the head and his vision was blurred. And he wanted to get back in, and our medical personnel would not clear him.
Q. Given the history of the series where they have pushed around, by your own words, was there something satisfying that they came right at you the end of the game?
COACH KELLY: There’s no question. Look, when you’re talking to your team all week about a heavyweight match, and you can’t keep taking body blows, you have to stand in there, and sooner or later, you’ve got to be the one that delivers. That was it comes to fruition in the way the game ended and our team coming up with a great goal line stand. Classic.
Q. Given what Stanford has done and given how good they are, maybe the best team you’ve seen this year, is this a corner turning moment for you guys this year in a way?
COACH KELLY: The group has a lot of confidence. They have a confidence now. They have not been on the other end of it where they had to come back and win a football game, so there’s a high level of confidence that our football team now can carry on to the next game and the next game.
We are halfway through the season, and six weeks left with this group, I think they leave here knowing that they can win if they stick with the plan.
Q. The way this quarterback thing has been working out for you this year, as much as you’re comfortable with it
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I know, I’m just letting it happen. What I was really proud of, and I hope you’ll take notice of this, Everett hit a point there where his dauber was down a little bit; his confidence was a bit shaken, and he came back with a great drive and did some really good things. I was really proud of the way overcame a little bit of adversity during the game.
Whereas, when he had had that situation against Michigan, you know, we really had to move in another direction. He fought through that and he made a big step today. He made some plays; he helped us win this football game.
Q. Were you surprised that they tried you twice spread up the middle?
COACH KELLY: No, that’s what Stanford does. Look, they ran an inside power play all the way down to the three yard line.
So I don’t think you can fault them for doing what they do. That’s their offense. I mean, if they were a spread offense and a team that doesn’t run between the tackles, then you would be surprised. But you know, we were loaded up. And just controlled the line of scrimmage in those situations.
Q. And I think Louis went out on second down; talk about the importance of him being in there on those last two plays.
COACH KELLY: He’s one of the 11 guys. If Louis is out there by himself, they score. But certainly to have a 300 pounder in there, he’s a guy that we think is a very good. We wanted to get him back on the field, for sure.
Q. Tyler made maybe your biggest offensive play of the season today
COACH KELLY: Well, it was tough. He had double coverage on the bake side. It was all one on one on the front side. We just didn’t do a good enough job of taking advantage. Tommy did a nice job a little bit later, and finding that touchdown in overtime, was a nice check. But, yeah, we had to get the ball to him and maybe we forced it a couple of times, but the kid came up with some great plays.
Q. On the last stop, did the ref blow the whistle
COACH KELLY: It was pretty apparent to me that the play was over. So I think that that’s what everybody saw; that the play was over. You know, because again, we are focused on making sure that progress has been stopped. Seemed to have been validated.
Q. Can you talk about the third quarter, momentum changed, you didn’t score but you dominated. What happened there?
COACH KELLY: Again, I think our physical conditioning, we are a team that just keeps coming after you, and if we stayed with the run, we kept trying to find ways against a seven man box, loaded box, we didn’t throw the ball well enough again, and that’s still our Achilles heel. We have to throw the football better.
But, having said that, we found ways to move the football running it in a very difficult look.
Q. Until the fourth quarter, Everett didn’t make a big play right before he got hurt, he did get the ball going, did you see something there?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, he started feeling more comfortable with the rush. He was obviously he’s learning about a pressure situation where they are just four down, where you have to slide in the pocket. I was really proud of him today. He grew up. I know it wasn’t as clean and the numbers, you can analyze them and say, well, didn’t play well.
All I can tell you is that in his growth, he did some things for me as the head coach that allow us to keep progressing with Everett.
Q. Coach Shaw said that on the third and one play before the field goal that his players sacked
COACH KELLY: The TFL
Q. that there was a whistle his players heard and they thought
COACH KELLY: I didn’t hear a whistle.
Q. Were you aware of him complaining about that?
COACH KELLY: No, I was not aware. This is the first I’ve heard of it.
Q. Is there a possible problem, because I think Michigan, the ref ruled there was a whistle in the stands.
COACH KELLY: Look, I will tell you that I’ve been in a lot of stadiums and very rarely do you hear a whistle. I hear my name a lot but I don’t hear usually (laughter) I usually don’t hear a whistle, so I don’t know where that came from.
Q. What did you tell Tommy when he went to get in the game?
COACH KELLY: Get your helmet and let’s go. He couldn’t find his darn helmet. So just get in his helmet.
I told him, listen, here is what you have to manage. We’re going to give you a run play and you’re going to have to get us in the right play. And we’ll keep it really simple, we had three or four plays; you manage the rest. And he, essentially, you saw him out there, he got us into the right play. He managed the game very well.
Q. Then with the third and long in the overtime, the pass to Theo, what happened on that play?
COACH KELLY: Cover zero. We knew that we were going to get pressure from the field. They actually went zero and brought the safety across. They had not done that, so they came free. Tommy knew he had a one on one match up, a very good one, and it’s a practice thing where in practice, we say, listen, just get some air to it. You’ve got to you’ve got a wide receiver coming out of back, it’s going to be a favorable matchup, put it up there and let’s give it a shot. He did a nice job.
Q. After Everett’s fumble in the end zone, Tommy’s throwing on the sideline, were you giving any serious consideration at that point?
COACH KELLY: No, he was banged up a little bit. And so, no, I was not thinking about taking him out of the game. He held on to the ball too long, clearly. But it was only a three man rush, too.
So you know, it’s one of those things where, yeah, I’d like him to get the ball out of his hand in the end zone. But no, he got banged up a little bit in the sack. We just wanted to make sure he was going to be okay. He was cleared. He was fine. He said to me that he was fine, so we put him back in and that’s when he responded after that, what was a huge play, he responded and gave us a nice drive the next series.
Q. And then just Matthias, for a young guy, obviously still new at the position and a new challenge for him today, talk about him a little.
COACH KELLY: Yeah, absolutely. We had to drop him down a number of times because of the formation looks. He can’t play deep. You start playing two shell against that look, we ran into some problems. They hit us a couple of times when we were in our bracket coverage where we had to bring him down.
So he had to be closer to the ball. He made some plays and KeiVarae made some plays out there, as well, so both of them played very well for us.
Q. It seems your front seven, it’s almost a blind share of credit for everything on defense. The secondary today, did they take it up to a level?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, they made some great contested catches. They had two consecutive plays where the ball was thrown under position away from the defender we were on body. We were on body on those throws and made some really good plays.
Outside of that, no double moves over the top, which is what they do. We kept the big plays away from the secondary; again, if we can continue to do that, as you can see, we are pretty difficult to go against defensively.
Q. When you kicked the tying field goal to put it into regulation, you had 3rd and 2 at the five or so
COACH KELLY: Yeah, we did.
Q. Were you almost content to go into over time?
COACH KELLY: You know, we talked about it. No, I wasn’t content. We wanted to score.
We talked about going to a run pass, and you know what, power has been our bread and butter. That’s what we have done, when the game has been on the line, we have run power and we have closed out games. We closed out the Michigan game running the same play. We went back to it and went to the left side and they were better on that play.
So no, we wanted to pick up the first time. We thought power could do it.
Q. Their touchdown in the end zone, usually your nature has been to protect the defense and punt it away.
COACH KELLY: If I had a chance, I’d take that one back. If I had to do it all over again, I would have taken that one back.
Q. Just with T.J.’s catch, how good of an adjustment did he make with the ball, because it was thrown a little behind him.
COACH KELLY: Well, it was thrown without much air on it either. He made a great job.
He’s a very skilled player this year in terms of he has focused on his craft. So he came out of his break; came back six yards for the ball. Great receivers do that. They come back and get the football. They don’t stand waiting for it. And that’s been his progression. He’s progressed in the still end of that position in his route running and that was evident in that particular play.
Q. With defense, do you guys even talk about at all the touchdown is that something you’re cognizant of?
COACH KELLY: We don’t talk about it but certainly it’s a source of pride. They hear about it. They talk about it amongst themselves. It’s not something we stand up and talk about, other than when we go over our goals on Monday and we’ll go over them again and talk about what we are doing defensively.
Just, again, game ball went to our defense. How do you not give the defense the game ball after the way the game was played.
Q. We all hear how hard you tried to stop the noise, but how difficult is it now for your team especially now to think that they are a team of destiny?
COACH KELLY: I don’t know that I think they know that they are a good football team more than anything else. I think they feel they earned the win today. They came from behind, right. They didn’t luck into it. They won in overtime. I think if they lucked into it, you know, maybe a fumble on the goal line or something happened, maybe you could make that case.
But they won that game. They earned that win. And so I think I would rather have them believe that each and every week, if they prepare, that they can beat any opponent.
Q. I guess maybe the better question is are you worrying less and less as you continue to win each week that you don’t have to keep pushing that message?
COACH KELLY: No, absolutely not, no. They are 18 to 21 year olds. You know, this will be a consistent we will over communicate the message beginning on Monday.
Q. What’s the ruling on the penalty that kept the drive on Everett, the way you understood it, because it did look like it was intentional, but it was helmet to helmet clearly.
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I think it’s administered as a helmet to helmet contact in a tackling form. So if there’s a tackle involved, and it’s helmet to helmet and it’s actually seen, it’s supposed to be called.
A lot of times, as you know, when those things come together and there’s two or three guys closing, sometimes you can’t see it. But actually the rule as I know it, is helmet to helmet contact on a tackle is a foul.
But other than that, I think what you’re talking about is strictly interpretation of the rule.
Q. Seems like we ask this every other week, Tommy coming in, game winning drive, where does that come from, the mental toughness in those conditions?
COACH KELLY: I’ll sound like the same guy who has answered this question 15 times. He manages the offense very well. Does he have all the tools, the strength of arm, the foot speed? No, he does not. But what he has is a great mind for the game. He can manage difficult situations. And he comes in and he can close games, if we need him; if we need him.
He’s an incredible young man that he can stay so focused in the game, know what’s going on during the game; at half time I’m talking with him and Everett and he’s pointing out some things about the outside coverages that we should maybe think about running, as well. He’s just a very smart football player.
An Interview With:
Q. Is this a championship level team?
Manti Te’o: We are getting there, I think so, and we are going to continue to work. I think that’s the thing that makes us a championship team is that we are never satisfied.
Manti Te’o: It’s always special. You know, show our fans appreciation and how thankful we are for their support. It was a loud environment.
Manti Te’o: We knew that they were going to run the ball. We knew that basically No. 33 was going to have the ball so everybody knew their job.
Q. On third down inaudible.
Manti Te’o: It’s a play for every inch. The Inc. Is what it’s all about. Football is a game of inches and you’re fighting and our guys had him on his legs holding up. I was just glad I got in there.
Manti Te’o: Yeah, they blew the whistle once, I think Bennett kind of on his back and they blew the whistle.
Manti Te’o: Just consistency, confidence. Tommy is level headed, locked in. As the game gets on, just it’s easy to let your guard down a little bit thinking you’re not going to go in, but Tommy is always locked in and taking notes from where he’s standing so that when he gets his opportunity, he can go in there and help our team win just like he did today.
Manti Te’o: Definitely bringing us a lot of pride. We take a lot of pride in it. Now we are just going to do our best to keep the points down and that’s including field goals. So whatever it takes to win, we are going to try to dominate the game.
Manti Te’o: When you play a team like Stanford, you understand that they run so No. 33, Stepfan, he’s a good player. You have to know yourselves and know the opponent obviously we knew who their go to guy was.
Q. You guys were the best defense on the field; were you guys
Manti Te’o: No, I think for our defense, we have the mentality like I said that you can put the ball down wherever, doesn’t matter, we are used to it. Our coaches have done a great job of getting us mentally ready as much as physically ready. Just understanding that we are going to have scrimmages, it’s part of football. But it’s becoming another success of our team. We are special players and we have special coaches and we’ll continue to get better.
Manti Te’o: The goal line, the game is on the line, that’s where it’s at. We have a lot of big time players on our defense and they stepped up big time.
Manti Te’o: No matter what happens, everyone stood together.
Manti Te’o: Yeah, we understood that they are going to run a lead or going to run a power, but what we were seeing, it was going to be lead more so than power and Louis did a great job. The thing about Louis Nix, he reads things from where he stands. He’s tough on the line inaudible turned around, he was on his back.
Q. Do you know which play before
Manti Te’o: Kind of, yeah, kind of.
Manti Te’o: I hope so. I hope so.
Manti Te’o: Yeah, had a pick inaudible getting better every day. He’s a veteran that gets them going and makes sure that he gets inaudible.
Manti Te’o: I think, you know, doing what we are doing, our mentality is week by week, team by team. We are 6 6 and we are very lucky to be 6 6. All we are focusing on is to be 6 0 we are 6 0. You know, it’s not even we can’t be focusing on being 12 0. We can only focus on 7 0 and 8 0 and so on and so forth.
Manti Te’o: We knew they were going to run the ball.
Those are moments that you remember and I think that you remember it’s one of the most gritty, just get after it defenses.
Q. Do you step back and look at the students inaudible.
Manti Te’o: Yeah, obviously looking at the students, the energy, the pride. It definitely helps our team.
We just focused on trying to be the best and if you’re not trying to be the best at what you do, why are you even in this game. If you’re just going to be mediocre, then football isn’t for you.
So we are always trying to be the best in everything we do, best tackling defense, best just the best defense as a whole. That’s part of us now. It’s not something that we have to preach. It’s part of us and something we’ll only get better at.
Manti Te’o: Will I look at it? I want to see where we are going and where we’re heading and I think we’ll just take a glance and see how far we’ve come and go from there and focus on BYU.
As long as we are getting close to No. 1 I think this team is a mature team and we understand that we want to look at the rankings at the end of this season. That’s when it really counts. As the season progresses inaudible we’re doing good.
Manti Te’o: Great team, great defense. Our coaching staff does a great job of getting us ready week in and week out.
Obviously when you play a team like Stanford, you know what they are going to run and you execute against it and you stop the run. I’m just glad that we came out the way we did.
Just goes to show what type of player Tommy is. He’s a mature player and he’s going to do whatever it takes to help us win. And we are lucky to have Tommy Rees and Everett out there, and they are competing every day and the better they get the better our team gets.
Q. When your starting quarterback goes down with a minute left and another guy comes in
Manti Te’o: When Tommy goes in there, we don’t have any worries. It’s just, okay, Tommy’s in now. We have confidence in Tommy and he knows that. He’s just going to get better.
Manti Te’o: Yeah, I think it was my D Line, created a big wall and he was trying to find his way through. Just pushed him back a little bit.
Manti Te’o: That my family was here that was my girlfriend’s school it’s just a big relief. Yeah, I knew where they were. I always look to see where my family is at.
Just great atmosphere. That’s Notre Dame and what makes it so special is the love and the pride.
Q. It’s pretty well documented that your first trip inaudible four or five years later inaudible.
Manti Te’o: I kind of forgot about the snowball. Definitely we have come a long way and we are going to continue to get better.
An Interview With:
Q. Very little preparation, can you just talk about this one as opposed to the others?
Tommy Rees: Yeah, this one was a little different, you know, without any kind of a bang bang play and having to go in right away.
It was a little different but preparation through the week gets us ready much I’ve been ready and just have to go out there and find a way to win.
Q. Is it becoming more feasible each week, that you are more mentally ready for this?
Tommy Rees: I guess mentally you prepare yourself that if you need to go in there and help the team win, it’s not exactly easy. But it’s a role that I’ve taken on and got to stay ready to play.
Q. Can you talk about the play to T.J.?
Tommy Rees: He made a great catch. I saw a look where you could isolate him one on one outside, it wasn’t a great throw but T.J., made a nice play to catch the ball and gave us a go ahead touchdown.
Q. Going to Riddick before
Tommy Rees: We knew where he was going to be and try to throw it away from the defense and just give him a chance. Another play, Theo made a heck of a play turning and finding the ball.
I have so much confidence with those guys and I’ve been with Theo and T.J. or a long time now, just the compatibility and chemistry that we have helped us win the game.
Q. On the first play, the sack, and you guys rebounded from it so quickly, can you just talk about how confident this team is no matter what happens?
Tommy Rees: Yeah, I think we have always had a mentality, just one play to get ten yards, and we had a nice completion to DaVaris to get a third which was a good play call from the coaches and just finding a way to get it done on third and nine or so and just finding a way to keep the drive going.
Q. When you come in in a situation like that, you know what’s on the line, how do you stay so calm, or do you even have time to think about that?
Tommy Rees: Yeah, best way I can describe it is really don’t have time to think. You have ten guys on offense and then a hundred guys on the team that are counting on you, let alone the University of Notre Dame and just playing for everyone here.
You don’t have time to think about that kind of stuff. You just get out there and play.
Q. So how special is it?
Tommy Rees: It’s great. Any time you can get a win, the atmosphere was great tonight. The students did a great job. The defense obviously played really, really well again, and it feels good to get the win.
Q. Coach mentioned you at half time in thing adjustments, talking to Everett, how hard or easy is it to stay engaged on the sidelines in those conditions?
Tommy Rees: I like it. I love football and I love the game and I love learning and I love paying attention and trying to help Everett and the rest of the guys as much as I can. I stand with Hendrix most of the game and we talk about what the looks are out there. We just try to relay some of that.
Q. How often will Everett come over to you?
Tommy Rees: He’ll come over to me a couple of times a half, I try to go over to him every series and ask him what he saw, what he was thinking. Try not to get in the way too much. But if there’s something I feel that I need to relay to him, I’m pretty confident.
Tommy Rees: I guess it’s just the adrenaline pushes you through it. You get a couple throws throughout the half just in case, and I guess that’s the best way to describe it, adrenaline pushing through.
Q. You mentioned your preparation during the week, how different is it now compared to last year?
Tommy Rees: It’s really not any different. Obviously routes are a little different during practice but the film study, the knowledge of what the offense’s game plan, just understanding the defense, that has not changed. The day to day preparation stays the same and I think that’s why we are having the success.
Q. How soon do you start thinking about BYU?
Tommy Rees: You let this one marinate a little bit for about 24 hours and come tomorrow around dinner time we are back to BYU. They will present a good challenge for us and just keep looking forward.
Q. Is that a classic track game
Tommy Rees: I don’t think too highly on track games. I think that if you have the right guys, you prepare the right way, I think we have a group of guys that’s going to take it one week at a time. Just put all of our focus on BYU.
Q. How often do you guys think, with, four straight goal line stops
Tommy Rees: Yeah, not as much as you think. Our mind set is one at a time and keep chipping away. 6 0 is great but not where we want to be yet. We have a lot of room to get better all over the field and we are just going to take it one week at a time and get ready to play.
Q. What do you think on the sideline and your defense on the field, what’s going through your mind?
Tommy Rees: I have all the confidence in the world in our defense. If we needed to go to another over time I was prepared and the offense, but our defense is pretty special and I had all of the confidence in the world for them to get that done.
Q. How do you stay mentally sharp through the game?
Tommy Rees: I just try to mental reps how you describe it, just staying in tune, helping Ev and just not really taking a play off, if you can understand that, just from the sideline. Just trying to get the front reads and the coverages the best you can.
Tommy Rees: Yeah, we saw an opportunity with T.J. one on one outside and he made a great catch. And it worked out, yeah. Coach put a check in my hand and we delivered and it was a great team effort.
Q. Best front seven you’ve seen this year on defense?
Tommy Rees: Yeah, they are extremely well coached and they know how to play the game of football. They are tough and physical and they have got great pass rushers and they definitely present a challenge up front, but I think our offensive line, our running backs handled them well.
Q. What is it about your mental makeup that allows you to do what you do?
Tommy Rees: I think it’s more than anything is supporting my teammates and trying to give them the best they look to me when I come in and I can’t let them down and we have to find a way to win the game. Having your teammates count on you and knowing that you have an opportunity to win the game, just kind of the driving force behind it.
Q. Is there a certain calmness being in the game
Tommy Rees: Yeah, I’m usually pretty calm. I guess trying to keep a cool demeanor helps.
Q. How does over time change with negative yardage?
Tommy Rees: A lot. The big thing is you don’t want to get out of field goal range. You start in field goal range and Kyle has done a great job for us all year. Taking the sack hurts that. You have points, potentially you want to stay within the range.
Yeah, it hurts but like I said before, we made it a third and managable with a nice play it to DaVaris and finding a way to convert on third down.
Our equipment guy did a great job keeping the ball dry. I don’t know how they do it but they do it.
Q. How well did Everett respond after the turnover in the end zone?
Tommy Rees: He responded great. He’s got a good head on his shoulders, he put it behind him in short term memory and found a way to keep it in the offense.
Tommy Rees: Unbelievable. It was a bad throw to be honest and he did a great job outside in making a play for us and he’s done a good job all year coming in.
Tommy Rees: We had a pressure look and I anticipated where three oh would be and he made a great adjustment on the ball. It’s something we have worked on believe it or not, throwing it away from the defense. Theo made a good adjustment and found a way to catch the ball.
Q. How difficult was it for you to accept the role inaudible.
Tommy Rees: Yeah, I really can’t pay attention to all that. I think any role I have to help this team win I’m just going to accept and move forward.
Q. Is it anything like you thought it would be?
Tommy Rees: Not exactly, no, I didn’t imagine this. For good, bad or different, it’s worked out this way and it’s going well, I guess, we are 6 0 I think.
Notre Dame Player Quotes
Zeke Motta – Sr. – Safety
On the students storming the field…
“Definitely special. It was such an exciting time to come out and beat a team that’s mentally and physically tough like that. It was probably one of the most physical games that we’ve had to play all season. To win and beat them, especially since they’ve beat us the past three years. It was just unbelievable and to just have the students come out on the field at the end of the game was just awesome. “
On the defense…
“It was just a matter of knowing what we have to do and getting the job done. Fighting and scratching and clawing to make sure we got it done. It just goes to show you that with desire, passion and will that our defense has – especially backed up like that – to go out and stop them speaks volumes.”
Zack Martin – Sr. – Outside Tackle
On winning over Stanford…
“We’re trying to take it one game at a time, but this is a game that at the beginning of the year everyone circled. The last two years, they had our number. They’ve handled us and we wanted to make it a point that we are that physical team. I think we came and showed it to them.”
On entrance into third quarter…
“The first half we struggled a bit and turned the ball over but we knew we had to chop them down one play at a time and they’d be tired.
On winning the way they did…
“Yeah it’s a huge win, 6-0. Huge credit to Stanford, we beat a great team. We are feeling good at 6-0 but we are taking it week-by-week. We have BYU, a good BYU team, next week and we are lucky we don’t have school this week so we get some time to study some extra on them.”
Tyler Eifert – Sr. – Tight End
On the fans storming the field…
“It was awesome. Last time that happened was Utah and it was pretty cool.”
On his touchdown…
“Everett threw a perfect ball away from the defense where only I could get it and I went up and just made a play. We had marched up and down the field on a couple of series and just made stupid mistakes and hurt ourselves, but yeah, everyone was excited.”
Tommy Rees – Sr. – Quarterback
On finding his helmet before going in the game…
“I already knew where it was, I just had to go get it.”
On coming into the game late…
“Yeah this one was a little different. There was a bang-bang play with Everett, and I had to go in right away. It was a little different, but preparation over the week gets us ready, got me ready. You just have to go out there and find a way to win.”
On being more mentally ready to come in late in games…
“Yeah mentally, you need to prepare yourself… if you’re needed, to go in there and help the team win. It’s not exactly easy, but it’s a role that I’ve taken on and I just have to stay ready to play.”
On the touchdown pass to TJ Jones…
“He made a great catch. I saw a look, where we could isolate him one-on-one outside. It wasn’t a great throw, but TJ played a heck of a game and made a nice play there to catch the ball and gave us the go ahead touchdown.”
On the throw to Theo on 3rd down…
“Yeah we knew where he was going to be, and I tried to throw it away from the defense to just give him a chance… Theo made a heck of a play turning and finding the ball. I have so much confidence in those guys. I have been with Theo and TJ for a long time now, and that compatibility and chemistry we have helped us win this game.
On the teams’ confidence after giving up a sack in OT…
“We have always had a mentality that it just takes one play to get ten yards. We had a nice completion to DaVaris to get in third and manageable, which was a good play call by the coaches. Then we just found a way to get it done on, I think it was 3rd and nine or so, and we just found a way to keep the drive going.”
On staying calm…
“The best way I can describe it is you don’t have time to think. You have ten guys on offense and a hundred guys on the team who are counting on you… let alone the University of Notre Dame and playing for everyone who is apart of it here. You don’t have time to think about that kind of stuff. You just go out there and play.”
On getting the big win tonight…
“It’s great anytime you can get a win. The atmosphere was great tonight, and the students did a great job. The defense obviously played really well again and it feels good to get the win.”
Louis Nix III – Jr. – Nose Guard
On closing goal line stand…
“We were just telling each other we need to get this stop. It was a big momentum swing and I knew that if we got it, we would win the game, and that’s all we were thinking about that last play. The defense had to win it all, so we put it on our backs and got it done.”
On satisfaction of Stanford testing the defensive line on the final play…
“We knew that was going to happen. Stanford, they’re a great team and they go at everybody. It’s a hard fought game in the trenches, and I enjoyed it a lot because there were some great guys on that O-line. I got to talk to them this game, so it was good.”
On game serving as a statement for the defense…
“We have a lot of room for improvement. We gave up three points, and that’s three too many. We just want to keep working to be the best defense in the country. We got a long way to go. We’re 6-0, but we have 6 more games left to play.”
Matthias Farley – So. – Safety
On the game’s final series…
” I felt like the whole game had been a battle; we had battled. They threw some shots, we threw some shots, and we just had the will. As a unit, we weren’t going to let anyone by us, so I feel that the tight knit bond that we all have really showed, especially on that last drive.”
On stopping Stanford on final plays…
“You just know you have to man up because they are going to try to cram it down your throats. If you have a gap, you have to control your gap, and make sure that you are doing your job and trust that the other ten guys are going to do theirs.”
On first career interception…
“It was just see ball, get ball I guess. Everyone kept telling me ‘you should have followed us’, but I saw green grass to the left, so that’s what I did. I got my first pick, and it feels good.”
An interview with… COACH SHAW
Q. Can you talk about the last couple of plays in overtime on your offense and your decision to kind of take it right at them?
COACH SHAW: Well, I didn’t get to view the last play. Stepfan swore to me that he got in and that he put the ball over the goal line on the second effort. Officials looked at it and they said he didn’t get in, so we didn’t get in.
COACH SHAW: No comment.
Q. You had a pass completion that went to the review booth and ruled it incomplete, and they moved you back four yards; did you notice that happening? You were on the Notre Dame 48 and they moved it back to the Stanford 48.
COACH SHAW: I did notice that.
Q. Did you say something to them at the time?
COACH SHAW: Yes. I did, but I can’t make them I mean and they put the ball on the wrong hash. There’s nothing else I can do about it. I’m not going to comment on the officials.
Q. There were four plays to go, four yards like you said, that’s what you do, what does it say about Notre Dame that you guys can go head to head like that?
COACH SHAW: I’m not here to talk about Notre Dame. I’m here to talk about our guys. Thank you.
Q. Seemed like momentum changed in the fourth quarter, total yards, was it something they were doing?
COACH SHAW: We missed a couple plays. They are good. They are good. We missed a couple throws. We got our hands on a couple catches. We missed some tough blocks. You know, they are stout up front and we did a decent job of running and blocking most of the game.
Third quarter they snuck in there and got some hands, got some runs through by the linebackers; defensive line got some penetration on us, but still there were plays for us to be made there.
Q. The last couple seasons, you’ve pushed Notre Dame around pretty good, were you pretty confident having the ball at the four yard line that you would be able to score from there?
COACH SHAW: We always feel the same. Bottom line is we’ve got to execute. Got to execute. The calls are checks and kills and audibles, and on the play we stop the ball, we’ve got to block.
Q. Can you evaluate Stepfan’s performance?
COACH SHAW: He’s a tough kid. He just keeps his legs turning. Gets as many yards as he can on every single play. Every single play to him, he runs it like it’s life or death. I love that about him. He’s one of guys that is the heartbeat of our team.
Q. How different was the approach with Tommy Rees?
COACH SHAW: The approach didn’t change too much. The bottom line is we had a chance to make a play on a couple balls and we didn’t make them. Eifert is a heck of a tight end. Made a great catch, and T.J. Jones at the end of the game ran a great route, across the DB’s space and made great catch for a touchdown. Our approach at quarterback didn’t change. We tried to pressure both of them. Sometimes we got to them, sometimes we didn’t.
COACH SHAW: I’ll just make one comment, in case you’re wondering, our last field goal down there, there’s a third and one that there was a whistle that came from the crowd. That’s why our guys stopped playing. It was verified, it was heard. The play did not stop.
I don’t know what the rule is on that. I’ll double check with the officials, with the head officials and make sure that whatever we can do gets done in that situation. You know, because that one hurt. That one hurt. Jordan came in and kicked the ball through, but that’s something that I don’t know what the rule is, but I’ve got to research that.
Yes, the third and one going to my left. We ended up on a four or five yard loss. The whistle came from the crowd. I don’t know what can be done about it. I’ve heard from many people it’s happened here a few times. Once again I don’t know what can be done outside of maybe stopping the play.
But I’ll check the rules and talk to the officials about what can be done there just to, you know, we’ll see. Once again I’m not going to comment on what the officials said and I’m not going to comment on what I hear back from the league. I know enough about that; that’s a question that we have to get the answer to.
Q. What did your players say to you about how that affected?
COACH SHAW: They heard a whistle. Heard a whistle. Stopped playing.
Stanford Player Quotes
Chase Thomas – 5th Yr. Sr. – Outside Linebacker
On the game in general…
“We worked all week. We were hoping for it (the win). We just didn’t get it.”
It’s probably one of the hardest losses I’ve felt – that and the Fiesta Bowl are about the same. Our guys fought really hard and it felt bad that we couldn’t come up with a W today.”
On what he takes away from this game…
“We’ve got to learn. We’ve got to tackle better. We’ve got to play our gaps. We know that we can fight and that we can push through things. That was a close one. That was a hard one to take.”
Josh Nunes – Sr. – Quarterback
On the game in general…
“We did a good job all night on defense. We had a lot of opportunities out there (on offense). I think we left them on the field though.”
On the last play…
“I thought he got in on the play before that. The game was made up of a bunch of tough plays, a bunch of close plays.”
On how they will regroup after this game…
“It’s tough, but I know we have a real resilient group and a good group of guys, leaders and seniors. We’ll bounce back from it.”
Alex Carter – Fr. – Cornerback
On the game in general…
“It was a physical game. Both teams needed a win and both teams played hard. We’ve got to regroup and just keep playing our game.”