Oct. 29, 2011

Notre Dame vs. Navy October 29, 2011

Notre Dame Player Quotes

Tommy Rees

Q. Talk about how the way Jonas ran today.

Tommy Rees: Hard. It was a big thing, ran three tackles, offensive line did a good job up front, but those two guys ran really hard today, especially down by the goal line.

Q. Navy got it to 14-7 and your next play, your longest completion.

Tommy Rees: Yeah, it was good. We saw something we could take advantage of, and the coaches had a great game had a great call, and things worked out.

Q. How good did it feel?

Tommy Rees: Awesome, just to get some of the momentum back after they had just scored and I think we got the next kickoff, got the ball back.

Yeah, it felt great to get that momentum.

Q. Coach Kelly said that Michael Floyd all week looked like he was ready to play. Did you sense that?

Tommy Rees: Yeah, that was something we had talked about, you know, he kind of wanted to bounce back. And he gets that look in his eye where he can go out there and make some plays for us. Just getting the ball in his hands is huge for us.

Q. Does that feed into other players like Wood and Gray?

Tommy Rees: Yeah, I think it just feeds into the whole team. They see that kind of energy and that desire from one of the team’s best players, I think it just kind of feeds everyone and gets everyone going.

Q. Inaudible.

Tommy Rees: Just got to keep pushing throughout the week in practice. Can’t get complacent. We have a long way to go and we just have to keep working and getting better.

Q. What did you see on the quick hitter, the wide receiver screens?

Tommy Rees: Yeah, those are things that have been built into our offense, and you know, Mike and Theo did a great job of just making plays, and downfield blocking with the receivers, just not creating a lane for them.

Q. Something you saw on film during the week.

Tommy Rees: Yeah, just reading the defense and knowing when to give it out and throw it out. So just being confident in guys out on the perimeter to make plays.

Q. Talk about Dayne coming in and leading the touchdown drive.

Tommy Rees: It was great, great to see him out there. He’s been through a couple of tough times but to see him bounce back like that and go down the field, I feel great for him. I couldn’t be happier.

Q. What was the mood on the sideline?

Tommy Rees: Everyone was pumped. Everyone wanted to see him do well. And George in the end zone again, has been a great playmaker for us all year; to see those guys get a score, it really helps the morale of the team.

Q. The score – was it more you guys or the coaches during the week?

Tommy Rees: When you play a team like that, you have so much ball control. Your possessions are limited. You want to get out to an early lead and you want to get out and not be chasing from behind, not knowing how many possessions you’re going to get. And just to be able to jump out first against Air Force, and now Navy, as well, it helps out a lot..

Q. Getting to 14-7, what did you see, the next play?

Tommy Rees: We had a specific look we wanted to get and take advantage of what they were doing and the playaction helped.

Q. Can you talk about getting two years of the monkey off your back after beating Navy for a couple of years?

Tommy Rees: It’s a great rivalry and one we wanted to win a little bit more in recent history. And to be able to go out there and play as well as we did, to win against them; we have so much respect for them and their program, it feels really good to go out there and get that W.

Q. On the other side of the ball, defense was able to do a lot better than they have in the past couple of games.

Tommy Rees: The defense, if it wasn’t for myself, would have had potentially a shutout. We had two turnovers and I take accountability for those. I can’t say enough for how well they played. You don’t see teams stop triple option that well, very infrequently. They played very well.

Q. What’s the intangible that he brings?

Tommy Rees: The biggest thing that’s overlooked is his work ethic. How he prepares and how he works week to week, guys don’t really see, he pushes everybody in practice to be better. When your best player is the hardest working guy, you have a great chance. He does a great job of preparing for him during the week and that’s why things work out for him on game day.

Q. How is … (inaudible).

Tommy Rees: Improving and just getting better. Obviously the offense is clicking a little better.

Q. Do you think the team was less prepared or do you think you just…

Tommy Rees: I think we just made plays when we needed to, and I think everyone wanted to buckle down and get the win.

Q. How do you feel right now after this win?

Tommy Rees: Great.

Q. Best win of the season?

Tommy Rees: All wins feel about the same. So you just take it one game at a time you and keep moving forward.

Q. Talk about how big of a win it is for you today?

Tommy Rees: Just getting back on winning track, it’s getting back momentum for our season and every game now is important. Just try to keep winning to keep getting better prepared over the week.

Q. The end zone, talk about the efficiency you’re able to move the football.

Tommy Rees: Scoring down in the red zone is a little bit of an issue, but today things were clicking and being able to run the ball down there really helped. Jonas and Cierre ran really hard to get in the end zone and things were clicking.

Q. Coach talked about good fielding and good idea of consistency week to week; what does a week like that do?

Tommy Rees: Just another step. Just another way to show how we can play and be consistent. We have got to keep that going here on forward and just knowing that we can just put points out there and keep it going.

Q. You had a pretty good day, too. How would you grade your performance?

Tommy Rees: Things were going well until the last drive. You’re never happy with that. Turnover early in the game. I’m pretty tough on myself but at the end of the day we got a win and that’s all that really matters.

I think it just helps getting back on the winning track and getting momentum back. The guys never really got down. We knew we would come out and play well, so it’s just another step to build off.

Harrison Smith – Sr. – Safety

On today’s success stopping Navy’s running game…
“Coach had a good plan for them. I don’t think they’ve had a look at us against an option attack. On top of that, the players went out and executed what the coaches wanted us to do.”

On what happened in the family on Friday…
“Like you said, it happened in the family. When you have a family environment, when guys all buy into ‘one team, one cause, one family,’ things like that don’t break us up. They don’t get us off track. If anything, they bring us together. That kind of showed itself by what we did on the field today.”

On the issue and the role of a captain…
“I did what I felt was appropriate for me to do as captain. I think when there is an issue within a family, that’s what needs to happen. The guys who are leaders need to get it figured out. The leaders of the players and the leaders of the coaches need to get it all figured out.”

On Manti Te’o
“He always plays with that fire. To say that that was just today would be selling him short because he always plays like that. Manti is going to make plays when he gets the chance to make plays. He has such a nose for the ball. Also, you have to give credit to the guys up front. They keep the linemen off of Manti so he can make those plays. They’re a group that often gets overlooked. Those guys really need to be given a lot of credit.”

On Stephon Tuitt and Louis Nix…
“Those are the guys that are going to stop the fullback and keep the linebackers free. That might not end up on the stat sheet and they might not get the tackles, but they created the tackles. They created the tackles for loss and the big stops.”

Cierre Wood – Jr. – Running Back

On what this win means…
“We haven’t lost sight of what our mission is, and that’s to reach a BCS game. We took a step today and now we’ve just got to for the rest of our games.”

On his chemistry with Jonas Gray
“We both can do a little bit of everything-power, speed-we each have both attributes so it makes everything really difficult for the opposing team trying to guard us.”

On Michael Floyd’s play today…
“(Michael) Floyd is good all the time. He comes out ready to play and he always does his thing. It’s the same old Floyd to me.”

Michael Floyd – Jr. – Wide Receiver

On how he feels he played…
“I think I did O.K. I did whatever I could to help the team to victory. That’s all you can do, that’s all Coach (Kelly) expects of me, and I try to go 100 percent every single time.”

On how wide open he was for his touchdown…
“The safety bit, and I was wide open on the post. I was surprised (at how open I was).”

On today’s victory…
“It feels good. The team feels good. We bounced back after a defeat, and this feels good for us. It was a quality win. It was an all-team effort-the players and coaches-coming back from last week.”

On his first rushing touchdown…
“I didn’t know it was a rush. It was my first one, that’s what Coach (Kelly) says. I’m happy.”

Zack Martin – Jr. – Offensive Tackle

On the issues the team faced the last couple of days…
“We stuck together as a team. We’re going to go from here and finish out these last four, five games. We’re a team. We have to stick together. Every team goes through adversity. We worked too hard to let something so small tear us apart.

On serving as a leader on the team to help them turn around…
“We talked all week. We knew what we had to do. As players, we were able to talk together. We reached the verdict that we were going to handle this and stick together.”

On the healing comforts of the game…
“This game came after a tough loss, and Navy has embarrassed us the last couple of years. To come out here today helped give us confidence for the rest of the year.”

Jonas Gray – Sr. – Running Back

On the issues the team faced this week…
“We came together as a family. I’m not going to get into specifics of how we did it. We just had to go out there and play unified. We had to let the outside distractions be just that, outside distractions. Obviously, when you look at us on the field we were a unified team, no doubt.”

On the offensive line…
“They did a great job. They manhandled the guys up front. We talked during the week about breaking the wheel with our toughness. We knew it started up front. Those guys were hungry to get us to run the ball. They set the challenge of helping me get through.”

On starting…
“No, it doesn’t feel any different. I had the opportunity to set the tempo, just like I knew Cierre (Wood) would do a great job of doing. That was my main thought process to just set the tempo. I knew that we had to have some sense to run the ball. I thought to myself that it had to start with the offensive line and come from me as well.”

On how Coach Brian Kelly handled the situation…
“There was nothing in particular. We just wanted to make sure that he was aware of how we were feeling, and I think he was. He did a great job of handling it. Our team did a great job of handling the whole situation. We are definitely unified from the top to the bottom. We had some things that we needed to hash out, and we got that across to Coach Kelly. He did a great job of hearing us out, and we went from there.”

Navy Player Quotes

Jabaree Tuani – SR – DE

On the overall effort…
“I can’t say anything. We didn’t accomplish any of our goals today. We didn’t execute well at all. We couldn’t get anything started. So we’ve really got to find a way to get it started.”

On having to win out to get to a bowl game and whether or not that’s crossing his mind…
“Definitely. Really we’ve just got to find a way to get number 3. We haven’t won a game since early September and I know that’s been dawning on the guys. I definitely know it’s been dawning on me, being the captain, and just thinking about what this program means and what this program is about. We’ve got to find a way to keep fighting.”

On the struggles of the defense…
“If you don’t make a team one dimensional it’s going to hurt you regardless. If you don’t know where they’re going to pass or run, that team is going to be tough to stop the whole game.”

On Coach Green coming out with the 4-3 alignment (which they haven’t done in a long time)…
“Just trying to see if we could get a little more pass rush. We’ve been doing the 3-man thing and there still have been complete passes. So, we were seeing if that fourth man could be affective enough to come in and actually get a little more pressure while still covering the same guys.”

Alexander Teich – SR – FB

Thoughts on the offense today…
“At times we were moving down the field and then there would be a mental mistake and we would stall out. It was kind of frustrating because we knew coming into this game we had to put drives together, long drives. We were eating up clock, but you have to pick up first downs at the same time. I thought Notre Dame did a great job on defense today. They flew around the ball. I have to give them credit. It’s almost night and day between the defense they played last year and the defense they played today. Those guys got after it.”

On how he felt Trey Miller did today on his first start…
“I thought Trey did a great job. We asked a lot of him and I thought he performed pretty well. He’s doing pretty well on his reads, but it all comes down to execution. And I don’t know if we were executing on the perimeter. We’ve got to go back and watch the film and see what we’ve been messing up on.”

On the team mindset they need to get to a bowl game…
“That’s the number one goal now. I think we made it very difficult on ourselves and now we have to win the final four and it’s going to be a long road. We’ve got to come to work on Monday. Now that it’s out there, there’s no more putting it to the side. We have to win because this is playoff time and every game is going to be a big game. Every game is going to be a bowl game for us. We’ve got to produce.”

On Notre Dame’s defense this year compared to what it was last year…
“They played a different scheme defensively. I really thought those guys were flying to the ball – from Harrison Smith making plays to Te’o being an absolute nightmare for us in the middle. Last year we were able to get him blocked and this year for some reason he was making plays. You can see that after seeing how many tackles he had today. He did a great job.”

Trey Miller – QB – So.

On first career start…
“I still have a long way to go. I made a couple of mistakes out there today. I need to practice more next week and just get better.”

On the environment at Notre Dame…
“No I wasn’t that nervous. I blocked all of it out. I just focused on running the offense.”

On reading the plays…
“I made some reads and missed some reads. I just need to go to practice next week and get better.”

On the need to perform every time offense was on the field…
“There was some pressure on us. We just needed to try to respond to the defense, but we couldn’t get the ball into the end zone. We needed to execute.”

On any difference with ND’s defense this year versus last year…
“Notre Dame is always a good football team. I didn’t see that much of a difference. They always play hard, are competitive and just outplayed us today.”

On the defense not helping the offense…
“We just need to be better on both sides of the ball. We need to have both the offense and defense work hard at practice this week and get better.”