Nov. 15, 2006

Tom Zbikowski

Q. Coach Weis was referencing on the flight back from Air Force Academy that there was a whoop that went up in the back of the plane. Curious, did you have your electrical devices off or when the plane was in flight or how did that work out?

Tom Zbikowski: It was when the plane was landing and we were able to turn on our cell phones and everything. It was pretty exciting just to hear, we’ve got to keep winning and good things are going to happen.

So that’s been our plan since the entire season, since it began, that we’re going to keep winning and things will hopefully call our way.

Q. I know you’ve got games to play, but can you believe that this moment is finally here when in your career when you run down the tunnel for last time, and what thoughts do you have about that?

Tom Zbikowski: I still have another year left, so it’s not like it’s going to be my last game. You feel for it, I’ve been playing for my third year, seniors going out in the last game at home, you know how emotional it gets. But we can’t let those emotions get to us until afterwards.

Q. I assume that was a point of emphasis on Tuesday when Coach talked to the team?

Tom Zbikowski: Yeah, just send out the seniors, especially everything that’s gone on here, coaches changes, winning BCS games and so on and so forth. There’s been up?and?downs here and it’s the only right thing to do to get the seniors out the right way.

Q. Coach was talking about how emotional he saw it, that it was last year with the seniors, have you seen that and what can you relate regarding some of the past experience of seniors?

Tom Zbikowski: I think it was something special last year when the seniors took a lap around the stadium and just tried to enjoy it with the fans. Then pretty much when they got to the parents’ section, players taking pictures with teammates and stuff like that, it was pretty emotional the last home game.

But the Bowl game might have been even more emotional just because for some people, that was the last game they will ever play in any stadium. So I think there was a lot more tears flowing then than your last home game. I think you just want to enjoy your last home game and have fun with it.

Q. I know you have another year left, what do you think the legacy of this class is, the guys that you came in with?

Tom Zbikowski: I think it all depends how we finish these last couple of games. I think it’s been a pretty successful one so far, but you never can tell until we’re completely wrapped up with our career, and there’s definitely a lot at stake in the near future.

Q. What about Brady’s legacy right now? He’s all over the record backs as it is.

Tom Zbikowski: Yeah if you look at statistic?wise, pretty much the best quarterback that played at Notre Dame. I don’t want to put any extra pressure on him for his future, but I think that’s pretty much what he’s left and he’s basically a household name.

Q. You’ve reserved your potential fifth year, and I know Coach says he sits down with potential fifth year guys at the end of the season, are you leaning one way or another right now?

Tom Zbikowski: I won’t really think about it until after the season. Like I said before, there’s too much at stake here to even be thinking about other things than our season.

Q. Four years to this point, as far as that stadium goes, what memory, what game stands out the most?

Tom Zbikowski: Probably Michigan game, my first home game. We came off a loss at BYU, everyone was talking bad about us, and went in and beat a ranked team, a ranked Michigan team. That was my first note game experience as a player. And how can you leave out the USC game from last year, just games like that.

Q. Do you remember the losses as well as the wins, or do the wins ?? is that a different kind of loss?

Tom Zbikowski: It really was. You look at it, it’s just such an exciting game. Obviously it’s painful because every time you look back, there’s a bunch of what ifs, and I’ve gone through my head a million times how the game could have ended a different way, but losses definitely stick in your head.

Q. Considering where you were two years ago and where you are now and every time you take the field, you expect to win, you’re a national title contender and you go into the season expecting to go to a BCS game, was there ever a time where you thought a couple years ago, three years ago, that, hey, it just wasn’t going to work out that way for your experience at Notre Dame?

Tom Zbikowski: It was tough the first two years, 5?7 and 6?6, but you look around and you just saw the talent that we had on our team. It was only a patter of time before you start winning games, game after game. But it’s human nature when you’re 5?7, 6?6, you’re a .500 team, maybe it wasn’t the right decision, maybe things are different.

The character around Notre Dame and the players we bring in, all we do, we go to work and try to win. We don’t think about wins and losses.

Q. What one or two things would you point to that Coach Weis has played the biggest influence in getting you to think like a BCS team and a team that’s going to win every time you play?

Tom Zbikowski: Early on just planting in our heads that we were a talented enough team and that we need to be expecting to win every single game.

You know, you can say it as much as you want, but you still need proof. So I think once you start winning game after game is when you start getting that confidence.

Q. I mean, he talked about getting you guys to believe that you could win, but what specifically would you point to? It’s one thing to just say it.

Tom Zbikowski: Winning. That’s the only thing. You work hard. We worked as hard as ever. You know, it’s not like we were slacking the years that we were losing.

I remember mentioning it before, that it was really not that much difference how hard teams work from winning teams to losing teams. Just things go right, and once you start believing, and a lot of it is belief and a lot of it is confidence whether you’re going to win or not.

Q. It’s clear we’re not focused on Army. How do you guys stay focused on Army?

Tom Zbikowski: (Laughing) Really, like I said before, Coach mentioning about the seniors, you owe it to seniors and guys that are in their last home games to be focused and to keep watching film. There’s proof at least on the defensive side of Army’s offense making big?time plays and seeing their quarterbacks making proper throws. Then once you think you’re done with option, they still have a little bit of an option attack. So you have to take focused on everything.

Q. Have you noticed any difference between the tenacity, Navy, Air Force, Army, you play all three of these military schools?

Tom Zbikowski: It’s 100% on every single play. They are going to bring it. They don’t care about their body. Sometimes they are going to get best of it, but sometimes the other person going to get the best of it. They don’t care. That’s the way they play. They are coming at you 100%.

Q. Have you seen the difference in the guys maybe over the past few days now that there is a shot at the national title again; has there been a noticeable difference?

Tom Zbikowski: You know, there’s always a little talk about the future. But once again, we’ve got to stay focused on playing Army. But it definitely puts these last two games on much higher stakes that we can’t afford to lose.

Q. Has it been more upbeat or up?tempo? Yesterday it looks like the assistants have been more up?tempo than we have seen.

Tom Zbikowski: Practice was pretty up?tempo. We like to wait for you guys to leave before we really show what we’re doing. But, no, practice was pretty up?tempo. Everyone was flying around trying to get things right. It will be like that again today.

Q. Coach has talked about the whole playoff mentality, has that served any benefit? Seems like you would have motivation without that.

Tom Zbikowski: The playoffs, it shows how important every single game is and another way we stay focused on Army, because if you lose this game, you’re done pretty much. We have to stay focused on this game and make sure we take care of business and move on to the next one.

Q. And the whole notion of Senior Day, the fact that the home game really helps that you have that whole last home game thing to focus on ?? if you were going on the road, there would be more distractions, I would imagine.

Tom Zbikowski: I think so but I’ve heard trap game pretty much every single game like the last eight weeks, so we are pretty much used to it.

Q. I remember talking to Posano last year, he talked about soaking it all in, if it turns out to be your last game, are you conscious of soaking up every last minute of it?

Tom Zbikowski: I want to soak it up with gays that have eligibility that I came in with, fourth and fifth year guys, a lot of guys on the defense, guys on the offense, just guys that have eligibility left, if this is their last game, you want to enjoy it with them more than anything. You don’t want to be selfish and try to soak it up as much as you possibly can. I just want to be with them and know that this is our last hope game together.

Q. I would think it’s unusual to have a guy on the team that boxes and pitches, and both on the same team, how have you and Jeff helped each other through your careers, and talk about your relationship from start to finish here.

Tom Zbikowski: Probably the thing that’s helped us the most is we don’t talk about it really. We both do our own thing. It’s not like we try to build each other up or talk about how we both play two sports. We just try and be normal college kids and have fun and enjoy our time while we have it together at college.

Q. Did you seem to get along right from the start?

Tom Zbikowski: Yeah, we were put in the same dorm room our freshman year. I remember just meeting with him. I think it was a spring game, junior year, something like that, a bunch of juniors were in and that’s the first time I met him. I kind of saw how our Dads were kind of similar and we had similar upbringings. So you know, just kind of fit and just we were always friends from the beginning.

Q. Obviously the hair a little different.

Tom Zbikowski: Yeah, obviously I’ve changed a few times in the last couple of years and Jeff’s pretty much kept it long.

Q. A few quick boxing questions. I know you haven’t heard a lot of those, but can you describe, is there any difference between the intensity and adrenaline that you experience on the field and in the boxing ring?

Tom Zbikowski: I think after fights and after football games are pretty similar. Your body is kind of beat up but you’re still happy about a win or disappointed about a loss.

You know, before a fight or before a game, before a fight you’ve got to be much more calm than you are before a football game, just because football is a very emotional game. Boxing, you’ve got to keep your wits about you because as soon as you lose them, you’re going to lose your wind and not be able to breathe and stuff, so you have to be as calm as possible.

Q. Do you have a favorite boxer?

Tom Zbikowski: Right now, or all?time?

Q. I guess right now.

Tom Zbikowski: Ricky Hatton is my favorite fighter right now. I just love watching him fight.

Q. If you could fight a heavyweight of all?time, who would it be and why?

Tom Zbikowski: That would be tough to say which heavyweight. There’s a lot of great ones. Mike Tyson used to make things interesting.

Q. Just one other thing, I watched actually on utube, your fight, your debut. Did that opponent make a mistake? He was fighting you, but was the other mistake wearing the Ohio State jersey into the ring?

Tom Zbikowski: He mentioned ?? I remember him mentioning something about it at the press conference we had a couple days before. So I knew he was going to do it. Really it didn’t upset me too much. Outcome probably would have been the same even if he didn’t wear it.

Q. Jeff was talking yesterday about how you guys both came in and you both had frustrating freshman years and you wanted to be playing and you weren’t. When you just look at all of the things you’ve done in the last four years, getting on to the football field and then becoming sort of a star player, you both had your professional debuts in other sports, can you put it all in perspective? Does it feel like a long three and a half years that all this stuff has happened or a short three and a half years?

Tom Zbikowski: It went by fast. I can still remember just, you know, freshman year, just watching from the sidelines, just being frustrated, wanting to get on the field obviously as a competitor, wanting to contribute to the team.

You look back, things happen for a reason. I think it made me and Jeff, both of us hungry wanting to get on the field and wanting to make the plays. I think things happen for a reason and I think when you look back, that’s the best thing ?? things happen for a reason and just made both of us work harder.

Brady Quinn

Q. I think last year you said in the last home game that you had to settle yourself down a little bit, correct me if I’m wrong, I think you said that last year; how are you going to feel this year in the last home game?

Brady Quinn: I’m going to approach it the same way, and especially this week when there’s so many different things going on in your head. You’re trying to stay focused. Everyone is always asking you these questions: How are you going to look back on your past four years here, what’s your legacy you want to leave here and all that stuff.

It’s tough, but at the same point in time, it doesn’t matter when it comes down to the game itself, allow myself to play the way I have been.

Q. Do you anticipate that being difficult to do?

Brady Quinn: We’ve really placed a lot of importance on this game, sending the seniors out the right way. I have an obligation to the rest of my class and the rest of the seniors on this team, giving them a win in their last home game. I think just as much as you want it for yourself, you want it for everyone else around you.

Q. You’re in a frame of mind now you expect to win, you expect to win a BCS game when the season starts; did you ever think a couple of years ago that maybe it wasn’t ever going to get to this level for you during your days at Notre Dame?

Brady Quinn: I think that thought probably crossed my mind. When you’re hitting lows like that, so far you’re halfway through your college career and you’re not having the type of career that you thought you were going to have and coaching changes and all that. You never really know where you’re going to end up.

I had always envisioned us being a good team. We just never really put it together the way we could. And then finally we got a coaching staff and a coach who could come in here and get us to put things together the way we’re capable of.

Q. That was my next question. What one or two things would you point to when you look back on it that Coach Weis had the greatest influence on getting you to think that you’re going to win every time to get to this level?

Brady Quinn: I think when you change a team’s attitude, and develop this tough attitude and this mind?set where no matter what the situation is, no matter who is a cross from you, you’re just going to go in there and physically you’re going to rough them up and you’re going to get what you want, you’re going to go in and take it.

That was kind of the attitude that this team adopted, try to carry that. And although our team has kind of evolved as the type of team that we are, I think we’ve really tried to carry that on through the past couple of years.

Q. You mentioned legacy. Forgetting about football, is there something in your four years at Notre Dame that you haven’t done that you would like to do before you leave besides graduate?

Brady Quinn: Good question. I mean, is this one of those questions where it’s like, you know, anything, is this like a life question or just here at Notre Dame?

Q. You can interpret it either way.

Brady Quinn: Wow, all right. Well ??

Q. Multiple?choice essay question.

Brady Quinn: More than anything else right now I think aside from graduating, winning a National Championship. That’s the one thing where you kind of set out coming here to do and we haven’t really done here yet.

But off the field, that would be a tough one. I don’t know. I haven’t given that type of question really much thought.

Q. Before the Bowl game I’ll ask you that and I’ll ask you to give it more thought.

Brady Quinn: All right, I can take that.

Q. If you’ve been asked this before, I apologize, but do you remember the first time you and Ndukwe played in a game together? Was it before high school or when did you meet?

Brady Quinn: Oh, yeah it was before high school. He moved to our town in seventh grade. Actually I was off on a baseball tournament so I missed the first couple of days, like the acclimation period of our middle school’s football team.

So when I came back, they were all in full pads hitting, and I still had to go through the few days where you had a helmet and you’re putting on pads and cut up with everyone else.

You know, I remember just playing football with him and getting to him them outside of football, just the type of guy that he was. And we have a lot of common interests, things of that nature. I knew right from the get?go that we were both truly competitive people and we were going to get along.

Q. Are you pretty much best friends?

Brady Quinn: From that point on, me and another friend of ours really befriended him and tried to take him under our wing and show him around the town and everything, introduce him to some of the other guys.

Q. A question you may have already answered; Brady, is that a family name or is there a special reason your family named you Brady?

Brady Quinn: My actual namesake is a last name, it’s Braden and I was name after Frank Braden, an old friend of ours, passed away a few years back. Basically my parents kind of ?? when we were a young age, they wanted to name me something that would go along with our heritage, and Braden was a fitting name, and Brady was short for that which came soon after.

Q. Passed away after you were born?

Brady Quinn: Yeah, he passed away probably about, oh ?? I would say about seven or eight years ago.

Q. I notice that your brother?in?law will be at the Monday night game after Thanksgiving on the West Coast, any chance he might be able to make it to L.A.?

Brady Quinn: He is not going to be able to ?? he is not going to be able to make it down for the game. But I talked to him last night and he’s excited about the chance to be able to watch the game at home and not have to be stuck at a hotel or be stuck in meetings or anything like that.

Q. Last year going into the senior game, was it still a question mark in your mind whether you would be back another year, or were you pretty sure you would be back?

Brady Quinn: I had not really given it much thought. Although at that point in time, I think I really had not made my mind up that I was coming back.

So really, going back to that time, I had not given it much thought. But at the same point in time, I was still thinking, hey, maybe there is a chance I might not be coming back, maybe I should be catching up with that lap they were taking around the field, because I don’t know if I’m going to be here or not.

It crossed my mind while I was watching everything else going on, but I guess everything worked out the way it’s supposed to.

Q. Coach was talking about how he talks to seniors after December about, you know, eligibility. What was key to you in that process? What did you want to here and what made you decide what you decided?

Brady Quinn: I first announced it actually before the Bowl game because just I didn’t want it to be a question at all with anyone on our team or with the media and all that. I wanted to just focus on, you know, Ohio State at that point, and really focus on doing the best I could in that game. I think it was a little bit of a release to them, too, because once one guy kind of starts making the decision there, I think some guys, it’s a little easier on them as well.

But for me, I had to feel like I was ready. I thought about really what I came here to do coming in as a freshman, and I didn’t feel like I had succeeded all of the goals I had set out for myself.

Q. Did you ever have any second thought about whether it was the right choice or not?

Brady Quinn: Not at all.

Q. What’s the best part of this now, of having the extra year, how has it helped you?

Brady Quinn: Thinking about it, especially right now at this point in time, I think I’ve learned so much in the past year I would not have been ready for had I not come back to school.

I’m glad I did have the opportunity to live off?campus, learn what all comes along with that. It gave me an extra year to become a better quarterback physically and mentally, and more than anything else, you’re just getting your degree, being able to say you graduated from the University of Notre Dame.

Q. This game is a bit of a trap game, this is a game where you’re heavily favored, big game the following week, a lot of things going on; how do you avoid just overlooking or not taking care of business?

Brady Quinn: I’m the type of person that tries to put myself in others’ shoes in a given situation and to try to gain a perspective on how they feel with what they are thinking.

I just kind of thought back to this past weekend and what it would have felt like to be one of those seniors on a team that lost and now had no chance to possibly play in a big BCS game or maybe in the National Championship.

I kind of thought to myself, wow, that’s something that I don’t think I can really afford to let that happen, for myself, for the rest of the guys that are seniors on this team and for rest of my teammates. It’s not like National Championships come along or an opportunity to play in one come along all that often. So that was more or less my approach to it.

Q. Could you talk about game day, just what you enjoy about it? Is it the locker room, maybe coming out of the tunnel? It has to be pretty cool just to be able to come out of the tunnel with your buddies, and we don’t see you in the locker room, so that’s got to be some experience that we don’t know about.

Brady Quinn: Yeah, it’s enjoyable to watch everyone go through their different routines. Everyone has got a pregame routine. Some guys, for example, like Santucci, they are already dressed. Right when you get, they are out of suit, into their pads and everything, sitting and waiting to go out for the game. Guys like Sullivan kind of sit around half?naked for a while. You’re praying that he puts his uniform on soon.

It’s funny to be able to sit in the locker room and see all that unfold and sit back and watch how each person prepares himself mentally for a game. Obviously some guys are more uptight about it, more calm with themselves and some guys are extremely loose.

There’s something about game day that has a calming feeling where you’re able to kind of look each other in the face and you really believe that you’re both setting out to do the same task. You really have faith that you’re going to accomplish it.

Q. Is it a privilege to be able to come out of that tunnel? You look at some of the seniors that will be dressing for the last time and you can look at the movie, Rudy, and things like that, but it seems like not everybody gets that chance.

Brady Quinn: Yeah, coming to play at Notre Dame, you don’t understand how special it is until you do it the first time. It just gives you chills, it really does.

I still will never forget the first time I ran out on the field against Washington state my freshman year. That was the most unbelievable experience. It was a beautiful day and just hearing the crowd roar as we came out and running out on the field with your teammates and everything, there is nothing like it, and you only wish you could give someone else the joy that you’re able to give from that experience.

Q. How about the relationships that you have with some of the guys, a lot of us in this room have college friends we still keep in touch with. Are there guys that you can see that 20 years from now when you’re coming back and you’re seeing each other on the sidelines or maybe just keeping in touch; that this is a special senior class?

Brady Quinn: I hope so. The one problem with our class is we have so many guys that are so talented, I think they will probably be out there doing who knows what, if not football, or at the end of their football career, they are going to be moving on and being successful businessmen or whatever it is they want to venture out and do.

Hopefully these guys, everyone will keep in touch, because it would be a shame, especially for a married couple like Matt and Tucc (ph) those guys, I couldn’t imagine them not growing old together sitting on a porch arguing back and forth.

Q. Just following up on something that was asked earlier, what do you feel you’ve learned the most, what is the one thing that you’ve learned coming back?

Brady Quinn: It’s funny, I’ve learned so many things, it’s really hard to say what I’ve taken out the most. I guess I could probably look back a little while after these games unfold and be able to give you a better answer for that.

Right now I’ve learned so much that I couldn’t even pick out one particular thing that has meant the most to me. And to be honest with you, all of these questions about that, I really haven’t given it much time to reflect.

I guess the one thing is I’m still trying to live in this moment right now, and not the past, not worrying about the future but in this moment, today, going through practice, giving it everything I have, and taking that next day and taking that as a challenge. So I guess if you want to put that, that would probably be the one thing.

Q. And you said right off the bat that people have asked you what you think your legacy is going to be, what’s the answer you give them, and maybe what’s the honest answer?

Brady Quinn: Wow, I’d like to say hopefully that legacy will be fulfilled by the end of the season. Right now, I think it looks as if we’ve been able to get this program going in the right direction, especially the senior class and the fifth year’s who have been through a lot of adversities over the past four or five years.

Looking back on it now from where we were and where we are now, I think you’ve seen a complete change in the way this team takes the field, the way we play. And hopefully people will remember us having that change, having that impact on this team and this university and seeing that steady incline just continue to go higher and higher and higher.

Q. Is that the legacy you think for this class or your personal class?

Brady Quinn: I would say more or less for this class. My personal, like I said before, hopefully it will be determined at the end of the season, two games left, rest of the season right now.

Q. National Championships don’t come around very often, how much do you guys talk about what needs to happen aside from just winning the last two games?

Brady Quinn: We haven’t really given it much thought or talked about it that much. I think when you set out for yourself a mission, a plan, that, hey, if we do this, we’re going to give ourselves a shot and if you just devote all your time, all your attention, all your focus to those set of objectives, I think you’re going to come out with an end result that you’re going to be happy with.

And right now, all those other things are going to take care of themselves. We didn’t play any part in anyone losing this past weekend. We just tried to go to Air Force and play the best game we could, and that’s what we’re going to do this Saturday, play the best possible game we can against Army, that’s our goal.

Q. I because it’s the biggest game in history all sports, what’s your rooting interest this week in Columbus and how does that play into the whole scenario?

Brady Quinn: I don’t know. I’ve heard everyone talking about this back and forth, but again my focus is completely on this Saturday for us.

That would be a great match?up and I guess I’m rooting for whatever will help us the most, which at this point in time I don’t even know what that is. You can’t have a whole lot of interest in things where you can’t control them, and to be honest I’m more focused on doing something else at that point in time.

Q. You mentioned the Washington State game, your first game here, what’s the most memorable game or game here at Notre Dame stadium over your four years?

Brady Quinn: That would have to be one of them just because it was the first time I got in there to play. At that point in time I wasn’t sure if I was the quote, unquote backup until Carl backed up and someone grabbed me. I guess that was my answer for that. I don’t know, we’ve had a lot of good times. Hopefully we can cap off this Saturday and maybe that can be the best one.

Q. Wins or losses, are they more memorable? Is UCLA more memorable than USC last year? Does it matter whether you win or lose a game?

Brady Quinn: It matters. Everyone is going to have those games that pop up in your mind. No one wants to remember losses. You try to put them in your back pocket or throw them away. I would say that game is more prevalent than USC.

Q. Going into last week’s game, you guys had basically been in a holding pattern in the BCS for three weeks, was it even in the back of your mind going into last week’s game that you would be sitting here less than a week later and have a realistic chance at playing for a National Championship?

Brady Quinn: Not really. Again, we talked about this before earlier. Getting to go play against Air Force, we wanted to play the best we possibly could and set out to take care of business every week. And if we do that, eventually good things will happen. That’s the biggest thing that this team is fighting right now is to place all our focus on the two teams ahead of us, Army in particular right now.

Q. The college experience, have you ever felt like you’re in a media microscope or anything like that?

Brady Quinn: Notre Dame’s quarterback always seems to be under a microscope. I think you can probably compare Notre Dame’s football program to the New York Yankees in baseball, people either love them or hate them. They are national; you have fans all across the country.

You are going to receive all types of media attention based on that fact. You’ve got to kind of feed the fans in all different areas, so you’re going to receive that kind of media attention, and I think it’s rightfully so, especially when you look at the university, what it stands for and this program.

Q. Is there anything that’s important to you to keep private or anything in your personal life that you don’t like to talk about in situations like this?

Brady Quinn: Well, my personal life is my personal life and I don’t think anyone likes to talk about that in public. That’s why it’s their personal life.

Q. Do you ever feel like you’re weren’t assimilated into the student body; everyone knew who you were as soon as you got here, has that paid it harder to go out or go to a dorm party or SYR or something like that?

Brady Quinn: Yeah, I mean, SYR probably more or less because I had a girlfriend for the majority of the time. I mean, you’re not really trying to go to dances with other dates when you’re in that type of situation.

It was hard the past couple years. It wasn’t hard in the beginning. I mean, you’re kind of naive to it at first, not realizing that people know who you are, and once things went along, you kind of started like noticing people staring at you more or looking at you and pointing, and you just feel awkward. So you try not to be in that situation all the time.

Q. And finally this question is so weird, I’m sorry, but there was an urban legend going around campus a few years ago that you had a USC hat that you were keeping in your room; is that true?

Brady Quinn: Yeah, it is true. My uncle got me that hat the day I signed up at Notre Dame. At first I was confused because I didn’t sign with USC. But then he told me, look at the hat, being one of our biggest rivals and just remember every day when you’re preparing to go there that there’s someone out there always looking to beat you. Every day they are trying to get better than you, and that’s what you’re going to face every day over the next four years when you go play there.

Q. I know a lot has been written about your mom and your relationship, but I wanted to ask you, is she still involved as far as talking to you about your games at Notre Dame, or has she laid off since your youth days?

Brady Quinn: No, she has not laid off at all. That’s my mom. She’s always going to be involved in my life, whether it be football or off the field things. I mean, she can’t help that. That’s what moms are for, right?

Q. Yeah, I hear you. So who is tougher her or Coach Weis; who is tougher on you?

Brady Quinn: That’s funny, although they don’t use the same language, I would probably have to give the edge to my mom. She’s tough. It was more or less one of those situations where with your mom, you know, whether or not how you do on the field, obviously Coach Weis wants us to play well on the football field and he cares about us as people and everything, but he doesn’t call me, you know, at night to check up on what I’m doing.

That’s my mom, she’s the one always making sure that I’m studying and keeping out of trouble and that type of thing. So I’ve got to give that to my mom.

Q. And you had mentioned this about Army, but I think you said about being in their situation, they are 3?7, what they have been saying; you know, we don’t have anything to lose, we don’t have the BCS and the National Championship. So how do you look at their perspective coming into South Bend this weekend?

Brady Quinn: Their perspective is one as if, you’re right, they don’t have anything to lose. And I think if you look at the past history of this rivalry, I think you’ll see that there’s been in the past two games I think have been ?? have added up with, what, a four?point difference between the two games?

So these games have been close. It’s been a dogfight, and you know, we know that that’s their attitude. That’s what they are coming in here looking to do, coming in and making it a dogfight.

Q. Just one last thing, to have McKnight and Samardzija just to throw to, obviously you would probably get the ball to anybody, but to have them, how great is that?

Brady Quinn: It’s wonderful. I mean, to have a chance to throw to either of those guys, yeah, I’ve been fortunate to have them here, Jeff or four years and Rhema for five now. I think they are tremendous players. They are both blessed with so much talent that it’s just nice to be able to have them on your side, not having to go up against them every week.

Q. Jeff was talking yesterday about how he and Tom met very early when they got to Notre Dame and how they have kind of grown up together and how they have parallel careers, with how they kind of became big?time players at football and they have also done other things. Do you remember the first time you met the two of them and kind of what you picked up from them?

Brady Quinn: I remember the first time I met Tommy, that was down in San Antonio.

If you’re asking about the first time I met them both together, I can’t remember that time, but I to do remember meeting Tommy down in San Antonio for the first time for the All?American game there. He was more of a quiet kid but once you talk to him more, he opened up and he was pretty funny.

Jeff I actually remember meeting at, I think it was the Michigan game our senior year of high school. We were all together and right from the get?go Jeff wears his emotions on his sleeves; you can tell what type of guy he is right off the bat.

Q. Has it been fun to watch the two of them with their various other sports and support them in that?

Brady Quinn: Yeah, they are both such good athletes that it would be a shame if they were not able to really fulfill their careers, or I guess you could say aspirations that they have for themselves; especially Jeff with baseball and Zib with boxing, they are both so talented.

I’m just happy that they have both been able to go out and do what they have set out to do and really kind of get their shot at each of them and feel how it feels to be that professional athlete and be in that media scope.

Q. Just wondering, John has been one of your top targets all year out there, has that changed your mind?set with the other guys, with Carlson being out?

Brady Quinn: Any time we lose a guy like John, it’s going to hurt, you can’t deny that. Mark did a great job coming in the past week, both run blocking protection and catching that touchdown. That’s kind of our team’s M.O. is any time someone like that goes down, the next guy steps up and fills in his spot. That’s what we are looking for Mark to do.