Oct. 26, 2016
Q. Mike, talking to Coach Kelly, he said this a couple of times and DeShone addressed it as well. Coach Kelly said let’s practice what we’re good at and let’s be better at execution. What have you seen along those lines as far as what you’re going to do moving forward offensively?
Mike McGlinchey: I think we did a good job, especially coming off of the bye week, having a little bit of extra time to kind of simplify things and get back to some fundamental work that we hadn’t been able to do because we were in the middle of season trying to game plan and all that stuff. I think that certainly helped us this week having two extra days, coming back on Sunday and Monday, alongside of yesterday’s practice, as well.
I think that we just understand that we are who we are, and we have certain strengths and certain weaknesses and we should probably play to our strengths a little bit more. And sting the coaching staff is doing a phenomenal job at game planning our games this year, and keeping us in a path that we all understand what we’re doing, and we just have to execute and do it.
Q. Without giving away game plan, what do you think you’re good at offensively?
Mike McGlinchey: Well, we know we can run the ball. We’ve got to do a lot better job of staying in front of the chains. I think that’s kind of altered a little bit of what we’re capable of at certain points this year. Having to stray away from our base calls and our base fundamentals because of situations that we’re put in throughout a football game offensively.
And I think that we know we can do a lot of things really well. But we just have to stop spreading ourselves a little bit too thin, I think, both in our execution and in our mindset about how we go about doing our job. And I think by doing that we’ll have a little bit more success.
Q. Can I ask what you did during your off time?
Mike McGlinchey: I just went home. Yeah, I went back to Philly and spent some time with some family and friends and had a good week and felt the body certainly needed it a little bit and feeling good.
Q. Do you still train? You still condition?
Mike McGlinchey: Absolutely, yeah. I probably lifted almost every day when I was at home. Lifting makes you feel a little bit better when you get hit in the trenches.
Q. Any film, anything like that?
Mike McGlinchey: Yeah, we have stuff that we take off and are capable of watching our stuff that we are able to watch here on our iPads, because we have the system to do that. I really didn’t watch too much of — watched what we’ve done in the past and games in the past and just self evaluation of what little things you can pick up here and there that maybe you couldn’t see and didn’t have the time to see earlier in the season. And I think that’s where I really put my focus on last week was finding a lot of the things that I needed to clean up personally, both techniques-wise, and seeing looks across the board. And I think that the buy weeks are always great for us in doing that and also getting refreshed and healthy.
Q. (No microphone.)
Mike McGlinchey: I think it’s just the amount of executing our base job. And I think that we need to do that consistently. And I think it’s just a matter of working at it. And like you guys have said, of what other people have said up here, it’s about getting back to what we do well. And I think it’s a matter of understanding what that is, going about, working on it to the best of our ability each and every day at practice, and by doing that that’s when we’ll get better. There’s no secret formula, there’s no recipe. Everybody hits their hard spells sat times, and it’s just say matter of keeping your head down and understanding what the problem is and learning how to fix it and once you learn how to fix it, actually go do it.
So that’s really all that it comes down to. We know that we’re capable of a lot of great things on offense and the last two weeks haven’t been our best showing but we’ve shown that we are very, very good. And we will continue to grow and be very, very good just by doing our base work.
Q. (No microphone.)
Mike McGlinchey: I think it’s just committing more to our base fundamentals, committing more to the scheme that we have in place and being consistent at that. We can’t have any drops or having say missed assignment somewhere or not using the correct technique, which wound up getting us beat at times.
I think the focus is, like I said, the self evaluation of seeing how we can go about getting better, what we’ve been doing — what we haven’t been doing, as well, and turning that into a strength of ours, as well. And I think that’s just about — I think that’s the message across the board on our football team, not just on the offensive line, is to find out what hasn’t been working and then fix it. And then that’s what we’re going to do.
Q. (No microphone.)
Mike McGlinchey: I think that they’ve talked about it a little bit, not a whole lot. It’s not really what we’re focused on. We understand that there are certain games that people focus on because of the rivalry. We’re up to it. But I think there’s only like three guys on our team that actually played against Miami in 2012. Not a whole lot of people really have experienced it. And I think that obviously looking back on the history of Notre Dame, like we all like to do every now and then, there were some heated battles and some fun games to watch. And obviously there is some history there. We understand that. But at the same time that hasn’t really been the focus this week. Obviously Miami is a very good football team year in and year out. We’re more focused on that than we are on the past history of the game.
Q. Sitting at 2 and 5, what has been the motivation for you guys? What is the motivation going to be heading forward as the season comes to a close?
Mike McGlinchey: I think the motivation is the personal pride of getting better. We’re not going to — we’re Division I athletes, we’re competitive people. We’re not just going to sit around and wait until next season comes around to try and fix this thing. We might as well just start fixing it each and every day at practice.
The motivation is always the same as it always is, and it’s each individual day of getting better. As soon as we fully get into that mindset and focus on that each and every day I think that’s when we’re going to start growing and start changing.
Q. Yesterday Kelly said he was a little disappointed that Jack Swarbrick had to publically announce that his job is safe for next season. You guys, as players, is that disappointing to hear something like that, too, that it’s gotten to that point?
Mike McGlinchey: Yes, it’s two and five, it’s a frustrating situation. It’s not what we expected coming out of this year. And obviously we don’t want things like that following around our program. We’d rather be on the winning side of things. But at the same time we all know that it’s not a fault on anybody, it’s just kind of the way things have shaken out this year. And it’s just puff those things, yeah, it’s frustrating, but at the same time a lot of people out there won’t leave it alone. So it’s probably something that needed to be said, because he’s the right man for the job. He’s our head coach and we have all the faith in him. And there’s nothing more to it.
Q. When you’re specifically going against a defense that’s as aggressive as Miami, how does that impact what you’re going to see and what you have to do, with their sacks, with their tackles, that sort of play, how does that impact you guys?
Mike McGlinchey: I think it’s just a matter of — especially up front — you have to come out with a little bit more control. There’s going to be agents bit more movement, a little bit more things that are going to be thrown at you that aren’t base alignments. They do that, no matter the situation, they really are trying to pressure you. They don’t throw a lot of pressure, but they do a lot of different stunts and movements up front, if you’re not prepared for it or in the right mindset about how you approach your job, it can cause some problems for some offenses. And I think up front, specifically, we need to be under control. We need to see different alignment, see different tips we’ve studied all week, and I think by doing that we’ll be fine. It’s not the first time we’ve seen somebody move on us, we rarely get people that stay still up front and play base defense against us. It’s one of those things that we’ve prepared for many teams like this in the past and we’re going to prepare the same way, and we’ll be fully prepared when the time which is.
Q. That was the next thing I was going to ask. Is it as complex a defense as you’ve seen this season?
Mike McGlinchey: I don’t think any defense — each and every defense has its own intricacies, that present different problems for offenses. It’s about identifying those specific things throughout the week. And once you get it mastered and a grip on that, it’s about seeing it in each and every play in practice. And watching it over and over again on film. And by the time the game comes you know it like the back of your hand. It’s not more complex or less complex than any defense we’ve seen so far. It’s just each one presents its own challenges and we’ll identify those with Miami and we’ll be prepared for the adjustments that we have to make.
Q. You knew what it was like last year when the running game was effective, when it was smooth, when it was really working. What’s different this year, what isn’t flowing that flowed last year?
Mike McGlinchey: I think a lot of it was at the start of the season we had 100 plus starts coming in with only three different guys in our offensive line.
And this year we had 25 or something like that. And we’re young. Not that I’m making an excuse for the offensive line. But it’s one of those things that comes with experience. We had a six overall pick and a second round pick leading us up front last year. And we had a 30 game starter that was the third guy.
It’s one of those things that it’s growing pains, we’re going to be okay, we’ve got the talent to do it and we’ve been getting better, and we’re going to continue to get better, but teams came in this year not wanting to do the same thing that we did last year. And we’ve seen a lot of things thrown at us that has been — they wanted to stop the running game first, and that’s fine, because we have a lot of talent across the board with quarter back, running back and receivers. We know we haven’t executed to the best of our ability at times in our running game, but at the same time it’s a growing and learning curve and I think we’ll be okay. And the three new guys that are coming in are doing a great job and they’ll continue to do a great job.
Q. I’m just curious, what would you say are some of Alex Bars’ strengths and what’s your evaluation overall as a first year starter?
Mike McGlinchey: I think Alex has done a great job this year. He’s obviously a great athlete, big body, strong kid, understands football, understands how to put with being taught to him into his game. I think that he has done a pretty good job this year of doing his job across the board. And I think that he’s a first year starter, yes, but he’s had some success this year, and just like everybody else, has had his down moments. He’s a kid that wants to get better. And he’s a kid that, like I said, understands how to get better and understands the game of football. And the sky’s the limit for Alex Bars.
Q. You touched on the in experience be in the offensive line. I’m curious, when you watch film throughout the season, are you able to notice different things, different intricacies that demonstrate that this group is growing together, that you’re developing cohesion?
Mike McGlinchey: Absolutely. Those little moments that — not a lot of people really understand what it’s like to play offensive line and understand what the game is like throughout each play. But, yeah, going back on film and watching it at each and every game we can see that there is growth. We can see that there is a little bit more cohesion. Obviously it’s not to the level we want to be yet, I don’t know if it will ever be, because that’s the game football is. But we’ve definitely seen growth and seen the five of us coming together at certain times. And it just needs to happen more often.
Q. Can you give us an example of something you would have necessarily seen against Texas that you did against Stanford?
Mike McGlinchey: I think it’s just a late game adjustment or something that — the biggest things that I have seen is either something that’s not happening to my side and the adjustment or the pressure or the look is coming from Alex or Colin’s side and somehow the message gets relayed back to me, all the way on the left side, where that’s the biggest sign of growth for us. When I hear something that Alex says that I can adjust to my block because of. I think we’ve done a better job. In Texas, obviously, it was extremely hard to do that, with 103 thousand people screaming at you. But it’s something that we’ve grown with. Communication has grown, just playing together has really grown, and understanding what we need to connect with each other on each play, talk about it for a quick second, and 30 seconds until the next play starts. That’s the mindset that we’ve been taking and we’re growing, like I said. But we’re going to need to continue to grow to get to where we want to be.