Sept. 9, 2010
An interview with:
Q. In relation to Tyler Eifert, Coach Kelly said they need to find more ways to get him on the field. How can Tyler help you be a better player?
Kyle Rudolph: Tyler brings a lot to the table as far as a player. He can do a lot of things, stuff you guys have been hearing about all through fall training camp. You saw a little bit on Saturday. Just makes our offense better. Getting him on the field, that’s our goal.
If we want to get the best 11 guys on the field, it doesn’t matter what your position is, we just want to make our offense better.
Q. Dayne, Michigan runs a 3-3-5 alignment. How much does that force you to adjust? How different is that for a quarterback to deal with?
Dayne Crist: I think it’s just something that will be taken care of through film study. I think it will really come into play in our pass checks and things like that. Just knowing where they’re bringing pressure from.
But it will be something that I feel I’ll be pretty confident with going into the game on Saturday.
Q. When you see that alignment, is that a natural assumption that you can have a little more success with the running game?
Dayne Crist: It really depends how you attack it, and exploit it. I’m confident that Coach Kelly and Coach Molnar will be drawing stuff up that will really exploit that. But at the same time you have to go play your game.
It’s really how your players play. X’s and O’s are great, but it really just comes down to how we end up playing on Saturday.
Q. Kyle how does that defensive alignment impact what you do with your routes?
Kyle Rudolph: It’s just like Dayne mentioned before, their pressures and recognizing pressures versus bluffs and when guys are coming and just being aware.
As far as the three-down part, we’ve gone against three-down all training camp. Going against our own defense, so that won’t be as big of an adjustment. But the three and the five, just being able to recognize where people are on the field and are out running.
Q. Coach Kelly mentioned in the preseason, I think it was that if you guys can run the football effectively, that opens things up more for you specifically. How so?
Kyle Rudolph: It makes our offense run better. Being able to run the football opens my game up. They can’t just keep two safeties. They have to bring another guy down in the box and bring another guy down to stop the run. When you’re playing two safeties, you have to have help over the top not from linebackers who have the run on bottom.
Q. For both of you, yesterday Coach Kelly was talking in the spring he noticed Armando’s attitude and work ethic in practice wasn’t where he wanted it to be. Then he says once fall camp started it was completely different. What was your observation of the metamorphosis that Armando made from spring to fall to where he is right now?
Kyle Rudolph: Armando just came to work every day in the summer. He put a lot of time in as well as the rest of us. But just coming to work every day and having a purpose about it.
Dayne Crist: I think also you take into consideration that he’s a senior, and he’s got a different sense of urgency than some of the other guys. He realizes this is his last go around at things.
I don’t know if he had an epiphany or anything like that, but you could see a change in his urgency come fall camp.
Q. The Michigan game, fans consider it a rivalry. Do you consider it a rivalry? Are you two focused on everything you’ve got to do to really get wrapped up into the periphery of everything else?
Dayne Crist: I think it’s definitely a rivalry and something that Kyle and I have both watched growing up. It was always a big game watching college football.
But we’ve got a very tough schedule, and we’re really focused on taking one game at a time and just preparing each week with the task at hand. And right now it’s Michigan. They do some really challenging things on defense, and it will take a great week of preparation and practice for us to be successful.
Now that other stuff with rivalries and everything like that, sure it’s an added bonus, and you’d like to go out there and compete, but we’ll get ready to go for any game regardless who we were playing.
Kyle Rudolph: Going along with what Dayne said, if you look at our schedule, last week was a rivalry. As well with Purdue. This week’s a rivalry. Next week’s a rivalry with Michigan State. We have all these games against teams that we play year in and year out. You just kind of take it week by week and prepare yourself for each game.
Q. As you go into your second game, how much does it help having a first game as a full-time starter under your belt in terms of your confidence level?
Dayne Crist: I think it helps tremendously. You know, before I hadn’t had a full game. You know, just being able to start a game and finish a game, and then obviously just happy to get my first win as a starter, that was really big.
But, again, we like that. We celebrated that. But now it’s making the necessary steps to improving from week one to week two. That is my personal goal going into this week is making as many improvements as I can from how I played Saturday to how I will play this upcoming Saturday.
Q. Were there moments during the game where you realized and saw yourself maturing or was it a matter of there’s just too much happening to worry about that?
Dayne Crist: That’s kind of tough to assess while you’re playing. I think taking a step back and thinking and reminiscing after the game you can kind of see that. But it was more just familiarity and comfort level more than maturity. More than anything, I was just happy to go in and get the win. I mean, that was the biggest thing for my confidence.
Q. I was going to say it’s been a long time since a first time starter at Notre Dame got a win. How much does that help going forward now as you continue to progress as a quarterback?
Dayne Crist: I mean, the win’s just important overall. Whether you tie it in with that stat or whatever, that’s not as important for me. The most important thing was that this team got a win. We’re 1-0 right now, and we’re going to do everything in our power to be 2-0.
Q. Kyle, what did you see from Dayne as the game went on in his first start?
Kyle Rudolph: I think he did very well. Coming out right away, being calm. You didn’t really see the jitters and stuff that you would expect from a first time starter on the biggest stage in the world.
You know, Dayne has prepared himself since the day he got here for that opportunity. You could tell when he went in there, he was ready.
Q. He said you couldn’t see the jitters, but did you have the jitters inside that you chose not to show your teammates?
Dayne Crist: I’m sure before the game, but once the game starts, and Kyle experienced the same thing. But once the game starts, you don’t have time to think about anything else except your assignment, and amplify that by the fact that we play fast. There is not a lot of idle time where you’re sitting around thinking about what’s going on. I think that helped, but again, there was a little bit, but it left pretty quickly.
Q. I know you talked about after the game a little bit about how the team didn’t necessarily react in celebration after the game, and Coach Kelly had to remind you guys about that. Can you talk a little bit about the moments after the game and what exactly happened there?
Kyle Rudolph: Coach Kelly was just big on reminding us that wins are tough things to come by. You really need to celebrate and cherish the wins that you get, because they’re hard-fought and there was so much blood, sweat and tear that’s went into it. A Saturday after a win is really a time to celebrate, and obviously, celebrate within reason.
But you’ve got such competitive guys on the team that we’re always aiming at perfection. There’s always guys trying to figure out what they did wrong and what they could have done to make themselves play better and in turn make the team play better. But he was quick to remind us that Saturday’s not the time for that. That’s when Sunday comes around. Just really putting the emphasis on cherishing the win and celebrating with your teammates.
Q. Coach Kelly was talking yesterday about the hill out back here. What were your first impressions when you saw that?
Kyle Rudolph: It’s cool. It’s something that since they’ve gotten here they’ve provided us with the best of the best. We had great facilities before they got here, and they just kind of put their twist on it, adding the sand pit and the hill and the other things in the weight room.
That is just something that is another tool in our toolbox to be able to utilize to get ourselves in the best shape as possible.
Dayne Crist: Going along with what Kyle was saying, some of the change in pace and just kind of the change in schedule, being able to go out and run hills instead of running sprints or whatever.
Just the way that Coach Longo and his staff changed everything up, it just helps kind of break any sort of monotony that was there or anything like that. Those are things that are tough. At the time we were like, man, we’ve got to go do this. This kind of stinks or whatever. But at the end of it we know we’re coming out better for it, and just helps build camaraderie and team chemistry when you’re competing and sweating with your teammates.
Q. Have either of you ever done any training in a sand pit or hill before?
Dayne Crist: A little bit. Coach Longo and his staff have a clear picture of what they want and what they want to get out of it. But had some experience with it, but not what they were asking of us.
Kyle Rudolph: I ran sand hills a couple times training in the off-season, but nothing with a team and competing with guys every day.
Q. Any interesting or memorable experiences that you’ve seen teammates do on it?
Dayne Crist: It’s real competitive. I think unless you’re out there watching guys, I mean, they really turn it into races and stuff like that. Changing the whole mentality of it being a conditioning approach to a competitive approach. Competing on every rep or every sprint like that just helps in the overall grand scheme of things every day.
Kyle Rudolph: I would reiterate what Dayne said, it more turns into a competition than conditioning. It’s a three, four guy race to the top of the hill. Next thing you know you finish with ten of your hills and you weren’t even focused on that, you were focused on winning every rep and beating the guy next to you.
Q. This is sort of a new beginning. You know that you have at least a year of eligibility after this. But what do you sense from seniors like Chris Stewart, and Gary Gray and Darrin Walls as the season begins?
Dayne Crist: They’ve just got that added sense of urgency like I said when we were talking about Armando. I guess I can’t really speak on it fully because I haven’t experienced it. But the only thing I can really relate it to is your senior year of high school and you don’t have any time left. It just kind of hits you that your days here are numbered, and you really want to do everything in your power to make the most of them.
Sure everyone comes in and says that’s what they want to do from day one. But there are definitely days that you let go, and there is so much idle time that you forget that your clock is winding down at all times. If anything, I think it makes the team better. It adds a sense of urgency.
Speaking for the guys on offense, I’ve seen their performance has definitely gone up since last year. They’re playing great, and in turn they’re making the offense better.
Kyle Rudolph: To go along with what Dayne said, every year after a season you have the guys who are going to be fifth year guys and going to be seniors who have that extra sense of urgency.
But this year when Coach Kelly and all the new staff got here in his first meeting with us he talked about his five-minute plan that he’s mentioned to everyone. And those guys really bought into that and realized that, hey, we can win now. We don’t have to wait four or five years. We have the guys here. We’re going to be leaders to this team and we’re going to be the ones that get us back to the top.
Q. Kyle, it may be overblown, but I remember at the end of the Purdue game last year it was fourth down and Jimmy sort of talked to you in the huddle. What is the difference in going in a no-huddle in terms of rhythm or even camaraderie once you’re out on the field?
Kyle Rudolph: Just, obviously, the tempo’s faster. But at the same time if there is some kind of miscommunication or something, it’s all about communicating. You can run the no-huddle as fast as you want, but if you’re not communicating effectively, it’s not going to work. That is something that we work on every day in practice is going as fast as we can but at the same time communicating whether it’s Dayne to me or me to a receiver and making sure everyone’s on the same page.
Q. Dayne, Joe Montana was on your buddy’s dad’s television program yesterday, Mike Golic. And he was saying that the advice he had for a quarterback in the system is you have to stay almost intense because when you’re just back there it almost starts to feel like a video game. Have you noticed that difference?
Dayne Crist: I think so. I definitely agree with that statement. I think that intensity comes through practice, and you have to practice doing those sorts of things all week. It’s really how the game plays out, and how it’s a different style of offense. You just need to make sure that the intensity and the coaching and the overall leadership really takes place during practice. So that way when the game rolls around and when it’s less communication, so to speak of the huddle or whatever, those things are taken care of and guys are really playing sound football. You really just kind of push through that intensity and draw blood on the field.
Q. Do the sideline moments in a game become that much more important for the offense when the defense is on the field then?
Dayne Crist: I think they’re pretty critical. I think we do a great job of communicating on the sideline. Again, as soon as we’re coming off the sideline we’re talking about what we saw. Just from whether it be from Kyle’s perspective what he’s seeing as opposed to what I’m seeing or anyone else on the field. That time is definitely valuable. We’re not just sitting there drinking water. There is a lot of stuff going on now.
Q. Dayne, talk about Coach Molnar yesterday said he felt like you could have watched the Purdue tape every day this week and taken away something new every time you watched it. What were some of the things you did take away when you watched it in that quarterback meeting that were things that you just couldn’t pick up live in the heat of the moment?
Dayne Crist: Are you talking about the game?
Q. Yeah, the tape of the game. When you watched the tape of the game what did you take away that you didn’t feel on Saturday?
Dayne Crist: You know, that’s a good question. Really just, you know, kind of seeing how different situations in the game played out. Obviously, you’re going back and looking at generic corrections and things we would have corrected whether it be in a game or practice. But then just applying that to certain situations of the game.
Knowing instead of applying play A versus defense, and this is what you should have done. Well, okay, we’ve got third and long, so maybe you’re going to your second or third progression because we need more yardage, things like that. I think that will come with time.
But overall we were just happy of the way we took care of the ball and were able to just play a sound football game and execute in a pretty good fashion.
Q. Another thing Coach Molnar said he said he felt like your game on Saturday was not as aggressive as a quarterback typically would be in their system. Did you feel like you just wanted to get rhythm early on? Was that just what the defense was giving you?
Dayne Crist: Probably a combination of both of those things. Definitely wanted to make sure — we talked about it all week and since the coaching staff was in here taking care of the ball. I think the aggressiveness will come. I’m not worried about that. But for me it was about protecting the football and just making sure we were moving the chain.
Q. This goes back to Coach Kelly mentioning Theo and Tyler and wanting to get them in the game more. Do you feel you have a lot of untapped, unused weapons at this point that people haven’t seen what this offense could be?
Dayne Crist: I definitely think so. Whether it be just because of the first game or whatever it was. I think the aggressiveness will come. I think that we do a good job of spreading the ball off to different guys.
But there is definitely things that we’ve seen in practice and just potential in guys that we’ve seen in the spring, summer and fall that have, I guess, been untapped. We look forward to those guys stepping up and making big plays pretty soon.
Kyle Rudolph: Going along with that, it’s something that we see every day in practice. Six or seven guys making plays and, you know, when their opportunity is called on Saturday, it will be your opportunity to see as well.
Q. Dayne, what did T.J. do on Saturday to make such an impact in his first college game?
Dayne Crist: The way he prepared. You don’t just do things in a game and surprise people. That’s what he’s been doing in practice since he’s been here. T.J.’s one of those guys that you forget that he came here early because of how mature he handles himself. His preparation is just very mature. But it’s the way that he practices all week. His work ethic.
Q. Coach Kelly had said that he’s very hands on when it comes to his quarterbacks. How is your relationship with him and the rest of the coaching staff developed since you first met them back in December?
Dayne Crist: It’s like any relationship, it grows and matures with time. I think this relationship is no different. We’ve definitely gone through phases of just getting to know each other both on and off the field, then as we know more and more about each other, we understand what makes each other tick. Just certain ins and outs of everything. As a result, the relationship continues to grow and will do so as the season continues and as long as I’m here.
Q. One more on being aggressive. Was there one point in particular looking back in the game where you thought you could have taken more of a chance?
Dayne Crist: There were a couple of plays where I thought I could have taken a little bit more of a chance. But those come and go. Both plays that I’m thinking of we completed the ball, so it’s kind of a catch 22 on that one.
But those things will come. Again, I’m not worried about it. I’m not going to play scared or anything like that. I’ll do whatever is asked of me and that’s how I’ve been since I’ve been here, and I don’t see that changing any time soon.
Q. Do you feel that this offense maybe is better suited to your skills than even what Charlie was running when you first got here?
Dayne Crist: It’s completely, completely different. I think that there were plenty of systems like this that I looked at out of high school and things of that nature. But they’re just so different. I see the benefits in both of them. But it’s just night and day between the two. I’m just doing what’s asked of me.
Q. I was talking to another one of your teammates yesterday and they said the thing that you’ve improved on the most is the touch on your ball from when you first got there. Do you feel like that as well? Is that something that you’ve really focused on?
Dayne Crist: I think that’s something that just kind of occurs naturally with repetition with your receivers. Understanding different speeds of guys and how they run routes and things like that. That’s really just timing and repetition more than anything.
But, again, it’s a pretty big part of the game, and something that I’ll continue to work on and just doing everything in my power to be as accurate as possible.
Q. Kyle, you talked about Coach Kelly’s five-minute plan, and obviously that’s been a big topic with him coming in. How important is this Michigan game in that five-minute plan and where you want to go this year?
Kyle Rudolph: I definitely think it’s important, but at the same time it’s just as important as last week was, and it’s just as important as next week will be. This is just another step in the direction that we want to get going.
Obviously, if you look back on the last couple seasons we’ve been here, we’ve come out fast in our first game, and even the second game. We’ve always had kind of a bump in if the road early in the year, and this will be a great opportunity for us to get things rolling and build momentum into the season.
Q. If Dayne could answer as well.
Dayne Crist: I think there is a definite sense of urgency around this place that everyone kind of identifies with. And like Kyle was saying, we don’t have time to sit around and wait and see where this thing can go in a couple months or couple years. Everyone on this team wants to win right now. The coaches want to win right now. It really comes down to the way we prepare each week, and that is something that is at the top of our list of priorities in everything that we do.
An interview with:
We have Kapron Lewis Moore and Darrin Walls here at the front table. We’ll start with questions from the media.
Q. Darrin, can you just talk a little about what it meant to you to be a game day captain last week and that experience?
Darrin Walls: It meant a lot for me, the coaching staff obviously decided that. They saw something in me during the week and throughout camp to promote me and I represent the team, it meant a lot and showed that they had a lot of confidence and trust in me. So I really took that as seeing that the coaches trust me a lot.
Q. Did you feel like you saw something in yourself or was it a surprise when you found out about it?
Darrin Walls: I mean, this whole camp and week preparation last week I just was focused, and focused on getting the tasks done and doing what I had to do. I think the coaches saw that. So I think their mentality and their confidence drove me to be that kind of player.
Q. Coach Kelly described you as purposeful earlier in the week. I was curious if something clicked during camp where you just figured out how to go about your business in a different way on a day to day practice basis. Was that a learning experience on how to practice and how to be purposeful?
Darrin Walls: I think just, one, wanting to get better, and wanting to lead the team in a right direction was really more my focus and trying to establish something in the secondary that we haven’t had in a while. And I think leadership is one of the big roles I’ve taken on as a part of this team.
Just coming to practice every day is part of it. You have to come to practice with a mindset that you’re going to have to do everything right and show everyone the way to go.
Q. Have you always done that? Have there been times in your career that you’ve just come to practice?
Darrin Walls: I feel I’ve always come to practice ready to practice. But I think this year has been a different year knowing that I’m the oldest guy back there. I’m the most experienced guy.
I mean, the younger guys are going to take the lead. When they do, the whole group plays well, and that is just the route I tried to go.
Q. Kapron, I wanted to ask you about the rotation on the defensive line. It’s something a little different than we’ve seen in the past. How does that help you through the game, and at the end of the game did you feel that much pressure, that much more ready to go last week?
Kapron Lewis-Moore: At the end of the game, I feel like we did feel a lot of pressure. Not that we didn’t play hard, but we kept the rotation going, kept guys fresh, and had a solid rotation, and I think that helps us be productive in the game.
Q. I think I was talking to Ethan yesterday, and he mentioned lasted year at Michigan, just the overwhelming amount of plays and just being worn down at the end of the game. Can you think back to that game a little bit, what that experience was like and just kind of that wearing factor as you’re out there play after play after play?
Kapron Lewis-Moore: It is wearing after you go about 70 plays or something like that. You know, when you’re out there on the field a little bit, you get run down in the rotation and everything. But as we said earlier, the rotation with the Purdue game, I think that helps us be productive.
Q. Coach Kelly yesterday talked about the option aspects of Michigan’s attack, and how blitzing, per se, doesn’t work real well against that a lot of times. Last year when you blitzed a lot against Michigan, did you feel that wasn’t successful during the course of the game? Also, what about this year’s game plan and controlling their option?
Darrin Walls: I mean, last year, for me I wasn’t defending option much. I was just playing my role in defending receivers. They were a lot more of a passing team last year. I just did what I had to do in the secondary as far as covering receivers. But their option is key to their success, and we’re going to do the best we can to defend it.
Kapron Lewis-Moore: For me I didn’t really play that much against Michigan last year. But I feel like this year the option and everything, you’ve got to play fundamental football. You’ve got to have somebody on the dive, somebody on the pitch, somebody on the quarterback every time. So I feel like if we execute our technique correctly, I feel like we can be successful.
Q. You talked about the concepts of this defense. How different for a secondary, for a corner, are the concepts of this defense compared to what you had to learn in the past?
Darrin Walls: As far as defending the option or just in general?
Q. Just in general.
Darrin Walls: Running the concepts are the same, cover two, cover three, and quarters coverage are the same pretty much for the most part. We focus more on the details, and we have to play our assignments right and learn concepts. Because, if not, it’s a touchdown in the back end, if you mess up or make a mistake, one play could be the touchdown that cost you the game. So I think we’re much more focused on our concepts this year than we have ever been.
Q. How was it executing at full speed finally? The defense against an offense in a game type speed situation?
Darrin Walls: It felt pretty well. As you can see we were flying around out there, just being able to react and play ball felt pretty good.
Q. For both of you players. Do the fans
make more of the Michigan Notre Dame rivalry than the actual players do? Is it more intense on the outside than it is on the inside? Is it just another game to you guys especially getting used to a whole new regime? With Michigan, they’re fighting through a lot of their own adversity internally just to get things straightened out. How is it with these guys?
Kapron Lewis-Moore: Obviously, the Notre Dame Michigan game is a big rivalry. But you can’t get too wrapped around on the outside. You really got to focus on what you have to do and what the defense has to do to get better. Even though it is a big game, you can’t forget that, but at the same time you have to keep your focus.
Darrin Walls: To go along with that, we understand the rivalry and how big it is, but we’re focused on another game and just beating Michigan. It’s not about the rivalry; it’s about us and winning, so I think that’s where our minds are.
Q. How do you and your D line teammates feel about the way the Purdue game went? I think that’s probably the most success we’ve seen out of you guys ever since you’ve been here with that unit.
Kapron Lewis-Moore: I feel we did pretty good. At the same time there are some things we need to get better and technique things we need to work on. But I felt like we did have a pretty productive day Saturday, but there is always room to get better.
Q. Is it something where over the last few weeks you guys kind of felt that’s what you could do, but you just needed to see it on a Saturday?
Kapron Lewis-Moore: Yeah, you’re right about that. I felt like we’ve gotten a lot better over practice and everything, and it was a really exciting, really fun to see out there what we could do.
Q. On the defensive side of the ball was there any attitude that you guys brought into saying we’re sick of being talked poorly about, we’re sick of being scored upon, we’re going to be a different unit this year?
Darrin Walls: Well, yeah, we knew we weren’t as good as we could have been in the past. I think everyone just put their thoughts and focused on the things that caused losing, and focused on the things that started creating winning again.
I think the guys bought into Coach Kelly’s, and Coach Longo’s attitudes. I mean, that changed the whole team around.
Kapron Lewis-Moore: Going off what Darrin said, you know, about winning, you’ve got to stop losing. So the new coaching staff came in helped us stop losing in the weight room and everything, and getting better and everything. But it was a great feeling though.
Q. Coach Kelly yesterday was talking about the hill they have out back here. What were your first thoughts when you both saw that?
Kapron Lewis-Moore: Wow.
Darrin Walls: Yeah, I wasn’t too sure about it until I did a couple. It’s kind of tough. But after going through it a couple of times you kind of get used to it. But it helps us a lot with speed and endurance, so it was good.
Kapron Lewis-Moore: Going along with what Darrin said, you first see it and you think I’ve never seen a hill around here before. But it was good. It was good. We got a lot of work on it. We have some competition, some races up the hill. So we got some work in and we also had some fun with it too.
Q. Any interesting or memorable experiences from things that you guys can share?
Q. With the bench press, you notice how much you gain and stuff like that. Can you tell tangibly how this has helped you improve? Kapron Lewis-Moore: I definitely for
sure can. Me being a freshman, my freshman year, I wasn’t too strong in the weight room. But in two years, I personally saw some gains with me and my bench pressing and everything. So I know it’s helped me out a lot. I’ve got the same feedback from all my teammates that they’re getting stronger and everything.
Darrin Walls: Starting in the winter my starting number bench presses and the ending number was remarkable. A lot of the coaches seen it, and recognized the fact that a lot of the guys have been working hard, and it shows on the field how physical the guys are playing. I mean, we all just thank Coach Longo and his staff for that.
Q. You talked about the option a little this week. Can you talk about Robinson, how good he is and how dangerous he is?
Darrin Walls: Yeah, he’s just like another running back with the ball. He’s quick, he’s explosive. I mean, if you give him a crease, he’s going to take it. He’s pretty quick. I mean, he’s fast. We’ve got a tough job containing him.
Kapron Lewis-Moore: Same thing, Denard Robinson is a very good player. But at the same time we’ve got to execute our game plan and stop him. So we’ve got to keep him contained, we’ve got to keep him in the pocket and everything. So I feel like if we do that, we can be successful.
Q. When you look at your coaches and your coaches resumes and you see what Chuck Martin did last year, did it help you guys buy into everything they were saying when you see 12 0, National Championship game? These guys just aren’t used to losing?
Darrin Walls: Right. You could tell Coach Martin was a head coach with us back in the secondary. Kapron doesn’t get to see him much, but he’s intense in everything he does. I really didn’t know too much about Coach Martin until he got here. But being under his program I’ve learned a lot from him, and I can see and understand why they were successful all the places they’ve been.
Kapron Lewis-Moore: Looking at the record in Cincinnati, being 12 0, something’s going on right over there in that program. When they entered over here, it was a pretty tough transition at first. But technique wise, having the whole winter, and then spring ball, going over the techniques, you know, the movements ask everything, I felt like it worked out a lot for us.
Q. When you guys substitute, is it situational based on distance? Is it a number of plays where you know you’re coming out or is there not a real pattern yet?
Kapron Lewis-Moore: There’s really not a pattern. Coach just tells us when to go in and come out and everything.
Q. Darrin, considering what your expectations were when you came into the program, can you talk about how satisfied you were coming into this year with your Notre Dame career?
Darrin Walls: I would probably call it average at best. No one comes to a program to have a 15 21 record through your career. I just expect more from myself, my coaches expect more, and my family expects more. I was never satisfied with what I’ve done, and I’m always pushing to be the best player I can. I know I can be better. I was never satisfied with what I’ve done, and I’m always working to be that player I know I can be.
Q. And when you would go home throughout your career would you hear about it from friends or people that maybe things weren’t working out like you thought or anything like that?
Darrin Walls: Oh, yeah. You always hear it from the people outside looking in. I mean, most people don’t really know the game like they think they do. They analyze and criticize you for things that they don’t know what’s going on. I mean, a lot of it is deserved as well. Obviously, I was a player highly regarded coming in, and I don’t think I’ve played up to that expectation as I thought I would, but I think I’m on the right track to do so.
Q. As an athlete, how do you deal with that when so much is expected and it doesn’t quite work out?
Darrin Walls: I just go out and play. I
don’t worry about expectations much. I know what I’m capable of doing, so I don’t really put what everyone else says on my back or on my shoulders. I just play the techniques and the calls that are given to me and hope to execute it as well as I can.
Q. Can you talk a little about or explain the best way to explain the determination you have coming into this year or to really finish strong and take advantage of the opportunity that you have here?
Darrin Walls: Like I said before, I was never satisfied or happy with what I’ve done or what I’ve done so far. I know I can be a better player. I’ve shown it, and coaches have said as well I can be as good as I want to be. Just knowing that, I work extra hard to be the player that I want to be some day.
Q. You grew up in the Pittsburgh area. How much did you maybe watch Rich Rodriguez’s offense when you were growing up? And with Denard, does this look the most like what you remember from when you were growing up?
Darrin Walls: Yeah, West Virginia had recruited me when I was in high school. But my best friend in high school, Wes Lyons had went to West Virginia. And I watched him ever since I was a freshman here. And Denard Robinson is looking just like Pat White when he was there. When Pat White was there, they had a successful offense, and I see Michigan going down the same path.
So I’ve watched them some, but it’s looking the same as when he was at West Virginia.
Q. Kapron, with Dayne Crist, have you seen him really grow as a leader in the past six months? Or is he just kind of the same guy he was, you know, a year ago, year and a half ago?
Kapron Lewis-Moore: That’s about Dayne?
Kapron Lewis-Moore: Oh, Dayne has grown into a tremendous leader. He’s stepped up to the plate and he has some shoes to fill. He’s responded really well, and the team’s responded really well to him.
Q. How so?
Kapron Lewis-Moore: You know, he’s a little more outspoken now. He’s getting us riled up and everything. Like I said earlier, everybody’s responded well to that.
Q. The corners really played well against Purdue, and Gary Gray, nine tackles, seemed to be all over the field. What did you see from Gary during camp that suggested he was going to be ready to go like that?
Darrin Walls: We’ve seen spurts of Gary throughout camp like that. Gary has been a tremendous player, learning the concepts and playing our defense well. He’s come away he’s come into the player that everyone expects him to be. He’s a physical player and I think he showed that on Saturday.
Q. Being seniors, how much does that drive you more this year?
Darrin Walls: I think it has a lot to do with it. We understand we don’t have much time here and we want to make a mark on our trip through this program. Just being seniors, we have to step up and take the bull by the horns and lead the group the right way, so I think that helps a lot.
Q. A topic on the pep rally last week. Did you guys know that (Michael) Floyd was going to do a stage dive after he was anointed the captain? What was your reaction to the All American wide receiver thrusting himself into the crowd like that?
Kapron Lewis-Moore: I don’t know if I actually knew that, but I had a feeling because he was kind of leaning towards the crowd. I didn’t expect him to do it, but he just went right in. The crowd responded well to it. It was pretty funny, and he had a lot of fun while doing it though.