Nov. 10, 2010
November 10, 2010
An Interview With:
Q. Manti, do you know any of these guys on Utah? I know a lot of them are from your area?
Manti Te’o: Yeah, I know some of them. I’m real close with the (defensive coordinator) coach, Kalani (Sitake). He and I, we were very close throughout the recruiting process, so I know him very well. And of course Coach (Kyle) Whittingham.
Q. Not that you’re there every day, but just having talked to these guys in recruiting, can you describe the personality this program has and just knowing some of the guys in it?
Manti Te’o: I would say I’m not sure how they run it, but I know that it’s ran by great men and men with integrity, respectful men that’s easy to talk to, and they’re very down to earth. After I committed here, Coach Whittingham drove up to my house with his wife to congratulate my parents. That’s the kind of man he is.
Q. Mike, obviously senior day, you’ve said you haven’t thought about what you’re going to do next year yet as far as the NFL. But will you think about this could be your last game in Notre Dame Stadium?
Michael Floyd: Like I said last time, I never think about it. If that comes to a decision that I need to make, then that’s down the road. Right now I’m just trying to look for Saturday and get a big W under our shoulders.
Q. How important is it for you guys to try to send the rest of the seniors off with a win?
Michael Floyd: It’s huge. Since I came in here, we’ve lost every single senior game. So just to let these guys go out for their last home game with a victory it would mean a lot to them, and also the guys who are coming back for next year.
Manti Te’o: I think even though I wasn’t here, Michael’s freshman year, I was at the game. That was my official visit. I went on the sideline. And last year we lost against Connecticut. So definitely the guys on our team, it’s important that us underclassmen try and do our best to try and send them out with a win. They’ve sacrificed a lot for this program, and they deserve at least that.
Q. Manti, how important is it also for the future of the program to get the W to help keep those Bowl hopes alive to get those extra practices and everything?
Manti Te’o: I think that’s the most important part is to get closer to that Bowl eligibility stage. We have three games left, we have to win two more in order to be Bowl eligible so we can have those extra practices and get those reps and get a look at not only a Bowl but our future team. So that’s definitely important.
Q. Why is that so big? How much can that extra time help in the development of this program?
Manti Te’o: It just gets you a head start for next year, allows you to get guys who haven’t been playing this past year, get them some reps, get them a feel for the whole scheme and stuff and just to spend time with the coaches and just to keep practicing. Practice makes perfect, and the more practice we get, the better we get as a team.
Q. And did the bye week come at a much needed time obviously based on everything that you guys went through? Did it help to have a weekend off to kind of just get away from everything?
Manti Te’o: Yeah, I think you talk to everybody, we were it was a long first part of the season, those nine games. We needed that week to just recover, get healthy, get Mike healthy, get guys that were nicked up, get them healthy, and that was the most important part of that bye week.
Q. What about mentally? Was it big mentally because of the unfortunate circumstances you guys had to go through?
Manti Te’o: Yeah, I think that, too, and there comes a point in time where sometimes college football can get overwhelming, and you just need that time to just step back and just be a spectator for a week and watch some games and get that fire burning again. For me that’s what I used the bye week for.
Q. Mike, can you talk about being able to mentally regroup on the bye week?
Michael Floyd: It’s a huge thing for our team, just like Manti said, having all them games under our belt just to be able to relax and get people back for if they’re injured or nicked up. But, for myself, this couldn’t come at a better time. I got the right rest, and I’m ready to go.
Q. How are you feeling?
Michael Floyd: I’m feeling really good. Throughout practice I’m feeling good, and that’s just what I need.
Q. Manti, I’m not sure how much you got to watch Robby (Toma) against Tulsa when he got in there. What was it like kind of seeing your best friend from high school get out there and kind of get his first real shot to do something?
Manti Te’o: I think for me it was just like my little brother was out there playing. He finally got his shot. I think Mike (Floyd) can tell you, too, that Rob is going through some challenges. He had to face some adversity, and it was hard for him. He had to go through some growing and some maturing and just waiting his time, and he finally got that shot. I’m just so happy that he took advantage of it because there’s some times where the opportunity comes and you’re not ready. That opportunity came for him, and he was ready, and he kept it alive on that.
Q. Mike, what does he (Robby Toma) kind of bring to the passing game?
Michael Floyd: Just his ability to quickly get in and out of breaks. A lot of us are a little bit taller than him, but you can’t ever overlook the short guys. I love him out there, and I know for one thing he’s going to try his best and catch mostly every single ball that comes towards him. I really like that kind of guy out there, a guy that won’t quit.
Q. I remember talking to Golden (Tate) last year when you were out and he said that your absence made him a better receiver, he had to learn to handle more things. Since you’ve had Theo (Riddick) out, Kyle (Rudolph) out, TJ (Jones) has been banged up, in any way has that helped you as an individual develop as a receiver to have to play with different guys and all that?
Michael Floyd: Yeah, and also having to adjust to a new quarterback. I try to do whatever I can after practice, get extra routes in or just making sure that all of us are on the same page and playing with the guys who haven’t had a lot of experience. You’ve got to teach them, and you’ve got to tell them what’s going on and how to do it. But the young guys are picking it up great, TJ (Jones) and (Robby) Toma. For Toma you never know when it’s your time to shine, and he’s stepping up right now for us, so that’s pretty good.
Q. I guess there’s some specifics where you feel like that’s helped you and obviously leadership I would imagine would be one aspect, but in terms of dealing with different coverages, things of that nature, has that been something you’ve really had to take on lately?
Michael Floyd: I’ve just got to make sure that I know what I’m doing, and just like you said, reading coverages, making sure I’m at the right depth, just making sure with the new quarterback that he knows that you’re always going to be there, and that’s what I try to do.
Q. And that new quarterback is I guess your second new quarterback here, but what does Tommy (Rees) kind of bring to the table and how is he a little bit different than Dayne (Crist) and how do you work with him to make sure his confidence is up and you help him as much as you can?
Michael Floyd: Well, I think Tommy is a great quarterback. He flings the ball out there quickly and once you get out of your break you’ve got to be ready for it. A lot of quarterbacks at the college level might read only one side of the field, Tommy can take all the progression and read the whole defensive out, and if you’re not ready, that could be the time when the ball comes to you.
Q. I realize he’s not as big an athlete as Dayne and probably doesn’t have the arm strength of Dayne, but just on the short stuff it seems like his accuracy is maybe a little bit better. What is it about his game, and do you kind of feel like accuracy with short passes hitting you in the hands is kind of one of the big high points of what Tommy brings to the field?
Michael Floyd: Yes, most definitely accuracy is huge, and also just you’ve got to be expecting the ball at any time because he reads our defenses very well, and you never know where the ball is going. He’s going to find the open guy for you.
Q. Michael, I’m sure you’ve talked to Dayne Crist recently. We haven’t had a chance to talk to him. Can you tell us about how he’s doing after his injury and how he’s kind of held up having his year cut short?
Michael Floyd: He’s holding up pretty well. He’s a big time spirited guy and positive, so he knows what his role is on the team now, and that’s sitting in the meetings, getting rehab and helping Tommy, making sure he knows what he’s doing, and helping all the other quarterbacks, too.
Q. And also, regarding Tommy, you’ve talked a lot about the things that he’s done. How much of a comfort level do you have with him relative to like when he first came in like in the Michigan game? Even though he hasn’t played a whole lot, are you any more comfortable as an offense with him because he’s played even a little bit more now?
Michael Floyd: Well, at the beginning of the season when Dayne got a little banged up, he got in there and I was kind of shocked just to see another quarterback come in there. But after sitting down and looking at how he played the game versus Navy, I said, this guy is good. He’s a young guy. As long as he has guys that make him look good, also, he could be a very good quarterback.