Oct. 26, 2006
Irish head coach Charlie Weis and the Notre Dame team talk about their senior wide receiver and all-star candidate Jeff Samardzija.
Q. Can you talk about Samardzija’s ability once he gets the ball in his hands in the open field?
COACH WEIS: Well, every time Jeff gets the ball, he’s trying to score. I can point to a couple of other plays in the (UCLA) game he didn’t score on, but he caught a little five-yard option route over there on the left side one time, which a lot of people aren’t trying to score, and the next thing you know he’s breaking to the inside trying to take it to the house.
We run that little flag pattern from him in the slot going to our left early in the game for a 20-yard completion. But instead of run out of the bounds like a lot of other people would do, he’s planting and spinning to the outside trying to take it to the house. When Jeff gets the ball in his hands, he’s not content with getting a completion, he’s always trying to score. That’s what separates him from a lot of other receivers.
Q. Kind of lost in the excitement at the end of the (UCLA) game is the fact that Jeff’s touchdown is also a record-tying touchdown for career touchdown receptions, which basically is accomplished in a season and a half. Talk about how amazing that is.
COACH WEIS: He’s had a lot of production in a short amount of time, which, if you look at the history of Notre Dame, the fact that he’s gotten to that point is pretty amazing. He and Rhema (McKnight) are right there, pushing for moving ahead to the all-time receptions. It’s kind of amazing, but it’s a combination of the quarterback and those receivers and the whole composition, and I give them credit.
We’re really not that big on individual things, but we’re aware of them. I’m aware that Brady went over 10,000 yards. I think that’s a career accomplishment, though. It’s not just a game accomplishment or a season accomplishment. I think that in Jeff’s case, he’s been fast-tracked. He had a great year last year and he’s well on his way to have another outstanding year now.
Q. Any thoughts on why that happened basically overnight for him?
COACH WEIS: Well, we can go all the way back to last spring, when we first got here – not last spring, the spring before that. Here he was sitting at three, and Rhema got hurt and he took the most of the opportunities and it has gone well for him. It wasn’t like this kid didn’t have the ability to do it, he just had an opportunity to do it and he ran with it. Sometimes when you get that opportunity, it’s what you do with it when the opportunity presents itself. I would love to sit there and take credit for it, but you have to give him the credit.
Q. Talk a little about Jeff Samardzija, made two more touchdown receptions, talk about what a talent he is.
Brady Quinn: He seems to be always so productive, always the guy who has come up with the big play when we need it. It says a lot about Jeff. He’s a fearless guy when he’s out there. He’s got a lot of strength, a lot of ability, and he’s just got that no?how when it comes down to it. He knows how to get the job done.
Q. What about his knack for finding the end zone, you runs a lot of 10-yard games and 30-yard scores?
Brady Quinn: He’s sneaky in the sense that he’s elusive but you wouldn’t sense it, to watch him kind of move around and watch him carry the ball. But he finds ways to make the guys miss and maybe a lot of people underestimated his athletic ability.