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Opening remarks -
“I’m here to talk about Notre Dame, and the great opportunity we have to go up there and be part of this great tradition. Hopefully we’ll go up there and win, play well and improve upon last week’s performance, and get better. It will be a very difficult challenge. They’re very, very, very good. I guess they’re ranked either 10th or 11th depending on which poll. Their quarterback is outstanding. Their line does a terrific job. The receivers catch the football. The defense is extremely active, strong and physical up front. They’re a great tackling team. They don’t give you anything. We’re looking forward to getting on that plane, but between now and then, we’ve got a lot of work to do, and we’re looking forward to preparing for Notre Dame.”
On the players’ perception Notre Dame’s football tradition -
“They won’t know who (Knute Rockne and George Gip) are, but I’ve talked about the tradition and will continue to do so. They’re going to see and feel it once they get there. Also we’ll incorporate a trip to the Hall of Fame with the players. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for them to see something like this. We’ll do that, but the moment they get out on the field they’re going to feel some things relative to the traditions at Notre Dame. I know on game day it will be extremely different from some places we’ve been. We went to Oklahoma my first year here, and that was a great experience because of the traditions they have out there. This is just another one of those that is hard to duplicate. So this will be a great experience for them.
“I’ve been looking forward to it for a long time. It’s a special trip for us. It’s disappointing we don’t have the record we’d like to going into the game.”
Are you doing anything different with Bobby Rome?
“Not really. We had him ready last week as an emergency tailback.”
On Barrington Edwards situation -
“The decision regarding Barrington has not been made. He has some things still to do. The decision more than likely will be made later on today. In the event a decision is made to not take him to South Bend, Bobby Rome certainly will get some repetitions at tailback. Bobby’s got a great future. He’s done some good things. I’m really pleased with his attitude and some of the things he has athletically to help the team and himself. He’s a really good athlete. He’s a very, very fine athlete. When he has a chance to mature, he’s going to get better.”
On Notre Dame QB Brady Quinn -
“He looks like a No. 1 pick or a potential top five pick. When you see a guy throw a ball 50 yards between the distance vertically and the horizontal distance from the far hash to a deep comeback, and the receiver still has eight to 10 yards to cover… He lets that ball loose and it’s on the money… That’s pretty good.”
How has Charlie Weis helped him?
“It helps Charlie Weis that he was there when he got there. Let’s talk about the other players on this squad. There are some really good players on this team. Charlie Weis with his background, they’re doing a lot of things the NFL players do.”
Have you ever ran into Weis during your NFL days?
“Not one time.”
On the offense and what can be built on -
“We ran the ball well. Ronnie McGill played extremely physical. He broke some tackles. Wake Forest is a good tackling team, but he broke some. Our offensive line for the most part stayed on track in the run game, and I was pleased with that. I was pleased with the way we distributed the ball at times. I was pleased with the protection most of the time. We had some blunders that hurt us offensively.
“Defensively, we had some things that have hurt us all year – trick plays, reverses. I thought we did a very effective job for the most part slowing down their run game. About 75 of those yards were on reverse plays. That’s a bit unusual, but with the misdirection runs we fit plays pretty well. Some of our defensive front people played very well, and they’ll certainly be challenged this week.
“With the exception of the blocked punt, we did some good things on special teams. Connor Barth did a terrific job on kickoffs – kicking the ball into the wind and getting a touchback, I didn’t expect that. He’s done a great job all year. He’s been very focused. I don’t want to jinx him. He’s been fun to work with. David [Wooldridge] is punting the ball well. He had some wind conditions to deal with, too.”
On possibly decreasing McGill’s workload -
“That means either throwing more or getting somebody else in there. That’s what we’ve got to do as a coaching staff to make those decisions. Ronnie is a powerful back, so you don’t ever want to have him out, but you have to manage.”
Did he get tired in the second half?
“Some has to do with the carries. I can’t remember every down and distance at this point. He’s a physical back. He gives a pounding, but he also takes on because of his style.”
On Notre Dame -
“They throw vertically extremely well. The tight end is going to be a high round pick I predict. They’ll stretch the defense and check it to the running back and make plays. They distribute the ball. They distribute it deep. You’ve got o be really scrambling. You’ve got to have great pursuit.”
Are you nervous?
“I’m not nervous at all. I’m not playing. I want these kids to play well down this stretch. That’s my only concern for them. They work hard. They practice well. At times, they’ve played well. They’ve got to play consistent. I want to see them play better than last week.”
On memories of playing at Notre Dame -
“All week long we had heard how great Notre Dame was. They are really good. They had a ton of talent and when you walked out on the field, I could just see how different they looked compared to us. We were a small team. It wasn’t Bill Dooley’s style to tour South Bend. This is a business trip, and that’s what it’s all about.”
How was Monday night football?
“Monday night football was good last evening. It was a beautiful night. The kids were excited about being out there.”
Same plan with quarterbacks this week?
“Yes, same plan.”
On decision to go with two tight ends last week -
“It was not mine. It was the offensive staff. When Richard went down it changed things. The tight end situation can get a lot better here next year with the guys that are redshirting.”
On addressing team about being careful at Halloween party tonight -
“Absolutely, I do it almost every day in some form. I always do it after a game. With tonight looming, I will. I want this program to be successful. I’ve talked with the team repeatedly about this.”
On handling coaching situation -
“My attitude and approach every day is relative to the opportunity I have with these players. Everyday until the end, that’s the way I’ll feel. The players have been very upbeat through all of this. I’m not going to change much.”
On coaches who have shown support -
“I’ve got a great wife who is a coach, OK? She’s my No. 1 confidant. There have been some coaches I’ve talked to. I’ve gotten a ton of calls from coaches around the country. There are a lot of friends in this situation that are very disappointed in this turn of events. We’re all disappointed with the season. I can always count on a call from Dick Vermeil.”