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Meet the Press: Notre Dame Game

Courtesy: Hurricanesports.com
          Release: 10/01/2012
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. - Head coach Al Golden and selected student-athletes met with the media on Tuesday at the weekly press conference inside the Hecht Athletic Center.

Opening Statement...

"Thanks for covering us. Thanks for coming out. I'm excited about the opportunity to play Notre Dame in Chicago. Obviously a national game, national exposure and something I know our fans and alumni supporters have been excited about for quite some time. Playing another Top 10 team in our fourth road game in six games. Going to be quite a challenge after a bye week for the Irish. Something we're cognizant of this week just making sure we stay focused."

On the Notre Dame offense...

"Clearly a team that provides you different challenge. Six different receivers, three tight ends, three running backs. Their tight end is as good as anyone in the country, if not the best. Offensive line is rugged. They're smart, they're really athletic, and we're ready for either [Everett] Golson or [Tommy] Rees at quarterback. We'll see a lot of 11 and 12 personnel. About 26 or 27 points a game, they start fast, they're a disciplined team, and they're plus-5 in turnover ratio and about 45 yards in penalties."

On the Notre Dame defense...

"Really impressive defensive group. I can't tell you how impressed I am with them. Really strong and rugged up front, 3-4 alignment, [Louis] Nix at the nose is a load to handle. Linebackers are all big. [Manti] Te'o in the middle is as good as advertised, holds it all together, and does a great job running the operation for them. Play a lot of cover 2. Make it hard for you to run the ball. Up front as good as anybody I've seen in the red zone in a long time. Really good. I don't think anyone has run for a touchdown on them all year long. They're doing a great job with a couple coverage looks down there to make it hard for you. Eight interceptions, I think they're 40 percent on third down and have 14 sacks already. Excellent team, couple that with what they're doing in the kicking game...they're worthy of a Top 10 ranking."

On focusing on this week's game...

"It's getting our kids to bunker down and block out external and really stay with the process. We didn't do a great job with that when we went to Manhattan [Kansas]. We kind of unraveled and weren't ready for that stage. Three weeks later, we'll see if we've grown up. There really are no freshmen anymore. This is our fourth road trip. We want to see who can respond to this challenge."

Looking back at Kansas State...

"I think we've erased some of that by going to Georgia Tech by preparing and going to (there) and playing the way we did and staying together. Our focus was good going into Tech. We handled the road a lot better. I expect us to handle this road trip really well and get the leadership that we need. I don't expect freshmen to lose sight of what the focus is like we have in the past."

On Notre Dame having the week off last week...

"I'm sure (head coach Brian Kelly) got guys healed up and worked on all three areas...They've played good opponents and played really well. No one's scoring on them; no one's running on them. From our standpoint, I'm worried about the time they've had to heal and how fresh they are. It's about a 90-minute trip for them and it's a little different for us. We'll make sure that's factored into our schedules and everything. We really have to help with the student athletes with getting their rest, taking care of their academics and getting focused on the Irish."

On Notre Dame's two QBs, Everett Golson and Tommy Rees...

"I think - probably from Coach Kelly's eye and how they call the game - he sees a difference in the two. From our standpoint, we don't see a ton of difference when [Everett] Golson's in there as opposed to when [Tommy] Rees is in there. We see a lot of the same throws and a lot of the same reads and things of that nature. From our standpoint, as far as how they're formationing things and what they're calling, we don't see a whole lot of difference between those two."

On 'MEs vs. Patience'...

"There is no frustration. I keep talking to the staff about as coaches you could probably get the sense that we look for perfection. We believe in execution and all that. We could easily get engulfed by that if we let it. I know where we are right now, and there's going to be a day when we all play our best on the same day. As I said to the team, why not today? Why not this week? I don't know when it's going to be, but we haven't done it yet and we've won. I want to make sure we don't lose our aggressiveness. We're competing right now. You can't turn on the film and say we're walking around on defense. We're not playing as smart as we need to, we're not executing like we need to, and we need some guys to step up.

"I don't feel safe about any game. I don't feel safe right now at all. I think we're going to teach them to compete until there are zeros on the clock. That's the philosophy we have right now, and that's what guys are doing."

On recent struggles in the second and third quarters...

"I don't know. I wish I had the answer to that. For me, we're constantly striving for consistency, but we're inconsistent. We have inconsistent play, inconsistent mental errors. We're inconsistent with our technique at times and sometimes that just comes with experience. We are consistent in our effort, in our preparation, in our approach right now. We're not going to get frustrated by it."

On the team's levelheadedness...

"Maybe it's from the older guys. They seem to be going to work right now. I hope I'm the same guy, I hope I'm consistent in our approach. I want to see us get better. The one thing I said after Bethune-Cookman: 'I'm not going to apologize for winning and improving. I know from the outside, it hasn't all been perfect.' But we've improved each of the past three weeks, and we've improved enough to win games against teams who are considerably more veteran than ourselves. We've been able to do that despite mistakes, despite of what we aren't, and I'm going to continue to...I don't want to live like this forever. We want to continue to improve, eliminate mistakes, improve and get better in all those categories."

On the history of the UM-Notre Dame rivalry...

"It's relevant because the feelings are real. In that sense it's relevant. If it's important to our former players, and people that have been a part of the program, it's important to us. But in terms of getting into all that this week, I don't know how that's going to help our team grow and accomplish the things we need to accomplish. We're on the clock right now. We have three more preparation days to play better than we did last as Saturday. Last Saturday is not going to be good enough to beat Notre Dame in Chicago. I'm just trying to teach them how to get better and stay focused. I think everybody that's in the program, former players, we know what it means to them. I think it's important that our team plays focused right now."

On preparing team for colder weather...

"I think we'll be alright. I hope we're not to the point where we got to huddle around a heater. I hope we're just tough enough to go out and play. I don't mean that facetiously, I mean that. We're there for three-and-a-half, four hours against a Top 10 teams. If we have a team that's thinking about heaters at that time or looking to get sweatshirts or stuff, that's on me.

"I've been saying it, and I'm proud of it. It's hard to get a team that's in great condition. I'll be the first to tell you, I was joking around after the game, but I locked up Saturday night and I didn't play. That was as hot as hot can be at Saturday at 12 noon. I think we're in really great condition to play the way we played and for guys to hustle the way they did. I think we're in really good condition. I think we're mentally tougher. Are we ready for this challenge? We'll find out. We've climbed a couple rungs [up the ladder] since then. I like our team unity. I don't think we can do the things we're doing without the three areas. That's what we're relying on. Hopefully at some point we'll couple that with being a proficient team that can execute in all the situations a football game offers you."

On balancing fast scoring vs. sustaining drives...

"I'd like to see it as the defense grows; our time of possession gets a little where we want it. Clearly I think we're at a point where scoring trumps time of possession because we want to score while the defense is growing.


"Randy (Duke) Johnson didn't really have a huge impact on that game last Saturday (against NC State) and neither did the tight ends. We'd like to see those guys join the party. I hope they'll answer the bell and we can get 6 or 7 catches, and (Duke) gets a little more involved this week. We haven't had it all on the same day for sure. The offensive line is doing a good job of picking up whatever the fronts are."

On the ability to make big plays...

"I think explosive plays anyone would tell you is the No. 1 factor in terms of scoring, for sure. Whether a drive ends up in a score or not. We need explosive plays against this Irish team because they're very patient on defense; they're hard to run by because they play so much Cover 2, I think they're really well-schooled. The front can usually get there before you can get past their secondary. So it's going to be quite a challenge for us."

On having a young team...

"Just that they've been competing and that they're staying together. It's been a tough challenge. This is our fourth road game in six, and to do that with a veteran team is hard, and we're doing it with a young team. I'm real proud of the way they're approaching things, and clearly you have to make some sacrifices to stay on the field...I have no idea what team is going to show up tomorrow."

On Denzel Perryman's return...

"Denzel means a lot. He made a lot of progress today. I hope he'll be even better tomorrow and getting better as the week evolves. Not only does that give us Jimmy [Gaines] inside, but it gives us the opportunity to move Gionni [Paul] over to Will with Tyrone [Cornileus] and [Nantambu] Fentress. Slowly but steadily, [Raphael] Kirby is making his way back into it. You don't have much room to work with."
Schedule
 
Saturday, October 04
Football at Georgia Tech
Atlanta, Ga.
7:30 PM
Saturday, October 11
Football vs. Cincinnati
Miami Gardens, Fla.
12:00 PM
RSN
Live Audio
Thursday, October 23
Football at Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Va.
8:00 PM
ESPN
Live Audio
Saturday, November 01
Football vs. North Carolina
Miami Gardens, Fla.
TBA
Live Audio
Saturday, November 15
Football vs. Florida State
Miami Gardens, Fla.
TBA
Live Audio
Saturday, November 22
Football at Virginia
Charlottesville, Va.
TBA
Live Audio
Saturday, November 29
Football vs. Pittsburgh
Miami Gardens, Fla.
TBA
Live Audio
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