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November 18, 2015

Joe Schmidt

South Bend, Indiana

Q. I was wondering what physically ten weeks into the season, if you took an inventory of your body and how you feel. Where are you?
JOE SCHMIDT: I feel great. Everybody's got their bump and bruises, but I don't have what I had last year. I'm not going to say it, but I am counting my blessings, so I can't complain too much about it, and, you know, I'm still relatively young, and I like playing this game, so it's fun.

Q. That helps, definitely. I wonder, like, you pick up some type of injury in week 3 or week 4, is there any way it can go away before the season ends?
JOE SCHMIDT: It kinda depends on the injury. If you have -- obviously, you're going to get stingers and such that last a few weeks, and they will go away. Sometimes you break a hand; then that's an eight-week process. So I guess, like, relative to your question, it depends on what you hurt and when you hurt it, but there are certain things, yeah, that will kinda just be with you throughout the year.

Q. Like over the course of a week, how much treatment do you go through? Let's say you don't have a broken thumb or what have you, how much treatment do you actually go through?
JOE SCHMIDT: I don't know. Per day, probably a few hours, like, two or three.

Q. Each day? Then what about as the season progresses, how much time do you get in the weight room? I'm sure there is no comparison as to how you workout leading up to the season at any point outside of the season?
JOE SCHMIDT: Yeah, I mean, you cut back a little bit from off-season training, but we're still in there. I lifted today. You have to lift, and I think that that's -- you know, our training staff does a great job of trying to get us stronger throughout the year in order to peak when we want to peak. They do a good job of writing programs for that, and we get into the weight room a little bit less than the off-season, but we still get in there.

Q. We in the media tend to ask you about the different venues that you go to. Do you get -- probably for you going to Fenway Park, that's probably a little bit different, but do you have any time to give any care and concern about the venue you're playing?
JOE SCHMIDT: I think you always have to look at where you're playing. You have to know the terrain, you've got the Art of War, right? You gotta know the terrain? I think in order -- I think for us it's still going to be a football field, wherever we go, the dimensions are more or less the same.

This weekend will be a little different in that we are on the same sideline, understanding how that plays out, that will play a part of the game, but I think you can't get too caught up in the atmosphere. That's when you might lose sight of what's really important, that's playing a football game.

Q. This might be one of the places where you are curious to wander around in the facility before, when you first get there?
JOE SCHMIDT: Yeah, we get an opportunity to feel out wherever we go on Friday. Coach general brings us by Friday evening, lets us walk around and see it, so that when you do get there on Saturday, it's not like a "whoa" moment. So it will be cool to go and walk around and check it out.

Q. Thanks, Joe.
JOE SCHMIDT: Good questions today, by the way, not that they aren't always.

Q. We're peaking in November!
JOE SCHMIDT: I was goes to say, gotta keep going up.

Q. You being a Red Sox fan, you get to go around Fenway, are you going to try to go into the Green Monster?
JOE SCHMIDT: I'm going to try to do what's allowed to do. I don't want to get in trouble, but if there is an opportunity to go into the Green Monster, I think I would gladly accept that opportunity. I'm not going to try to pull a Manny Ramirez and leave the game to go to the Green Monster, but it's going to be kinda cool to walk around.

Q. Defensively for you guys against Wake Forest the ability to clamp down in third down situations on fourth down in the red zone, where does that kinda start for you guys as a defense, when you are able to do that so consistently in a game?
JOE SCHMIDT: You have to start with mind-set, I think. I think our coaching staff does a good job of coaching third down and game planning third down and fourth down and understanding what an offense wants to do with the football in those situations.

I mean, really, I think our coaching staff did a great job against Wake Forest because that really ended up being the difference, from it being a few score game and being a really tight game there at the end.

So I think first it starts with the mind-set, game plan and then just executing in those situations is critical. We can't have one guy mess up.

Q. Do you feel like that was the best game you've played this year?
JOE SCHMIDT: Personally? Do you?

Q. That was what, double digit tackles, couple quarterback pressures.
JOE SCHMIDT: I don't know. I would say probably no, but, I mean it was -- you see, the thing is, it's hard to -- for you, you might look at, like, the amount of tackles I have in a game and grade my performance based on that. But when I'm looking at the film, I don't look at how many tackles I had to base it on whether I had a good game or not, because sometimes there are games where you might not have an opportunity to play a whole -- make a whole lot of tackles, but you play a really good football game. I guess that's what I'll have to say, sometimes the statistics of tackles and TFLs don't always exactly mean that you had a great game.

You might have had a 13-tackle game, but you might have missed three things, and they might have scored three touchdowns off that, and that's not a very good game.

Q. When you graded yourself out, how do you feel like you did overall then?
JOE SCHMIDT: Against Wake?

Q. Yeah.
JOE SCHMIDT: I did very well, played a clean game.

Q. As a captain, how much have you appreciated watching DeShone come along from the start of the season to now?
JOE SCHMIDT: Well, DeShone has kinda always had -- I think I've said this before, he's always been cool and collected at the line. He's always been able to get in and out of pressures -- sorry plays, not pressures; that's any job!

He's done a really good job, too, of making all the throws across the field, and it's been great seeing him evolve into that kind of quarterback where he seems to -- he seems to always be making the right decisions, so it's been really fun for me, too, because DeShone is a good buddy of mine, and how he's evolved has been fun to watch from afar.

Q. As the season has progressed, what's been the one area where -- obviously you knew he had that skill set to play with that confidence, but what's been maybe the -- was there a game or a moment when you said, wow, I didn't expect to see that from him?
JOE SCHMIDT: I wouldn't say -- I wouldn't ever say that I didn't expect to see something from him. You know, I think that there have been "wow" moments. You have to start with when he came in. He first came in against Virginia, and he throws that bomb to Will. I mean, it's like, yeah, we know he can do that, but it's still a "wow" moment. He still executed perfectly. So I think there have been moments like that all season, though, and he had, what, six touchdowns against Pittsburgh. He's been doing great. He's been doing great things.

Obviously we all know we need to get better, and DeShone knows he needs to get better, and it's been fun talking with him, because he's still hungry and he knows there are things he missed.

Q. Joe, do your defensive goals, game plan change when an offense is struggling versus maybe facing a potent offense, and just in BC's case, they have such a good defense that it's so difficult to score on them. Does that in any way change the defense's goals? If you're playing a great offense, you're thinking, well, we're not going to hold them to 10 points. But is there any change whatsoever when you are playing a team that really relies on defense rather than offense, I guess, is my point?
JOE SCHMIDT: Maybe in terms of like we understand that their defense is statistically extremely good. So we know whenever we play a game, we're going against their defense, right?

So I think in that regard we understand that they're very good, but our goals never change. Our goals for each game remain the same. I mean, those are -- those are just what, unitwise we decide are going to be our goals. I think a good goal is something that you don't change all the time. I think maybe mind-setwise, we know that we've got our work cut out for us, and really Boston College's offense -- they've got a great system in place, they really do, and they've got players that can run the system, and when they execute, they're dangerous.

Q. When they're working well, what do they do best offensively?
JOE SCHMIDT: I don't know if I'm qualified to stand here and tell you that statement. I wouldn't want to get into it, I don't think. I think that -- I know that they're very challenging, and their system overall is a very challenging system.

Q. More so for a middle linebacker?
JOE SCHMIDT: It's a linebacker game, right? They enjoy running the football, and I like people that run the football so it will be fun.

Q. Joe, Romeo is sort of like wharp speed in terms of his play on the field. Personality-wise, what's he like away from, you know?
JOE SCHMIDT: Romeo. He's a funny guy. He's quieter, until you get to know him, and then he's kinda like -- he's just -- he doesn't -- he's not like a super gregarious -- you know, like an always-out-there extroverted guy, but he's funny. How would I describe him? Kinda hard. I mean, he's someone that's really well liked by everyone in the locker room. He's respected for his work ethic and his leadership skills. Really, he's a vital, vital cog of that defensive line, so I think those are the things I would say about him.

Q. You're a fairly outgoing guy. How long did it take for you to get to know him?

Q. Yeah.
JOE SCHMIDT: Not that long. Kind of like the first year of him being here we kinda knew. And Romeo used to give me a hard time because he would take the jokes that Carlo and Prince would use and use them against me, so that was kinda fun, and I still give Romeo a hard time too, so we have a great time with it.

Q. Could you share some of those jokes?

Q. Lastly, just to get back to what JJ was asking you about grading yourself. I asked B.K. about that yesterday, and he said there were a couple of plays against Wake Forest where maybe you around the ball that maybe you weren't getting to a couple of weeks ago, and there were also a couple of alignments that were off that you would almost never do. Those are things that maybe we don't see. Could you expand on that a little bit?
JOE SCHMIDT: Wait, say that again.

Q. He said there were a couple plays where you were misaligned, and that's not something you almost ever do, but he also said that you got to some plays that maybe you hadn't earlier in the year that were positives, and I think those are things that maybe we in the media don't see. Any of that ring a bell? Any moments in that game where you could point to and be, like, that's something that would be a check plus for me or a check minus?
JOE SCHMIDT: There is one play in particular that I remember was something we -- I wasn't as clean on it as I would have liked to have been. We ended up getting out of the drive and they didn't score, so that made me feel a little better about it, but...

Q. Do you ever get on yourself after a game about plays or alignments that maybe you didn't make, that didn't lead to anything in the game?

Q. Do you get on yourself --
JOE SCHMIDT: Get on myself?

Q. Yeah, like nothing happened, it was just a three and out, and the other team didn't take advantage of it --
JOE SCHMIDT: No, no, no, I mean, I still like -- even if I miss -- so if I miss a tackle, and somebody immediately tackles them right after that, that will still bug me for -- like there was a play against, like, Georgia Tech that still really bugs me and Sheldon tackled him immediately thereafter, but like, so, yeah, I still get extremely -- I know exactly -- I've got a very -- I've got a pretty good memory, and I remember everything. In that regard.

Q. Do you guys look over your shoulder at all with the college football playoff rankings? You're kinda the bubble team, and you've got a couple of teams undefeated chasing you right now?
JOE SCHMIDT: No, we can't really think about that. We've got to think about Boston College and what's important to us, so we're trying not to focus on who is behind us, who is in front of us, we're being looking at our opponent that's next and that's really it. You run into trouble when you start thinking b oh, we gotta win by this amount or we can't -- we gotta hope this guy loses, it's like, whatever, whatever is going to happen is going to happen and we got no control over that.

Q. Sometimes you have to have a focus to stay hungry. The last couple of weeks you've been the favorite. It would be easy to get complacent. What makes you guys hungry with two games to go to think that you could be in that top four?
JOE SCHMIDT: There are two games to go and we approach each and every game the same way. We see the light at the end of the tunnel, and we've got too continue to strive to get better as we reach -- near the end here. Our coaching staff does a great job of kind of policing that and setting the tone. They've been here before just like the guys in the first few rows have been here before. I know at least the guys in the front two or three rows have been on an undefeated team, so we saw how we needed to approach those games and how close they were, so we're just trying to get better.

Q. Is that something that maybe we don't see, how hungry you are and the intensity? I mean, you come out here and you talk to us, you have a good time, but there's got to be a time when that switch flips.

Q. Is that in the meeting room? Once you hit the playing -- is there maybe a time before the game that it's time to change?
JOE SCHMIDT: Yeah and I think -- first, do I have a switch? I don't know if I'm exactly the same guy a, I guess, if that's what you're getting at.

Q. I'm thinking teamwise and --
JOE SCHMIDT: Yeah, yeah, we all understand there is a time and place for everything, and we are doing a good job of kind of navigating between the two, but once we're in that meeting room, it's all business, it's all work. Once we're on the practice field, it's all work. We go out for Saturdays, it's show time. So there you go, your name dropped! So really it's about performing when you need to perform and when you're away from that you can do whatever you need to do but you want to make sure you perform.

Q. Do you enjoy that work? I mean, sometimes coaches say the love practice more than the games. I know everybody loves the games, but do you enjoy the process?
JOE SCHMIDT: Yeah, no, you gotta enjoy the process. 99% of your time is the process so that's why you do this game, you spend time with your brothers on the team and the coaches and you just gotta enjoy it. We only got so many times left together as team 127, so we're trying to make the most of them.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much.

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