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November 18, 2015

Sheldon Day

South Bend, Indiana

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: Sheldon Day is here. We can start with questions.

Q. Sheldon, as Romeo's game has progressed pretty rapidly in the last month, I was wondering if you could just talk a little bit about his personality. What's he like way from the football field? How long did it take for you to get to know him when you guys were younger players?
SHELDON DAY: Me and Romeo bonded early. We came in together, so we're the youngest guys in our class. So just kind of bonded through that and our experiences. And just his passion for pretty much the things that don't involve football, whether that's the ukulele or just hanging out and watching movies.

And it's crazy how much we've grown over the years, especially starting off young. And he played linebacker, I played DM, and our relationship just progressed so far.

Q. Did you find his personality to be off-beat or different or unique in any way?
SHELDON DAY: I wouldn't say that. He's a pretty normal guy, you know. But, I don't know, he's very intense. I would definitely say that on the field -- he's definitely a different guy on the field than off.

Q. In terms of red zone defense last week, got some goal line stands, getting inside the 10 a little bit, what was different? Was what was better last week? How did you feel like as a defense you took that step forward?
SHELDON DAY: Coach VanGorder has been preaching when are we going to man up. And it's about that time that we start trying to. We're definitely just bringing a different mentality into the red zone and saying this is where we're drawing the line.

And we're definitely going to try to keep that going and make sure we play more physical in the red zone.

Q. Do you have any sense of why that happened last week, why that switch got flipped or why that mentality changed or what changed it?
SHELDON DAY: Sometimes when people try to man -- it's time to step up. And Coach VanGorder just kept picking at us and picking at us and picking at us. And it was time to step up.

Q. I was just asking guys how they feel physically at this stage of the season, 10 weeks into the season. Not asking for specific aches and pains, but just overall. What does a defensive lineman feel like 10 weeks into the season?
SHELDON DAY: Me personally, I feel pretty good. Man, I'm not saying I feel like week one, but I definitely feel good right now. I feel explosive.

Coach Longo has done a great job with us, maintaining us in the weight room. And then in practice, making sure we get quality reps. Not many reps, but quality reps throughout practice and things like that. But Coach Gilmore, he's definitely taking care of the guys up front.

Q. When you -- like say you tweak an ankle in the fifth week, how does it have time to heal? How can it get better during a season when you're playing every week?
SHELDON DAY: Treatment. Ratigan has a plan when something like that happens. We stick to the plan and we trust in the plan. So got to keep focusing on that plan and make sure you follow that plan.

Q. In terms of the weight room, how do you use that to not only stay strong but I guess help you heal a little bit?
SHELDON DAY: You've got to talk to the head man, Longo. I don't know the mad science behind it, but he does a pretty good job with it.

Q. How many times a week do you get in the weight room?
SHELDON DAY: At least two.

Q. What days are those typically?
SHELDON DAY: Depends on your schedule and how it relates to class and things like that.

Q. So it's not like following the schedule of when the game is and when you are going to work out prior to --
SHELDON DAY: Oh, no. It depends on class.

Q. How do you think Jonathan was able to step in on Saturday and perform in really what seemed to be his first major college action?
SHELDON DAY: Jonathan?

Q. Bonner.
SHELDON DAY: Oh. Oh, Bonner. He's been pressing all season and he's just been waiting for his opportunity. And he finally got one.

So he's definitely been putting the time in and watching film and doing things like that and was just waiting for his time to shine, and he did a really good job.

Q. He lined up for you guys, got hit pretty hard by injuries in 2013 and 2014. This year you guys lose Daniel for a week but still seem to keep up a good level of play. How does the improved defensive line depth that you have help you practice?
SHELDON DAY: Like Coach Gilmore says every day, we are one heartbeat. And we can interchange from any position, and we make sure we know each other's jobs. We stay on top of things like that.

Q. How do you get that continuity from the first team defensive line to the second team and be able to interchange them like that?
SHELDON DAY: Know your job and know everybody else's job and make sure you play up to the guy's position that you're behind. And just make sure that you fly around and pretty much do the job that he did.

Q. Does that help you -- kind of going off of Tim's question. Does that help you stay fresher as the season goes on into November here?
SHELDON DAY: I would definitely say that. Because you know you can come out of the game in any point in time, whether it's a critical situation or it's the first quarter.

Q. Sheldon, thanks for taking the time today. I had a question about your impression to how DeShone Kizer has evolved and settled into the role of starting quarterback, having been thrust into the situation, kind of an emergency situation at Virginia.
SHELDON DAY: He's done a great job. DeShone, he's a guy who knows how to adapt. And we have definitely learned that through his play and things like that. But getting to know him as a person as well, he's definitely a character where you love being around him and enjoying his presence. And just to see him on the field having success is pretty cool.

Q. How has his confidence changed from last spring to now?
SHELDON DAY: Oh, man. His confidence level has just grown out the roof. He's playing with a swagger that nobody can compare to right now. So he's definitely playing with a lot of confidence and making sure he knows where the ball needs to go and trying to make adjustments when they need to be made.

Q. Oftentimes when a new player comes into a situation, his teammates are unsure about what he's capable of doing. At what point were you guys confident that he was the guy that can lead you once Malik Zaire got hurt?
SHELDON DAY: Coach Kelly always preaches "next man in," and he was taking just as many reps as Malik in practice, so we knew he had the talent and the ability to do it; it was just about going out there and doing it.

Q. What are your thoughts about playing in this iconic Fenway Park, and do you see a little pep in the step of Coach Brian Kelly who is coming home this weekend?
SHELDON DAY: Oh, man, it's going to be a good homecoming for Coach Kelly. And it's going to be a special moment for all of us. Most of haven't played in a baseball stadium, and as iconic one as this one is. So definitely a special moment for everybody.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Sheldon.

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