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November 21, 2015

Justin Simmons

Jeff Smith

South Bend, Indiana

Notre Dame - 19, Boston College - 16

Q. Justin, when you get the end result here, what is your takeaway given the amount of energy that you guys expended in this game tonight?
JUSTIN SIMMONS: Yeah, I think from a defensive standpoint, just when you think that you've done enough towards the end of the game, you know that you can always give more, and you look at certain situations that we put ourselves in, we got beat deep a few times. We let up a few big plays. Even though we had, I think, five turnovers, we could have had a few more, so you look at that stuff that could help put our offense in better field position, and that hurts.

So that's just all stuff we've got to build off of. We've got to go back, watch the film, and of course hats off to Notre Dame. They're a good offensive team. Obviously they have a ton of playmakers all over the board.

But we've just got to get better at doing our job, and that's just all going to come back as soon as we watch film and get ready for Syracuse.

Q. Justin, can you explain why this team excels when you have your backs up against the wall?
JUSTIN SIMMONS: Yeah, that's just the mentality Coach Addazio brings every day in practice, and I mean, Coach Brown imposes that on our defense, and I know that that's the same mindset that Coach Addazio brings to the offense. So just every time -- we can't control when we're not on the field, but when we are on the field, that's the controllable, and we never think that there's not a chance that we can't make something special happen.

So that's just the mindset that we have when we go onto the field, and all the older guys just trust each other, and the younger guys look up to the older guys, and we don't want to let each other down, and we definitely don't want to let our offense down, so we've just got to go out there and make the plays that are makeable.

Q. Jeff, coming in, were you expecting there was a good chance you'd play?
JEFF SMITH: Yeah, I spoke to Coach Fitch throughout the week and he was pretty much saying how I need to play because I've been in these big games before like Clemson. I played a few snaps during Florida State. And as far as my touchdown run, God has blessed me with great knowledge, great speed, also with great teammates like Myles Willis, so he was speaking to me before the play, telling me to make sure that I read the play out, and after that just use speed to score.

Q. Did you think if you did get in you might be able to see something a little different?
JEFF SMITH: Yeah, throughout the game I made sure that I stayed into the game. I made sure that I knew each play throughout the game. I was just making sure that I was ready for my number to be called.

Q. How difficult was it for you especially given the sideline situation?
JEFF SMITH: It wasn't too difficult, just difficult to see the play calls coming in because they were so far away, but it wasn't really too bad at all.

Q. Was it strange to play a game so close to home, yet it being an away game?
JEFF SMITH: It all was weird. I know Coach preached throughout these past two weeks about how they came to our city and they had the "We Are ND" and things like that, so we were just trying to play for Boston and come out with the win, but that's not what happened tonight.

Q. Jeff, can you speak to where your confidence is right now, having been exposed in big-time games at Clemson, and you've shown fight until the very end at Clemson and in this game, too?
JEFF SMITH: It's definitely grown throughout the year. I think after I got hurt, that really helped me grow up, and throughout the past few weeks I've learned to kind of sit back and watch and still practice hard. I think I'm getting more comfortable throughout the pocket, and the next four years I'm going to definitely keep getting better and better.

Q. Justin, I know it was a loss, but the way this game culminated (inaudible)?
JUSTIN SIMMONS: Yeah, it's tough when you lose because, you know, it's never -- nothing is ever as good as it seems or nothing is ever as bad as it seems. So obviously a win is not -- we have a defensive goal board in the defensive room, and the first thing on there is to win. That's all we care about. We don't care about how we get it done. If the other team puts up 37 points and we win, that's all we care about.

Coming off that field today with a loss definitely hurt, but I think there are a lot of positives that we can build on going into Syracuse next week and then obviously definitely in the future. You know, we've just got to keep getting back to work and doing what we do best. That was a good offensive team, and I'm not sure exactly stat-wise, but I think they put up 400-some yards of offense. That's just something that we're as a defensive team not accustomed to, so we've got to watch the film and get back to our basics and see how we can build off that for next week.

Q. Justin, do you think that physically you guys extracted a pound of flesh out of Notre Dame? And then the collateral damage of that is that you guys got into a game where it wasn't a clean game for them and you guys took them to the wire? Do you think it's going to cost them in the polls?
JUSTIN SIMMONS: I think our team is very special, and you know, I know we're sitting here 3-8, but I don't think you can -- I don't think there's a team out there that kind of can match how we play and how physical we play. When Coach said we get after it in practice, we really do. There are no days off. When we put on our pads, we attack each other to make sure we get each other better. That's just our mentality, and I think that's why the offense is able to run the ball the way they are and the defense is able to stand tall when they need to. So it's just the mentality that Coach Addazio instills on us and to the coordinators to kind of trickle down to us players, and so I'm not too sure what's going to happen in the future as far as like with Notre Dame and how they're going to do in College Football Playoffs. Not to be rude, but I really don't care that much. I'm just looking forward to seeing the growth of this team and getting a win next week at Syracuse.

Q. Coach kept talking about the youth on this team and how much talent there is on defense. What do you see in particular?
JUSTIN SIMMONS: Yeah, definitely do. I would take our team over any team. I'd be in a dogfight with anybody, and that's including every guy on this team, every position. I wouldn't take any other person or team over ours.

It just stinks at this point in time that injuries happened. Injuries had a big role in this year, and just a lot of young guys on offense, and so obviously the defense has older guys, so like Coach said earlier, as an older guy, you just get it. You've been around. I know personally I've been a part of a 2-10 team my freshman year, so I've been through the woodwork. I've seen the growth, and so the things that the guys are going through right now, I wouldn't wish that upon them, but everyone here works hard, and those are the building blocks you need to have a successful program, and everything that is going on with Coach Addazio and the program is being done the right way, and I believe there's something special coming in the future.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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