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UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE
September 13, 2017
South Bend, Indiana
Q. Drue, Mike just got a round of applause from Coach Kelly. I was wondering what you would like to say to elicit the same response?
DRUE TRANQUILL: Micah got applause?
DRUE TRANQUILL: Oh, Mike McGlinchey. I was like, well, we can give Berts a round of applause, too. He does a great job.
What was the question? (Laughter).
Q. McGlinchey was speaking about you guys are obviously angry and I guess the motivation of going into this game. What are your thoughts on that and how much are you guys want to go get back out there?
DRUE TRANQUILL: I mean, we really want to get back out there. We're disappointed with the outcome because we know what we've put in since this thing kind of started back in January. So we're disappointed.
Losing is losing and it's unacceptable around here. We could make any excuse in the book, none of them are valid, and so we are just looking for an opportunity to get back on the field, build our traits and continue building this thing into what we know that it can be.
Q. Postgame McGlinchey said, "I blew it" and took full responsibility. What does it say about him that he's willing to do that and own it to that level as a leader on this team?
DRUE TRANQUILL: I think he embodies anything and everything you want in a leader. He's an incredible player and we all know that. And so for him in probably one of the biggest moments to take responsibility like that says a lot about his character and who he is.
When a leader is willing to do that, guys just want to come behind that guy so much more. No one likes a leader who always has to be right or never has to be, you know, wrong, or it's never their fault.
So for him to come forth, and it's not even -- it's not his fault. There were plays left all over the field, even on the defensive side of the ball. I come through the line untouched and have an opportunity to potentially strip-sack the quarterback and then he gets away. I mean, we end up stacking him and Nyles makes a great play. But even I left plays out there. So we all left plays out there.
So for him to say that, I think it says a lot about his character.
Q. Touching on the defensive play, how big of a step do you feel Saturday was for you? Obviously you want to win the game but how big of a step it was to how far you guys have come from a year ago?
DRUE TRANQUILL: I think we've taken steps to improve and I think there's areas where we still can improve. I think we gave up, you know, our big play ratio was lower than what we wanted. We had an explosive play every 17 plays, and we want to keep that up near one every 25.
So there are still areas where we can improve defensively and I think that's the message this week, right, is: You can come out and have a good performance but it's about consistency and being able to bring that week-in and week-out. Just continuing to improve. And watching the film, we see areas, where, wow, this one play defensively could have changed the outcome, no matter how the offense was performing or doing.
We saw areas on the film where we could have honestly changed the game and then changed the game and the outcome. We are just looking to take advantage of those opportunities moving forward this week.
Q. How about the fourth quarter, the fact that you were able to make some key stops to put your team in position to potentially win the game? How critical is that to the progression of the defense to be able to do things like that?
DRUE TRANQUILL: I think it's big. I mean, sitting down there on the sidelines, that was our message was let's just keep getting stops. We're going to have to get three or four or five more stops.
Let's just give the offense the ball with two minutes left with a chance to win this game, and that was our message on the sideline, what our coaches were telling us, and Jay Hayes comes up big on the third down with a third down stop and we were able to get off the field.
But obviously we've performed well on third down in the past two weeks and I think that's been huge to our defensive success. So continuing to do that and then improve in other areas will be key for us.
Q. The program has struggled on the road in recent years. You guys didn't win a true road game last year, and 5-11 since the start of 2013. What makes going on the road so difficult, and what do you have to do to make sure you guys can be successful on the road, and obviously for the next four weeks?
DRUE TRANQUILL: I mean, I think going on the road with young guys is difficult. They haven't necessarily experienced it. I can't really, I'm kind of focused on this year and so I guess we'll see how we perform on the road this year.
But our message is consistent, whether we're playing at home or playing on the road. Offensively, there's going to be adjustments obviously with crowd noise going on the road and potentially have to go on silent snaps. Defensively, going on the road is a little bit easier. It's not as loud. You're able to communicate better.
Yeah, we are just focused on BC this week and I guess we'll all see how we play on the road moving forward.
Q. What gives you confidence that your defense will continue to improve as the season progresses?
DRUE TRANQUILL: I think just the consistency in our coaching staff and the consistency in guys's desire to come and work on a day-to-day basis. It hasn't changed since January.
So whenever something is constant like that, I don't expect it to change. Kind of like equilibrium in engineering, right. You don't expect things to go out of equilibrium (laughter).
Things are constant on their end and constant in the work input, in the preparation, and so I can foresee us continuing to have success week-in and week-out on defense.
Q. Does part of the confidence, is that part of that derived from the fact that so many guys are actually making a significant contribution on that side of the ball?
DRUE TRANQUILL: I think honestly it's more so of guys just belief in one another. I think obviously when you make plays, your confidence is going to go up. But I think it's just guys pouring into one another, believing in himself them, believing in himself their ability to make plays.
We've got a lot of guys stepping in. Specifically on the defensive line, we've got a lot of young guys playing, a lot of guys rotating in. And just the belief in that group, the belief us captains, the older guys, are trying to put into these younger guys, I think it's been great. We, a defensive whole, we talk a lot about as 11 as one, and I think guys are really buying into that.
Q. What do you think of when you think of Boston College football?
DRUE TRANQUILL: I think of a tough football team, a team that loves to play Notre Dame their absolute best and gives Notre Dame everything they can handle every time they come out.
So I expect a tough, physical football game. I expect them to come in, probably a little trickeration on offense. Probably want to establish the run game. They are going to play physically defensively.
Q. They have a red-shirt freshman quarterback. What have you seen from him? What does he provide for their offense?
DRUE TRANQUILL: I think he provides a little bit of dual-threat. I think he's composed. I think he puts the ball up a little -- how do I want to say this. Last week, had the turnovers; I think his coaching staff will make adjustments and put him in better positions to make plays this week.
And so I expect him to come back and bounce back, poised, and play within their offense. I think their coaching staff will do a good job of establishing balance for him and allowing him to be successful.
Q. What's the role of a captain after a loss?
DRUE TRANQUILL: I think a captain's job is just to keep the message consistent and keep guys moving forward. I think a lot of guys can sulk in the fact that we lost and that we lost the way that we did, and guys's minds can maybe even drift back to last year when we lost a lot of close games.
But I think our captain's job is to bring guys back into the present moment. Make them trust their training and make them realize what we've done to get to this point. And really just continue building the traits and trusting the process; the things that we've talked about and that you guys have heard over and over again. That's really the role I see myself and other captains see themselves.
Q. What do you do to find that balance of being worried and concerned about working on your game but still serving as a captain and kind of talking with other guys and doing the things you need to do as a captain out there?
DRUE TRANQUILL: I mean, I think that's something I've worked on this entire off-season, right, is integrating like being able to work on my own game but also being able to encourage and work with other guys. I find that teaching and encouraging and being with other guys, I actually learn a lot myself and learn a lot about my game.
So it kind of become an integral process of learning to do those both in parallel, as opposed to, I have to spend time developing my own game and teaching these guys, too. It's kind of been a balance of learning to do those things in parallel.
Q. From Sunday, Monday, Tuesday what have you learned about this team?
DRUE TRANQUILL: I think their just response to adversity and love for one another. Offensively, I think all our guys would say, you know, we didn't play to the best that we could have played and there wasn't a single defensive guy pointing fingers. There wasn't a single offensive guy. There was no one pointing fingers at anyone.
It was a total responsibility taken on part of our team, and I've just seen guys come around each other and just guys on the sideline -- and Coach Kelly talked about this on Monday, was guys just like they are uplifting one another; they are encouraging one another.
So I think our response to adversity, our grit and our ability to bounce back, that's been what I've observed. Obviously what we'll see on Saturday and Saturdays moving forward. But there just seems to be a bond of this is us and it's not just one individual's fault, and we have to take responsibility as a full team.
Q. Yesterday Coach talked about how teams will play their best against Notre Dame regardless of how they have done in the past. How do you prepare for this as a leader on this team, knowing that teams might play better than they play on the film that you see?
DRUE TRANQUILL: We prepare for this on a week-to-week basis. I've heard that message since I've walked in as a freshman, and I've seen it from playing Purdue my third game freshman year and a team that we were highly favored over but came out and gave us be absolutely everything they have.
I think just with the tradition and excellence, it's something to be proud of here at Notre Dame. It's something with so much tradition and excellence. Teams are excited to play Notre Dame.
You look this past weekend, Georgia was excited to come here, if you look at all the fans that came and made the trip out here. Teams want to play Notre Dame and when that occurs, they want to give you their best. It's a privilege and an honor and we owe it to them to give them our best, too. That's kind of our mindset going into each game.
Q. Were in the same position group as Nick Coleman last year when his confidence took a hit. What did you see over the course of last season and what does it say about him that he was able to rebound all the way to how he played against Georgia last Saturday?
DRUE TRANQUILL: Yeah, Nick played terrific against Georgia. I think Nick's a guy who, like you said, maybe doesn't play his best football last year.
Kind of took on a new position. Something that he has not necessarily played here at Notre Dame.
And I just saw a kid who came into his own and acted like a sponge and was just absorbing coaching; was absorbing everything the strength coaches were telling him; and was just looking for an opportunity to help this football team in the capacity that he could.
I think you've seen him come into a role and he's starting to thrive there. But just his ability to take coaching and apply it to his game; I think you see a guy who wants to be great in the capacity that he can, and so his confidence just continues to grow and I'm so excited for the kid because he really embodies what it means to be a Notre Dame football player. He's great on and off the field.
Q. Do you guys as veterans who have seen how much he's struggled get more juice out of what happened on Saturday to him than he would? Do you get more excited about seeing him have some success based on what's happened to him in the past?
DRUE TRANQUILL: Yeah, when he came down and made that hit on third down, the biggest smile came across my face. He's had his ups and downs, but just to see him starting to come to fruition and really come into his own and feel that, that energy, was just really exciting, and it was exciting to see.
Q. From a skill-set standpoint -- you've played back there. Why is he a good fit for that spot? What do you think he brings to that position that he maybe could be a little bit unique or an upgrade to that position?
DRUE TRANQUILL: When you bring the coverage skills from the corner position and put him back at safety, he's able to do some unique things in coverage for us.
So the big question with him was: Is he going to be able to come downhill and tackle in space and be physical in the run game, and I think he really took that with a chip on his shoulder in the off-season. He worked really hard in the weight room. Put on some weight, gained some strength and I think you've seen that in his ability to come downhill.
He's answered that bell. Obviously brings some unique things in the pass game and has been great in the run game the past two weeks.
Q. How has Jay Hayes enhanced the play of the defensive line and the defense in general?
DRUE TRANQUILL: Jay just brings a juice. He's an exciting guy to be around on a week-to-week basis. Brings a lot of energy. He's consistent in that. And so he gets guys excited to play and then, you know, when you bring the energy of his own play and he's coming through the defensive line and taking TFLs and doing things that he's done the first two weeks, it's hard not to get excited.
Especially a guy like him, he's such a clown. He's a goofball. The guys love him. He makes us laugh. He brings a light tone when things are serious or dull, and so he's kind of been a spark for guys ever since he walked in the building. So to see him making plays, it gets guys fired up.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports