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November 10, 2007

John Carlson

Q. Just talk about execution-wise --
JOHN CARLSON: I don't know anyone gave up physically. I think it's been a common theme throughout this season that execution, obviously, has not been crisp and has not been consistent. But I've never questioned the effort of anyone.

Q. Charlie was talking about an analogy about teacher and student and wondering if he's not doing a good enough job teaching or players are not picking it up. Where do you fall into that equation?
JOHN CARLSON: To be perfectly honest, it's hard to -- obviously with his pedigree, we know that he's a great teacher and being that players on this team are students at the University of Notre Dame, you would think that we are all fairly intelligent individuals. So something obviously is not clicking, but I don't know what it is.

Q. What's left for this team in the last couple -- what's left, especially the seniors?
JOHN CARLSON: Pride. You know, obviously you can't make a Bowl game. We don't have a post-season hope. But you know, I know I've spent five years here, and it's had it's ups and downs, but overall it's been a tremendous experience and you know, I'm proud to be a player here and a student here.
You know, I'm really going to be sad next week when it's all going to be over.

Q. Inaudible?
JOHN CARLSON: Yeah, obviously it's cold out there, but this is weather we've played in before. So that's not an excuse and that doesn't make it okay.

Q. You talked about the five years, it's had its ups and downs, but the 1-9, no way you could ever expect that.
JOHN CARLSON: No one expected that. No one on this team expected that and I don't think any of the fans expected that.
But that's the reality right now and we can't change what's happened in the past and starting to sound like a broken record but we're going to keep working hard. We've got two weeks left, and like I said before, we've got a lot of pride on this team and we're not going to give up.

Q. How bad do you want that win next week, for so many different reasons?
JOHN CARLSON: Next week is going to be tough emotionally because it going to be last time I'll get to play in this stadium. But I want to win every week and I know this team wants to win every week. So I don't think it will be much different in that respect.

Q. What happened on the first pass?
JOHN CARLSON: You know, I caught the ball and I just didn't secure it well enough and they made a good play.

Q. Once you find yourself a quarterback -- going forward -- inaudible?
JOHN CARLSON: I say it every time I'm asking a question about the quarterback. I'm not a quarterback coach and we've got a lot of confidence in him and I thought he played well. From my perspective, I think he played well.

Q. Being a young team, a work-in-progress --
JOHN CARLSON: It has been difficult mainly because we know that we've got a lot of talent on this team. You look at the recruiting class -- besides that we've seen people make plays in practice and we know that we have capable guys on this team; and we know that we have talented players on this team; and we know that despite the repeated mistakes; and we know that we've got a coaching staff that's one of the best in the country, they have it a great future in the game, and for some reason it just can't come together.
And it's frustrating, because I know I don't know why it hasn't worked out. And I'm sure if the coaches knew exactly what was wrong -- we all want to fix it, but it's not like we know that this specific thing and wrong, we just haven't been able to fix it. We continue to work in practice but it just hasn't come together.

Q. Do you respect what Air Force does, smaller players, man-on-man, maybe they are not as big as you guys but still they come out as a team?
JOHN CARLSON: I've always had a lot of respect for the academies, for many reasons. First of all, they play hard the whole game. And obviously the fact that they defend our country, I've always had a great deal of respect for these guys.

Q. First play of the game -- did you feel like -- was there a feeling like, "Here we go again?"
JOHN CARLSON: You know, it was an unfortunate play. I caught the ball and I didn't secure it well enough.
But then our defense held and stopped them and held them to a field goal. So I think we -- obviously you don't want to start the game with a turnover, so that was disappointing and that was tough to get over, but our defense played well.
I don't have an answer. None of us wanted to drop the ball, but that doesn't make it okay but it happened.

Q. Did the cold play a factor in the drops today?
JOHN CARLSON: You know, we've played in this climate for many years now and we've played in a number of cold games. It was cold but that's not an excuse.

Q. When you had tied the game up, what did you feel at that point?
JOHN CARLSON: I thought that we were back and it was 0-0. We had gotten over a rocky start, and I thought we would maintain that momentum and hoped we would start rolling.

Q. What do you feel now that this game, like so many others got away, and I know you're not going to quit but --
JOHN CARLSON: Well, you never get used to losing and you never accept losing. Like you said, we're not going to quit. There are a lot of players playing for pride on this team and we have two games left, two weeks ago and we're going to work hard and try to make corrections and finish strong.

Q. How badly do you need to go out with a win?
JOHN CARLSON: I want to win every week and as a team we want to win every week. But considering everything that's gone on this year, it would be really special to leave the place with a win.

Q. Jimmy took that time off and came back, did you notice a difference between the Jimmy before USC and now?
JOHN CARLSON: You know, I haven't watched the film yet and I'm not a quarterback coach, but really, I never assess another position than my position. We've got confidence in Jimmy; we've got confidence in Evan. From what I saw, from my perspective on the field, I thought he played well. But like I said before, I'm no expert, but I think he played well.

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