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UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME MEDIA CONFERENCE
October 9, 2008
BRIAN HARDIN: This is Brian Hardin at Notre Dame. We have Maurice Crum, Jr. and David Bruton at the table. We'll start with questions.
Q. Talking to Coach Brown about this yesterday, a lot of times Notre Dame offensive coaches will talk about how the defense rolls over to Golden's side or Michael Floyd. What about with the two receivers? Specifically with you, David, with the two receivers they have, you can't give special attention to two quality receivers at once, can you?
DAVID BRUTON: No. You know, they both have big-play capabilities. They've both shown that they can play with the best guys. They've shown they can break tackles, catch the deep ball, turn a short intermediate route into a big play.
But I feel that we're just going to play 'em how we play everybody. And if things hit the fan, we'll adjust accordingly.
Q. Mo, is it kind of like going against a Notre Dame practice in offense where Notre Dame has three runningbacks that they throw at you, North Carolina has a similar situation?
MAURICE CRUM, JR.: Right, yeah, it's very similar. In fact, again, you know, with multiple runningbacks, all the guys give you a different dimension of them running the ball. You definitely have to be prepared to know when to run through, know when to break down, know when a guy is going to try to run over you. So, yeah, it definitely adds that dimension to the game.
Q. What do you expect? They had a different guy rush for a hundred yards. Are you expecting to see all three?
MAURICE CRUM, JR.: That's how I prepare. I don't want to be caught not prepared. So definitely just prepare for all three of them and try to, you know, get a fix on their styles.
Q. We talked about that when you were playing Michigan State, adapting to Ringer, what he did. You have to study tape on --
MAURICE CRUM, JR.: -- three guys, yeah. Again, that's a little more tape, a little more attention, because you're not watching one guy, you're watching three different guys, what they bring to the table.
Q. Every time you go on the road we ask you questions about going into a hostile environment. What's fun about going on the road?
MAURICE CRUM, JR.: Just you and the guys. The road trip, you know, going there is, again, part of that, especially with a real close team, being together. It's something you don't mind. I think that's one of the things you look forward to, you know, just those moments, sharing those moments with your guys.
Q. Staying in a hotel, eating pizza?
DAVID BRUTON: Yeah, pretty much. All we have are each other. We go there together, we leave together, and hopefully with a W.
Q. I don't know if all the fans are wearing one color this weekend. Penn State did it last year. Does that affect an opposing team in any way? Do you notice it? Does it matter what 80,000 fans are wearing in the stands?
MAURICE CRUM, JR.: No. They're going to be loud regardless of what they have on. I mean, it looks nice. But other than that, I mean, they're still going to be loud and they're still going to cheer their team on. So I really don't think what they wear is going to affect anything.
Q. Do you guys know anybody on their team?
DAVID BRUTON: Not that I know of.
Q. Have you played against high school teammates?
DAVID BRUTON: No, I haven't. My high school teammates, no.
Q. Clausen played against one of his better friends.
MAURICE CRUM, JR.: I've seen guys from my area on teams.
Q. I was going to ask what it's like playing against a friend, hitting a friend, somebody that you knew growing up. I guess neither one of you have been in that situation.
MAURICE CRUM, JR.: If I was in the situation, I mean, I think that would add to it. Just a guy you're close to, a guy who knows of you, or even a guy from your area, it's kind of I'm the best in my area.
Q. You want to hit him a little harder?
MAURICE CRUM, JR.: Yeah. Little bragging rights to go home with. It doesn't hurt.
Q. Can you give us a brief scouting report of what you've seen with North Carolina.
MAURICE CRUM, JR.: From what I've seen, they're pretty balanced. They do what they do and they do it extremely well. They run the ball well to set up the pass, or they can pass it to set up the run. It's just a matter of us trying to come to work and try to stop what it is they do.
DAVID BRUTON: Yeah, they've shown capabilities to be very balanced, have a big play in the running game, the passing game, special teams. They've shown that they can play with anybody, especially their two receivers. The different styles of backs also can cause a little problem especially for us on defense because they all have different styles and different flavors of how they run the ball and hit the hole.
But, you know, we've seen plenty of teams. The route combinations are not something we're entirely unaware of. We've seen them throughout the five weeks that we've played.
Basically they're a real good team. They've played well in many games. It's going to be a good competition, good game.
Q. You talked about the special teams. What makes their returners so good, especially Tate?
DAVID BRUTON: He sets up his blocks really well. He's a speed guy. He's real fast. He's real strong. He runs through a lot of arm tackles on film. He's a confident returner. You can tell that by how he plays.
Two years ago when they played here, it was him who broke the kickoff return for a touchdown against us. So he shows that he has big-play capability even when he was a younger guy.
Q. With them blocking three punts last week, does that put more onus on you and the outside to get down there?
DAVID BRUTON: Potentially, you know. The guys on the line, their first job is, of course, protect the punt, then get out in cover. Me and Anello, we don't have any protection worries, so we just go down there and hopefully make the play like we've always done.
MAURICE CRUM, JR.: No. I mean, I definitely know the mindset or the mentality that he preaches. You know, just tough guys. They're going to be going on special teams. They're all going to play with an attitude.
Q. Can you each talk about the importance of this game, facing a top-25 team on the road.
MAURICE CRUM, JR.: Yeah, it's obviously important, especially for us, trying to get better every week. I mean, it all comes down to this is the next game on the schedule and our objective is to try to get a win.
DAVID BRUTON: Yeah, every game is important. The game we're worried about now is North Carolina. Like I mentioned earlier, they're a very formidable opponent. They have great play-makers. So it's going to be a challenge.
But I feel that we can come out and, you know, be very competitive and take care of business.
Q. Is this the next step, though? You have proven you can win at home. Now you have to prove that you can, in fact, win on the road.
DAVID BRUTON: Yeah, home you've got the crowd behind you. It's different going away when you have 200 fans or something in the stands, and the only guys who are rooting for you are those fans and the 70 guys who are with you on the trip. You just got to go out there and give it all you got and come home to a happy campus.
MAURICE CRUM, JR.: Yeah, it's definitely the next step for us. We've shown playing at home we've done pretty good. So now this is the next phase in this team growing up.
Q. How does the confidence that you guys have gained at home translate to going on the road? How does that help or how does it not help?
MAURICE CRUM, JR.: I think it helps just kind of as a momentum builder. Now you have in your mind you know what it is you can do. So I think you have to take that and grow with it and use it to your advantage.
DAVID BRUTON: Yeah, we've shown that we can play at home, play real well at home at times. We just got to translate it in an away game. It's still a hundred-yard football field, 54 yards sideline to sideline. It's the same thing we've all grown up doing, so we just got to put it together at a different stadium.
Q. I've been asking some of the players about adapting to TV time-outs. When you first started doing that, how long did it take you to get used to that?
MAURICE CRUM, JR.: When I first started, I didn't really like understand what was going on, like why the guy was just standing there, why we couldn't go.
But, you know, you kind of get used to it. In a way, it's kind of another break. It's just a chance to catch your breath, regroup, refocus. You get used to it. But initially it was kind of weird for me.
Q. David, do you like the break?
DAVID BRUTON: Yeah, I like the break (laughter). On special teams where you have to play defense right after, it gives you a little breather.
Q. Do you feel it really ever hurts momentum? You get a sack; seven minutes later you're playing again.
MAURICE CRUM, JR.: Yeah, I think it possibly could. But, again, a lot of times that energy you feed off of is from the fans and stuff. So they get right back into it. It's kind of like you get right back into it.
Q. Sam Young was talking about during a lot of his breaks he engages in conversation with the referees. Do either of you spend any time talking to the refs?
MAURICE CRUM, JR.: No. It's mostly the guys in the huddle pretty much. We just kind of make sure we're all staying focused and we're all relaxed, not getting too tight.
Q. Kuntz says he doesn't talk to the ref because he doesn't like them because of the holding calls.
MAURICE CRUM, JR.: Typical.
BRIAN HARDIN: Thanks, everyone.
End of FastScripts