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October 23, 2008

David Bruton

Maurice Crum

Q. (Asking about the season).
MAURICE CRUM JR.: It's an August let down for us. You go into halftime and try to make the corrections until you finish the game strong. Obviously, that's something we did not do, so we are looking to bounce back from that. We're pretty excited to again go out and have another chance.

Q. Do you look at that North Carolina game as a missed opportunity for you guys?
DAVID BRUTON: I do. I believe it was. We were in the game first half, we had the lead, and we basically gave them the game. We didn't step up on defense. We didn't make enough plays across the board.
I feel that we, as a team, we could have pulled out with a victory instead of an L.

Q. Back to the day when Coach Willingham was fired, what can you recall your emotions that day and what you were thinking?
MAURICE CRUM JR.: For the most part I was pretty shocked. I didn't really understand why or what was going on. I think the biggest thing that I was going through, I was kind of in a state of shock.

Q. Did you think about leaving? Did you wonder whether this was the right place for you? Did that go through your head at all?
MAURICE CRUM JR.: No, not really. Just because the guy I had come here with, we were all pretty tight and close and at the time planning to leave space. We were all pretty much in it together.

Q. Where were you in the recruiting process with Coach Willingham?
DAVID BRUTON: I was committed already. And I heard the news, and I was worried. My high school coach opened recruiting back to only one school, Wisconsin. I got a call from Notre Dame saying they'll honor my scholarship.
I went to visit up there, and I went on to visit here and felt this was the place for me.

Q. Coach Weis call you? Do you recall any of that?
DAVID BRUTON: Yeah, I remember the first call out of blue. We were just talking and he was talking about how he needs a safety, a physical safety. How he was getting ready for the super bowl.

Q. Memories of the trip in 2005, there seem to be a lot. I mean, obviously, that was just the fourth game of Coach Weis's tenure. What are your recollections of that match-up?
DAVID BRUTON: The biggest thing I remember was the play calling coach had from the game. That's really what sticks out in my mind. Then after the game getting a chance to go over and shake Coach Willingham's hand.

Q. David, you were on special teams?
DAVID BRUTON: Yeah, I didn't get a chance to shake coach's hand or anything. I just remember we came out with the W. And I remember the long flight back home, but that's all I remember.

Q. That's just your fourth start. You've started 140 games since then. What do you know now that you you didn't know then? Probably a whole bunch?
DAVID BRUTON: A heck of a lot more. Been around the block a time or two. I've also had a chance to grow and develop as a leader and a player.

Q. As you start the second half of the season, obviously one game at a time, and taking care of business on Saturday. But I know Coach Weis has talked to you guys about what an opportunity you have here in the second half. How high is this team feeling, what can you accomplish in the second half?
MAURICE CRUM JR.: I think for us, as long as we take it one game at a time and just continue to get better that, you know, we'll have a shot. We just believe in ourselves and the game. Just grow, and we've got a lot of talent.
DAVID BRUTON: I feel like if we can take it one step at a time, one game at a time, one play at a time, you know, sky's the limit. We let two slip away early. Hopefully the second half goes a little different, you know. More so in our favor.

Q. Are you guys confident you're going to be playing on January 1st or later?
MAURICE CRUM JR.: Hopefully. I mean, obviously, that's always the goal. I mean, to try to get there. So that's what we've got to work to because we don't necessarily have a conference or a conference championship that we can try to win. So that has to be our goal.

Q. Some of the guys we were talking to yesterday were talking about Matt making the mistake that UCLA made, that maybe UCLA was a little bit cocky and assumed that 0-5 Notre Dame was off. And is that one of the things that are weak?
MAURICE CRUM JR.: Any time you go against a team like that, those guys, you know, they leave it all on the line. They want to get it off their back. We've been in those before. Just trying to get a win, and trying to get that O up the column.
So you can't go into a game just expecting they're going to lay down because of the record. Those guys are being recruited. Those guys have talent and they're strong also. So you definitely have to respect them.
I think we've done a good job, especially coming off the bye week of everybody being anxious to get back on the field. So from that standpoint, I think we're doing okay.

Q. Did you sense that UCLA was assuming they were going to win that game last year when you guys came in?
DAVID BRUTON: A little bit, you know. They were talking a lot early. Just their whole demeanor throughout the whole game. They felt like we were just going to fold to them, but we came out swinging.
Like Mo said, we've been in the shoes Washington's in, and we know when you have nothing to lose, you come out swinging and try to pull out all stunts and everything you can out of the book.

Q. I know Coach Weis has been talking about fast start, fast start when you gather together as a team on Tuesday and practice. Why is that so important? Is there a sense that they are a team that's kind of reeling a little bit, and if you can hit them early, maybe they back off a little bit?
MAURICE CRUM JR.: To be honest, like a fast start is something that we always preach, because the faster we start to the game, the better it can turn out for us.
Hopefully we can start fast and take that momentum and just carry it into the game. Also that fast start is part of us growing up as a team or the next step to get us better and to carry us into the season because, again, this is our second half of the season.

Q. You guys are struggling like they are. You guys were struggling last year like they are now. When you do struggle like that and you fall behind early, is it that much more difficult emotionally to stay in the game because you've been down that road before and fallen behind before?
DAVID BRUTON: For me, personally, I don't feel that way just because that's not how I've been raised. You know, I've been raised to always come out swinging. Back against the wall. We've been good with that this year when we're in the red zone at times. When your back's against the wall and you have nothing to lose and you're down early, that could be deflating to a lot of guys.
Last year the older guys were keeping guys heads on straight and keep them positive, you know, not to be pessimistic and just throw in the towel.

Q. Often it's a hostile environment when you go on the road. You may be going into a situation where hostility is more for the home team than the visiting team. What are you expecting from the crowd?
MAURICE CRUM JR.: Honestly, I really don't know. I think, I mean most teams have true fans that are looking for reasons to cheer. I think they'll come out and show their support.

Q. Coach Brown was talking about and analyzing the first half of the season. What did he tell you guys about what he saw and what did you see that you thought you could have done better?
MAURICE CRUM JR.: The first thing that sticks out in my mind is I feel that a lot of times we put ourselves in situations where we were in situations that we could have done a lot better, execute better, just guys getting on the same page. That way we could play more to our potential.
DAVID BRUTON: Just our execution of certain calls. Just not making enough plays, especially coming out of the secondary. We've got to make more plays. That's just speaking from my standpoint, but we have to make more plays. That's what hurt us in the two losses.

Q. Are you more comfortable on the aggressive style defense?
MAURICE CRUM JR.: Yeah, I definitely think so. I think we've grown every game just from play to play. Just getting comfortable, being folks focused on little things. Making sure you take the coaching points and apply.

Q. What is the difference with the play of Jake Locker and Matt Foust?
DAVID BRUTON: Jake Locker, he's athletic, you know. He's able to hold the ball down and make a big play with his feet. At the BYU game, he made that play with his legs. And you know, Foust, he's got a pretty good arm. He guides the ball well. It's just that Locker was more experienced. So hopefully we can take that and use that to our advantage.

Q. Does it make it any easier on you, Mo, with Locker out?
MAURICE CRUM JR.: Somewhat, but I think Foust can move pretty good, actually. You can't go to sleep on him. And again, the biggest experience was -- I mean the biggest difference was experience. Jake went to pull the ball down, and I think that's what makes the difference.

Q. Do you guys like to watch the play?
MAURICE CRUM JR.: Yeah, definitely the kind of guy you respect from the quarterback standpoint. He's not afraid to stick his shoulder down. You can tell he is the emotional leader for that team.

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