|Browse by Sport
|Find us on
UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME MEDIA CONFERENCE
November 6, 2008
Q. You guys are really the veterans of this team, but what types of things did you guys need to do with the younger players following a tough loss.
MAURICE CRUM, JR.: Well, for me, I think that the biggest thing was the energy level. The better or the higher the energy level was in practice, the better the tempo is, usually the better the practice is. The better the practice is, the better your thought process is going into the game.
So, I think I really focused on getting the energy up and just getting guys flying around and getting guys out of that funk and into this week and forget about last week.
DAVID BRUTON: For me, I addressed like every guy, the defensive backs, to make sure they were cool after the game, make sure everything was all right, and just sat down and had a little talk with them, made sure that we looked forward and moved forward. I believe they took those words as food for thought. And they've done a great job just coming out and practicing hard and staying motivated and not really dwelling on last weekend.
Q. You both have an interesting perspective in that you've been through highs and you've been through lows. While I know you agree that Saturday is not acceptable, as Coach told you on Monday, you have a different perspective. Can you still see progress taking place each other, even when you don't necessarily come out with a win?
MAURICE CRUM, JR.: Yeah, definitely. I mean, we've shown flashes in every game that we're a pretty good team. It's just that at some point in time, for whatever reason, things just don't go right. But again, we have to take those positives and continue to build on them, to build on those, and try to eliminate those negatives.
Q. What do you guys see from Boston College?
MAURICE CRUM, JR.: I see a pretty good team, especially on offense. They do what they do and they do it really well. Their blocking schemes work well together, and the quarterback does a fairly good job of making the right decision, and he gets the open guy.
DAVID BRUTON: On the quarterback, Crane, he's pretty mobile. He can move well in the pocket, he can make plays with his feet as well as with his arm, so we have to be prepared for that.
Number two, Robinson, he's a real good receiver. He's made plays. He's done a great job, and they're just well-rounded in everything they do across the board, blocking schemes, running the ball, throwing the ball. They do what they do really well.
Q. You know it's going to be a hostile environment. I think Coach Weis had the best analogy. He told me he thinks you're going to get the same greeting in Alumni Stadium that the Yankees get when they go to Fenway Park. How do you prepare the younger guys for this kind of intensity, both from the team they're facing but also folks in the stands who are literally right on top of you?
MAURICE CRUM, JR.: I think one of the things that you have to do is try to flip that energy and use it as a motivator. One thing that I'd say to a young guy like Brian Smith, I'd tell him when I go into a hostile environment, I feed off of that. I feed off the negative energy and just want to make a play and just want to quiet the crowd down.
I try to really tell the young guys that it can be a positive for us.
DAVID BRUTON: Just try to take over the stadium, make plays, and change the whole mood and the whole temperament of the crowd as well as the home team. I try to inflate this image that things can change. We can make plays wherever, and we can just go out there and do what we do, whether it's home, away -- it doesn't matter, wherever, you just go out there and make plays.
Q. David, have you had your Black Chicago class since Tuesday night?
DAVID BRUTON: I had it Tuesday morning and I had it this morning.
Q. Your thoughts?
DAVID BRUTON: Basically we were just discussing how our Tuesdays went throughout class. We had some people who went to the rally at Grant Park and had some that were actually poll watchers down in Chicago, and basically you've just got to feel for everybody's experience. And my experiences personally, just driving to campus, just seeing high school students out on the street holding Obama signs at like 8:30 in the morning, and I'm thinking to myself, shoot, my high school started at 7:18 in the morning. These kids aren't even in class yet holding up Obama signs. It must be a great day; something great is going to happen today.
Q. When you watched what happened -- did you end up watching everything Tuesday night?
DAVID BRUTON: Actually I was busy doing differential data homework (laughter), so I was getting text alerts on my phone and I was on the CNN website getting updated every five minutes.
Q. I was going to ask you, what does it say then that it kind of -- in your opinion as our little expert here, what happened in getting the young vote out there, I guess, because obviously they were out in full force?
DAVID BRUTON: It says a lot. Either way, history was going to be made, either with a female vice president or an African-American president, and I believe that in itself gained a whole bunch of interest across my generation, Mo's generation (laughter), everybody's generation. This was my first election I actually got to take part in, and I thought it was something special to be a part of, and I believe every young person who's in the same boat as me took the same interest as I did.
Q. Mo, does that mean you've voted three times already?
MAURICE CRUM, JR.: I mean, yeah (laughing), but again, this is a special part of history that even in my old age I'm excited to be a part of. It's something that I will be able to tell my kids that I was a part of history.
Q. Changing the subject, you're not that much older than him, are you?
MAURICE CRUM, JR.: No (laughing).
Q. Facing a running quarterback -- I don't know if he's necessarily a running quarterback, but a scrambling quarterback, that has to change your perspective when you drop back into pass coverage, a guy that's capable of tucking it and running. You have to be on the alert at all times; you can't just drop and worry about receivers. Would you comment on that?
MAURICE CRUM, JR.: Yeah, I think that that always adds another issue or something else to worry about in a game, just the guy who can -- if there's nothing there, you can pull it down and scramble for the 1st down or extend the play and make something happen.
But I think the D-line has to do a really good job of trying to keep the guy in the pocket and putting pressure on him and making him make hasty decisions, and that always helps when the guys up front can keep the guy in the pocket.
Q. David, you and Kyle, are both making a bunch of tackles. You have to be really active and on the lookout for a running quarterback at all times?
DAVID BRUTON: Yeah, like Mo said, if you're able to move in the pocket and make things happen with your feet, you've got to be alert and make sure -- hopefully the D-line can stay in the rush lanes and keep him contained. But when somebody can move, they can extend the play, and it makes the coverage a little harder for a defensive back because we're covering a lot longer, and they break off their routes to come back to the quarterback, and they've done a real good job of that. They're real aware of how their quarterback plays, and they seem to show a real good receiver-quarterback relationship.
Q. I know you guys as football players, as athletes, you're taught to adapt to situations. You didn't really know when this game was going to be played until they announced this last week that it was a night game. But how difficult and frustrating is it sometimes just sitting around waiting all day, games are on TV, finally waiting for kickoff time to come?
MAURICE CRUM, JR.: For me, I think it's more of a positive for me. Kind of sitting around all day kind of builds up the anticipation, watching all the other games and getting a chance to see some of the other plays being made across the country.
Again, it just builds up going into your game, so I think it gives you almost all day just to let it kind of simmer.
Q. Do you get impatient, David, or can you ride it out?
DAVID BRUTON: I can ride it out. I just try to relax and take an extra look at my notes and just go through personally and make sure everything -- it's just more time for me to go through my early morning routine when we have a game at 2:43 or something like that. It just gives me more time to actually go through every single note that I write, because I write a lot.
Q. Do they let you sleep later? You probably don't have too many times through the course of the school year and football season to sleep. Say you're on the road; do you sleep in a little bit later?
DAVID BRUTON: This will be the first night game, so I don't know, hopefully. I mean, that's definitely a positive.
Q. I know you guys are just concentrating on what you're doing now and this football season, and the NFL and your pro careers are down the road. But as you start to gaze in that direction, what is it about the game that -- I think most college football players want to live the dream and play in the NFL, but what is it about the pro game that may be concerning or troubling a little bit to you? I mean, are there any concerns about it as you look ahead to the next level?
DAVID BRUTON: Something that I've always heard and that I learned is that if you don't do your job, somewhere out there in the league, there's somebody that can do the same thing you can or there's somebody just like you. You have to perform, and it's a job that's based on performance, and if you don't perform, then I guess you're out of a job. It's a stressful situation because if you don't perform at a college level, you probably get benched or won't see the field as much. But in the league, you can get cut, and next thing you know, there goes your check and their goes your living, and you're struggling to look for a different job.
Q. And the average career is like three or four years. You can be washed up in your mid-20s.
MAURICE CRUM, JR.: Right, yeah. Again, it's a business, and sometimes it loses a little bit of its purity, just because it's more of a business. There are some guys who aren't playing for fun anymore; they're playing just to make a check or as a way of life. I think sometimes it definitely loses its purity.
Q. Have either of you guys talked to Kinnon Tatum about that, because he experienced a little bit of that. He was done after four years, and I talked to him last week, and he talked about -- he quickly realized that it just wasn't as fun as it was in college because in college every game, the National Championship or staying in the running for the National Championship was on the line, whereas in the NFL you know, okay, if we lose this week, we can lose a couple times. Have either of you talked to him about his experience?
MAURICE CRUM, JR.: No, I haven't had a chance to talk to him, but I definitely plan on talking to him a little bit later.
DAVID BRUTON: No, I haven't sat down and talked to him about it. I knew he was in the league, but I didn't talk to him.
Q. David, I wanted to ask you, Coach Weis said that when it comes to interest from NFL scouts, you among the older guys have gotten the most attention. When you look back at your career, when you came in, Coach Weis always talks about how small you were, how short of weight you were. When did you realize that you were becoming a legitimate NFL prospect?
DAVID BRUTON: Probably this past spring. I never really thought about the NFL much. It was way back in the back of my head.
To be honest, I didn't think I would play much here when I first got here. I was happy with a special teams role. I was blessed to even play that much. Just as I got older and guys like Mo and Raeshon (McNeil) and Terrail (Lambert) kept talking to me and encouraging me, helping me grow, and here I am right now with the potential to go to the league and make a living for myself and my son and just live a dream that I thought was far-fetched.
Q. You mentioned your son. I didn't want to ask you, but that gives you a little bit more motivation to make it, does it not?
DAVID BRUTON: Yeah. I always have a picture of him in my wallet, his name tattooed on my shoulder. Every time before a game, I tap my chest and my shoulder and point to the Lord, like, thank you for my son and everything you've given me. He's a big-time motivation, and I'll actually -- hopefully I can bring him a birthday present with a win versus BC and get to see him on his birthday.
Q. Is it Saturday?
DAVID BRUTON: His birthday is Sunday.
Q. Mo, your dad was in the NFL? How long?
MAURICE CRUM, JR.: Two years.
Q. Obviously you don't need to talk to Kinnon Tatum rather than your father who experienced it. What were some things he shared with you about the experience? Two years probably wasn't nearly long enough as far as he was concerned.
MAURICE CRUM, JR.: Just the same stuff; it's a cut-throat league, it's what have you done for me lately. It's almost like what you do in college can only carry you so far. You've still got to get there and produce, and that's the bottom line. I mean, he just told me that some guys work their way from the bottom up and some guys are at the up and don't last at all. I mean, it's just a matter of just getting there and working hard and producing.
Q. Last thing, I promise. Former Notre Dame players, how much contact do you have with them? How much feedback have they given to you about the NFL experience?
MAURICE CRUM, JR.: Not much. I think it's more so just because I haven't really reached out. My main focus is this team and now.
Again, later I'll probably reach out as I get closer to that and try to prepare my mind.
Q. You don't have any former teammates here that you stay in contact with or anything?
MAURICE CRUM, JR.: Yeah, I speak with them, but it's not really about football, about how things are going. Its more so are you okay, how's life and that kind of stuff, not necessarily how it works.
Q. David, anybody for you?
DAVID BRUTON: Not so much. I've talked to a couple; just seeing how they were doing and how's everything going, like John Carlson. I've texted him a couple times but never really got into logistics of football or anything like that. I've just basically tried to stay away from it because basically that's all you do in the league, and I figured you might want your space and don't want to be bothered outside of it.
Q. Boston College is known for tight ends, certainly the last probably ten years, and offensive line, but can you talk about Purvis and what he brings to the table, how he's kind dangerous for you guys?
MAURICE CRUM, JR.: Yeah, I think he definitely is the safe option for the quarterback, just a guy to -- just a reliable guy to work the middle of the field and work that open area space. I think he's done a great job of making the catches but also doing a really good job of blocking.
Q. As both captains, David, just because you're on special teams, what have you guys done to maybe help Brandon this week after how last Saturday ended?
DAVID BRUTON: I mean, it's not Brandon's fault by any means. He's been kicking well lately. He made that big 48-yarder, and that 38-yarder just didn't fall our way. But he's made tremendous strides, and we as captains just try to stay positive in his head because we all know how kickers are head cases. He's a young guy, and we just try to keep him calm and let him know that we're on his side. He's not going anywhere; we're not going anywhere. Our support for him is unwavering, and we're not going to abandon him because he misses a kick. It just doesn't work that way.
Q. Mo, do you take some time to make sure you go talk to him and just kind of see how things are going?
MAURICE CRUM, JR.: Yeah, especially after the game I made sure that I reached out to him and said something to him. I mean, one of the things that I told him is, I've missed tackles, I've missed interceptions, and I've missed it all. I've bounced back, and you'll have a chance to bounce back, too. There will come a moment where you will come out on top, so just keep living for that moment.
Q. Guys on the team, was that something you guys talked about to teammates about the election on Tuesday and history that was made?
MAURICE CRUM, JR.: Yeah, definitely. After Coach Weis addressed the team in the locker room, and a lot of guys hadn't really thought about it, but it was pretty much that a lot of guys were a part of history, and this is a very important moment in American history.
DAVID BRUTON: Yeah, I've talked to a couple guys like Scott Smith and Tony Smith because they're both in my Black Chicago Politics class. We've talked about it some, and I've talked about it a couple times with some other teammates. And all have expressed the same thing; it's a historical moment, it's a great moment to be a part of, and they actually felt like they had a say in the matter in how important this is to pave the way for future America and how amazing it will be to tell your child that you were part of the first black president being elected.
Q. Did you guys both vote absentee?
MAURICE CRUM, JR.: I did.
DAVID BRUTON: Yeah.
End of FastScripts