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September 2, 2009

Kyle McCarthy

Scott Smith

THE MODERATOR: We've got Kyle McCarthy and Scott Smith here in the media room.

Q. Talk about the challenge of the pistol offense?
KYLE McCARTHY: We've been talking about it all week. It's kind of an unconventional offense. Kind of a mixture of a balanced offense with an option attack.
And like we've been talking about all week, we just really need to zero in on our reads and our keys and stay in position and not try to do too much, and we'll be all right.

Q. Are there any teams that you think about maybe or portions of things you can lean on to use against this?
KYLE McCARTHY: Yeah, it's a little bit different because it's not like anything we've ever seen before. But there's obviously some option mixed in. So you have a little bit of Michigan and Navy in there. But they're more than capable of passing the ball with success. So we've got to be ready for anything.

Q. Can you talk about the quarterback Colin Kaepernick and what challenges he brings?
SCOTT SMITH: Well, definitely has a great skill set, just being able to throw the ball, definitely a threat as a runner, being able to throw on the run, get out on the move.
So big, tall guy, who is probably one of the better quarterbacks that we're going to face all year. So definitely has a great skill set.

Q. (Off microphone)?
KYLE McCARTHY: Evan has done a great job this week, extremely talented playing baseball and football. And he's worked his butt off for us this week. Being a fifth year senior, Evan could have easily thrown in the towel. But from what I heard, he willingly went to Coach Weis to be the scout team guy this week. So he's just been a team player this week and helped our defense out and given us good looks.

Q. How is this week different for you, what happens this week?
SCOTT SMITH: I think the biggest thing, this being a game week -- on the practice field, different atmosphere, different feeling with all the players, just knowing that the weeks leading up to it, the game always seems so far away, especially when you start training camp.
But where we sit now it being Wednesday and the game's on Saturday, everybody is getting that itch; we're close to getting this thing kicked off.
KYLE McCARTHY: The defense is just excited to hit someone else. So we're pretty excited about that.

Q. Both of you, last year your opening game was a bit shaky?
SCOTT SMITH: I can't predict the future, I don't know how much different it's going to be. But I do know our team is ready to play this week.
And we've really prepared well this offseason as well as this fall camp. And confidence for us is very high right now. Obviously Nevada is more than capable of coming in here and winning. They're very good on offense and pretty good on defense. We have to play within ourselves and can't try to do too much. And hopefully we come out on top.
KYLE McCARTHY: Biggest thing we're looking forward to is go out on the field Saturday and show everybody what we've been doing up until this point and just prove, with our performance on the field, that we can back up how good we think we're going to be.

Q. (Question about nerves)
KYLE McCARTHY: Not now. Ever since I've been playing, I'll be honest, I get a little nervous before the first game obviously because of the unknown factor. Nevada, we're all talking about their pistol offense. Who knows what they'll really come out and line up in.
You don't know. You can't prepare for some things. They'll have a few wrinkles we haven't prepared for. But we just gotta obviously trust in ourselves and our coaches that we'll know what to do when the time comes.
But as far as getting nervous, after the first play that will all go away. We've been playing football for so long that after the first play you just get in that mentality, or first hit, it will set you straight and you'll be ready to go.
SCOTT SMITH: Biggest thing this is my last chance putting the gold helmet on for that first game in the stadium. So just the excitement personally, for me. I'm sure, a lot of guys, it's their last year, just to know it's their last chance to make a first great impression.

Q. Are you on all the special teams?
SCOTT SMITH: Special teams-wise, just being able to be out there and just contribute to help our team win. We got a lot of talented guys on special teams this year. A lot of guys that can fly around, hit, run, just tons of athleticism all over the field. So we're looking forward to seeing what types of hopefully game-changing plays special teams can make on Saturday.

Q. You know you'll get that first hit out of the way?
SCOTT SMITH: That's kind of good to know, just knowing not having to wait for something, to be able to get that first pop out of the way, get the pads loosened up a little bit and get ready to go from there on up.

Q. Kyle, what teams?
KYLE McCARTHY: I'm on punt this year as well as defense. No, but if coach obviously ever needed me on special teams, I'm ready to go to help my buddy and co-captain Scott Smith out.

Q. (Off mic)?
KYLE McCARTHY: You can't think of Nevada coming out with something other than the pistol. There's only so many formations in offense in football you can line up in.
But, like I said, the way the coaches are playing the defense, we're ready for any adjustment. And our guys have prepared, we've been practicing against the conventional offense all camp.
So whatever Nevada comes out and lines up in, after -- we'll be ready for it. And if we're not, after the first series or whatnot, we've got the coaching staff to get it adjusted on the sideline.
We've seen every Nevada game from last year and been thinking about them ever since last December in Hawaii. It's tough not to overanalyze it, because you think about them -- we've been thinking about them for so long. But, like I said, our guys are just so anxious to play someone else other than ourselves and hit someone else that after the first play it will all go away.

Q. Scott, can you talk about what happened?
SCOTT SMITH: Really, if you try and prepare for a specific offense, there's always something scheme-wise, something that you're not used to. You can go back to your basic fundamentals to get you through whatever you see. And then just from that point on it comes down to playing football and trying to make plays. So really when you overanalyze something as long as you get back to your fundamentals and what got you to that point, then you're really going to be fine.

Q. (Question about Armando and differences throughout camp)?
KYLE McCARTHY: I think this is the best Armando has looked since he's been here. He's quick and he's very strong. And for being a guy that's 230 pounds, he can bring it. And I definitely have noticed a difference this year. He's definitely put his time in in the weight room in this offseason. So it showed so far this fall camp. Hopefully it will show on Saturday.

Q. Scott, have you noticed a difference?
SCOTT SMITH: I think I've noticed that not just with Armando but with most of the offensive guys, just the fact that when you go to tackle, if you don't bring your feet and try and drive through them, there's a good chance that they're going to break little arm tackles if you try and throw a shoulder there. I guess in a way having those offensive guys to be able to bounce off heads really force the defensive guys to be more focused on the fundamentals when they're tackling.

Q. Kyle, this is probably for you more than Scott. I was curious in watching some of the game film from last year, is there anything you guys took from the Boise State game and the way they put a spy on Kaepernick?
KYLE McCARTHY: I think one thing Boise State did well was I think they had a really good game plan for the pistol offense. Obviously Boise State throughout the years has had a pretty good defense and success in the WAC. There are definitely things we could take from Boise State, but we're Notre Dame, a whole different ball club with a whole different coaching staff.
So we have our own game plan and hopefully it works as well as Boise State's did.

Q. And then just one other, you know there's been a lot of talk obviously nationally about coach being on the hot seat and all that. Do you guys take that personally sometimes? Do you put any more pressure on yourself to try to help him through it?
KYLE McCARTHY: It doesn't really put pressure on us. And to be honest with you, a lot of the flack coach takes is undeserved.
What we're trying to do is trying to win football games for entire student body, for the alumni, for the students. And coach obviously has to deal with a whole bunch of things that people are going to say about him. But our focus is just getting this football team ready and preparing to try and win on Saturday.

Q. Coach talked about the depth. Tell us about your roles and how much you come out for rest.
KYLE McCARTHY: I guess we'll have to wait and see, but one thing that it has brought out is competition in practice that I think has been absent in previous years. Especially in the secondary. We can go third string, fourth string guys can be fourth line guys at other schools. Just going against the receivers we have every day in practice, it's really brought the best in everyone and made us game-ready.
SCOTT SMITH: Being a special teams guy, too, that depth really shows up on special teams. Just having some guys, like Kyle said, would be front line players at other schools. Really just taking to heart their special teams role and understanding that playing on special teams isn't something that's only for nonstarters or guys who aren't going to play as much but use that as a way maybe they're not playing as much on offense or defense to work themselves into the mix by making plays.

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