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November 18, 2009

Kyle McCarthy

Scott Smith

THE MODERATOR: We have Kyle McCarthy and Scott Smith. Questions, please.

Q. What do you anticipate the mood of the team being on Saturday? What do you anticipate you feeling on Saturday for the last game?
KYLE McCARTHY: I just feel the team being ready to go. There's a whole bunch of older guys on this team, seniors playing their last game. We're taking it in. We're getting the team ready to go. We got to put the last couple weeks behind us and move forward. We're ready to do that and ready to get going.

Q. How about individually? Talking to guys yesterday, they said you got to almost bottle that up because it can be a distraction.
KYLE McCARTHY: Yeah, I mean, obviously it's our last game. It's a little bit bittersweet. Last game at home at least. We can't let that be a distraction either because we have a game to go out and win.
We just need to find the correct balance to take it all in, but, you know, know we have a game to play and we have to do our job.
SCOTT SMITH: I think especially with it being the last game, just wanting to go out and have their best performance in Notre Dame Stadium they've had. I think that desire, at least by myself to play my best game, hopefully will carry through, allow me and the other guys to make plays on Saturday to help send all the seniors out in the right way.

Q. Probably an impossible question to answer. You have shown so much fight at the ends of games to come back and battle. What is the secret to getting that in the first or second quarter so maybe you don't have to fight like crazy at the end?
KYLE McCARTHY: You know, I don't really know the exact answer. Sometimes it's just how the game goes. But it's up to the leaders on the team to try to get guys going early on, get a sense of urgency going from the opening kick.

Q. Scott, do you have any idea on that one?
SCOTT SMITH: There's really not like one thing that you can point to. I think just like Kyle said, from here on out, it's up to the leaders, not just captains, to make sure we get off to a fast start. I don't think that's going to be an issue this Saturday with guys being pretty jacked up to go, because it's going to be our last time out there.
We don't want to say during the week, Practice for the senior, win this one for the seniors. But as seniors, we're going to do everything in our power, you know, to make sure we're ready to go right from the opening kickoff and hopefully bring the other guys along with us.

Q. It seems like a very smart thing what Coach Weis seems to be doing this week, which is basically giving the team as much to you guys as he possibly can. Do you agree with that assessment? Do you like it?
KYLE McCARTHY: I agree with it. You know, at this point in the season, sometimes players tend to hit a wall. Coach Weis does everything he can to get us going. Sometimes guys are out there playing and leading the team, could help our team get going as well.
Coach Weis is definitely still being heard. He's still talking to the team, getting us going. He's also letting some of the guys on the team let their voice be heard as well, which I think is going to work pretty well.
SCOTT SMITH: I think Coach Weis has taken a majority of the responsibility for good and bad that's happened this season. This week it's up to the captains and the leaders to take that onus of responsibility on us. If the team is not ready to go on Saturday, it's on us. If we don't get off to that fast start, it's on us. We realize that. That's not added pressure on us; that's an opportunity to have more of an impact to send us out the right way on Saturday.

Q. You said he's going to let people in your position talk to the team. I'm guessing you want to keep it short and sweet. Is there a simple message you want to impart? What has it been like in that way?
SCOTT SMITH: I think there's different guys that are going to have different messages, especially about the different takeaways they might have as they're kind of walking out the door here. Some guys may talk about the relationships they've had with their teammates, how important that has been to them, other guys may talk about their experiences in Notre Dame Stadium, what they're expecting for the rest of the season, the idea of just banding together, coming together as one for these last two games, putting all our focus towards this Saturday.
Each individual guy has their own individual personality that's going to come through. Really whatever it is that they feel is necessary and important to talk about, that's exactly what we want to hear.

Q. You mentioned those memories, Scott. Can you talk about what your fondest memory inside the stadium is in?
SCOTT SMITH: There's been a lot of great memories. The game my freshman year against USC, probably one of the greatest games I've ever been a part of, whether I played or didn't. The biggest thing I'm going to take away from playing is just the opportunity to run through the tunnel. Every time we play at home, get a chance to smack that 'Play Like a Champion' sign, reflect on what's happened in there before, knowing I had an opportunity to be a part of that tradition, part of that history is something real special to me.

Q. Is that hard to imagine doing that for one last time?
SCOTT SMITH: Yeah, it's hard. I think it's going to be pretty emotional. Like Kyle said, you have to try to bottle those up the best you can, use those to your advantage, wanting to go out and play your last game, your best game at home.

Q. Kyle?
KYLE McCARTHY: I don't know if I could put any one exact best memory down. But, you know, just the whole experience of playing in Notre Dame Stadium, one of the most storied places to play any sporting event, one of the most storied football programs in the country. Just the whole experience of putting on the gold helmet and hitting the 'Play Like a Champion' sign, running out on the field where so many great players played before you, just try to take it all in and make it a lasting memory.

Q. What do you see from UConn? What problems do they pose as an offense?
KYLE McCARTHY: They have a lot of different weapons. I think they run the ball really well. They're physical up front. You know, they throw a lot of formations at you. But then again, they'll line up with three or four wide receivers, throw the ball around the field.
It's going to be a challenge for us, but one that we're ready for.

Q. Scott?
SCOTT SMITH: Same thing as Kyle. The first thing, they have two very talented runningbacks who both can hurt you in similar but different ways. You have guys more of downhill between the tackle guy, you know, speed guy on the edge. But both guys can do a whole bunch of things well that pose a dangerous threat to any defense.

Q. What is it like facing a quarterback you see one of your own guys?
KYLE McCARTHY: You know, he's on the other team now, so our job is to try to make his life miserable. You know, he's a good quarterback, though. We can attest to that. We've seen it firsthand. He's got talent to have a big game. So, you know, we're preparing not to let that happen.

Q. Can you guys just talk about where you see the program standing right now, how you would like to help it finish out as you go out the door here.
KYLE McCARTHY: Well, you know, obviously the season isn't what we had hoped for at this point. But there's also a whole lot of football left to be played. The only thing we can do is look forward and try to finish strong and let our last couple games be some good memories. Just try to leave this program with two, three wins, well, three wins obviously, just try to leave it on a better note than what we are right now.

Q. Scott?
SCOTT SMITH: I agree with Kyle. Just try and leave here, you know, with kind of a positive taste in our mouth, just being able to go out and win the last games that we're going to be a part of, set the guys up that are going to be here next year to kind of take another run at things.
I think our biggest job is just to make sure that with these last, you know, three games that we have, is just to give everything we have, you know, on the field, as leaders of the team to make sure everybody is in the frame of mind not only to finish out this year strong but to kind of move forward into next year.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, everyone.

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