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UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME MEDIA CONFERENCE


October 20, 2012


Manti Te'o


BYU 14
NOTRE DAME 17


MANTI TE'O: Half‑time we knew we just had to get it together and regroup and get after it.
I mean, it just shows the kind of character we have, not only on defense but as a team, and Coach Diaco really came in and helped us to just settle. We just have to settle down and just play our brand of football.

Q. Describe the interception, what happened on that play?
MANTI TE'O: They ran a double screen with a tight end delay right down the middle, similar to Miami's play, and I reacted on the ball and the guy, the receiver, took the ball and it just run through my hands.

Q. Inaudible.
MANTI TE'O: Oh, it was great. Our coaching staff did a tremendous job in adapting, and our players, too, just identifying things on the field. That's the type of communication we have with each other and it goes a long way.

Q. How big of a part is Danny Spond to this team?
MANTI TE'O: It's huge. You saw him come up big at the end and you can see him just get better and continues to help our team win.

Q. Does it help to have a couple of close ones and that can serve you well down the stretch?
MANTI TE'O: I think for us, we are just trying to win. You know, I think whatever fashion, whatever way that happens, we're just trying to win. It came down to the wire. This game happened to come down to the wire and I'm proud of the way our guys rallied and pulled off the victory.

Q. What do you think about‑‑
MANTI TE'O: Our team has a lot of heart. We stay together and they are‑‑ football is very unpredictable. You have your ups and your downs and the most important thing is staying together when we hit adversity and that's exactly what we did.

Q. Coach said you weren't that excited when you came in‑‑ why not?
MANTI TE'O: We understood there's a lot of things we could do differently. There's a lot of mistakes that we made but a win is a win and we are very happy with what we have accomplished today and we are going to come back on Monday and really focus on what we did wrong.

Q. Inaudible?
MANTI TE'O: The same, I think we are just going to stick to the plan. If everybody sticks to the plan, everything should be okay.

Q. You've been in a lot of close games over the years and they have not always gone for you guys; what's the difference this year?
MANTI TE'O: Just the mentality of our guys. We want to win. When we get into these close games, the mentality now is we are going to do whatever it takes to win. It's no longer just crossing our fingers and going please, please, please, waiting for the next shoe to drop. We are always just trying to be that person‑‑ making things happen.

Q. Giving up two in the first half, you must be thinking‑‑
MANTI TE'O: I mean, I think for us, we understood that we were beating ourselves and a lot of guys‑‑ we just needed to just stay together.
A lot of us were anxious and excited and we weren't playing our brand of football. We came in at half‑time and settled down and the result is the whole team just playing our brand of football.

Q. Did you anticipate, they did a really good job of making you defend on the sideline the first half‑‑
MANTI TE'O: They are a really good football team and we understood that coming in today and it was going to be a fight. Hats off to them for just a great college football game.

Q. When is the last time you played a game when you knew so many people on the other side of the people?
MANTI TE'O: Yeah, I knew a lot of people, a lot of the coaches. It's good when they step inside those stripes to be the opponent, but after the‑‑ reunite with my friends.

Q. You said you wouldn't allow yourself to get too emotional in this game?
MANTI TE'O: No, I played‑‑ I was rather calm. I'm very happy and proud of myself‑‑ kind of hard.

Q. Being happen ear after the win‑‑ is that the sign of an ultra‑mature team to take the wins as they come and not get too up or too down?
MANTI TE'O: Yeah, I think for us we understood that. A win is a win and we just have to work on just the little things. We understand that we didn't play our brand of football for all four quarters. Our guys came in understanding that. But Coach Kelly said, hey, we are 7‑0 and that goes to show where our team is at.

Q. After they got 14, you guys shut them down. Talk about that.
MANTI TE'O: You know, BYU has done a good job in executing and we were doing a good job‑‑ and we understood that we just have to relax and settle down and play our brand of football and everybody do their job and everything should be fine and that's exactly what we did.

Q. The interception‑‑
MANTI TE'O: Oh, man, I was just excited. Defending the defender, that's something I have to work on.

Q. Defensive players‑‑
MANTI TE'O: I don't know. I really don't know. I think that's something that you have to ask the people that are actually in charge of that.

Q. Do you view yourself as a candidate for that?
MANTI TE'O: I view myself as an integral part of this team and I just want to win. As I said after spring, my whole goal is to win and if I win a Heisman or if I even get invited to New York, I'll be happy, I'll be humbled and happy. But as long as I'm winning, I'll enjoy that.

Q. It's not easy to win in college and Brian stressed that. Do you appreciate that sentiment?
MANTI TE'O: Definitely. It's not easy to win, especially when you're NotreDame and especially when you're now 7‑0. That's what we have to focus in and really just kind of work on the little things. As the season progresses teams kind of forget the little things and forget what got them there and I think our coaching staff does a great job in reminding us that, hey, this is what you did to be here and this is exactly what we've got to do.

Q. You've been a part of‑‑
MANTI TE'O: I mean, you know, it goes back to the saying, defense wins championships. I think our defense, we want to do whatever it takes to win and those 14 points upset us, a lot. So I think it just goes to show how far our defense has come‑‑ inaudible‑‑ and they scored on us again and we were even more mad. We were just trying to dominate. Dominating, you know, to help our team win.

Q. Inaudible.
MANTI TE'O: I didn't really think about it but it's kind of something new. You know, I'm not used to this, so I think it's great for us because, hey, it causes a lot of anxiety for us to be honest. Any time they score‑‑ gosh, not used to this, but we are better because of it now.
We are going to continue to do whatever it takes to dominate and whatever situation occurs, we know how to handle it now.

Q.
MANTI TE'O: I think for us, just being us and just focusing on us and focusing on doing what we've got to do. A lot times it was us and somebody, an individual trying to do too much. When we settle down and focus on just being us and doing our job, that's when things start to happen.

Q. Inaudible?
MANTI TE'O: Oh, my gosh, yeah, it was frustrating at first but we settled down and everybody did their job and we did a good job.

Q. Inaudible.
MANTI TE'O: I try to‑‑ it goes back to the saying, if you want to be the best, you have to do what the best do. Ray Lewis and Patrick Willis are arguably the best in the game and I'm trying to learn‑‑ Ray Lewis, he does his thing and I try to get my guys going in my own way. So I try to‑‑ in order to be the best, I have to try to be that way.

Q. Inaudible.
MANTI TE'O: Oh, definitely, definitely. I think one thing about a leader is you have to know when to talk and when not to. There are a lot of leaders that think a quality of a leader is just talk. I think the strongest leaders are those who not only verbally communicate but communicate by the act, lead by action.
I just told my guys, by the look in their guys, everybody was anxious and everybody was just frustrated, because we were down. We weren't playing our ballgame. I just knew that I had to get my guys to relax and have fun. Just play around, have fun, party, it's party time. Guys were flying around and guys were doing their job and we did pretty good.

Q. Inaudible.
MANTI TE'O: Yeah, I think for us, we just have to‑‑ our main focus is getting after it. We understood that this was going to be a fight‑‑ every game is a fight.

Q. Three straight games‑‑
MANTI TE'O: I think so. I think we understand that we are going to get our opponent's best every single week and we wouldn't want it any other way.
For us, we just have to respond week‑in and week‑out‑‑ the difference teams that we have been presented with, just getting after it.
As a team, we were told that we would have the most difficult schedule in college football, and the way we look at it was like, you know what, if you look at it game by game, it's not that hard.
But when you look at Navy, then, oh, that was Michigan State, Michigan, all those guys, that‑‑ when you focus one at a time, it's rather simple, but that's the difficult part of it is focusing on BYU and not Oklahoma, a and now we have Oklahoma. So we are going to focus on game by game.

Q. Inaudible.
MANTI TE'O: Yeah, I mean, we weren't used to it. At least I wasn't used to it‑‑ running the end zone. It made me mad, and it made a lot of guys mad and when they scored again, it really made us mad. I think we learned; we learned that things are going to happen, and I think the way that our guys responded in the second half was a measure of our character and just our coaching. Coach reef sat us down and got us to relax.

Q. Inaudible.
MANTI TE'O: It's something that is always in the back of my head and for me to even be considered is humbling. I never would have thought in a million years I would be part of that. But for me, my main focus is to win, winning. And if on that way of winning, I happen to be invited to New York, you know, that's great. But for me, my whole thing is to win.

Q. Your family‑‑
MANTI TE'O: They are outside. My parents always love coming here. My dad really loves it and he always calls it his second home. It's just always nice to have them here and have them in the stands.

Q. Inaudible.
MANTI TE'O: It's a combination of great coaching and players who understand what it takes to win. We are not going to wait for a ref to make a call. We are not going to wait for the other shoe to drop or wait for our offense to make a play or wait for our defense to make a play, we are going to go for it and really try to get after it and hopefully win the game.
I think for us, we just want to win and whatever that looks like, we are going to get after it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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