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January 3, 2007

Brady Quinn

Charlie Weis

Tom Zbikowski


COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, I'm really disappointed in how that game turned out. We give credit to LSU, from right before the two-minute -- that little two-minute touchdown they got right before halftime, for the rest of the game they really laid the wood on us. I'm very disappointed for the fact that the first 28 minutes of the game you play an even-steven game and really back when you're down 14-0, come back and score two touchdowns and tie it up and we both traded missed field goals.
Obviously giving up that score before halftime was a little bit of a downer, but I felt in the locker room at halftime that things were calm and under control, and I saw no signs that we played a completely crummy half. It was a completely crummy second half. The defense gave up points, the offense was going 4 and out the first drive and then I think 3 and out for the next bunch of drives after that, and the defense got worn out. I think that you've got to give credit to LSU, but we're very disappointed with our play, especially in the second half.

Q. Tom, this question is for you. Second half, seemed like JaMarcus Russell had plenty of time to throw the ball and had opportunities to kind of pick his spots. What happened in the second half that you weren't able to get the kind of pressure you would like?
TOM ZBIKOWSKI: I'm not sure what was going on with the defensive line but obviously we were giving them too much space to throw the ball, receivers too open, not being physical enough with them, just drop back and be able to throw off the timing and he'd hit his receivers.

Q. Tom, how did this offense compare to some of the other top offenses you've seen this year, USC's, Michigan's?
TOM ZBIKOWSKI: Solid offense. I mean, put up some points, but we gave them too much. Any time you give them too much they're going to look pretty good, but they've got a lot of weapons, a lot of talent. You've definitely got to give them credit, but we definitely didn't play the way we wanted to.

Q. (Inaudible)?
TOM ZBIKOWSKI: No, I didn't see any speed that we haven't seen before.

Q. Brady, it seemed like you had some time tonight but weren't getting a lot of completions.
BRADY QUINN: Obviously it was a team effort, and we really weren't converting on 3rd down, making plays when we had the opportunity, and really when you look at it, we weren't productive.

Q. Brady, it seemed like Darius had the kind of first half that would have kept y'all right where you wanted to be. You seemed to have the balance you needed. How did you feel after the way he ran the ball in the first half and what happened in the second half?
BRADY QUINN: That was a big help. I think that obviously opened up some things for us, once we saw the running game take off. Our line did a great job of handling some different movement and fronts that we were seeing, so you've got to give them credit for getting downfield and being able to make some moves.

Q. Coach mentioned the touchdown right before the half. How deflating was that because it seemed in the third quarter you did hold them to field goals. Did you feel like you were one play away from getting a turnover, making a stop and changing the game?
TOM ZBIKOWSKI: Those were big plays we can't give up, which is why they put so many points on the board. You've got to be able to hold them and not let receivers run down the field wide open. You've got to take the blame for that being the defensive back. You've got to make plays, but we didn't. Any time a team can make a 50-yard completion with two minutes to go, that hurts.

Q. Brady, can you in any way put into words the emotions I guess you were feeling the last few minutes and then now after the game, now that the four years are over?
BRADY QUINN: You know, it's tough. Notre Dame has been a great place for me, somewhere that I've grown to love, and I think the best part about it was the people. Coach Weis and his staff, they did nothing but really drive us, push us, make us better, push us past our limits, and I can't forget these guys up here, Zibby and the rest of the class I came in with and the fifth-year seniors, we've been through so much, and it's really a testament to the type of people that they are. We've made some relationships and bonds that will never be broken. I just want to thank the University for giving us the chance, supporting us and doing everything that they've done for the past four years since I've been there.

Q. It seemed like LSU spread the field out with four or five wide receivers than they did in the regular season. Playing the game tonight did you expect LSU to spread it out as much as they did?
TOM ZBIKOWSKI: Yeah, I think so. Watching them the way they used their screens, and they do try and spread out the ball, we were expecting that, but they definitely ran a little bit more than what we were expecting. Some of those quarterback draws and some of those zone plays, but they definitely ran a little bit more than what we were used to -- four wide than what we were used to.

Q. Charlie, can you talk about the decision to go for that fake on the first drive?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: When they put their field goal safe team on, any time you get past your own 40 yard line and leave their defense on the field, so we had determined the first time we got the ball between the 30 and the 40 yard line, okay, as long as they gave us a balanced front, which they ran on that play, as long as they didn't overload to the right-hand side where we were going to run, we were going to call it. It was a check with me, and they gave us the look that we had practiced it against, and they made a play. But if you're going to put in a play like that, when you call it, the first time it shows up, you're going to run it and we ran it.

Q. Although you guys didn't come back and tie, did you feel, hey, maybe --
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: No, I didn't feel that it had an impact in the outcome of the game. They came back and scored a touchdown. Obviously I was the most concerned I was in the game in the first half when it got to 14-0 where here it is, and this team outscores everyone so bad early in the game, this game was capable in the first half of getting away from us. I thought the guys battled back well and overcame that 14-0 lead in the short field after the stop on the fake punt on the first drive.

Q. Did LSU do anything that you didn't expect them to do? And second, compare the LSU team to Michigan and USC, the other two losses.
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Let's just talk about LSU. I don't want to get into comparing other teams. But I will answer the first question. One thing they did do, it wasn't like we weren't ready for their four-wide package, but they ran a lot of empty (backfield) tonight, and in their four-wide package, JaMarcus pulled it down a few times for a couple of big plays. So they did a nice job of going in and out from spreading the field with three wide receivers to four wide receivers to them putting down two wide receivers, and I think they called a nice game and put a lot of pressure on our defense.

Q. In previous games where you've struggled, the offensive line struggled. Seemed like you had a lot of time today but had season low passing. Did you think Brady was off?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I think we practiced a lot of three-step drop passes that we threw in the game and we ended up not having them thrown and caught. One gets tipped, one arm gets pulled down, one we drop, one the ball bounced up. There was a combination of a bunch of those things. We weren't looking to hold the ball a long time in this game and we really didn't. We wanted to establish the running game, which we did, but now it gets to the third quarter and it's 24 and it's 27 and now it's 34 and the game is starting to get away from us.

Q. Can you comment at all on Brady's legacy here, so many passing records set, but this year when you look at the three losses, just wasn't able to get it done?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I don't think he was the biggest problem, though; that's the problem. The quarterback is the easiest one to blame. Hey, I'm the head coach, I'll gladly sit there and take the bullets for the team. But the quarterback is the easiest one to look at when you say, well, he's 15 for 35. I think when we go back and look at this game and look at the game film and look at a lot of the potential plays that were out there, it wouldn't have made a difference for us winning the game but it would have made the game a lot closer. I don't think he was the sole problem out there.

Q. The strip, the fumble at the start of the third quarter, what was the explanation that you got from the officials and how big was that turn in momentum?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I thought it was significant. I thought it was significant. Now, of course, I have the naked eye, so it's easy for me to sit there, of course I'm going to argue and say it's our ball. But they said it was a fumble, but our guy did not have possession of the ball when he was going out of bounds. So with that being said, I said, "you mean to tell me that upstairs they could come to that judgment," and they said "yes, they came to that judgment." So what am I supposed to say? Who am I to say when they have 50 replays that they can judge by? But I thought it was potential momentum-changer because here you have a 21 to 14 game and now all of a sudden you're getting the ball on the plus-31 yard line and you go in to score and now it's 21-21, who knows what's going to happen. I'm not saying that determined the outcome of the game, but I think momentum was starting to go the other way right there.

Q. Charlie, it's been said 9 and 3 isn't good enough, so where would 10 and 3 register with an ending like this one?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I'd say for me personally it's disappointing. That's where it is. 10 and 3 is just the fact that you played one more game. I'd say losing that game -- you know, I'm very disappointed with how this played out here at the end. You end the season with two games, USC on the road and a Bowl game, got handled pretty good in both those games. I'm going to have to do a better job.

Q. All season long you've been talking about limiting as far as mistakes. How much do you see that this loss has mental mistakes compared to LSU being a better team?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I'm going to have to go back and I'm going to have to really watch the defensive tape because sometimes during the game, even though I hear the defensive calls I'm trying to get the offensive stuff straightened out first. I'm going back and forth between the two. I didn't think the offensive game came down to mental mistakes. I think it came down to not very good execution in the second half. That's really what I felt.
Defensively I know that they were well balanced and rushed for over 300 and threw for 300. I'm going to have to go back and evaluate and find out whether the mistakes were physical or mental, but at this point it would be premature on my part.

Q. You said 10 and 3 is disappointing. What do you think needs to happen for the program to reach the next level where you're no longer disappointed?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I think the first thing that's got to happen is everyone has got to be thinking the same way I'm thinking; they can't be content with going 10 and 3 and going to a Bowl game and getting their clocks cleaned. I think that that's my responsibility.
It's easy for me to sit there and blame the players, but I'd really be at fault for doing that. Okay, what I need to do is figure out a way to get these guys -- I wouldn't say motivated because they definitely are motivated, but we've got to turn the corner because right now we're just a nice team. We're a nice, solid team, okay, but you want to be an upper echelon team. You don't want to be just a solid team, you want to be a team competing for a National Championship. That just won't cut it with how this ended.

Q. Between the big pass plays and the second half turnover that was turned over, did this remind you of the Fiesta Bowl in some ways?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: You know, if you're just referring to the Zibby play last year that was a potential game-changing play, maybe so, but look at the stats. When they have over 500 yards and we have under 300 yards and we dropped some balls and missed some throws and catches, really the one bright spot is we came into the game wanting to control the line of scrimmage, and to be honest with you, we controlled the line of scrimmage. That was everyone's -- the big thing is, well, we're not going to be able to handle them. I thought that's the one thing we did do, but we didn't make enough plays, and really that's what it comes down to. Offensive football comes down to play-making.

Q. Two things: What happened to Landri, and secondly, Carlson, did they do something to take him away?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: We had to use him a little bit more on protection, so we kind of took him away a little bit by what we were doing because what we didn't want to do is hang Sam out to dry over there, over on the right side. So that's why he probably wasn't utilized as much as he was in some other games because I didn't want a freshman right tackle to be exposed to their best pass rusher in a one-on-one setting the whole day. It's also the reason I'm a little reluctant to go into two-minute (drill) because on two-minute when we are releasing Carlson on every play then you're exposing him just the same.
He had a knee. I don't know the severity of the knee, but I know that they told me that they were going to bring him in and put an ice bag on him and that he was going to be returning to the game.

Q. Did you go in with the idea of using a lot of defensive linemen because you seemed to rotate.
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: As a matter of fact, I told Jappy (Oliver) this morning that I didn't want all the twos to go in at one time, but I told him to start rotating after about ten plays, rotating guys through there so we weren't dying in the fourth quarter. Really the reason you're dying in the fourth quarter is a complementary thing where the offense is going three and out, they're on a long drive and it's three and out and now they're on the field most of the second half.

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