Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 24, 2018

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 28 of 55 SEPT. 24, 2018 29 NOTRE DAME HEAD COACH BRIAN KELLY … On if there is anything about his team that has sur- prised him the first three weeks: "No, I thought we'd have some growing pains on offense in terms of young backs. I think the pieces are there, but it was going to take some time, especially knowing what the schedule looked like early. "We were going to have to really play physical and play hard, and play every play." On the defense playing well on all three levels: "Each week we've had different players from the de- fensive line to linebacker, to the back end of the defense [making big plays]. "Whether it's the corner, the safety, whether it's Te'von Coney, whether it's Khalid Kareem, they're probably putting together a pretty good defensive product, and that's what we're seeing." NOTRE DAME SENIOR QUARTERBACK BRANDON WIMBUSH … On the offensive line's performance: "I feel like they improved day in and day out, and I think they take it upon themselves to put me in the best position to make me feel good back there. "Those guys really care about me. And obviously, when Ian [Book] goes in they care about Ian. I thought they improved today." On why he feels the Irish offense played well in win despite scoring just 22 points: "They're an SEC defense, and they have personnel that is going to match up with a lot of offenses. Those guys are on scholarship, too, and they prepare. They practice all week; they watch film. "For the most part, we did what we wanted to do. Maybe not execute, but we came out and we fought hard. We started strong. We started fast, and we fin- ished strong. That's been an emphasis this week, and I think we did that." On fifth-year senior tight end Nic Weishar's touch- down: "Every time he catches the ball you see the rest of the sideline get so riled up. It's awesome to have a fifth-year guy who came back and wanted to contribute to more than just winning football games, but to the community. It's such a bigger picture for Weish. "We're excited for him. Whenever he gets the ball or wherever he's targeted, he typically catches it and makes a great play, like he did today." NOTRE DAME JUNIOR RUNNING BACK TONY JONES JR. … On getting 17 carries: "I felt like I was in high school again. Probably next week I'll do the same thing, and the week after." On if getting to start was important: "Me and Jafar Armstrong are really good running backs. I wouldn't worry about whoever is starting. We're just playing our game." NOTRE DAME FIFTH-YEAR SENIOR LINEBACKER DRUE TRANQUILL … On if he was worried about the outcome: "I'm never worried with this group. There were some calls down the stretch there like the pass interference on Troy Pride that might have been questionable. "We turned right back around and made a stop. It's just the resiliency of this group. We'll have corrections to make, obviously, and we'll be ready to go next week." NOTRE DAME JUNIOR SAFETY ALOHI GILMAN … On Notre Dame's improved safety play: "It's just experience, that's one thing. We've got a lot more expe- rience in the back end. We come out to practice, and we know how hard we work. "We put confidence in each other. When you do that, you play with an edge. I try to play with an edge. I've got a little chip on my shoulder, and all our safeties do." On his forced fumble: "Troy had him up, so initially I was just trying to get him away from scoring. First man tackle, second man get the strip." FROM THE LOCKER ROOM Fifth-year senior linebacker Drue Tranquill made a team-best and career- high nine solo tackles against Vanderbilt. PHOTO BY ANGELA DRISKELL

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