Blue and Gold Illustrated

February 2019

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

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Page 22 of 47 FEBRUARY 2019 23 NOTRE DAME HEAD COACH BRIAN KELLY … On the loss: "I feel terrible for our seniors. They put us on the brink of a championship. It's now up to every- body else that has eligibility in that locker room to get this football team to a championship. "The challenge in that locker room now is to dedicate themselves to taking what this senior group has given the group that comes back and running with it and win- ning a championship." On what positives Notre Dame could take: "More than anything else, if you look at the last two years, this is a team that's won 22 out of 25 games. It's a really good, strong, solid f o o t b a l l p ro g r a m t h a t needs to continue to work towards a championship. We don't play for a confer- ence championship. So it's the ultimate goal. "We're in here licking our wounds after being one of the four teams. That's a good place to take stock and get stronger from it." NOTRE DAME JUNIOR QUARTERBACK IAN BOOK … On if the result is some- thing to build on for next year: "Definitely. This loss hurts. And we'll worry about next year in a little bit. You see a team like Clemson, you know this is playoff football, and this is what you're going to get. And we know how we have to play to win in games like this. "We'll worry about that when we start working out again and getting back as a team. We've just got to play better. But now we know what it's like, and we know what we have to do to win." NOTRE DAME SENIOR WIDE RECEIVER MILES BOYKIN … On frustration of the performance on a big stage: "I think I'd be fine with losing if we played as good as we could have. That just didn't happen, and there's frustra- tion from that. "It's hard losing in a semifinal game when you give it all you've got. It's taken all season for us to get here and just one game can wipe it out like that." NOTRE DAME SOPHOMORE GUARD AARON BANKS … On his individual performance: "It's never as good as you think or as bad as you think. I need to watch the film when we get back so that I can see where I played well and what I can work on." NOTRE DAME SENIOR CENTER SAM MUSTIPHER … On his takeaways from the game: "I'm proud to be a part of Notre Dame, proud to be a part of this tradition, proud to be a part of the group of guys that went out there and competed today. "There's nothing to hang my head about." NOTRE DAME SENIOR LINEBACKER TE'VON CONEY … On what was running through his mind being a senior: "A lot, just not knowing what's next for me. But I just put my faith in God and believe that everything happens for a reason. This is a tough loss, just knowing how hard we worked to get to this point. "It just kills me inside to know that it didn't turn out in our favor. But you've got to move forward, have faith in God and keep going." NOTRE DAME SENIOR LINE- BACKER DRUE TRANQUILL … On his journey at Notre Dame: "I am forever grateful to the gold and blue and for all the fans and the coaching staff that believed in me. All the players that have put so much into this. "Notre Dame will always be family. It will always be in my heart." NOTRE DAME JUNIOR CORNERBACK JULIAN LOVE … On what made defending Clemson's wide receivers difficult: "On defense we said all season it's not about who we play, it's about what we do. That's led us to be successful for the whole en- tire year. And today we got away from what we were doing. "We've played big receivers before. We've played a va- riety of different types of receivers. It was just being our best in our scheme. And that's what we failed at tonight. It wasn't necessarily what they were doing. It was lack of attention on our part." NOTRE DAME JUNIOR SAFETY ALOHI GILMAN … On if he feels Clemson is four scores better: "No, I still don't believe it. I think we could've competed, and we definitely could've won this game. That's my opinion. "It just came down to small details that we didn't ex- ecute. They were physically more dominant than us and a lot faster than us. We didn't execute the way we were supposed to." — Corey Bodden and David McKinney FROM THE LOCKER ROOM Senior linebacker Te'von Coney made 16 tackles — one off his career high set last year in the Citrus Bowl — during his final game in a Fighting Irish uniform. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA

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