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Transcript: Jeff Brohm previews Notre Dame

Louisville v NC State Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

Video available here

(Opening Statement)

“We’re definitely excited about this week. I know our players are looking forward to playing a top-quality opponent like Notre Dame in front of a great atmosphere at our stadium. It’s just a tremendous opportunity for our football team this Saturday night. Once again, we got to learn from the last game and how to correct some mistakes, get better, be more efficient, and try to play as solid as we can for 60 minutes. We’ll work hard this week on doing that and also preparing for Notre Dame. When you look at Notre Dame, they’re extremely talented and very good on film. They’re very, very strong on defense – strong, athletic, they’ll cover you. They rank in the top of the nation in a lot of categories, so it’ll be a challenge for us to be efficient and move the football. On offense, they’re going to pound you and run the football and utilize their experienced quarterback, really good running back and tight end, and then work from there, so we’ll have our hands full. We’re going to have to win a lot of the small battles, not turn the ball over, be efficient, be good in the red zone, and find ways to get turnovers. That’s going to be the recipe for trying to come out with a victory, but I know we’re looking forward to playing a really high-quality opponent on our home field.”

(On keeping the fanfare surrounding the game from being a distraction)

“I actually don’t think it’ll be a distraction. Our guys have worked really hard. They know what’s ahead of us. We try to treat everything as a one-game season. Without question, this is an unbelievable opportunity for our football team to go out and play a high-quality opponent. As I’ve said earlier this season, the schedule just continues to get tougher and tougher and more challenging, which means we got to get better and better. We have to get better each and every week in order to win. That’ll be a constant throughout the rest of the season, and it’ll start this week. But when you have your fans behind you and on the field and loud and in the stands, you have to feed off that, so we got to find ways to be efficient, make some plays, get them behind us, affect the other team, and use that as ways to gain an advantage.”

(On Brian Brohm being honored this weekend)

“Well, I’m glad you reminded me. I forgot all about that. Brian is our little brother but yes, he’s very talented and he’s accomplished a lot. I think he was a great player – we all got a chance to watch him play. He was just a tremendous passing quarterback who did a lot of great things and now we have him on staff. He’s bright, he’s very smart, he’s always had great poise in the pocket and been very calm unlike myself, so I applaud him for that and he helps our quarterbacks do the same. Any great players that come through here, it’s great to recognize and Brian obviously did some great things, so we’re definitely very happy for him and hopefully we can have a good day on Saturday.”

((Sam) Hartman is a very experienced guy; he’s been around awhile. He had one of his worst games of his career here last year. What are the things that you have to be most aware of and what does he do most effectively?)

“Anytime you have that experience, it’s a plus, and he definitely utilizes that. He’s very calm in the pocket. He’s played a lot of football. He’s played in a lot of different offenses. This offense fits him very well because they run the football, utilize the tight ends, ask him to do enough but not carry the football team on his back. But when he has to, he could do that for sure. So, I think as you watch him play, just like every quarterback, and just what they did to him here last year, if you can apply some pressure, get after him, and make the decisions harder for him, cover receivers tighter and get in the backfield, it affects everybody. It definitely affected him this past year when they played him, so that’s a key for everybody, and definitely for a guy with his type of experience. If you look at the last game against Duke, he was very efficient. There was a period there where they got after him and blitzed him quite a bit and they had him on his heels, and then when they dropped eight on fourth and 16 to try to seal the game, he made them pay for it. I just think he’s very smart, he’s very intelligent, he’s played a lot of football, and if you make one or two mistakes, he’s going to capitalize and turn it into a touchdown.”

(Defensively for Notre Dame, are they similar to NC State, or do they do things totally differently?)

“This will be the most talented defense we’ve played to date without question. They’ve got talent and size and athleticism at all the positions. Up front, they’re big and stout and stop the run and get after the quarterback. The linebacking core is athletic, they can run and tackle and it shows up on field. In the secondary, some really, really good players led by a dominant corner on one side, and they don’t give up many yards in the passing game, so they’re going to guard you and man you up and going to apply pressure at the same and not give up a lot of easy completions. This is going to be a great challenge for us on offense to be efficient, move the ball, get points.”

(You had a lot of new transfers come in, what do you attribute to things working as well as they have and guys making big plays on both sides of the ball?)

“I think one of the things we really don’t talk about is all of the new players we were going to have this past year. I think it’s going to happen every year. I think every year you’re going to have new players arrive with the way this transfer portal is set up. You get them here as fast as you can. Hopefully get them here in the spring, if not, you get them here in the summer. There’s times in the summer months to kind of get them on the field on their own and get a plan together where they can work on their own without us legally being out there. And what you have to utilize and then in fall camp, you have to put it all together and you have to get as many reps in as you can. I think that our guys have practiced a lot. They should understand what they’re doing. Obviously, there are some nuances that we have to continue to correct that does take a little time. There were some things in the past game that we weren’t as precise on that we need to be better at and crisper at. We have to work hard at getting better at that. But these guys have worked hard and they play hard and they’ve played until the end so I give them all of the credit. They hung in there when things didn’t look good at halftime and we hadn’t scored a point, we were down by 10 points and they were positive. They knew that we’ve been there before. Down at halftime and up at halftime and things didn’t go as well. We just had to figure it out and play hard. But, they were into it and I give them a lot of credit. They played hard until the very end – they finished the game. They didn’t give up. They don’t point fingers. They know that every game is probably going to be like that. If we can have some games that aren’t like that, that’s great, but every game is going to go down to the wire. You’ve got to be able to hang in there and play tough for 60 minutes and block out a couple of negative things that happen along the way and try to overcome it. When it’s over, you look at the scoreboard and hope that you have enough points. These guys have done a good job at that to this point.”

(Louisville is ranked for the first time in a longtime. Is there a sense of pride and confidence with the number next to your name or do you just keep moving on?)

“For our fans, our players, and families, anything like that is always great for us. The ranking at the end is what matters most and we understand that. I’ve been on teams where we started 6-0 and we lost the next six games. I’ve been on other teams where we’ve started bad and we found a way to win a lot of big games. So, this thing can change really fast. As soon as you think that you’re comfortable and going in the right direction, you’re going to get hit in the mouth and knocked to the ground. We have to push forward. This team we’re playing – if we are not ready to play and hitting on all cylinders, it’ll be a long day. We have to play really good football in order to win. I think we know that some mistakes we’ve made in the last few weeks, we’ve got to correct and try not to allow them to happen again. We need to play a tough brand of football if we want to win against Notre Dame.”

(With the 5-0 start and the national broadcasted game against Notre Dame, have you noticed more on the recruiting front? How big of a showcase will this game be for what you want to do in recruiting?)

“I think the recruiting is always important. That part has gone pretty well to this point. Everything matters – developing relationships, winning football games, showing them a plan to help them achieve their goals to get to the next level. We just have to continue to work through that as we are playing this season. Whether it’s high school recruits or transfer recruits, we’ve still got to be in the ballgame and ready to compete. So yes, winning matters. It’s important that we go out and play a good brand of football this week and try to find a way to win. If you just keep pushing forward, the recruiting can pick up even more. I think we’ve got a good plan together to do the best job at continuing to bring in great prospects that want to be a part of this. We have a lot to sell – a tremendous stadium, a great fan base and young, hungry players. We have a coaching staff that works really hard to help develop our guys and do it the right way. So everything matters. And of course, winning football games is very important.”