IRISH QB TOMMY REES
September 1, 2013INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
TEMPLE – 6
NOTRE DAME - 28
Q. Just an assessment on how you played out there?
TOMMY REES: Good enough to win the game. Some missed opportunities out there that we need to fix. Pleased with how the entire offense played. We had an opportunity to make some big plays which we did and happy with the performance. There is still a lot of work to go, and we know that and we're ready to move forward.
Q. Are you more confident this year knowing that you're in charge?
TOMMY REES: I think that helps. I think I've learned a lot in my three years previous. I got a great understanding of what's going on out there. All of that adds to the confidence. I have all the confidence in the world in my teammates. My offensive line, the guys out there that make plays for us. I've got confidence in anyone that we're running out there, and that helps an offense a lot.
Q. Tommy, there was a big question about you being able to push the ball down the field, couple nice, long touchdown throws. Talk about those two plays?
TOMMY REES: Yeah, I mean, never doubted the fact that we could drive the ball down the field, really make some deep throws for us. DaVaris did a good job getting open on the early ones. Then we had a couple there later. Good job by the receivers. I put ball where it needed to be and it worked out.
Q. You talked about wanting to improve going to Michigan next week. What are you most looking forward to?
TOMMY REES: Yeah, there are a couple of throws you want back, a couple of balls I missed. You never want those to happen. But just staying consistent with those and really get in the game plan and prepare hard for what Michigan is going to do for us.
Q. DaVaris, the second touchdown you threw to him, Coach Kelly said that's just having a greater understanding of the routes and the coverage. Is that the evolution you've seen from him?
TOMMY REES: Yeah, he did a great job of understanding where the corner was playing him. He cut on a high angle. I knew I saw that pre?snap that we had a pretty good shot out there with the leverage the corner was playing. And DaVaris is a great route runner. T.J. was open to. But we had confidence that DaVaris could take it on the high angle. He's played great. He learned a lot about how defenses are trying to play him, and he'll just continue to get better and better.
Q. Given all you've been through, is there any added pleasure you took from this game?
TOMMY REES: No, none of that. The pleasure for me was being able to go out there and play well enough to get a W. Playing for my teammates, playing for the coaches, playing for the University, the student body was great out there. They had unbelievable support. There is no added benefit for me for some of the hard times I've fallen on, but it's gone well.
Q. You've been through the wars for so many years. How do you try to prepare your teammates for the atmosphere that they're going to be in next week?
TOMMY REES: We've got a lot of guys that played there two years ago. We know Michigan is a rocking place and a rivalry game, everyone's going to be up for it. But we've got to stay confident, stay within ourselves. Really pay attention to the game plan and just if we take care of our business, we won't let the crowd or any of that play into our execution.
Q. Do you feel like you have to improve between this game and the next one to win?
TOMMY REES: Absolutely. I think you need to improve every game to game. Michigan's going to present another challenge for us, and we've just got to stay prepared, stay level headed and just move forward and get ready to execute.
Q. You didn't throw any interceptions today. You were clean. How good does that feel?
TOMMY REES: Anyway to get the W. Obviously, turning the ball over?? not turning ball over gives you the best chance to win. That's been a point?driven into me for a long time. I'm a senior now. I understand a lot of the nuances of playing. That's something that you've got to continue to strive for.
Q. Take me through that touchdown with Troy and then the seam route?
TOMMY REES: Yeah, we got a two?high look. We knew we were going to be one?on?one. Troy did a great job winning with speed down the middle. After he caught the ball, he made a great play for us breaking a couple of tackles. He's shown once he gets going, he can move.
Q. Did you think he was that fast?
TOMMY REES: Yeah, I knew he could move. To be honest, I couldn't see the whole play after I threw it. But I know when we get him in space, he's a big guy and he's hard to bring down. Once those legs start moving, he can really move.
Q. To be here for coach's 200th win, how special is that?
TOMMY REES: It's great. A couple of us knew about it going in beforehand. We didn't try to make a big deal out of T it's a great accomplishment for coach. We're happy for him. We're happy to be the team that could get that done here. But I'm sure just as he feels, it's another team win, and it's the first game of the season, and we'll just move forward from here.
Q. Do you like to keep a running tally of 13 games how many you get through unscathed without a turnover?
TOMMY REES: I'm not keeping a tally. I'm just trying to put a ball in the right place. Always, every play, the concept is to give us a chance to be successful, limiting the turnovers and just knowing what the defense is doing. As long as I can keep doing that, I should be all right.
Q. How big of a year is DaVaris Daniels capable of having?
TOMMY REES: I'm not going to put numbers on it. I think he showed today that he can be a big play threat for us. He'll continue to work and continue to get better. He's got a lot of potential. I don't see him not tap into that. He'll continue to work and want to be the best player he can be. For him, we'll see where that goes.
Q. Were you guys aware that he hadn't scored?
TOMMY REES: Yeah, I think we've given him a hard time with that in the past, but it wasn't something we were consciously thinking about. He did a good job getting open. He's been great throughout the entire camp.
Q. That second touchdown of his, you must have seen that second move unfolding pretty early in the process of the play?
TOMMY REES: Yeah, I saw the leverage of the corner. I like the match?up back there. DaVaris and I were on the same page where the route needed to go. He did a great job getting open. Mine was the easy part, just putting it out there for him and letting him go run underneath it.
Q. The one you overthrew him on, did he pull up on that one?
TOMMY REES: Yeah, I think a little bit. I'm not exactly sure on what happened. I think he's all right. But I'm sure he's fine.
Q. You had good balance today on offense?
TOMMY REES: Yeah, I think that's something we strive for. We had good run looks, and when we did, we took advantage of it. We had good looks where we knew we could be effective through the air, we were effective through the air.
Q. (No microphone)?
TOMMY REES: Yeah, we always talk about starting fast. To get early leads is great for the team morale. We kind of slipped up there a little bit in the second quarter before Troy's long score. We had some missed opportunities. But I'm really proud the way the guys kept chugging along, and didn't let a couple of drives and stall or get us down. We kept moving forward, and it worked out.
Q. You had a couple of good strike plays today?
TOMMY REES: Yeah, any time you can get one play 80 yards for a touchdown, or however long it was to Troy, it was good. We'll continue to try to do that.
Q. Did you feel comfortable out there today?
TOMMY REES: Oh, absolutely. I felt great. We had a good week of practice, and I have all the confidence in the world in my teammates and the scheme we had going in there. It was fun out there.
Q. Is it good to be part of Coach Kelly's 200th win?
TOMMY REES: Yeah, I think a lot of us seniors knew beforehand about the goal for him. He never talked about it. We never brought it up. In the back of our heads, it's a cool accomplishment to be able to get that for him.
Q. You mentioned the second, what did do you with the first one?
TOMMY REES: Yeah, we got them looked at. We had prepped all week. We had confidence in DaVaris going out there and winning one?on?one. We had to put a ball out there for him to go get.
Q. It looked like you were going to score, score, score the whole game. But eventually things slowed down. What do you feel like on the fence has to do to get a little more consistency?
TOMMY REES: Yeah, it starts with me. There are a couple of throws I want back, a couple opportunities that we didn't take advantage of. But I'm happy with the way we came out and played and continued to be persistent with that big touchdown to Troy. Coming out in the second half right away and going down and scoring. I'm proud of the way the guys fought through some of those stalling drives. Obviously, we need to get better and need to be more consistent. That is the goal for this week.
Q. (No microphone)?
TOMMY REES: Yeah, we got a lot of depth. We've got a lot of depth out there. Lot of guys that can go out there and make plays that we have confidence in. Any time you have those numbers, that really helps.
Q. Coach mentioned the touchdown to DaVaris and it was because of your communication, something that's really improved between the two of you.
TOMMY REES: Yeah, we knew we run that route and we know different looks that we have. I saw some pretty good leverage out there for an opportunity. DaVaris ran a great route.
Q. How nice of a target is Troy Niklas?
TOMMY REES: He's huge, so that helps. Yeah, Troy has done a great job and worked hard at becoming more fluid and more natural catching the ball, which is a testament to his hard work. He's done a nice job, and he has a lot of athletic ability once he gets the ball in his hands.
Q. Did you think he was going to catch the ball?
TOMMY REES: I couldn't see, to be honest. Once I saw big Troy running down, he's kind of hard to bring down.
Q. The pace slowed down there after the first couple minutes. Was it a more comfortable pace for you guys that way you can stop making mistakes?
TOMMY REES: Yeah, I think we had a good pace on offense throughout the entire game. We knew what we were getting. We communicated well, all facets were good. The pace today was comfortable and something that we can go fast and slow it down if we need to. But today was a really nice pace.
Q. How would you kind of?? Brian mentioned you're going to have to be a lot better next week. How do you view today versus next week?
TOMMY REES: Oh, yeah. We know we've got to improve every week. That is the goal every time heading into a new challenge, a little more consistency on offense. We had some opportunities that we missed. But I think we're on the right path, and we continue to work hard and not get complacent, and I think we'll be all right.
Q. Did you feel like had you some guys target today that stepped forward to establish themselves?
TOMMY REES: Yeah, I had a lot of confidence in those guys. I'm with them every day, so I know the ability that they have. Aside from T.J., DaVaris and Brese, Chris Brown, really our younger guys that are maybe not as proven. But I'm with them all the time. I have all the confidence in the world in all the receivers we run out there.
I knew they had the ability to make in plays for us, and I'm happy they did it.
Q. The power run you went zone with, what did you see?
TOMMY REES: Yeah, they were bringing a guy off the edge. They rotated opposites, so I tried to get us the best play. The offensive line did a great job, and Amir ran hard. It worked out well.
Q. (No microphone)?
TOMMY REES: It was great to win for the team. Individually, I got to go in and help this team win games, which is exciting. But it was a great win for the team and the entire university.
Q. Did you know it was a huge rivalry?
TOMMY REES: Yeah, I knew. I didn't grow up the biggest Notre Dame fan, so I didn't pay that much attention. But I knew about SC and I knew about Michigan, and I've learned a lot more about them since I've been here, obviously.
We look forward to every game, and we don't treat any opponent that much differently. We come with the right mindset and ready and prepared each week.
Q. You and Coach Kelly talked a lot about how you were able to get (No microphone). Do you think you'll be able to do the same thing against Michigan?
TOMMY REES: Yeah, I think we've got good balance and good consistency. We have confidence in everyone that runs out there that we can get them the ball and they'll run the right route and catch it. We're happy with how the guys came out and played. But we've got to get better coming into Michigan week to week.
Q. How do you think (No microphone).
TOMMY REES: Yeah, no. I think I've improved a lot physically and mentally. I've tried to develop my game throughout the off season as best I could. I feel like I'm better and a more improving quarterback. I think week to week I'll continue to strive to get better.
Q. What stands out (No microphone)?
TOMMY REES: Yeah, it's an exciting opportunity for us. Obviously, the game wasn't what we wanted it to be. We left without a great feeling. You remember last year's Michigan game with a good memory, and we've got to come prepared for this week and get ready for that challenge.
Q. (No microphone)?
TOMMY REES: Yeah, I think you want to get off to a good start. You don't really have much time to?? you know, you get right into it. Play Michigan week two, and even Temple week one. They did a great job today and they had a good scheme for us. But heading into Michigan, it's a big game for us, and I think we'll be ready to go.
Q. Is there a feeling that you guys showed what your offense can do and Coach Kelly said you didn't show everything.
TOMMY REES: Yeah, I think we had a good balance and we were pretty consistent in what we were doing. But we know we can be better, and we know we have a lot of improvement in what we can do. We're excited about growing this offense.