Pregame quotes for the Hawaii Bowl (UH vs. Notre Dame)

About Notre Dame’s fame, Dan Kelly said:
“The Fighting Irish are historic. Movies are made about them.” (HA)

About how he cheered for Notre Dame growing up even though he was raised in Southern California, Lafu Tuioti-Mariner said:
“I looked up to that team since I was little. Now I’ve got a chance to go against them? It’s going to be a fun game. Best wishes to them.” (HA)

About how losing the Hawaii Bowl would spoil his Christmas, Charlie Weis said:
“When I’m sitting here on Christmas Eve after the game with my wife and kid, waiting for Santa and the sleigh to pull up, I want to have a smile on my face. And I won’t be the happiest camper if it goes the other way.” (HA)

About how Notre Dame is still important even after they have gone 9-17 over their last 26 games, Sol said that:
“they’ve got history. It’s an honor to play them in the Hawai’i Bowl.” (HA)

About their respect for Notre Dame, Jake Ingram said:
“They have good athletes. We’ve got a lot of respect for them. We know they’re coming here to win. But we want to get this bowl win to give a present back to coach (Greg McMackin) for everything he’s done for us. We want to give him that stamp on his first season as Hawai’i head coach.” (HA)

About the importance of winning the game, Keala Watson said:
“there’s a lot riding on the game. We can beat Notre Dame or we can go out saying we’re a mediocre team that lost a bowl game.” (HA)

About how he grew up with friends who are strong Notre Dame fans even though he was not a big fan, Alexander said with a laugh:
“At my going-away party, they played ‘Rudy.’ ” (HA)

About how their offense started struggling after their eighth game, Weis said:
“Right about the two-thirds mark of the season, I think that Jimmy (Clausen), along with several players of the offense, seemed to get out of sync, so to speak.” (HA)

HA Note: “Through the first eight games, they had 61 “big plays” (pass completions of 20 or more yards, rushes of at least 10 yards); in the next four, they had 15. Clausen’s pass-efficiency rating fell from 134.95 in the first eight games to 96.56 in the next four (during which he had two touchdown passes and eight interceptions). While the Irish improved their pass protection this season — an NCAA-record 58 sacks allowed in 2007 to 20 this season — they were sacked eight times in the last four games. Clausen’s interception ratio went from one every 25 pass plays in the first two-thirds of the season to one every 16.63 pass plays in the final third.”

About how losing WR Floyd enabled defenses to play more cover-2 zones and prevent their long passes, Clausen said:
“I didn’t have Michael Floyd, and it limited us in our passing game.” (HA)

About the importance of Floyd’s return in this game, Tate said:
“They can’t double-team me. If they double-team me, it opens Michael Floyd up. He’s a great part of this offense.” (HA)

About how they have worked on the poor routes they had been having, Weis said:
“The last couple of days, when we watched offensive tape, I’ve sat in there with just the wide receivers. I haven’t done that in a long, long time. But when they’re running a route that’s 14 yards, and they run it 12 yards, then all of a sudden the ball goes 2 yards over their head.” (HA)

About lining up across from the guard (Lafu today) while a weakside LB moves up to the line of scrimmage, Kuntz said:
“It’s a tough position. You’ve got to keep fighting, keep crawling, keep scratching.” (HA)

About how Crum is the leader of their D, Weis said:
“There’s always a player that the team looks to as the heart and soul of the football team, and that’s what Mo Crum has been. He’s been the heart and soul. There are three captains on the team, but there’s really only one heart, and he’s been it. He’s a young man I’ll admire and respect the rest of my life.” (HA)

About his 4.27 time in the 40 yard dash, Allen (who said that Aloha Stadium’s compacted FieldTurf is a “fast surface”) said:
“It was great for me. I was coming off of ankle surgery. I had a lot of people telling me I wouldn’t be able to run as fast. It was actually one of the fastest times I’ve ever run.” (HA)

About how Aloha Stadium’s turf helps kickers, (Notre Dame kicker) Walker said:
“Another analogy with golf is you can hit a 6-iron off the grass and go 170 (yards) or so. You can hit a 6-iron off the turf and you’ll hit 200. It’s better contact and being able to push through it.” (HA)

About how UH plays faster in Aloha Stadium, Weis said:
“It’s a FieldTurf, but it’s a very low FieldTurf. It’s a very fast track. I think it plays into their players.” (HA)

HA Note: “There might be some substance to the argument. Lane is averaging 14.4 yards per catch in road games, 22.1 at home. Salas’ averages are 12.2 on the road, 19.1 at home.”

About his bloated left knee is better now, Alexander said:
“I had a bunch of fluid in there.” (HA)

About how Ingram and Grasso have not had a bad snap-hold exchange on FGs this season, Tim Grasso said:
“Knock on wood for that. There have been crazy games when it’s been wet, and you drop it while warming up on the sideline. But you go out there, and it’s fine.” (HA)

About how the video camera that records their practices caught him when he tried to sneak into a defensive drill, Jake Ingram said:
“It’s the eye in the sky.” (HA)

About how he’s learned to ignore what their opponents say, Ingram said:
“Sometimes guys say stuff. It doesn’t affect me. I’m used to it. The guys in practice talk smack. They say things that are probably not newspaper-appropriate.” (HA)

HSB Note: “A bowl game that at one time thought the choices were Buffalo, Northern Illinois and Western Michigan now features a program that has the most national titles (11) since the first Associated Press poll in 1936, the most Heisman winners (seven) of any school and its own television contract with a major network. Ticket sales surged once the Fighting Irish were deemed Hawaii’s opponent, proving their worth as a marquee sales attraction.”

About how their seniors would love to end their bowl losing streak, Weis said:
“For those guys that are walking out the door that have no eligibility left, I think they would like to walk out the door and say they were part of that team that put that bowl losing streak behind them.” (HSB)

About their bowl losing streak, which includes losses from 2004 and 2006 by at least 2 TDs in all 3 bowl games, safety Kyle McCarthy said:
“It’s getting pretty annoying. That’s definitely part of our motivation. To get that monkey off our back would be great.” (HSB)

About ending his Notre Dame career at the Hawaii Bowl, CB Terrail Lambert said:
“Any game, regardless of who you are playing, the last thing you remember is winning. If you do that, that’s all the catalyst you need.” (HSB)

About how winning out boost their offseason programs, McCarthy said:
“Without a doubt, just the taste in your mouth of winning, it’s so much easier to come in and work out (in the offseason) when you have that taste in your mouth. It’s a long way until the first game next year, but you don’t really forget about your last game until the next one.” (HSB)

About how he said that they would be in a bowl game after the SJSU loss, Mac said:
“I remember … saying that I believe in my players, I believe in my coaches and we’re going to end up being in a bowl game. I really believed that.” (HSB)

About how they came together after the SJSU loss, Sol said:
“Even though we lost on the scoreboard we actually won in the sense of our commitment to each other and the sense of love we had for each other. Being 1-3 was tough, but that’s what brought our team together that really solidified us as a team.” (HSB)

About how the Fresno State win turned around their season, Mac said:
“The players made a stand, and the coaches, and I think that’s when it turned.” (HSB)

About how they worked together to make it to the Hawaii Bowl, Mac said:
“The team and the coaches kept this whole thing together so we could all be here with this great opportunity.” (HSB)

About how they began the year by losing the Sugar Bowl and JJ leaving, Sol said:
“For a second, the team was in disarray.” (HSB)

About how they came together as a team to make the Hawaii Bowl, Sol said:
“We had to come together closer than we ever have. Every game we won was because of the team.” (HSB)

Wanting to win for their seniors, Alexander said:
“We want to send (the seniors) out right and get them a win for their last game here. Next year we can see what we can do to build on it, but right now nobody’s really looking at that.” (HSB)

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