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Football: No ex-‘Cuse-es

Mike Gilloon | Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Brady Quinn just had to laugh.

“Is there a bowl you’d rather play in?” asked a reporter.

“No, the only thing I’m worried about right now is just Syracuse,” Quinn responded.

“Any thoughts on possibly playing Ohio State [in a bowl]?” asked the same reporter.

“Right now I’m just focusing on Syracuse,” Quinn said with a chuckle.

Quinn is not letting the media know if he has any intentions of looking forward to the possibility of Notre Dame’s first Bowl Championship Series [BCS] appearance since 2000.

The Irish quarterback and offensive captain instead focused on the progress he believes Notre Dame needs to make in its final two regular season games against Syracuse and Stanford.

“We’re sitting with a record of two losses,” Quinn said referring to a 44-41 loss to Michigan State on Sept. 17 and a 34-31 defeat by No. 1 USC on Oct. 15. “When it comes down to it, [Irish] coach [Charlie] Weis has ingrained into our heads that idea of perfection – where you want to go into every game and come out victorious.”

Notre Dame came out victorious this past weekend, thumping Navy 42-21 behind four touchdown passes from Quinn. But the junior quarterback instead talked Monday about the interception he threw against the Midshipmen and the mistakes the offense made.

“Our goal this past weekend was to not have any three-and-outs, and I think we found ourselves punting one time and not converting on a fourth down,” Quinn said. “I think that’s how we look at every game. We want to be nitpicky about things. Obviously it’s a good thing, I think, if you’re talking about what you are trying to look at as your goals and objectives.”

One of the goals Quinn set for Saturday’s game against Syracuse (1-8) was sending the Irish seniors out on a successful note in their last game at Notre Dame Stadium.

“You develop such close bonds,” Quinn said. “This year, you almost feel like we’re a family. You realize how important it really is when you want to send those guys out on the right note. The guys who will be playing their last home game in this stadium, I think, will be our biggest motivation.”

And despite Syracuse’s losing record and No. 6 Notre Dame being an overwhelming favorite, Quinn believes the Irish will still need to make strides in practice this week to be fully prepared for the Orange.

“There’s a ton of improvement [we need to make],” Quinn said. “When it comes down to it, fundamentals you can always improve on. Finding ways to make things happen when maybe you’re at a standstill.”

Notes:

u Notre Dame occupies the No. 9 spot in the latest Bowl Championship Series (BCS) standings released Monday. The Irish are sandwiched between No. 8 Alabama and No. 10 Oregon. Southern California maintained the top spot in the poll with Texas, Miami (Fla.), Penn State, LSU, Virginia Tech and Ohio State rounding out the top seven, respectively. Two of the three polls used as part of the BCS rankings formula – the Harris Interactive poll and the USA Today coaches poll have Notre Dame at Nos. 6 and 7, respectively. However, the composite computer rankings are bringing the Irish down, rating Notre Dame at No. 13.

u Quinn has been named to the Walter Camp Football Foundation’s “Players to Watch” list for the foundation’s 2005 Player of the Year award. Quinn is one of four quarterbacks on the 10-player list, joining UCLA’s Drew Olson, USC’s Matt Leinart and Texas’ Vince Young. USC running back Reggie Bush also made the list, along with UCLA running back Maurice Drew, Louisville defensive end Elvis Dumervil, Washington State running back Jerome Harrison, Ohio State linebacker A.J. Hawk and Penn State linebacker Paul Posluszny. The winner will be announced Dec. 8 at 6 p.m. on ESPN.