Notre Dame players discuss preparing for Wolfpack
Daniel O'Boyle | Thursday, October 26, 2017
Notre Dame players talked about North Carolina State’s offense and the team’s penchant for blowout wins this year during Wednesday’s media availability.
The Wolfpack’s (6-1, 4-0 ACC) offense is known for its motions before the snap, especially involving H-Back Jaylen Samuels, and its disciplined, mistake-free play that has led to only three fumbles this year and no interceptions. Senior linebacker Greer Martini said the North Carolina State offense poses a serious challenge to the Irish attack, and it will take discipline for Notre Dame to get the better of its opponent.
“I think they’re really good at what they do,” Martini said. “They have a lot of misdirection with their stuff. They’re pretty sound at what they do. They don’t turn over the ball. I think they had three turnovers since the first game. The quarterback is really good with his progressions. And so it’s going to take a lot of us to beat them, but I think we’re up to the task.”
“So I think for a defense it makes you have to be more disciplined with your eyes. Definitely there’s going to be kind of like window dressing and you kind of got to read through it and go through your progressions and fit the right gaps. And that kind of adds a new element to the defensive game. So when they have a bunch of motions it makes it trickier. At the same time as long as we’re understanding our game plan, it shouldn’t be too big of a deal.”
One of the major talking points of the Irish season has been the success of junior running back Josh Adams. Adams has been considered a possible contender for the Heisman trophy by outlets such as ESPN and Sports Illustrated after rushing for 191 yards and three touchdowns against USC last week, bringing him to 967 yards and 8 touchdowns on the season. Adams, however, said he’s given little thought to his chances of receiving end-of-year accolades.
“I haven’t experienced any hype around campus,” Adams said. “The only thing I’ve experienced is getting that notification of exams coming up. So that Heisman talk doesn’t stop that.
“So I’m just doing the same thing I’ve always been doing. I mean, my team has always been with me. And I love hanging out with these guys, going to work with them each and every day. We as a team have never let any outside noise get in between of what we’re trying to build here. And I don’t think that changes anything of what our mission is and what we’re trying to accomplish as a team. Although it is an honor, we’re just going to stay focused on our track and continue to prepare for each team each and every week.”
Adams instead said he was just working on improving individually, and said he was proud of the way he was able to make an impact in blocking against the Trojans.
“Specifically more of the last game I think I did a better job of blocking,” Adams said. I was really impressed on how I was able to react to different looks and being able to kind of blocking the perimeter. That’s something that I try to take pride in is how well I’m able to pass protect and kind of block in the run game. I thought I did it pretty well, a pretty good job of doing that on Saturday.
“I have to continue to improve on that. Just like I have to improve on everything else in my game. But like I said, yesterday had a pretty good practice. But I have to come back out today and try and improve and try to do better. And that’s the exciting thing about it is each and every week you have something to build on and something to improve on. And we’re just excited as a team to be able to face a new opponent who is going to, again, bring us their best. So we love taking on challenges like that. And it’s exciting to work on that with the guys on your team and kind of try to perfect their craft.”
The Irish have made a habit of beating teams with ease so far this year, with all six victories coming by 20 points or more, but losing their only close game, a 20-19 contest with Georgia. Senior linebacker Drue Tranquill said the Irish mindset has been to dominate their opposition, but the team is capable of handling a closer game if necessary.
“I don’t know that I look forward to anything other than coming in and having the mindset of punishing our opponents,” Tranquill said. “That’s what we’re trying to do each and every week and whether that’s winning by 28 or winning by seven, it doesn’t really matter as long as we get the win at the end of the day. So we’ve prepared ourselves for big wins and how to handle ourselves by stepping on our opponents and not allowing them to get back in the games. And we’ve prepared ourselves in terms of having to win close games at the end of the game.
“And so whatever that presents itself on Saturday, we’ll see. But we’re prepared for either.”