Freshmen Media Day – Linebackers

Kerry Neal

  • On how things have been going so far, “Working hard trying to get on the bus.  It’s going pretty good.  It’s a big learning experience and stuff like that coming from high school to college so it’s a big jump, but it’s going pretty good.”
  • On his impressions of the 3-4, “I love it.  It allows everyone to make plays.”
  • On the difference between high school and college, “In high school I could probably beat everyone just off of my speed and athletic ability.  In college you’ve got linemen that are just real athletic, probably not as quick as you, but they’re real athletic to be that size.  You’ve just got to play smarter, do your role, and stuff like that.”
  • On the first time something that always worked in high school didn’t work this summer, “On a normal speed rush I could just get low and come off the edge as fast as I can.  Now I’ve been blocked a couple times just trying to beat them off speed and I was like “wow, this guy’s pretty good.”  You just keep going.  After a while, everything will just come natural to you.”
  • On the youth in the defense, “We’re all young so you just keep building and building.  It’s amazing how good we’re going to be now and in the future.”
  • On what it will be like to make his first tackle, “I’m going to be so excited because it’s like a dream come true.”
  • On what it will be like to run through the tunnel September 1I’m going to probably be like chills and goosebumps coming out of the tunnel.  I know the first time I came on a visit when me and my coaches were walking down, I had chills and goosebumps.  When I put on that jersey and all the fans, I’m probably going to be nervous.  It’s normal for a player to be nervous.  Hopefully if I play, I’ll make the best out of it.”
  • Neal is another guy who does not have much to worry about when it comes to making the bus – he’s on.
  • It’s great to hear Neal describe making his first tackle as a dream come true.

Brian Smith 

  • On if Notre Dame was where he always wanted to go, “This is the place I always wanted to be.  I’ve been here 50,000 times at games and stuff like that.  Coming up as a kid, this was the place where I’ve always wanted to be and when that offer came through, it was hard to pass up.”
  • On Corwin Brown, “Coach Brown is a real cool guy.  He makes everything simple for you.  He always refers to page one where if you get confused, refer back to page one and you’ll be alright with the rest of the defense.”
  • On having fellow freshman Kerry Neal at outside linebacker, “During camp my roommate was Kerry Neal and having him as a roommate,  if we have questions or anything we’ll sit with the playbook and go over things.”
  • On his impressions of Notre Dame so far, “It’s pretty much consistent to what I thought it would be having a father whose gone through it all, but coming into the situation I expected the absolute worse.  I expected running everyday for so long and not doing anything and just watching other people play so that when I came here, it would be a little better.”
  • On Charlie Weis, “Coach Weis is a real cool guy.  He pulled me out in practice on day in front of the team because we were going through situational type stuff and he put me on blast in front of the whole team asking why he would do this in a certain situation so that was nice to know that he wants to make sure everyone on the field knows exactly what’s going on.”
  • On not having a scholarship offer from ND till very late in the recruiting process, “I lost all hope when I committed to Iowa in August.  I lost all hope.  I was like ‘they’re not going to come through, I might need to move on,’ because coach Weis is a definite kind of guy if he’s not going to do something.  I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to receive an offer later.”
  • On how an offer from Notre Dame eventually came, “When I started flirting with K-State, my dad kind of under the radar said Brian’s having second thoughts about Iowa if you guys would like to take a second look, its open.  It’s whatever and they said ok just send a tape.  This was at the time that coach Brown was just being hired and from my senior tape coach Brown really liked what I could bring off the edge and stuff like that.”
  • On Corwin Brown’s influence on him getting a scholarship, “I owe a lot to coach Brown.  He’s my guy.  I really like him a lot.”
  • Hearing Smith talk about the recruiting process really has to make Notre Dame fans happy for him and based on the early reports out of camp, question why the hell he didn’t get the offer until January.

Aaron Nagel

  • On where he fits in on the defense, “I was recruited first by the db coach, then they told me they saw me more as an outside linebacker  and everything.  Once coach Brown came, they changed me to inside linebacker.”
  • On the difference between high school and college, “It’s a lot different than high school, especially since I never took on linemen playing safety and everything.  Now that I’m playing linebacker, just taking on guards and just the physical part of the game is a lot different.”
  • On working with fellow freshman Steve Paskorz at inside linebacker, “We can talk about things and what’s going tough for us and help each other out a little bit.  It’s real good.”
  • On his expectations, “Just trying to get on the bus and do what I can to help the team out and do whatever they need me to.”
  • On how to get on the bus, “Just hard word and whatever the coaches want you to do, you do it for them.”

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