Question: What did you think about the two opportunities you had here this afternoon with the interception and fumble recovery?
Brandon Herron: “For one, I want to thank God, Jesus Christ my lord and savior, and I also want to thank my team. This is a team effort, this is about a team, and I just thank a lot of my teammates because we all work together as one. This is not about me all. This is about the team.”
Question: What did you see on the interception?
Brandon Herron: “Jake Ryan tipped the ball, and I was just looking up, and my legs just carried me. I grabbed it, and then I just…I remember Aubrey (Pleasant), our GA, he tells us, ‘Any time you get an interception, run it back to your sideline.’ So after I caught the ball, I just looked straight ahead, obviously no ball security whatsoever (laughter), but I was just trying to get to the end zone.”
Question: Do you feel like that changed the game?
Brandon Herron: “Yes and no. It did change the game, but obviously you can have a score or you can run it in, and a lot of teams that lose a game...so it was just a well-fought game that we just weren’t trying to give up. We were just trying to pound them, each and every play.”
Question: Because the defense had been moved upon early on, did you guys feel like the defense needed to make a play there?
Brandon Herron: “Yeah, well this is our first time playing defense under Coach Mattison in a real game, so it was a little shaky at first. The communication, we were struggling with the communication a little bit. Our coaches we talk about poise and having that poise, so we just needed to sit down and just have that poise and just talk, hey we have to be able to communicate if we want to be a good defense.”
Question: What was your reaction when you were told the game was ended? How did you feel at that time?
Brandon Herron: “Yeah, I wanted to continue to play. We still had a job to do. We talk about finishing the game and we went into the locker room and like I said, we still had a job. A lot of the coaches just to stay focused and when you get out there just continue to do what you guys have been doing.”
Question: Talk about the struggle and them getting to mid field at least a few times?
Brandon Herron: “Obviously our kickoff needs to improve, which we’ll probably focus on that tomorrow or whatnot. We kind of let things get away from us a little bit.”
Question: Brandon you had some opportunities today but how do you build on this?
Brandon Herron: “It’s just about taking one day at a time and with the involvement of my teammates. Like I said, we have to work together. This is not about an individual. This is about a team, and the team coming out here and practicing everyday and trying to get better, this is what it’s about.”
Question: When was the last time you scored a touchdown in organized football and how does this compare?
Brandon Herron: “I’ve never scored a touchdown. Well, I take that back, it was probably in eighth grade when I was playing running back. Coach Jackson was not the coach (laughter), was not my running back coach at the time. It’s been a while since I’ve been in the end zone.”
Question: When you got the interception did see you all green in front of you or anybody in front of you other than just the field?
Brandon Herron: “I saw the left tackle, then I thought he hit me, but after I got past him, I didn’t see anybody else.”
Question: What were you feeling at about the ten-yard line?
Brandon Herron: “Gassed.”
Question: What were you feeling at the back of the end zone?
Brandon Herron: “Obviously my teammates jumped all over me, so that took everything out of me as well. But with the love and help of my teammates, they carried me back to the sideline.”
Question: You had agreed to a position switch just a few weeks ago, were you playing your old position at the time of those plays or your new one?
Brandon Herron: “I was just playing my new position, the WILL and the dime. This is something I had been practicing all camp, so it was my new position.”
Question: On the fumble recovery, did the ball almost come to you a little bit?
Brandon Herron: “First of all, I want to thank Kovacs. It was a call where we saw, I can’t put it out there, but we made a check, and I ended up coming off the edge, and Kovacs got free. I don’t think the ball rolled my way. I think I went to go get the ball, and then just ran it into the end zone.”
Question: Did you think about just falling on it?
Brandon Herron: “No. I don’t know. Something that just happened in the moment and just picked it up and just took off.”
Question: Now that this partial game is over, can you talk about the anticipation of a night game and playing in a night game against Notre Dame on Saturday?
Brandon Herron: “I think the night game is going to be crazy. I think our fans are looking forward to next week, so with that being said, I think against Notre Dame, especially wearing our throwback jerseys and helmets, it’s going to be amazing next week.”
Question: Can you address the conditions before the rain and how hot it was on the field?
Brandon Herron: “Oh, it was hot. I was drained coming off the kickoff and then having to go defense. But having that camp, it mentally prepared us, and like coach said, we’re going to have adversity. It just matters how you get through it.”
Question: How are you being used different than you were under Coach Rodriguez?
Jordan Kovacs: “It’s a completely different scheme. I think we’ve got some more blitz packages that give me the opportunity to come down in the box and try and make a play. It is a little different but at the same time it is playing football and that’s what this is about.”
Question: What is the feeling when you know you get the blitz call and you’re going to be coming and then describe the hit on Alex Carder?
Jordan Kovacs: “When you get the blitz call, you’re thinking, I got to come hard and I got to make a play. I got to give a lot of credit to the defense, that was a defensive effort. I think the front did a great job of disguising it, and we had great coverage, and I just came clean and made a play.”
Question: How close do you feel are playing defense the way the coaches want you to play?
Jordan Kovacs: “We’re getting there. It was shaky at first no doubt, but I think that this film will be pretty good to look at, so that we can improve before next game.”
Question: I imagine you enjoy it when the blitzes are called. It looked like once you guys started blitzing, you got a lot more effective?
Jordan Kovacs: “I think you got to give a lot of credit to Western. They came out with a great scheme, but we kind settled in, and we got some blitzes we hit home with. I think Brandon’s (Herron) play was a big game changer for us, so we did turn it around after a couple drives.”
Question: Did the coaches say anything to you guys during the lightening delay because it seems like after that the defense played a lot better?
Jordan Kovacs: “I mean, we just kind of settled in I think. I don’t think that we changed too many things. I think we came out at halftime with a better scheme, and we just executed, and we played hard.”
Question: How did you guys spend that time…kind of an unexpected delay when you’re already in game mode?
Jordan Kovacs: “It’s different, I’ve never been through anything like that. We kind of just relaxed in the locker room, we just kept quiet and stayed focus, and we honed in."
Question: Was it difficulty to keep in game mentality when you are stopping and starting?
Jordan Kovacs: “Definitely. I’ve never been through anything like that. I think we traveled up the tunnel several times. I’ve never done that before.”
Question: What do you think Coach Hoke’s major concern with the defense?
Jordan Kovacs: “I think we didn’t do a good job first few possessions. They were running the ball on us. We still got a lot of areas to improve in, and we’re going to do that with this film, and we’ll be ready by next week.”
Question: With your head coaches first victory did you guys do anything special for him in the locker room when it was finally called?
Jordan Kovacs: “We do what we do after every victory, and that’s singing The Victors.”
Question: Did this feel like any other win or does it make you feel kind of empty?
Jordan Kovacs: “ It’s different, but we’ll take it. It’s a win. A win is a win, and we’re happy with that.”
Question: Either of you (Herron or Kovacs) on the kick off team?
Jordan Kovacs: “Both of us.”
Question: Jordan have you ever hit a quarterback that hard before?
Jordan Kovacs: “That’s my first one I guess. (Brandon Herron: It was loud, too (laughter).”
Question: How much of an emphasis does Mattison put on creating turnovers because that was so an issue the last few years?
Jordan Kovacs: “I think not only Coach Mattison, but Coach Hoke emphasizes that. That’s one of our team goals is to win the turnover battle because if you do that you’re likely going to win the game. That’s something we strive to do, as every team does.”
Question: Did the mood change at all when Troy Woolfolk went down?
Jordan Kovacs: “We’ve got a lot of guys that can step up and play. It’s tough to see a guy like that go down again, but at the same time we knew somebody else was going to have an opportunity to step in and play. We have some experienced guys at corner.”