Question: The hype of this week, are classmates talking to you about this Notre Dame and the night game and all the hype that is surrounding this game?
Kenny Demens: “A little bit, not too much. The first day of class everybody is focused on syllabus and what I need for the class. Not too much.”
Question: In Mattison’s complicated defense, as a middle linebacker are you the guy that has to get everybody lined up the right way and the right formation every time?
Kenny Demens: “Yeah. It is a big job. My spot here is the quarterback of the defense. I have a lot of responsibilities. That’s my role in this defense.”
Question: How much communication is there out there? It seemed like Jordan Kovacs had some checks he was making and it seemed like you guys had a lot of talking going on.
Kenny Demens: “There are times there might be four to five checks per snap depending on the formation. Down low we have checks, linebackers have checks, I have give checks to the D-lineman as well the secondary, a lot is going on.”
Question: Coach Mattison said that there was some communication breakdown on that first drive, walk us through what happened.
Kenny Demens: “To be honest, it was really loud on the field. The fans were so loud, it was a place were I couldn’t hear myself talk. We had to get right in there ear hole literally. It was really loud. It was really loud that’s where most of it came from.”
Question: Have you talked to Jonas much this week?
Kenny Demens: “No.”
Kenny Demens: “Yes purposely.”
Question: Is that something that you guys talked about before hand?
Kenny Demens: “We just don’t really get into it. It is a big rivalry game. We don’t want to bump heads, talk trash or anything. I’m focused, he’s focused. That’s just the way it is. That’s how it has always been.”
Question: Do you guys have some hand signals now to communicate in case of another situation where you can’t hear each other, just work on that this week?
Kenny Demens: “A few but nothing really new. Some checks have a hand signal and others do not. We all get on the same page somehow.”
Question: How did you fix it then, did it get quieter?
Kenny Demens: “Not necessarily. We were just…everybody echoed the call. If I made a check to the nose tackle, he’ll echo it out to the defensive end, same as the secondary. We just echoed it. We got better.”
Question: Coach Mattison said he wants some blitzes, you didn’t make the sack obviously, but you hit the quarterback a couple of times. Do you feel comfortable blitzing?
Kenny Demens: “Yeah I love it. More importantly Coach Mattison loves it. We hit home a few times. So that was big for us and hopefully we can continue doing it and get home some more.”
Question: If you see Jonas Gray running right at you, do you get more excited with that?
Kenny Demens: “I pray he comes running right at me. He’s a great back. I know he runs downhill. He is a very physical guy and he is really fast for his size. It should be a fun game playing against Jonas.”
Question: Are the gray facemasks much of an adjustment?
Kenny Demens: “We love them. We love them. They just look great. Visually they look different looking out, but we like them.”
Question: Is it any different playing with them, the gray facemask?
Kenny Demens: “Not too much. It just looks cool I guess.”
Question: Coach Hoke said he wants to see more from the linebacker corps this week. How do you think the three positions did last week and what do you have to improve before Notre Dame comes?
Kenny Demens: “We have a lot of room for improvement, playing more downhill, talking and getting everybody lined up quicker. Just taking control out there, making plays and being the guys on the field that everybody else can count on. We’ve got to do a better job just as a whole on defense and it starts with the linebackers.”
Question: Did you have to put any extra time this offseason being the guy responsible for making all the checks and everything. You have to have a certain understanding of the defense right?
Kenny Demens: “Yeah there was a lot of meetings going on as defense, the leaders. Ryan Van Bergen and Mike Martin, those guys sort of took control. Myself, J.B. Fitzgerald, Troy Woolfolk, we did a great job of getting everybody in watching film, seven on seven after workouts. We did an okay job with that. We’re all on the same page and that’s kind of what we did this summer.”
Question: The 4-3 defense, they’re trying to funnel everything to you linebackers, how much fun is that you for you to be on, on every play and be responsibility to take down the running back like that.
Kenny Demens: “It is a lot of fun. Just watching those four front guys work, Mike Martin, Van Bergen, Craig Roh…watching those guys do work, it makes my job easy. When they really get penetration, it makes my job a lot easier. So a lot of credit goes out to those guys.”