Question: Obviously, the big story is Denard’s (Robinson) performance on Saturday, can you talk about after watching film what you saw out of him?
Kevin Koger: “I know he was doing what the coaches were coaching him to do. He made a lot of the right reads. A lot of the correct reads and he was just running a lot of the time. In practice, he runs and stops his feet and it allows the defense to catch up to him. With his speed, he doesn’t really need to stop his feet, just run straight and not a lot of people would catch him. That’s what he was doing on Saturday.”
Question: Do you feel you shocked a few people team wise with the performance Saturday and how decisive it was?
Kevin Koger: “I think a couple of people were shocked, not a lot of people picked us to win. So it was really good to get out there and show people what we can really do, because we know what we are capable. The only people stopping us, was us.”
Question: Obviously last year one of things that plagued the tight ends was dropped balls; how important was it to start with new momentum this year and not having drops on Saturday.
Kevin Koger: “Yeah it was a big focus for us in the offseason. It is not that we cannot catch, we just were not focusing enough. We thought we were, but obviously we weren’t. It was a big thing for me. I was focused more on the ball, calm down a little bit, not thinking as much and so I think that helped with increased production on Saturday.”
Question: Do you talk about going into Notre Dame Stadium and playing?
Kevin Koger: “We talk about it amongst ourselves. During my freshman year, I traveled, but I did not play. They were saying on the field how loud it was and how tall the grass was. I guess I’ll see first hand on Saturday. I’m kind of excited.”
Question: How open does the field get when UCONN tried to stop him?
Kevin Koger: “I think it kept them honest. They might have come into the game like a lot of teams did in last year, when Denard came in, all he is going to do is run. I think it kept them honest the first drive when they actually seen him throw a couple of balls. They cannot just put eight in the box and stop the run. They got to be honest all around.”
Question: How much more in the passing game is there that we didn’t see?
Kevin Koger: “Honestly, I could not even tell you that, probably a question for Coach Rodriguez. From my aspect, if ain’t broke don’t fix it. The run was working for us that’s what we stuck too and that’s what got us the victory in my eyes and my opinion, that’s what got us the victory was our strong running game.”
Question: How do you expect defenses to adjust to what Denard has done and try to handle that?
Kevin Koger: “Like I said, a lot of teams in the past put eight men in the box to stop the run. They might try to spread it out a little bit more, put more DBs in the game. I’m really not sure. We’ll see what Notre Dame’s game plan is, how they played last week. You really cannot tell until you watch film.”
Question: With as much as he does seem to run the ball, does every offense player take it upon himself to maybe to protect him a little bit more?
Kevin Koger: “Yeah he did take a lot of hits on Saturday. He did get hurt once. Denard is a tough guy. He’s has got a lot stronger from last year. It’s not just him, anybody who runs the ball, I’ll put it upon myself to make my blocks so my guy doesn’t make the play, not just him but any ball carrier.”
Question: One of the things that Coach Rodriguez did mention was that he didn’t like the downfield blocking as well he would have liked. Can you talk about how that went in film room just for the team as a whole and amongst yourself?
Kevin Koger: “It all comes down to effort. If you want block, you’re going to block and if you don’t, you don’t. It is really an effort thing. I guess we just got to give more effort on the outside to spring more big plays.”
Question: Does a guy like Denard, does he make you a little more cognizant, the importance of downfield blocking than maybe other guys do?
Kevin Koger: “It is always important. We’ve got a lot of fast guys on the team, we got a lot of quick shifty guys. The big play ability is there all around. He always stresses the importance of maintaining your blocks and keeping on your guy. You never know, the play might come your way and he might be opposite field and somebody cuts back and your man is right there to make the play. Not because you’re being lazy that’s why he didn’t spring and that could be the difference, so you never know.”
Question: How does preparation change when school starts for these guys? Have you talked to the younger guys about how to keep that balance?
Kevin Koger: “They just know the distractions. We’ve had multiple distractions over the first two years of being in the program. So it is just another distraction. We can handle it. We’ve been thrown so much more than school starting. We just talk to the young guys and let them know what the deal is and just go on from there.”
Question: What was the noise factor with this new renovated stadium compared to the past? Did you notice a difference?
Kevin Koger: “You could definitely notice a difference. We had a couple of walkthroughs even before the game and you could tell just by yelling in there. You could hear it bouncing off the window. You can hear the echoes. I think 113,000+ had a lot to do with it also.”