More Story: Nevada coach Brian Polian returns to Notre Dame

IRISH STEW

Mike Vorel
South Bend Tribune

Yesterday, we published a story on Nevada head coach Brian Polian, who served as an Irish assistant coach from 2005 to 2009 and returns to Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday.

Here are some more notable nuggets from Polian that didn't make the initial story.

Brian Polian

On leading his team into Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday:

“I’m excited to bring our team to South Bend. In my opinion, humbly, I think it’s one of the great cathedrals of college football. It’s certainly one of the great atmospheres in all of college football, having spent time there both as a member of the Notre Dame family and as an opponent. It’s a fun place to go play and I think our guys are looking forward to it. It will be a great experience for them.”

On his team's 30-27 overtime victory over FCS Cal Poly last weekend:

“I would much rather be here teaching off of a victory than being in Washington State’s or Iowa State’s or Virginia’s seats, where they ended up losing to a I-AA opponent in the opening weekend. For what it’s worth, I said publicly multiple times that that was going to be a very competitive game. So apparently the reaction to the game is proof that nobody listens to me, because I said all along that it was going to be a very competitive game and I was concerned.”

On Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer's running ability:

“When Kizer keeps it, it usually hurts. He’s not going to keep it and gain four. When Kizer pulls it, it’s usually a meaningful play.”

On Notre Dame's struggling defense:

“Like I expect our defense to perform better in Week 2, I have no doubt that Notre Dame expects their defense to be significantly improved. I expect it to be significantly improved. I know the Notre Dame fans. I’m sure there’s a part of the fan base that thinks the sky is falling right now. I can assure them that it’s not. Brian VanGorder’s a very, very good football coach. Those are young players and they will get better every week.”

On Notre Dame's young defense struggling at Texas:

“I don’t care where you are. If you’ve got three freshmen playing in the defensive backfield, it’s hard. It doesn’t matter what school you’re at. Freshmen are freshmen. No matter how talented they are, they lack experience. Then you put them in front of 103,000 in that setting and obviously there’s going to be some growing pains.”

On Notre Dame's nationwide reach:

“It’s kind of like the New York Yankees. It’s kind of like the Dallas Cowboys. It’s kind of like General Electric. Everybody knows it. There is name and brand recognition, no matter where you are in the country. I learned that as an assistant coach there. It didn’t matter where we were in the country. Often, Notre Dame fans would recognize you and say hello and wish you good luck, and in other cases, offer you some really constructive criticism. Apparently every Notre Dame fan in America is a football expert. It’s one of those places that everybody recognizes, and that’s part of what makes it unique and special.”

On encouraging his players to appreciate Notre Dame Stadium:

“I want them to come down the ramp. I want them to take a walk out on the field, take a look around, take a step back and appreciate it for a moment. I encourage that. It really is one of the really special places in college football, just like the Rose Bowl was and just like Kyle Field was and Doak Walker Stadium and the places we have played.”

On returning to Notre Dame as a head coach:

"When you get hired (by Notre Dame) at the age of 29, it’s a dream come true. When you get let go at the age of 34 or 35, it’s a gut check. But that’s the reality of our business. So to walk back into Notre Dame Stadium as a head coach is a really cool thing.”

Nevada head coach Brian Polian served as an Irish assistant coach from 2005 to 2009 (SBT File Photo).