Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o talked with reporters after Wednesday's practice.
Here are some of the subjects Te'o addressed as the Irish get ready for Saturday's Blue-Gold game.
On what he has improved on during spring practice: "I remember the first week I was getting interviewed, the problems I was having was trusting my instincts. This spring has helped me trust my instincts. I can make plays. I know that when certain things happen I can do this. I'm not second guessing myself. My play is a lot more fluid. That's a major point where I have improved."
On being more comfortable as an inside linebacker than an outside linebacker: "It really doesn't matter to me. In high school, I played outside linebacker and switched inside and out throughout the season. As long as I'm on the field, whatever the coaches tell me, I will do. The difference is I'm more comfortable now that I can do certain things at certain times. It makes things a lot easier when you are comfortable."
On getting the team energized before practice: "I just try to lighten up the move. Everybody going into practice just came out of class, some guys are tired, some guys are feeling sore. I try to lighten up the mood by motivating them, just being friendly. I try to be that kind of leader. Not an in-your-face kind of guy, but a motivator."
On how he helps motivate teammates: "I know my teammates. Some of them need jokes. Some of them need just a straight up, 'Come on, let's go.' It just depends. It varies from player to player."
On what motivates him: "The game motivates me. My family motivates me. To be the best motivates me. A lot of things motivate me, but I would say those three things motivate me the most."
On the challenges the 3-4 defense presents when you are learning it: "All you have to know with this defense is everybody has a job. As long as you do your job, the defense as a whole will work. Last year, they had a different philosophy, and we tried our best to match with (former defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta's) philosophy. This year, coach (Bob) Diaco as a philosophy, and we are trying our best to match his philosophy. With this defense, it's you do your job, you have a gap, you have your responsibility and as long as you do it, the defense will be fine."
On the adjustment to this year's defense from last year's attacking defense: "I wouldn't say it as been a big adjustment. You just have to know that you really can't get up field. Because you would leave holes and creases that the offense can exploit. It is not that big of a difference."
On how the team has changed since opening spring practice: "We are closer as a unit, as a team but more specifically, as a defensive unit. We care about each other. In our room, we have a saying, 'I'm my brother's keeper.' We are all brothers out here, and we look out for each other on and off the field. In that aspect, we've come together a lot."
On how the defense is progressing: "Definitely, we are getting better. When you constantly repeat things, the repetition, you start to master thins and start to memorize things. You learn more from your mistakes. This whole spring ball experience has helped our defense to learn from our mistakes and make our defense a great defense."