It’s not too often that you will have a football player for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish be available for an offseason interview. Generally, they are few and far between outside of a feature with ESPN (or something like that).
Senior linebacker Te’von Coney was recently a guest on The Coach Kokell Show on 640 The Hurricane in Miami. Kokell has known Coney since Te’von’s high school days. At the end of the interview, Coney was asked to give one word to describe his experience at Notre Dame. Without hesitation, Coney replied, “growth.”
Kokell praised Coney for using that one word, and was delighted for Coney and how he has grown since the incident with the “Fulton Five.”
You can give the entire interview a LISTEN HERE or read the transcript below:
Chris Kokell: Notre Dame linebacker Te’von Coney joins us. He’s a Palm Beach Gardens alum. Welcome to the Coach Kokell show. I had you on in the past at a whole nother station show (identity). You were just a high school kid out of Palm Beach Gardens at the time. Now you’re this kid who I, I go on Twitter. I turn on my TV and there’s Te’von Coney hitting people across the nation on national TV. Man, you made it big and here I am stuck in Palm Beach County. What’s going on Te’von?
Te’von Coney: Hey, how’s everything, man? Nothing much. Just grindin’. It’s summer. You know, it’s been great for me. Just working on my weaknesses and getting prepared for this upcoming -- my senior -- season. And getting ready to have a great season.
Chris Kokell: Now, what are those weaknesses? Because I’m looking at your stat log and obviously I followed along, but this past year you blew up. What is it? A hundred and sixteen tackles? Three sacks?
Te’von Coney: Yeah. Thirteen TFLs. Yeah.
Chris Kokell: You’ve got to thrown in the tackles for loss. I love it. Hey man, when you can get an offense off schedule, that’s what it’s all about because then they make mistakes.
Te’von Coney: Exactly.
Chris Kokell: What was it going into that junior year this year that made you realize, “Okay, now I figured it all out”? How did it come into play where your game developed that last year was the blow up year?
Te’von Coney: You know, I just went out there and did what I had to do, you know, the coaches and all that type of thing. I put in more film work, you know just more time on the field. With just six or seven things that, you know, I felt I needed to get better at and when I did those things, I was able to go out there this year, just have fun and let it all go.
Chris Kokell: What weaknesses were you working on specifically? What are something that you want to add to your game? Each year, we have to improve. Even me as a high school coach, I try to get better in one area every off season. What was the area for Te’von Coney that you said, “All right. This is what I gotta do to get to that next level”?
Te’von Coney: You know, this upcoming year, it’d definitely be pass coverage. I want to get my hands on a few more passes and try to take some back for touchdowns, you know, just try to take my game to the next level, you know, just doing various things like stretching and all those types of things. Understanding, you know, passing concepts and know where the quarterback looks in certain coverages and understanding that if I can be there and make those plays, you know, it’ll take my game to the next level for sure.
Chris Kokell: Yeah. I’m noticing -- what’s that number I’m seeing next to the INT mark?
Te’von Coney: Uh, that’s where I want to get three, four and want to take two back at least.
Chris Kokell: So you’re saying right here on 640 The Hurricane, Te’von Coney is taking two to the house this year?
Te’von Coney: Taking two to the house this year.
Chris Kokell: I love it. How much does it help having your linebacker coach -- he’s now your defensive coordinator, obviously someone you’ve been familiar with...how much does it help knowing that he’s going to scheme around you? Someone who knows you best.
Te’von Coney: Oh, it is awesome. You know, one thing when I decided to come back, you know, it was great to know that I would have him. You know Coach Lea, who is a great coach, and you know, he understands the schemes and knows how to put his players in the best position for, you know, their strengths so you know, to have him there and know how I play or what helps me the best, you know, it feels confident (comfortable?). You can just go out there. You don’t have to worry; just play.
Chris Kokell: You bring up: You decided to come back because there were starting to be rumblings about you going into the NFL Draft. How much closer did you watch this year’s draft and this process for guys like Lamar Jackson, someone from our area (the Louisville quarterback), a guy who you probably know well from playing in this area. How much did you watch him go through this process for yourself for next year?
Te’von Coney: It was huge. I definitely (inaudible) much closer to this draft right here. You know I watched similar guys, you know, that I knew like him and other guys that played in my circle. They were well positioned and I kind of looked at, you know, what teams looked out for them and, you know, what their strengths and weaknesses, you know, and how they perform at the Combine and just such stages. Getting another year to really prepare for, you know, a big stage and a big level up from college.
Chris Kokell: Now when we have the draft party, I’m assuming I will be invited, right?
Te’von Coney: Yeah, you will.
Chris Kokell: That’s right. I’m pressuring you on air. That’s how I tricked girls in high school into going on dates. I said it in public where they couldn’t say no.
Te’von Coney: You got my word.
Chris Kokell: All right, good. We’re expecting big things out of you. You open up with Michigan. How much does that game been on your mind?
Te’von Coney: I mean, right now? I mean, just a little bit. But you know right now I’m just focusing on me and the team and you know, continue to gain trust with my teammates and bringing the freshmen along, you know, like I said before, working on our weaknesses. So this is a lot of preparation on my end right now with my team, just getting us ready to where we need to get to whatever opponent we are playing we ready to go out there and, you know, succeed.
Chris Kokell: Chris Kokell joined by Notre Dame linebacker Te’von Coney, a Palm Beach Gardens alum. Te’von, this coming week on Tuesday we are having our high school media day at Brother Jimmy’s. What advice are you going to give -- would you give -- to this next group of stars that are coming out? This next group of big time players that are going to the college level that maybe you wish someone whispered into your ear when you were headed off to Notre Dame?
Te’von Coney: Priorities. Time management. Priorities is the main thing at the next level. It’s another world where you know, you don’t have the same type of guidance as like parents and even sometimes coaches where you have somebody that’s always on your back. So, you know, it’s important that you just put your time, you know, where the important things are at and have your priorities where, like, they lie where education as far as then football, you know. Those are the two main things you’re focusing on and that can help you with success on and off the field, you know, where you can be early graduated and you know, played earlier as freshman or anything, whatever your goals are. But the main thing is definitely have your priorities right and focus on the things that actually help you succeed at the college level.
Chris Kokell: Even when we talked in high school, you were all about grades and going forward and that’s part of the reason you took Notre Dame as your choice. What have you been studying? And I know your plans after college football are NFL. We’re going to watch you on Sundays. What about after the NFL? What, what are you looking to do when the career is all said and done?
Te’von Coney: Oh, you know I definitely want to get into business where I want to be able to go out there and be an entrepreneur, you know, going into the business world. I’m just trying to find different ways to be, you know, an impact in a positive way or whatever I could do to do that, you know, I’m willing to do.
Chris Kokell: Any team that drafts Te’von Coney and I’m going to ask this a year in advance, what are they going to get?
Te’von Coney: The guy that’s going to come in each and every day and work hard and, first and foremost, be a leader. Set the example and just really work hard and come in each and every day and buy into the system, buy into the program and do everything I can to try and get to the Super Bowl and win one.
Chris Kokell: Is it weird that this is your last year at Notre Dame coming up?
Te’von Coney: Yeah, I mean, I blink and I look at my senior year. It goes by so fast. I tell a lot of young guys and I went back and told back at home, not to take it for granted. Each and every day, each week, work hard. Don’t try to look ahead and say, “I have time.” You’re going by fast. And just take it day by day and work hard and get some of those days when you look up and you see you’ve done great things. So, great, you just keep going forward and notice you’ve got a lot of great things ahead of you as well.
Chris Kokell: If you could summarize your career at Notre Dame in one word, what would it be?
Te’von Coney: Growth.
Chris Kokell: Awesome. Te’von. We appreciate it. I appreciate the time. Look forward to watching you this season and catching up with you. Maybe mid-season jump back on?
Te’von Coney: Oh yeah. Thank you. Thank you for having me.
Chris Kokell: That was Te’von Coney, Notre Dame standout linebacker. Palm Beach Gardens alum. I love that he said “growth” as his one word because we saw he had some off the field stuff that’s carried through. But in the news -- it was a small thing that happened back in 2016 and you can tell he’s just grown as a man from that spot. He’s going to have a big year. He was a monster last year when he really came into his own. Now he’s going to play confident, expect big plays out of Te’von Coney, and we look to see him. He might be that next first round draft pick we have out of Palm Beach County.