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Charlie Weis Press Conference Transcript 11/11

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UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME MEDIA CONFERENCE


November 11, 2008


Charlie Weis


COACH WEIS: Good afternoon. I told you the other day I would address, first of all, before we got into Navy, any changes as far as my involvement. On Friday of last week, Coach Haywood came to me, and a family member of his had passed away sort of unexpectedly, after a long illness. And we had come up with a plan that we would discuss on Sunday what we would do this week. 
And after discussing with him on Sunday afternoon, what we decided we would do is he's going to fly out of here tomorrow to go back to Houston to attend the funeral back there in Houston. 
In his absence, this week I'm going to take over the offense. So I've been involved in the game plans with Mike there, of course, but I've been involved with the game, with all the stuff as of Monday morning, as far as the game plan and the installation and implementation. And I'll run the offense this weekend, call the plays for the Navy game. 
So let's move on to Navy. Navy is sitting there 6-3. The three losses have come from teams that have a record of 20-7. It's pretty obvious they're having a fine year for them. Already in a bowl game. Coach Niumatalolo is in his first season as a head coach. But he's been there quite some time as the assistant head coach and the offensive line coach. 
So the change in their offense has been slim to none. Coach Jasper had been there as the quarterback coach. He just moved up to the offensive coordinator/quarterback coach. He's been there for nine seasons, too, even though this is his first as the coordinator.
So they just kind of just evolved the way they normally do, just moved the assistant head coach up to head coach and moved the quarterback coach up to coordinator and really haven't missed a beat. It's the same Navy team. And they're averaging over 300 yards a game rushing, 308, which is third in the country. 5.4 a carry. Nothing changes with them. They're one of the best at what they do. 
They get in the red zone, they score. They've scored 88 percent of the time, and they get off to fast starts. Usually they're outscoring their opponents in the first quarter, first quarter, 91-69. 
They play three quarterbacks this year. We've got mainly Kaipo last year. He prefers to be called Kaipo, so I won't go into all the phonetics of Kaheaku and Enhada that I've been practicing forever. 
But Brian's been their starting quarterback who was named their offensive captain. He's been dealing with a little bit of a shoulder that's limited him over the past few weeks but we expect to see him start. Kaipo played in the Temple game. Looked like he got reinjured again. But they also used Dobbs. To be honest, looking at Dobbs, he might have the strongest arm of the three of them.
But they're all system quarterbacks that do a very good job in their system. One of the bases for this offense is to have a bruising fullback. And Kettani definitely fits the bill. He's 6'1", 233, senior, veteran, runs hard, physical player and really is the centerpiece for this offense, along with the quarterback.
A lot of times people talk about Navy just having a bunch of undersized underachievers. But you'd have a tough time convincing me that Shun White is one of those. He's a slot back. He's 5'9", 190. He's their most experienced. He's a legit 4.4 guy. He's a legitimate good player. He's dynamic with legit speed.
Shinego is their other slot back, and he's a guy that you can't just worry about running him because he's probably one of the better receivers coming out of the back field that they've had since I've started looking at Navy. 
And then as always they always have big physical wide receivers that block first and catch second. Barnes is their leading receiver and their number one physical blocker. But Sharp 6'4", 239, the other receiver, between the two of them, their big physical guys that block. And when you saw out the stuff to run, that's when they beat you on those play action passes.
Their offensive line is centered around their left guard, Gaskins. He's the leader of their line. Battipaglia is their left tackle. He started the fall at right tackle but emerged as their starter at left tackle. Moore is at center. Switched from right tackle to center in the spring. Bass is the right guard. Molloy is the right tackle. And Milke started the year as starting right tackle but he's now listed behind Molloy. 
On defense, there's a defense that plays hard with great passion. They go back and forth between 34 personnel group and they do play some 33 nickel personnel group. But in both personnel groups they play both odd and even fronts. And the lineup in odd and stem to even. They'll line up in even and play even. They'll lied up in even and stem to odd. So you have to be ready for them going back and forth between those two fronts, especially coming off a bye week where they've had some extra time to go ahead and practice some of these things. 
And in the secondary, they play coverage. That's what they do. They make you just take what they give you. Buddy Green, I've known him a long time. He's the defensive coordinator there, also coaches the secondary. The one thing they've done very, very well this year is they've stopped the run. 30th in the country. Only given up 116 yards a game in the run game. And the perfect example of that is the last game they played against Temple. Temple carried the ball 37 times for 69 yards. So they averaged less than two yards a carry. 
One of the reasons they've been good against the run, it starts with their nose tackle, Nate Frazer. 6'3", 287. Certainly not undersized. He's a pretty dynamic player. He's the guy you've got to worry about the most because he's very, very disruptive. 
Their defensive ends, a little bit undersized but they're very, very active and physical at the point, both Tuani and Nechak, both of them, very similar players. And then it gets into this group of linebackers. 
Now the one linebacker who gives them the most versatility is Corey Johnson. He's their most versatile player. He plays both defensive end where he'll put his hand down or he'll walk in and rush when they shift to four down and he plays outside linebacker. No. 5, keep an eye on him.
The other guy they do have some versatility with is Vela, No. 34. Plays outside linebacker. He'll occasionally end up being a defensive end. When they go to even as well. 
And middle linebacker, they either play Haberer or Sovie. They both played in there. And Pospisil, he'll handle the weak side inside linebacker, who we call the jack. Against Temple he led the team in tackles with 11 tackles, two for loss and the forced fumble. 
Their secondary, a lot of times people want to say let's go after Buffin at corner because he's 5'11", 168. Well, he's a senior and not -- the only time he's been beaten is when people have run stutters or something that some kind of move to go ahead and get by him. He's been pretty solid, as well as King's been on the other side. They are willing to give up yardage underneath them. But the only way you get by them is if you do some kind of a move-go, because they're very good in not letting that happen. 
Rover, Deliz, also plays outside linebacker. Besides being a strong safety type, he's also an outside linebacker type as well. And Middleton is their veteran, leader of their secondary, weak safety, and one of the better players made a whole bunch of plays against us last year. 
Last but not least on special teams, Coach Johns has taken over on special teams. They have a good hitting yardage stat. They're averaging over 13 yards a punt return but only giving up 5.7 yards, eight punt returns. They're gaining a good seven yards and six and a half yards in that facet. 
The field goal kicker hardly ever misses. He's 14 for 16. And they've got a new kick-off guy whose had seven touchbacks this year. Harmon, he handles the place kicking. He's 14 of 16 along with 49. Teague is their kick-off guy. Seven touchbacks. He's a freshman. Delahooke, he'll handle the punting. Reider is the long snapper. They use three kick returners, Jones, James and Angelo and Mario Washington will handle their punt returns. 
THE MODERATOR: Questions. 

Q. Is this a one-game only with you calling plays?
COACH WEIS: Michael had anticipated us that being the question. We said let's just get through Navy. I want to give him his time. And he really needs a little time here. He's here and he's gotten it out. But I think that having gone through a death during a football season myself at one time, you show up for the game but you're kind of in a fog. 
You're there, but you're kind of not there at the same time. So we both decided let's just get through this game.

Q. Can you tell us, was it a family member who died?
COACH WEIS: I'd rather leave that to him. I don't think that's my right here, to tell you the truth.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about, Jim Clausen has been struggling since halftime at North Carolina. Have you seen something he's doing differently? 
COACH WEIS: Well, I mean, I know he threw the one pick in the first play in the second half against North Carolina but he also threw for a bunch of yards. I think one thing that we have to make sure we do, and we're going to make a big point of emphasis this week, not that we don't do it every week, but that's going to be to make sure that especially with the way this secondary plays, that you just take what they give you. 
And I think that if you don't, you're going to end up throwing picks against this team, too. I think you have to make sure you take what they give you. And that's what our big focus this week is going to be. 

Q. Do you think that Jimmy may be trying to force it a little bit?
COACH WEIS: Said that after the game the other day. I think we have guys that are just trying to make a play and they're trying to do too much. So it goes are away from my premise that you're supposed to just do your job. Then when you start trying to do too much then you start forcing it and bad things happen.

Q. And any other steps you're taking? You talked last week about how you try to shake things up and that you really can't do it too often. Anything else you're doing this week because looked like the team -- the offense --
COACH WEIS: I think it was already quite drastic of a change for them yesterday when all of a sudden I'm running the meetings and I'm calling the plays and I'm doing those things. When you're not the same people, it's quite different. 

Q. And is one of the goals for the rest of the season, it seemed like the one common theme in the wins and losses is the running game, and gave you a rush for over 100 yards, you won. The only game you actually rushed for 100 an d lost was Pittsburgh, but didn't have 100 at regulation. Do you have to get the running game going to get the offense going?
COACH WEIS: I think if you ask any guy on our team -- but I'll speak as the leader -- every week we go in and we probably practice about 50 percent runs and 50 percent passes in practice. 
We go into our game figuring that at the end of the game that's statistically that's pretty close to what we'd like to end up being. 
As the game goes on, a lot of times things change going into the game. Going into this game, you'd like to go into a game where you ran it 50 times and threw it 20 times. That's what you'd like to be able to do. But it doesn't always work that way. Because now you're going against a team that, statistically, if you look at their stats, they're a lot better against the run than they are against the pass. So you have to go with the flow of the game and make sure, just like you're telling the players to take what the defense gives you. As a play caller, you also have to take what the defense gives you. I think it's a combination of the two things.

Q. And seeing what the goals were for the season, is this a must-win now for this team? 
COACH WEIS: I think that this is a critical game for our team for two reasons. Not just the goals of the season, it's coming off the last couple of games. I think it's part of that as well. You have a disheartening loss against Pittsburgh. Then you go against BC where the defense plays one of the best games and offense and special teams play pretty lousy games. I think it's pretty important for the whole team for this week. 

Q. Going back to the last game, Jimmy was ill, something that may have impacted his performance, why not say so afterwards? Because it might have helped people kind of explain his performance. For instance, I thought during the game his body language wasn't very good. Once we found out he was ill, then it made sense. 
COACH WEIS: We had several talks about it. First of all, if I say that after the game, then it's perceived like I'm making excuses. Because then I'm making -- I'd rather just tell you not after the heat of the game but after you get back to sit back and reflect from the game and just tell you, I think it's really important for me to tell you the truth. 
But at the same time I don't want to ever be perceived or we don't want to be perceived as making excuses. During the game we had several conversations, he and I, about: How are you doing? How are you doing?
And I never felt that it was at a point of the game where he couldn't play in the game. Because if I felt that, I'd put Evan in. Not like I don't have any confidence there. If I came in after a game where we got shut out and say, I'm sorry we got shut out, but Jimmy wasn't feeling very well, that isn't going to go over very well.

Q. (Question off microphone)?
COACH WEIS: Friday. He came in and told me Friday morning. And he was okay. We had talked about that then, and then we said we would revisit it on Sunday exactly what the plan is. 
Because, see, with me, any time this happens I give my guys carte blanche to do whatever they want to do. So as coaches, by nature what you're trying to do is you're trying to miss as little as you possibly can, but it's almost like I have to force him to go, to go do it, do what personally you're supposed to do.

Q. Will he be back, will Mike be back?
COACH WEIS: He'll be back for the game. I don't know if he'll meet us in South Bend or if he's going to meet us in Baltimore. I'm not sure which one. The funeral's on Thursday.

Q. And he'll work from the press box still?
COACH WEIS: As of right now that's the plan. We haven't really got to that. To be honest with you, Tim, I have to wait and see how he is. Because I've got to worry about him, see how he is. Because whatever is going to be best for him, that's what I'm going to do. 

Q. You talk about the whole good cop/bad cop ad nauseam. But when Jimmy's coming off a game like that, do you have to play a little bit more good cop this week to kind of get his confidence level back, or is he not the type that needs that type of stroking?
COACH WEIS: Everyone needs it. There isn't anyone -- I've been around Hall of Fame quarterback, they needed it too. They can act tough and act like I'm okay, but they're not okay. No one feels good after a performance that turns out like that. 
So I think that what you have to do you have to start it before the game's over. That's something you cannot wait on. And I did. I started it in the fourth quarter. 
I mean, you don't wait for the game to be over. You don't wait for the next day. You don't let them wallow in self-pity. You have to already start the process, because the longer you wait, the longer it's going to take to come out of it and rebound.

Q. In terms of Armando Allen and his running style and breaking tackles, is it just an issue of strength with him, or is it a running style? What kind of things -- I know you used the gauntlet as a tackle breaking device, but what other things can you do to improve a running back's ability to break that?
COACH WEIS: I think the best thing you do is tackle live. I think there's nothing better than actually doing it. And I think that by what we've been doing this year time and time again, going full speed on a couple of days a week, which we do on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I think that's the one thing that keeps on -- we keep on working on the same skills all the time. 
I think that running styles come into play, but at the same time there comes to, you know, making sure you're not taking a hit on full speed, knowing how to -- some of the best running backs that have not been the biggest running backs, one of the reasons why they've been able to stay durable is because they know how to torque their body at the right time, which has always gotten them extra yards and taking hits off of them, too.

Q. Because of the injury he's had, is he way behind in terms of strength, leg strength? 
COACH WEIS: I don't think leg strength. I think a lot of players, you ask me -- might have been you asked me about Jimmy the other day being worn down and stuff. There's a lot of guys you're eight games into the season right now. There's a lot of guys banged up. It's not the same as it was four games ago. 
But it's the same truth for the guys you're going against, too. Guys especially who get 20 touches a game, you're going to get banged up. 

Q. Two quick questions about Navy. The first is hypothetical. But which is a more dangerous team, a Navy team that knows it can beat Notre Dame or a Navy team, last year, that was hungry to finally end a long streak?
COACH WEIS: That's a very good question that I don't know the answer to. I'd be lying if I sat there and gave you an answer to that one, because they both have their pros and cons. 

Q. Last thing about Navy, no two guys are going to call a game exactly the same. I mean, do you see some nuances and some differences with their new head coach over a guy who was pretty much the master of that style of offense?
COACH WEIS: I think that he's, you know, he's been a very good student. And the package is almost identical. I'll leave it to Corwin and John and Jappy to find out what the tweaks have been in the system. Because really I've been putting all my efforts into seeing if we can't score some touchdowns.

Q. You touched on this a little before. What's important? It's not like this is the first time you've ever called plays with most of these players, but what's most important to minimize confusion transitioning into this for one week or is there? 
COACH WEIS: Well, the one thing I'll do is the guys will know very early in the week what we're going to call in the game. And I think that you put a game plan in. Like yesterday they got the first and second down game plan. So you introduce it yesterday. Now today is the first big first and second down day. 
And then now tomorrow, when you put in third down and you go into other situational football, one period of the day you always spend going over first and second down. Well, what will be different this week than they've been having is the plays they're going to be running in the game first and second down early in the game on Saturday, they'll be practicing tomorrow. 
And when you can start getting ready for those games, those plays early in the week and you start getting, okay, here's what's going to happen, here's what's going to happen, then players can start visualizing, players can start visualizing here's what we're going to do and what's going to happen. 
And that's probably the only major difference. It's not the plays. It's just probably the presentation.

Q. With Jimmy, you mentioned a lot of interceptions, trying to do too much, trying to take what's not there. This is going to sound snarkier than I mean it, but should he be past that by now?
COACH WEIS: I think he's past that in a normal football game. I think that when you get down in a game, that's when quarterbacks do things that they regret or wish they wouldn't do. I mean, I've had, like I said, not to give an analogy to Tommy, but we played a game against the Miami Dolphins where he threw four interceptions and we ended up losing on a year when they were really terrible.
One interception he threw, it's a close game, and he's got a guy wrapped around him, throws it right to a defensive lineman, who runs it in for a touchdown and we lose. This is a guy going to the Hall of Fame, winning Super Bowls. 
So I think what he would tell you, which is the same thing that Jimmy would tell you, is that he was just trying to make a play. And what you have to do as a coach is explain to him sometimes taking a sack is a good thing. Sometimes throwing the ball away is a good thing. Sometimes you can throw the ball away and taking a sack is better than the end result where you throw the ball into traffic. 
So I think that having coached one of the best players that's ever played the position and had these similar problems with him, I mean, I've had four interception games with Tommy. I've had four interception games with Brady. And Jimmy's joined the trifecta.

Q. Larger issue stuff. I think it's probably fair to say or maybe even conservative to say some people who are interested in Notre Dame football are a little inpatient now based on the way things have gone in the past couple of weeks. Given where this team was last year, the current composition in the roster, do you think that's fair? 
COACH WEIS: I think that I'd be perturbed, too, if I were them, to be honest with you. I wouldn't be very happy the way the Pittsburgh game lasted, the way it ended, should I say. 
And I wouldn't be too excited about how the offense and special teams played. Now, the difference between the Pittsburgh game and the Boston College game you can't give enough credit to how the defense played in the game. 
So you could not say that in the Pittsburgh game. There was plenty of blame slash to spread around in that game between the coaches and the players and everything that happened. But you can't say that about how the defense played in the BC game, because they played darn well. And I think that now the offense has to step up and they have to do it this week. They have to do it next week. They have to do it the week after that, and we'll see where we are after we go through that three-week stretch.

Q. Do you think Saturday's a big game for you in terms of what it means for your future?
COACH WEIS: If you're asking me is everyone going to know that Weis is calling the plays, and do I know that everyone knows I'm calling the plays, yes. But other than that, I think they're all big games. I mean, I don't try to minimize any of them.

Q. Charlie, just for clarification on the offense. If things go well this weekend, will you revisit, is that going to become a week-to-week thing?
COACH WEIS: We said we wouldn't even talk about it until after we got through this game, we got through this week. We said let's just deal with Navy. I had the same questions that you're asking. So you brought it up, Tom brought it up. And they're logical questions to ask. We decided not to even go through there. Let's try to get through this week and get through Navy.

Q. You always seem to have a theme with the guys, what's sort of the overlying theme this week. 
COACH WEIS: Once again, I want to give you the theme here but I want to give a little prelude to it. Once again, it's tough for me to chastise the defense for the performance they had last week. With that being said, there's no sicker feeling than watching Navy celebrate after that game last year, after they stuffed us on the two point conversion. And if that isn't enough, if that isn't enough, then their memory is way shorter than mine is.

Q. Building a little bit on what Brian was asking. In terms of big picture, how close are you to being on schedule with where you think this program should be right now?
COACH WEIS: I'm encouraged with the personnel. I'm encouraged with the holes we're filling on a regular basis both currently and in the future. 
And to me, as far as the mechanics of our staff, to me everything's starting to fall into place to me very clearly. I think that sometimes you go -- remember, I went through this whole thing myself this year, Todd, as I was going through this, go away from being the offensive coordinator/play caller to the head coach. And now all of a sudden you're back in the ringer here this week, where I won't be spending nearly the amount of time worrying about the defense. But I believe at this stage I don't need to, because I think the defense is in good hands. And I feel very confident with the defensive staff and what they're doing.
With that being said, I hope they can stop the run, put the pressure on them. But I'm saying that in jest. I think that we have the personnel, the uptick on the personnel, the talent level on the personnel and the mechanics of the coaching staff I think are all in line for everything to go in the right direction.

Q. I asked this after the Navy game last year. I'll ask it before the Navy game this year. Obviously I think everybody's in-boxes in this room were stuffed over the weekend. And everybody wants to know why are you the right man for this job, Charlie?
COACH WEIS: I think if you look at last week's game against Boston College and the game against Pittsburgh, you sit there and you say, well, we're sitting 6-4 why aren't we better than that?
Okay? I think that the bottom line is where's the program going to go? I think that's the big question. And I'm confident that the program's going to go where we all want it to go. And that's as honest as I can be.

Q. To follow up on that. What are the reasons that you're confident that the program is going to go where you want it to go?
COACH WEIS: Because I think we've got pretty good players. And I think we've got pretty good players. You have a chance of being pretty good. 

Q. You talked about pressing Saturday night, Sunday night, a little bit today, as a play caller, how can you stop an offense from pressing? Are there certain calls you can make that make it almost impossible for a quarterback to press?
COACH WEIS: I think that they'll know very clearly. My personality is different than the offensive staff and Michael's. My personality is different, how I call things are different, how I run things are slightly different. 
I mean, we all know the same stuff, but just how we do it is different. And let's think about it for a second, Pete. You're in a classroom now instead of the coordinator running the offense is the head coach, well, you can imagine the attention for detail not just the quarterback, but every position you can imagine, the attention for detail would automatically just naturally go up.

Q. As far as the running game goes, I think it would be fair to say that not just this season has been inconsistent but for the last couple. Where do you see that going? And what gives you confidence that that can get turned around?
COACH WEIS: Oh, we're just going to have to wait and see how things go because if I didn't think that we could run the ball, if I didn't think we could run the ball, we wouldn't practice running the ball 50 percent of the time in practice, we'd just go out and throw it on every down. 
If we didn't think that we could go into a game and run the ball, that's not what we would do. I mean, there's plenty of teams out there that I watch on a weekly basis that I don't even know if they have a run and a game plan. They just throw it on every down. That's not, ultimately, our goal. 
And I think that when it's all said and done, I think we have potential to be very successful in the running game. Just the numbers don't lie, and I'm not ignorant of that. But we'll see where we go. 

Q. The dynamics of pressing a little bit against a team like Navy that's obviously going to shorten the game, it becomes even more important, I would think. 
COACH WEIS: Like you said, we always talk about top 10. It's right up there relatively high that there's going to be fewer possessions in the game and you've got to make the most of fewer possessions.

Q. How does that impact you? Given their propensity to take time off the clock, you have a quarterback who is already pressing. You say sometimes trying to do too much. You fear that he won't be patient enough because of those limited possessions? 
COACH WEIS: I don't think he'll be pressing this week. I don't think he'll be pressing this week.

Q. We asked about the running backs and Jimmy. Is it fair to say that when the offense does bog down, it's because it's getting, it's the point of attack. It's the line of scrimmage, it's the offensive line that's getting beat, especially in the running game? 
COACH WEIS: That would be true -- generically that would be true, Jeff. I think one of the problems last week, we keep -- on the first five drives you get three holding penalties called in there, and now all of a sudden you're putting yourself in a bind. It's first and 20 or second and 20 rather than second and 5. 
I think the whole dynamics of your calls change, and also what the defense could do on the other side. I think that's another area where we haven't spent enough time just talking about. 
But I think that you can't go into a game and have multiple holding penalties because every one of them are drive killers.

Q. Most of this group is juniors, when they came in three years ago they were much heralded looked like a great offensive line class. Is it fair to say they've not developed the way you would have liked they would have?
COACH WEIS: Actually, I'm encouraged as we end up this year and go into next year. I'm really encouraged about where they'd be. Because now with the exception of Sam, now these guys will have been playing for a couple of years. And I think that at the offensive line position -- we talk about cohesiveness and experience. So you lose one guy on the offensive line. I think it bodes well for the success of the future.

Q. Are they still on the trajectory that you like?
COACH WEIS: Maybe not as fast as I'd like. But do I believe that the future is promising? Yes, I do.

Q. Going back to, what, first quarter or whatever when you went no-huddle against San Diego State, with a few exceptions Michigan State for some periods, the offense has been rolling. Do you see this coming? Did you think they would --
COACH WEIS: Which part, the Boston College game you're talking about? 

Q. Even the second half, the last -- were you surprised that given how things were going that you would have these problems now? And I guess the second question is, was there anything picked at offense, some wrinkle that Boston College picked up on that maybe tripped it a little bit to the offensive coach?
COACH WEIS: I talked about Pitt last week. When you come out, the first play, and you get blown up, you a great look and the second play you miss a sight adjust and now you're punting. Now it's 17-10. And then you come out and they hit you with a blitz on 1st and 10 and 2nd and 15 on your next drive. Well, that really went for the first couple of drives.
Now you settle down and you go on to 10-play, 75-yard drive and go back and regain the lead. I can replay those games in my mind until I'm blue in the face. But still, at the end of the day, it's what did you do last week versus what are you going to do this week.
So I think as badly as people feel about how things went last week against Boston College, hopefully Saturday, about 3:30 in the afternoon, they're going to feel just as good as they felt badly.

Q. Coming off last year with how hard you had to work with recruiting, do you get any of those questions this year when you're losing 3 out of 4, do you have to talk to the kids about how things are going?
COACH WEIS: No, our kids have been pretty solid, because when we get involved in recruiting, especially whether a kid -- when a kid, especially when a kid has said yes, they want to come, we involve them in everything that's going on on a daily basis. 
They know all the good and all the bad. So when a kid's one of ours, we make him one of ours so they feel the good and they feel the bad. So this way, just like last year's class, one of the reasons why our players have proved to be resilient when it comes to that, is because of our involving them in what we do on an everyday basis. 
One of the biggest mistakes I think people make in recruiting is when somebody says yes, they go start spending more time on getting the next guy than the guys they already have. And I think that that's where it starts from. Once these guys feel part of the family, like part of the involvement, usually there's very few guys that ever waver from that.

Q. To clarify, if Michael hadn't suffered the family tragedy --
COACH WEIS: But he did. Let's not go hypothetically. But I'm saying he did. I don't know the answer to the question, because I already knew on Friday. This is before we'd even played the game, this was an issue for us that we had talked about. And we talked we'd revisit it on Sunday. 
So I don't know the answer. What if we had won by 40, I'd still be running the offense this week. So it wouldn't have made a difference. I'd still be doing the same thing based off of what we're dealing with this week.

Q. This is kind of like a layman type of question, but you look at Navy. They throw the ball for less than one pass per quarter and you're a sports fan, you've heard people in different sports will say: Let's make someone else beat us. Why not make a 5'10" quarterback who throws the ball once a quarter beat you with a passing game?
COACH WEIS: Say the last --

Q. My question is, is there something you can do defensively to basically bear them, force them to throw the ball on you?
COACH WEIS: I think that watching all the tape that I've watched both our defenses get prepared to go against them as everyone else, I think what happens is they have these big old splits that they take and they kind of challenge you. Well, are you going to try to take the split on this gap or are you going to try to go ahead and spread out with us. 
I think they're so good in their system and it's so unorthodox, that everyone in the country knows what's coming. It's the same thing. Everyone knows what's coming. But at the end of the game almost every week, doesn't matter who they play against, usually they have 300 yards rushing. It's just what they do.

Q. My follow-up is, can you commit more men? Can you take your two best cover guys and say one-on-one with these wides and we're going to go nine guys and five?
COACH WEIS: Every one against them plays eight or nine like you're saying, John, but they definitely play at least involved in the front. Everyone does. Every team that plays against them commits at least eight down there. 
So the little quick motions that they run forces people to adjust very quickly on the fly. But even with that, with having eight guys down there, even if you had nine guys down there I think the one thing you still have to be able to do is you still have to be able to stop the inside run no matter how many people you had out there and it starts with the quarterback and the fullback.

Q. In trying to balance Mike's delicate situation and what's good for your team, do you still try to make some tweaks and still try to impose a little bit of your personality into the offense this week? 
COACH WEIS: I think that my personality that I'm tweaking is more in presentation than anything else. And I think that because I'm in there, it allows me to create an even greater sense of urgency than normal, because just the fact that I'm the head coach that's in there now. I think that automatically gets everyone's attention, plus I think that that being said, these guys all know that I've done this plenty of times before. So this isn't like some new guy coming into the mix. 
So I'm expecting them to step up big. 

Q. After the game you talked about talking to Jimmy on the side line about being a leader and how people are going to follow his lead. I'm sure you know that they're going to be following your lead, too. What's kind of the theme for you this week? What do you want to show to your players as you go through a tough week like this? 
COACH WEIS: First of all, I talked to the captains and the leadership committee yesterday to tell them what I was going to do this week, because I think that it was very important to me that when I was going to tell the team that I was going to run the offense that there was no mistake that this was not about throwing Coach Haywood or any of the offensive coaches under the bus. I just think it was extenuating circumstances that led to this, and I think it was very important, because that is one of my greatest pet peeves is people who do exactly that. 
That being said, I think that the team, because I've stepped in to take over this week, they can sense a greater or heightened sense of urgency coming from them because of the fact that it's now not the assistants doing it, it's now the head coaches in there. 

Q. This is a finer point, with Michael being gone perhaps until Thursday or longer, who coaches the running backs this week?
COACH WEIS: I'll probably -- he's going to be around Wednesday. I'm not sure what time he's leaving. And then he won't be here on Thursday. So I'll just take them on Thursday. I'll hop along and go over with those guys.

Q. To follow up on something with Jimmy, I think Neal asked it in the beginning. Seems like players will always say I'm okay to play, was there a point where you were like maybe he's not ready, maybe he's not feeling well enough and want to put Evan in?
COACH WEIS: No, we had that question as late as the fourth quarter. So it's when you know what you're dealing with going into the game, I think it's part of your job to make sure you check often during the game that that's not the case. And I never felt that way.

Q. Do you still call plays from the field, or are you going to go upstairs given that mobility is a bit of an issue?
COACH WEIS: It actually is something at least I would not -- I've called the plays from the field for the last bunch of years. The only way I would go upstairs is if my legs hurt me that bad where I had to do that. 
Did I at least broach the subject? Yeah. I've at least broached the subject. Right now I'd say I'd be on the field. But if it went the other way it would be leg-related and I'd let you guys know before it happened. So it wasn't all of a sudden on game day I make a big dog and pony show and I go upstairs because I wouldn't do that. 
If I go up, I'll let you know I'm doing that. 
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. 

End of FastScripts 

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This page contains a single entry by Neil Hayes published on November 11, 2008 7:31 PM.

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