An interview with:
COACH CHARLIE WEIS
BRIAN HARDIN: We have Coach Weis available at the front table. Coach Weis
will start with some opening comments, then we'll take questions from the
COACH WEIS: Well, Coach Carroll is in his eighth year as the
head coach of the Trojans. Besides having an 85‑15 record, one stat that I
found a bit overwhelming is the fact he's undefeated in the month of
November as the head coach of USC. They've been pretty dominant in every
quarter, 89‑34 in the first, 124‑30 in the second, 80‑7 in the third, 91‑12
in the fourth. They've been good in every quarter.
I want to talk about offense, defense and special teams because
there's some glaring numbers in all three facets.
Coach Sarkisian, who's not only the offensive coordinator but
the assistant head coach and coaches the quarterbacks. They're averaging 38
points a game, which is 14th in the country. Rushing for 209 yards a game,
18th in the country. That's 5.4 per carry by the way. They're averaging
242 passing in the game, which is 30th in the country. 451 yards overall,
which is 14th in the country.
When they get in the red zone, they score touchdowns 69% of the
time. A lot of that starts with Mark Sanchez at quarterback. Mark played
against us last year. He has a good, smooth release. He moves well in the
pocket, moves well out of the pocket. He's got a very strong arm. He's got
a stable of runningbacks to give the ball to. Lately they've been playing
three guys significantly. Looks like Gable as of late has been the number
one go‑to guy, although Stafon Johnson and Joe McKnight, all three of them,
see extensive time.
A little different, Gable has got great speed. He's athletic.
He can make you miss. Stafon is a little bit bigger. He goes at 215. Joe
has that breakaway speed. That's a very good complementary group of
runningbacks. All three of them end up being in there.
On top of that, they got one of the better fullbacks in the
country with Havili. He's more of a halfback than a fullback, too. He has
the ability to run with the ball. He runs hard. He's a legitimate
receiver, as well.
McCoy handles the tight ends. They just replaced those tight
ends. They always seem to get the same type of body type and athleticism
every time. Patrick Turner starts at X for them. He's the most experienced
guy. Plus he's 6'5", 220, got great size. Damian Williams is the guy who
has really come on for them. At the beginning of the year, you heard a lot
about Patrick Turner and Hazelton and Johnson. Those guys are all big‑play
receivers. But Williams has almost become like the go‑to guy. Starting at
Z, and when they go to the three‑wide receiver sets, he goes into the slot.
He's really having a heck of a year for them.
On the offensive line, Brown has settled in. He's been their
left tackle for all 10 games. Started all 10 games. Byers has been their
left guard. He used to be a center, but now he's their left guard. O'Dowd
handles the center. He's a very solid center.
Right guard and right tackle you'll see a couple of guys.
Parsons and Heberer will handle right guard. Howell and Butch Lewis we'll
see at right tackle.
Over to defense, Coach Holt is one of the better defensive
coordinators in college football. He also handles the defensive line.
They've got big numbers now. They're first in the country on points per
game, 8.3. Sixth in the country in rushing yardage at 90.2. Giving up 2.7
yards per carry. First in the country on pass defense at 132. They're
second in the country on total defense at 222. 24 sacks. They're only
letting people convert at 20% on third down.
As any other defensive line coach/defensive coordinator, it's
all going to start with his defensive linemen. Clay Matthews is playing
very, very well as one defensive end. Sometimes they put Everson Griffen in
there more as a pass‑rusher in a nickel situation. Usually call more plays
opposite of Matthews, the other defensive end.
Topou starts at their nose. Moala starts at the three
technique. They're both big bodies that are aggressive. Those guys, their
size, allows these linebackers that they have to really run to the football.
All three of them, everyone knows about Maualuga, All‑American candidate.
Everyone knows about Cushing because he's maybe a nose behind him. Maiava,
you can just group him in with Cushing and Maualuga because these three
linebackers are as good a combination of linebackers as you can get.
Their secondary, Pinkard and Harris are going to handle the
corners. Kevin Thomas, he plays a whole bunch for Pinkard, who usually
moves into their nickel back when they put in nickel. Harrison has been
starting at strong safety for Ellison, who had gotten banged up. I don't
know if he'll be in other not. Mays handles the free safety. Everyone
knows about Taylor, who is one of the bigger, more physical safeties in
Todd McNair, their runningback coach, handles their special
teams. The first number that sticks out to you right off the bat is their
kickoff return group, which is first in the country. They're averaging 30.1
per kickoff return. Woidneck handles their punting. He doesn't have to
punt very often. He's only had to punt 37 times. 13 balls being caught
inside the 20, and 10 more being fair caught. They usually have very good
field position. So when he does have to punt, he's usually in plus 50
Buehler doesn't have to kick very many field goals, he's usually
kicking extra points. When he does, he's seven for eight. Stephenson
handles the long snap, Poussan handles the short snapping. They put their
good guys back there on returns. Johnson and Gable are back on kickoff
returns. Ronald Johnson and Gable are back on kickoff returns. Stafon
Johnson handles their punt returns.
THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead with questions.
Q. Your guys coming off a pretty tough loss, what this game
represents to USC, the numbers you just mentioned, how daunting of a
challenge is this given everything that's led up to it?
COACH WEIS: Well, if it's every going to get the players'
attention after a tough loss, this gets your attention. Those numbers are
validated on tape, too. Sometimes I give you numbers, and people say, Yeah,
but who were they playing, this and that. This is the team that shows up
every week. They show up on offense. They show up on defense. They show
up on special teams.
The one thing that happens a whole bunch of times is people will
hang around with them for about a half. Seems like after halftime all of a
sudden they just start pulling away.
So just the reason why I emphasize those quarter‑by‑quarter
breakdowns is the fact that you can't just be happy to be hanging around
with them for a half. If you're going to have a chance to beat 'em, you're
going to have to be ready to play for 60 minutes.
Q. Where are your guys at after Saturday?
COACH WEIS: I think by yesterday afternoon we were back on
task. The fact that this is USC, I mean, if it might have been just about
any other opponent, you know, I think it might have taken a little bit more
time to get their attention. But they know this is a daunting task. I
think immediately it helps, you know, gives you a figurative slap in the
face, saying, Okay, it's time to go back to work.
Q. You talk to your guys about everything, 9/11, as well as
ball stuff. How, if at all, did you address sort of the scrutiny on the
program and even yourself with the guys?
COACH WEIS: I think that we don't ‑‑ the way I address it with
them is that we play week by week. Basically I told them by Saturday night.
After I left the locker room, I talked about my family, I talked about
recruiting, I talked about the things that I actually do. I said, but at
the end of the day, when it came back to Sunday morning and you're back to
work, it's 4:30, you're sitting back in the office, I think it's back to:
How do you bounce back? How do you bounce up? How do you get out of where
you are right there?
I think that more importantly than anything else, the fact that
it is USC, going back to the comment just a second ago, the fact that it's
USC is probably as good a thing that could happen to these guys to get their
attention right off the bat.
Q. I think you addressed this a little bit in the rivalry
question on Sunday. This is a team you see every year. Do you have to kind
of judge your progress as a program? Are they sort of a gold standard?
COACH WEIS: Even though Michigan was down this year, you know,
and Michigan is a game early in the year, that's one that always gets
everyone's attention. But you can't discard, you know, Michigan State and
Purdue, Stanford, some of the teams you play year in and year out.
But for early in the year versus late in the year, you know,
usually late in the year you're going to have a team like this that you're
going to go against that gets everyone's attention. I think the players
understand the magnitude, that is the type of team where if you don't go out
there and play hard and show up, you could have a long day at the office.
I think they're perfectly cognizant of that.
Q. Given how strong their defense is, no matter how good your
offense is, does it almost come down to just somebody making some sort of
kind of individual play to open things up?
COACH WEIS: You're going to need some big plays in the game
because I think with as salty as they are on defense, I think if you're
going to nickel and dime them the whole time, I think you have to have that
in the game because I think if you don't run the ball at them, get a bunch
of three‑and‑outs, you really put the defense at a big disadvantage, leave
them on the field too much.
I think you have to try to play as much as you can ball control
in the game, but you're going to need some people to make some big plays.
The games that they either lost, which the one game against Oregon State,
although close, were games where there were some big plays made.
Q. On Sanchez, he only played a few games last year. How have
you seen him develop?
COACH WEIS: I've liked Mark for a long time as a player. He's
got a lot of moxy. I think within their system, you know, like some teams
in the past where they've thrown the ball for 300 plus yards a game, he
doesn't have to do that with this team right here because they're so good at
the runningback position. I think he does a nice job of managing the team.
But the thing that I like about him the most is that he can
throw the ball equally efficiently whether he's in the pocket or out of the
pocket. And, you know, because their running game is pretty efficient,
they'll throw a lot of boots and let him throw on a move. He's shown to be
very accurate throwing on a move.
Q. Personnel stuff. Lambert going to be okay?
COACH WEIS: Lambert is going to practice today. We'll see.
He'll be out there today. How good he'll be, I told Corwin to let me know
because this will be the first day he's out there really running around in a
Q. Lloyd and Smith, still definitely out?
COACH WEIS: Yeah, they won't play this week. They're both
doing significantly better. But they're still a few weeks away.
Q. Chris Stewart, how is he doing?
COACH WEIS: He's back today, too.
Q. Will he play?
COACH WEIS: Probably. If he can go, he's starting. So he's
back today. He's been itching to get back. He probably could have been an
emergency guy last week, but he didn't practice at all last week. I thought
probably the best thing for him would be, you know, to start off this week.
So he's practicing today.
Q. USC has essentially dominated this series. When one team is
that dominant of another, can it still be considered a rivalry?
COACH WEIS: I think what you have to do is you have to look at
matchups of teams that have played over history. In almost every series
like this, there's been streaks where a team will win for a while, then the
other team will win for a while. You know, that's the way it goes. We
still considered it a rivalry in a streak where Notre Dame won about 10 in a
row, too. When you play year in and year out, there are periods where one
team gets the best of the other. But, you know, at the end of the day, it
usually ends up settling out.
Q. Why do you think this team maybe struggles a little bit
emotionally on the offensive end?
COACH WEIS: I don't consider emotion just being an offensive
aspect. I consider emotion from the whole team aspect. And I think that,
you know, any time you're playing in a game, emotion should automatically
come with playing. So for those players that lack emotion, which you're
talking collectively to every group, I don't ever see it collectively as a
group, I see it more individually than as a group.
Q. How do you maybe inspire those individuals who seem to be
COACH WEIS: You play different guys.
Q. Are we going to see any different guys this week?
COACH WEIS: We'll see by the end of the week. But they all
know that that's a possibility.
Q. (Question regarding Syracuse and USC's front.)
COACH WEIS: The run screen pass we were throwing to the left
that Jimmy got sacked on was the one time he got turned free. We were
rolling out to the right and throwing a screen pass to the left. Put a hand
on him instead of really pushing him before the lineman left to go out in
front of the screen. Now, that's the one time he got turned completely free
in the game.
But if you're asking about USC, what you can't do is you just
can't worry about their two interior guys. Where you really have to be
concerned is on the edge because they're so athletic on the edge.
So I think that more than just about any team you play, this is
a team you better make sure you don't get beat on the edge.
Q. You've invested a lot in 'enthusiasm' in camp, admonishing
them when they weren't fired up enough. Do you feel you've gotten a return
COACH WEIS: Well, I'm going to go back to the answer and say
it's more an individual basis than a group basis. There's several players
I'd say the answer to that is yes. There's some players I would say the
answer is I'm not happy enough.
Q. You haven't been favored in every game, but you've been
pretty much 50/50 chance. This is your first game being the substantial
underdog. How do you use that to motivate them?
COACH WEIS: Well, one of the things I'm going to talk to them
about today is I'm going to reflect to a game last year at about this same
time that took place between West Virginia and Pittsburgh. That's going to
be one of the conversation pieces we're going to have today with the team
here at 2:30.
You know, Pittsburgh was about a .500 team. That's about where
they were. West Virginia was going to the national championship game. You
know, it was supposed to be not even close. Just go in there, let's just
play this one out. West Virginia was going on to the national championship
game. Next thing you know, Pittsburgh wins the game.
I think there's a very live analogy as recently as last year
they remember very well, which is a very good teaching tool to address that
Q. You've won your share of recruiting battles with USC. How
important is this game for recruiting purposes?
COACH WEIS: I think that it's important mainly because we go
into Southern Cal. Hey, we lose our fair battles of recruiting and we win
some. But I think that if you're going ‑‑ one thing, when you recruit
nationally like we do, first thing you're going to have to do is get the
kids to leave their home state. USC is one of multiple schools that players
from California could decide to stay in California for.
I think it would be a big asset in recruiting, you go out there
and came out beating them.
Q. From what you've seen now after last week, the players,
their mental state, do they feel they can win this game?
COACH WEIS: 'Think' is not the answer. It's 'believe'.
There's a big difference. They better believe they're going to win or else
you have no chance. 'Think' is too much of an abstract. You have to believe
you're going to win.
That's the number one thing on my list that we're talking about
today, that we addressed yesterday, making sure you have players believing
they can win because if not, the game is over before you even start.
Q. Are there any positives to take out of last week?
COACH WEIS: The one thing you take is you go into the game last
week, and Syracuse rolls into town the prohibitive underdog on the road.
They ended up making one more play than we did and ended up winning the
game. I think, if anything, you use that as a lesson where you're the team
going in on the road this week in the same situation.
Q. You ran down the stats. Obviously USC is a very formidable
opponent. What has to happen to have a shot? Is it a quick start, turnover
differential, third downs? What are the things you're pointing to?
COACH WEIS: I think the first thing you better do is make sure
that in the game of ball possession it doesn't turn into a one‑sided affair,
where you don't go in offensively and have a bunch of three‑and‑outs, have
the defense on the field all day. That's the first thing you better do.
Second thing, you got to make some big plays. Big plays can come
from any of the three facets. It can come from blocking a punt, like last
week. It can come from Golden hitting a home run on a go. It can come from
a turnover interception or fumble. But you're going to need some big plays
in this game. Whether it be a turnover or just a big play by any of the
three facets, you're going to need some of those to win this game.
Q. You're obviously going out there expecting to win, hoping to
win. Would style points count at all, just staying competitive? Would that
at all help the momentum of the program?
COACH WEIS: Well, I mean, you can't go there hoping to lose a
close game. I mean, you can't go there with that intent. I mean, listen,
they've lost one game on the road to Oregon State where Oregon State was
holding on for dear life. This is a good football team, one of the best
football teams in the country. You can't go in there, God, I hope we lose a
close game. You just can't go in thinking like that.
Q. A minute ago you were talking about the team believing they
can win. How can you make sure and instill that belief into them?
COACH WEIS: Well, we're going to have a pretty good idea here.
Before we leave here this week, we're going to have a pretty good idea of
which guys do believe and which ones don't. I'll have to leave it at that.
We obviously have a plan. This will be a very active practice day. It will
be a boisterous day.
Q. You talked the other day about Jimmy in recent weeks being
in a little bit of a rut. You mentioned teams taking away the deep pass,
trying to force it. Is there anything else you've seen that caused him to
COACH WEIS: They didn't take the deep pass the other day. Was
this before the last game?
COACH WEIS: Because last week they didn't take away the deep
pass. And USC's going to almost beat you into the deep pass in this game now
because they'll play a lot of one cover. You'll see it. There will be a
safety in the middle of the field. They'll go press up on you, say, Go
ahead, try to beat us. The reason why they do that is because they can have
an extra guy in the running game and just stuff you, almost dare you into
going ahead and do that.
If Jimmy would like the opportunity to throw the ball deep this
weekend, he should have plenty of them.
Q. Did you see anything other than not playing up to...
COACH WEIS: Like I said, last week's game, there were some
opportunities to go ahead and throw it deep. They weren't playing that same
soft shell that a lot of people have been playing against us.
I think as he moves towards becoming a complete quarterback,
he's going to realize week by week he's not going to have the same thing
available to him because even in one play, when you call one play, where
there's multiple options, if they take away the deep ball, there's always
something underneath, there's always a resource to go ahead and go to. You
have to realize as a complete quarterback that's where you have to go when
they take it away.
Q. In the past you tried to stay away from the Brady‑Jimmy
comparison because you said you weren't here for Brady's start. Right now
we're almost to the same point. Is Jimmy pretty close to Brady?
COACH WEIS: I think that by the time this spring is over, which
is really that time, I'll be able to give you that answer. Because really I
thought that Brady made the biggest jump of any year that I had him in the
first spring we got him after he had been playing for two years.
Q. Obviously Jimmy is from L.A., probably wants to have a good
game there. Is the danger for him maybe trying to do too much against USC?
COACH WEIS: Ron and I had this conversation today. We talked
about adrenaline, forcing things, things like that. But because there's no
school tomorrow, which is new at Notre Dame, not having school on Wednesday,
that now becomes an unlimited day hours‑wise instead of being on the clock.
I think more than any week we've had since the bye week, it gives us an
opportunity to make sure mentally we can guard against things like that
Q. I asked you a questions about some lessons you learned. One
of the things you thought was pretty valuable was trying to oversee the
team, then moving back over to the offense, having some emphasis there. I
wondered, are you glad you at least had the perspective of that macro view
of head coaching?
COACH WEIS: I think it makes you much more well‑rounded. But I
think what you can't do, because you asked a question, it took me some time
to think of an answer, but I think it's important not to spread yourself too
thin. You already realize as a head coach you got to wear a bunch of hats,
with recruiting being a main one as well, okay? But I think that once I saw
how well our defensive staff was working together, because you have to make
sure this meshes there, but once you saw that, it kind of freed you up. I
had been spending a lot of time with special teams, not as much with
offense, not as much with defense. As you look at this pie, you feel that
the defense is pretty resolved and settled, it gives you an opportunity to
go ahead and spread the time you have and move it in another direction.
Q. I know when you first got the job, you talked about some of
the models you've looked at, guys that had come from the pros, Kirk Ferentz,
Pete Carroll. You read through the stats, it's overwhelming. What do you
see in Pete's model four years into your time here that you say this is
something that might work for us?
COACH WEIS: Well, two things that I think they do the best.
First of all, he recruits very good players, and they play with an attitude.
I have a lot of respect for him on both those things. People think that
Pete's not out there working, USC is selling itself. He's a diligent,
hard‑working recruiter. He pounds it now. I know I pound it, and there's a
lot of guys I don't see. He's one of them I do. He's out there. He
doesn't take it for granted. He doesn't take the USC status for granted.
He's a hard worker in recruiting. He has his team play with an attitude. I
have nothing but respect for him on those two things.
Q. The 2005 game was an epic game. As you go into this game,
do you see, at least from a personnel standpoint, you're similarly equipped
to that 2005 team?
COACH WEIS: Well, there were elements of that game that you
have to incorporate into this game, starting about seven seniors on defense.
A bunch of 'em of probably first‑round draft choices. So you have to factor
You have to factor who the personnel is when you're playing,
too, and realize the strengths and weaknesses of both your team and the
strengths and weaknesses of them. But I think the mentality to not have
them have the ball very much I think is, you know, definitely the right
Q. There's so much speculation, we're asked so much about where
your job status stands, so forth. To be fair to you, do you have regular
communication with the administration about how they feel about what you're
doing? Is that something that is left till after the season to talk about?
COACH WEIS: Well, first of all, Jack and I meet every week.
Just like Kevin and I met every week, the difference is Kevin was an early
bird, Jack's a night owl. So where Kevin and I used to meet at 5:30 in the
morning, Jack and I meet at 6:00 at night. I used to meet Kevin Monday
mornings at 5:30. Now I meet Jack Monday night at 6:00.
We've just been going along as is. The intent is to go out
there and do all we can to beat USC, stay out there on the road and go out
recruiting. That's what the plan is.
Q. There's another similarity to this USC game to the one in
'05 in that four years ago nationally USC was considered to be the
unbeatable team, yet you had them there to the very last play. Obviously
you had your team believing fully that they were capable and going to win
that game. How did you make that happen four years ago? Can you take some
of that and employ it this week?
COACH WEIS: Well, I think that the one thing different in that
game than the last couple games is I think that a lot of the older kids on
our team went into the game not feeling ‑ let me say the word's not
'intimidated', but not at all in awe of USC's team.
I think that, you know, awe factor, I think if your team has an
awe factor of the team they're going against, then you have no chance, okay?
I can tell you one thing, I'll be shocked this week if our team goes in
there with the awe factor.
Q. Jimmy going back home, could that work the other way, too?
Could he be so inspired, he could maybe play the game of his life here?
COACH WEIS: That's what I'm counting on. He's going to have
the ball in his hands on every play. That's what I'm counting on.
Hey, I think the point is a valid point that you have to guard
against him trying not to do too much, but at the same time you have to give
him an opportunity to make plays in the game. You got to count on that guy
stepping up big because this game means even more to him.
Q. Thanksgiving Thursday, do you let the guys go away or do
they all eat together?
COACH WEIS: Well, I think twofold. What we do is we finish
practice by noon. What I do, I put the travel list up on Wednesday night so
the guys that aren't going to go on the travel list know so they can plan
accordingly if they want to get out of town after noon. We let out a big
Thanksgiving dinner. Trust me, no one's hurting for a Thanksgiving dinner.
There's more food eaten in a half‑hour span, it's for two hours, but from
about 1 to 1:30, I don't know how it's humanly possible to eat any more food
than they eat.
I think by the time they're done, all's they want to do is go
lay on the couch and fall asleep, to tell you the truth. But it's really
nice. They get to go. The coaches that they choose, their families can
come to dinner, the managers and everyone who is around there. Anyone who
can't get out of town... There will be a percentage of the kids that aren't
traveling that go ahead and get out of town and go home and just be back for
school on Monday.
Q. Looking at the tape last week, Ray Herring played a little
bit more than we've seen. Was McCarthy a little banged up or sick?
COACH WEIS: He was a little banged up and sick. I think Ray
Herring has eked his way into more playing time as time has gone on, too.
It's a combination of not just Kyle, but Ray as well.
Q. You mentioned the awe factor. On top of Pete never losing a
game in November, all the stats that are easy to throw out, why wouldn't the
team be in awe of USC this week?
COACH WEIS: Well, I think the big difference was, for example,
last year when they came in here, you hung around for a quarter, then the
game slowly started to get away from you. Well, I'm taking a lot of those
same people now that saw you hanging around for a quarter.
The whole point is that in a lot of the games, there's evidence
they play that teams hang around for a while, then usually the game ends up
getting away from them. Let's say it's Stanford, for example. Stanford is
playing a really good game in the first half. They're up 17‑10. They
kickoff after they go up 17‑10. Stanford has two guys on the 18 yard line
unblocked to make a tackle on the kickoff return. They both miss. Next
thing you know, the guy takes it to the house. It's 17‑17. Now they
kickoff to start the second half. They take another one for 60 yards. If
the guy doesn't barely step out of bounds, that one is going to the house,
The game did not change on offense or defense in the Stanford
game. The game changed on two kickoff returns. That's where the game
changed. Well, it's no irony that they're No. 1 in the country on kickoff
returns. But we happen to be No. 1 in the country on kickoff coverage. So
that's one area that you have to make sure at worst you get a stalemate in
Q. Do you try to figure out where your team is psychologically
this week, who is with you, who has far away eyes? If you find those guys,
do you leave them here?
COACH WEIS: They won't go. They won't come.
Q. How do you test that? What's the evidence you're looking
COACH WEIS: The whole coaching staff's on this project. It's
not me alone because the thing is, if I'm standing most of the time on the
offensive end of the field, most of the time in practice in the last couple
weeks, I can't feel emotion on the defensive side. If you can't feel it...
When you watch the tape, you can't feel that. You have to be there to
witness that. So I'll just count on Corwin and John and Jappy to give me a
pretty good idea what's happening in there.
Q. I think it was Smith we were talking to after the game. I
was asking, who fires up the defense. He mentioned Corwin, Tenuta.
Offensively, are you the guy that tries to put the charge in the offense?
COACH WEIS: Michael is the mouth of the offense. He's a
fired‑up guy. Don't let that calm demeanor that he talks to you guys with
that he's not a fiery person, because he is a fiery person. As a matter of
fact, there's a better than even chance in this game Mike will be on the
sidelines instead of being upstairs. That's one little thing that we're
talking about. But that's one of the reasons why, for that same thing that
we're talking about.
Q. I think probably everyone in this room has been asked, Do
you feel like the team is still listening to Charlie? What is the evidence
that you say they're still with you? Will you just kind of find out
COACH WEIS: You have asked for about 20 guys today. So why
don't you just ask them. I mean, I think that's a better question directed
to them. I don't want to answer for them. You guys can ask them. I'm asked
the tough questions. Go ahead and ask them some tough questions. They'll
not be afraid enough to answer it for you.
Q. As you look at USC in the second half, they've only given up
19 points after halftime all season. Why do they get stronger in the second
COACH WEIS: Because teams start pressing as the game starts
getting away from them offensively. Because now all of a sudden that 17‑17
game, you know, is now is a two touchdown deficit, and now they start
pressing. If you can hang with them and the score's relatively close, you
think about Stanford's game last year with Stanford beat them at USC, they
just hung in there till the end. They just hung in there. They were just
hanging around, hanging around, hanging around. At the end of the game,
they throw a fade ball for a touchdown and they win. Usually against these
guys, that's the way you beat 'em.
Q. That November number that Pete has put up, as you watch tape
of them over the course of a year, what do you see that gets stronger about
them as they hit November?
COACH WEIS: I don't know. They opened up the year at Virginia
beating them 52‑7. Then Buckeyes rolled into town, they beat them 35‑3.
They don't lose very many games ever. They just haven't lost one in
November. They don't lose very many games now. He's lost 15 games out of a
hundred. That's a very small percentage. November just happens to be a
good month for him.
If you really look at it, okay, in November they played three
games. They drilled Washington. Cal was 17‑3, which Cal tried to hang
around with them. At the end, they couldn't make enough plays to go ahead
and do anything. Then the Stanford game is the one we were just talking
about where they hung around for a half, then USC pulled away in the second
half. There's the three games they played this month.
Q. If Mike is down, are you then up?
COACH WEIS: No, I'm not up. I will not be up. It will either
be Rob or Ron, one of those guys would be up in exchange.
Just one thing. We talk back and forth. I know about all the
negative things, but still it is Thanksgiving week. I'm not going to be
talking to you on Wednesday or Thursday. So despite all those things, I
still wanted to make sure that if somebody said something good, it was going
to be me. So I want to make sure I wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving.
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