Weis Outlines Objectives, Will Remain on Sideline
Charlie Weis listed his objectives for spring practices, and said his intent is to coach from the field and not the coaches' booth next season although he reserves the right to change his mind.
Counting graduate assistants, the Notre Dame coach's staff has five new faces this spring while other assistants will be taking on new responsibilities. Weis said getting that coaching staff to mesh not only with each other but with players is the first of four main objectives this spring.
The second objective is benefitting from self-scouting reports that identified what the Irish did well and not so well last season. More specifically, Weis said he wants to improve a running game that has ranked among the nation's worst the past two seasons, switch from a base 3-4 defense to a 4-3 (the biggest change will be in terminology) and improve the punt-and-kickoff return teams.
He also wants more competition.That means it's time four younger players with limited experience to step up and start pressing starters for playing time.
"Come Monday, there will be a high level of hitting on both sides of the ball early in the spring," Weis said. "It's not something we're going to ease into."
The fourth and final objective is improving the overall maturity of team with an emphasis on finishing games after letting three double-digit leads slip away last season.
"The bottom line is we've got a lot of guys who aren't that young anymore," Weis said. "It's time for them to step up and mature as a team."
Weis also identified the two areas of emphasis for quarterback Jimmy Clausen heading into training camp and said soon-to-be sophomore Dayne Crist will be pushing him this spring.
Weis said Clausen, who has made 21 starts the past two seasons, is the starter unless Crist beats him out.
"I don't think Dayne wants to sit and wait for Jimmy to graduate," Weis said. "Dayne is coming into the spring trying to make it tough on Jimmy, which is exactly what he should do."
Weis said the passing game needs to be more consistent overall than it was last season. He said Clausen learning to take what an opposing defense playing a soft zone gives him is one thing he must improve on this spring, as is moving in the pocket to avoid pressure.
Finally, Weis said he spoke with numerous coaches about the advantages and disadvantages of calling plays from the coaches' booth as opposed to the sideline. Weis, who suffered major damage to both knees last season, said he will remain on the sidelines for now but could eventually move upstairs for physical reasons.
I will post the transcript of his press conference when it becomes available.
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