Oct. 22, 2006
I’ve watched the tape, so I’m not good in a good mood anymore. There were 42 players that were involved on the field with 2:20 to go in the game, to the end of the game. That includes defensive players, offensive players and special teams players. In order for us to win the game, that’s how many different players had to play smart football, with only one exception where they called a holding call on a punt rush. That’s a first.
With one exception, I think those 42 players should be commended for how the game turned out in a favorable fashion. Starting with the special teams, we actually played very well on our kickoff coverage. I thought Ryan did a nice job kicking off, especially the last one into the wind. It landed three yards deep. That was a pressure kick for a freshman who’s average drives start on our kickoff return on the 21 yard line.
Ryan and I got together earlier this week and we talked about putting a second returner back up short based off of the punter from UCLA. And you see that paid some dividends on the one that Jeff caught that landed about right where he was standing. We had seen that on tape where a guy had hit some short ones, and that paid off.
Except for the long one that Carl certainly had enough leg on, he stayed once again. If we keep the field goals to that 40 yard line or in, he continues to make them all. He’s four for five. And the first one we kicked a close one, that’s five for six inside the forty for the year, I believe.
The one player that stood out for me the most on special teams again was David Bruton. He makes a big tackle down there. He also had the holding penalty that they called, or the block and a back, whichever they ended up calling, was actually his guy blocking him. He forced a couple of fair catches. He’s doing a really nice job for us on special teams.
Now, on the negative vein, we continue and will continue to keep working on kickoff return, which I thought was pretty shaky, not shaky assignment wise, but individual breakdowns are killing us. We just have to keep working on that.
We didn’t punt the ball especially well. That was something different. We got pushed around a little bit on a couple of those punt/punt return units. And we had that one holding penalty on Casey on the punt rush. Thank God it was 4th and 15, not 4th and 10. A critical play that would be, because now instead of going to 4th and 4 and punting again, the game is over on the holding penalty. Is that right? That’s correct.
Defensively, we played hard. They had five three and outs of the game, but two of them were less. The last time they had possession of the ball, held them to three points in the second half. We held them to 26 yards rushing for the day.
I have three major stats coming up here. On first down, on 25 first downs, UCLA had 29 yards. That’s 1.2 yards per play on first down, which bodes well for your chances on defense. I thought that was critical.
Mental errors for the game, I always talk about single digits. The defense had one mental error for the entire game. That’s almost unbelievable. That’s almost a perfect game mentally. Not that it always plans out perfect on every play, but mentally they had a very good game.
We forced a missed field goal on the sudden change to start the game, after Darius’s fumble. Instead of them turning into points in the plus territory, they come out of that empty.
Really there were three takeaways on defense. Statistically it will go down to two, the recovered fumble and the interception will go down as two. We consider a turnover when we stop them on 4th and 1. That’s a turnover, especially in the plus territory, which it was. It was on the 44 yard line, because that led to our first touchdown when we stopped them in plus territory on their own 44 yard line.
Now, on the negative vein, we brought a lot of heat in this game or brought more heat than we have been bringing as far as pressure goes. We have to do a better job getting to the quarterback on these pressures.
We were a little disappointed on our third and longer situations, 3rd and 7, 8, 9, 10. As a matter of fact, when they scored on 3rd down, when we gave up a play on 3rd down, it led to their points. They had a 3rd and 10 that they converted. They ended up scoring a touchdown. 3rd and 7, gave up a touchdown. 3rd and 18, they gave up a pass interference call. And then we have a 3rd and 8 on the same drive as the 3rd and 18, and they converted for 16 yards and later scored on that drive as well.
Two penalties on defense. They called Victor offsides in the first play of the game, which he was. And then they called Lambert for that PI, which I thought he had more pass interference on the one going the other way. The one going towards our right in the right corner, I thought they had a better chance calling that PI than that one. To call a tictac foul like that in a critical situation, I was disappointed in that one.
The three guys that stood out for us, after looking at this, you know, I like to pick one guy from each defensive line, linebackers, and DBs after talking to the coaches. Derek Landri, he was very active all day long. I thought all the linebackers were active all day long. But if I had to pick one, I would pick Maurice Crum.
And the secondary, the guy who really stepped up for us, was Zibbie. He was the guy who, coming off that shoulder, coming off the head, you know, coming off not being rusty and everything, he played a nice solid game for us.
Offensively, there are only a few positives. Obviously our execution and two minute offense was pretty good. We had a lot of time of possession, but that’s just as much attributed to the defense as to the offense. We had 34:14 time of possession, but that’s a team goal. I think we ran 88 plays, including the penalties, to the 60 that they ended up being out there. It seemed like we were out there a lot for the amount of production we were getting point wise. We ran twenty more plays statistically than UCLA.
To the benefit of the offense, they didn’t give up. And they were four and five on 4th down. They stuffed us on the one late in the game.
Now on the negative, there were several negatives on offense. First of all, I thought we got off to a horrendous start. We turned the ball over on the second play and then we go three and out the next possession. That’s just unacceptable. We really fumbled the ball twice, not once. We lose it on Darius’s and then we’re down in the red zone going in and we fumble the quarterback’s center exchange. That ends up leading to costing you points, even though we didn’t lose the ball.
We were 4 and 19 on 3rd down, which was horrendous. We got into the red zone three times, scored one touchdown. That’s horrendous. Gave up five sacks and nine pressures. That’s horrendous.
Had double digit mental errors. That’s not good either. Had three penalties called on offense, two illegal procedure, holding penalty on Young, and a false start on Morton. And I thought they were all penalties, so we have a lot of work to do offensively, because it’s a combination of those things that leads to inconsistent play on offense. You could be on the field a zillion plays, but that litany that I just gave you on the negative vein, you take them and group them all together, and it leads to scrambling at the end of the game to make a play to win.
Obviously, we made those plays at the end of the game. We maxed up our protection, because we were having protection problems, and we figured we would release three and have to make the plays with three. And Brady came up huge in this game. He was under duress. He got hit a whole bunch. The way he played, you have to give kudos to Brady. As well as you really have to talk about, the obvious one, is Samardzija, because he made the play to win the game.
But I think just as much should be said about Grimes and how he played, because there’s a guy going into the game that had seven catches going into the game, eight catches in the game alone, and I think he stepped up big. So I wouldn’t pick anyone other than those three guys. I’d pick Quinn and both of those two wide receivers as guys who really helped win the game.
Q. Are you a fan of dramatic finishes?
Not particularly. I’ll take that over the alternative at the time. You’re sitting there, and they stop us on the quarterback sneak, and I called a timeout. Obviously there are some people who don’t know what the rules are, because if you don’t call the time out before the drive starts, they run off 25 seconds. Now that the clock starts before the drive, a lot of people were saying, “Why did you call a timeout?” You have to. You have no choice, because if not, they run off 25 seconds and you kill 25 seconds.
So I called a timeout and I said, “Fella’s, here is what’s going to happen. They’re going to run three times. We can’t give them a 1st down. We’re going to call a timeout after the first play, we’re going to call a timeout after the second play, and after the 3rd play get off the ground as quick as you possibly can, to save us as much time as you can.
If you go back and watch it again, they stop them on 1st down, timeout, five seconds, 2:20 to 2:15. Stop them on the 2nd down, six seconds, it’s 2:09. Now on the 3rd play you’ll see our guys not only making a tackle, but you’ll see Zibbie and those guys pulling everyone up to get back to the huddle as their running back is lying on the ground faking an injury.
You see our guys getting off the ground as quickly as they can, but you can see a well disciplined group of guys that were listening to exactly what you were saying. And then it came down to us getting the ball back and giving Brady a little time and making some plays. And that’s what it came down to.
It’s always exciting to win a game like that. You prefer for your heart not to be doing it that way, but it’s really uplifting to be able to win a game in the last minute of the game.
Q. You say you don’t want to let the team see you sweat. How do you coach a team not to let up? Everyone tries to do it, but how do you convince them they can win like that?
Well, it all starts with the team having faith in the quarterback. I’ve been on teams where the team didn’t have as much faith in the quarterback as they do with this guy. Our time believes that if you give Quinn a chance, somehow he’ll make the play to win the game. Now obviously he’s not making the catch, but you need that guy you have to have confidence in your quarterback, and I think Brady has earned the confidence of our entire team. I think without that component, it’s easier said than done.
Q. Did the win at Michigan State help you yesterday? Do you think the team is more likely to buy into it knowing they already had a big comeback win?
The difference is how big the margin was at Michigan State. The problem was, this was never not a one score game. The problem was the time left in the game. It was such a critical time management was so critical in this game. Actually, when Lambert scores that touchdown against Michigan State, there’s still over two minutes left in the game. Here, it came to one score in a very small amount of time. How many times are you going to go 80 yards on three plays with no timeouts with a minute left in the game? It just doesn’t happen very often.
Q. Whenever you needed a tough yard, you told us Brady was afraid to get hit, he was the guy who had the ball whenever you needed a tough yard.
Going into the game, we felt the best chance to get one was to wedge him up and just power it with him. We went to the well you can say you went to the well once too often, even on that play. I thought at the time we got outnumbered on the play, but that’s not what happened. We didn’t get outnumbered, they just beat us on that play.
When you have a quarterback that’s 233 pounds and as stout as him and you need this much, I think the safest play in football is for him to carry it, because any time you turn around, giving it to a back that’s five or seven yards away from the line of scrimmage, that’s a guy who is five or seven yards away from the line of scrimmage when you are giving him the ball.
Q. You said defense played really well.
But the volume of big plays was so minimal in the game.
Q. UCLA only had 8 passes all season of 20 yards or more.
We saw the same thing, then. They made a couple of big plays. The one they ran the double end cuts and we’re playing with outside leverage. The quarterback did a nice job of stepping away from the pressure from Victor on the play. And the next one hit the tight end and he runs through some guys. They all collide at the time and he runs through them for a score. I saw those too. Any time your big plays are to a minimum let me tell you something, if we hold them to 17 points, I’m expecting to win every game we hold them to 17 points. And that’s what the defense did. The defense should be commended.
Q. The penalty on the punt rush. Did you question the penalty or were you saying it was a dumb mistake by Casey?
It was a penalty, if you go back and watch the play, you’ll see Casey Cullen I’ll tell you what every coach in American that coaches a punt rush does, they teach the same thing. One guy grabs to create a rush lane, somebody rushes through the lane and you try to get to the punter. Everybody teaches the same thing.
Am I arguing the fact that it was a penalty, that we were illegal in what we did? No. When the official came over, I said, “How can he call that?” He said, “He grabbed him.” I said, I know he grabbed him. You don’t have to tell me he grabbed him. I go, “Everyone grabs him.” I said, “How can you call that?” I’m not questioning whether or not Casey grabbed him. He did what he was being coached to do.
Q. Typically in the situation you were in with no timeouts and 80 yards to go, the defense will give you the middle of the field, but they’re going to try to take away the outside. Talk about what you saw that allowed you to get three pretty sizable completions on the outside?
Both the first two plays that went outside, went outside based on how the coverage went. On the first one, we had a designed rollout, where you bait them in and then you roll out. What that does is give you more time to get a guy open. See, if you run a route on timing, which that route is not a route on timing, any time you drop back five and then roll out, you’re giving the whole thing a lot longer to develop because you’re giving yourself a lot of extra time. That allowed Jeff to be so wide open on the sideline on the first one.
On the second one, David was actually a second read, not the first read. So Brady was actually looking to his left first, and that wasn’t there. Then he came back to his right and there he was standing all by helpful on the sideline. I don’t think the intent was to have David be open on the sideline, but that was more of a timing route than the first one was.
Q. Can you talk about Samardzija’s ability once he gets the ball in his hands in the open field?
Well, every time Jeff gets the ball, he’s trying to score. I can point to a couple of other plays in the game he didn’t score on, but he caught a little five yard option route over there on the left side one time, which a lot of people aren’t trying to score, and the next thing you know he’s breaking to the inside trying to take it to the house.
We run that little flag pattern from him in the slot going to our left early in the game for a 20 yard completion. But instead of run out of the bounds like a lot of other people would do, he’s planting and spinning to the outside trying to take it to the house. When Jeff gets the ball in his hands, he’s not content with getting a completion, he’s always trying to score. That’s what separates him from a lot of other receivers.
Q. You talked about bringing more pressure and you were unhappy about the fact that sometimes the safeties or whoever didn’t get to the quarterback
I didn’t say anything about the safeties.
Q. You said the blitzers didn’t get to the quarterback
It could be linebackers. You’re putting words in my mouth.
Q. I know it was the safety.
Write your own story then. What are you asking me for?
Q. Here is the question: Other than that aspect of it, were you happy with the way it worked out?
I think the pressure disrupted their passing game. I think that when you have a relatively inexperienced quarterback, which they have, if you let him just stand there and throw, they’re going to be like everyone else and they’re going to completing some passes. So even when you’re not getting there, it disrupts the timing of the passing game. The whole thing is, we’re disrupting them, now let’s get there. Let’s finish it off and get there.
Q. (Inaudible.) In 25 or 30 snaps, is the requisite for doing that are low pressure situations the requisite for having success in working those people in?
I think that’s a fair question. Maybe it’s not the pressure of the situation, but it might be that the sense of urgency that was created in this game because the game was so close. I mean, if I felt a game let’s say it’s a one touchdown game, but I feel the game is under control, you know, the game is under control. I never really felt, the way things were going, that the game was under control. I never felt that way. Obviously, I was right, because here you are scrambling right to the end of the game.
I felt that the defense, as well as they played in the first half, they still gave up two touchdowns so it’s 14. We can think of a couple of other plays, that first pass coming out of the second half. The guy drops the ball and there is a 15 yard completion. They went for the play action down on the 10 yard line at the end of the game with a chance to try to put the game away, we knock it out right there.
We made enough plays on defense to give the offense a chance to win the game at the end of the game. But offensively, with that whole litany of things that I told you about that really we didn’t do very well, which is a combination of us not playing great and their defense playing pretty solidly in the game, it’s a combination of both those things. But because I never felt the game was under control, I didn’t feel the freedom to substitute as loosely as I would have liked to.
Q. Last week you talked to the running back and offensive linemen about the running game, what’s your focus, we have got to be more physical. I talked to you about how you coached that. You said you banged them around pretty good. What happened there? Obviously UCLA’s defense is pretty good. But what is happening there?
That’s a rhetorical question. If I had the answer to that, I would have solved it before we played. I think that their defensive line got the best of our offensive line in a game. It’s not like you go into a game saying their defensive line is going to win today. Just as we had said, their defensive ends were quick and disruptive, and they were, and their defensive tackles played pretty strong as well. It wasn’t like it was any great scheme that we had or they had, I think just physically they won the battle yesterday. I mean, if I knew what happened beforehand, I would have solved it before the game started.
Q. And then, I may be getting ahead of myself a little bit, but as you go down the stretch
Is this about the safeties now?
Q. No, it isn’t about the safeties. This is about BCS. As you go down the stretch here, there is a lot of commentary, a lot of people on television that want to influence how people think about Notre Dame and so forth, and sometimes that’s in a negative vein. Do you feel your job as coach is also to get involved in that conversation or not?
I think that when you win a game the way we did yesterday, I think that’s a positive, not a negative. Look at the flip side of this one. I mean, look at the flip side of this one. I think it’s almost humorous, if you go win a game by three touchdowns and then no one makes a big deal out of it, you didn’t win by enough. But if you win a game on the last play of the game, what a great win.
I don’t know which is the better, but any time we go into a game, we’re trying to play as best we can. We didn’t come into the game intending to throw a touchdown at the end of the game to win. But the way it worked out in this instance, we were very fortunate to win the game at all, let alone decide how many points we’re going to win the game by. Just the fact we won and how we won I think sent a very positive message.
Q. The pass interference call against Lambert, do you think there is a tendency among officials to throw the flag when the DB doesn’t get his head turned?
When the ball is three yards to the left, to the inside of the DB and the only contact that can possibly be seen is it looks like they’re holding hands, and the ball is on this side of Lambert, I think that there’s times when there’s contact, that even if I disagree, you could say I could see what they saw. Tictac fouls, that’s what they were.
Q. Especially when he has inside position?
It was inside of him. The wide receiver is outside of him, and the ball is three yards inside of Lambert. The ball lands three yards inside of him. It would be one thing if the ball was thrown outside of Lambert towards the receiver, but the ball is all the way over here. I mean, I watched it this morning. It looked worse on tape than it looked in person.
Q. You made the change at linebacker, and Travis Thomas and Joe Brockington said originally you were going to try Brockington at the sand, but then you changed your mind on that?
Because Joe had settled in nicely at that position, there were some things we were going to do with that sand position that fit what Travis does better than fits what Joe does. That’s why Rick decided to go in that direction, because what we were going to do in the game plan, that position fit Travis better than it fit Joe.
Q. Will you stay that way or is that a situational thing?
I think both those guys will be playing, it depends who we’re playing against and what they do. I think they both played pretty good, pretty well in the game, to tell you the truth.
Q. Do you spend some time with Sam Young after a game like that, or is he mature enough and do you leave that in the hands of Coach Latina?
We all do. He wasn’t alone now. Don’t put him on an island, because he had a lot of help.
Q. He is a freshman
I saw him after the game and I saw him back over here. He was involved in recruiting for us yesterday. He was in pretty good spirits. He was happy we won the game. Everyone is down with hey, when you win a game like that, you’re happy the team won, but these guys know personally how the game went for them individually. You don’t have to tell them. They know. They know how they played. He’s mature enough to handle it.
Q. You mentioned calling the timeout so that the clock wouldn’t start after change of possession
When they punted?
Q. When they punted in the end zone.
The clock did start. We were at the line of scrimmage. There is a difference. We were at the line of scrimmage. If you notice, we’re already there. That’s part of that time management. Unlike most teams who are still in the huddle, we go right to the line of scrimmage. We go right from the sideline we’re standing there, and as soon as the official puts the ball in play, we snap the ball. That’s the reason why it didn’t start until then, because we were standing at the line of scrimmage. If we were in the huddle, there would be something to talk about.
Q. You talked about sending more guys against UCLA. Is that a UCLA specific
No, I think we just went and evaluated back when we had some extra time, and we thought it was important that we brought some more heat, and we did.
Q. My question to that is, might you apply that a little bit having had some success with that, might you apply that, incorporate that into your philosophy in general a little bit more?
Personally, a lot of time that is my philosophy, but I lean on Rick and Bill and Jappy. When they go and they go through a game plan and decide what’s best for that game, I interject only a couple of things, and it’s all personnel related or mentality related. Like I might say, hey, they can’t pick up pressure. This was not about them not being able to pick it up. This is about putting pressure on an inexperienced quarterback. That’s what this game was all about.
Q. When you’re coming down to those final couple minutes and you have the ball. Maybe you have to be thinking about what your next play call may be. After you get that 1st down, what you may have to do if you then turn around on defense. How do you manage all that? Who are you communicating with? What’s the process like on the sideline to stay ahead of those?
I told Brady and then I told the offensive coaches what the couple of plays were going to be. Left hash is going to be this. Right hash is going to be that. After this play it’s going to be that. If you go back and notice, even though the second play and the third play were actually the same play, the one we threw to Grimes and then the one that we threw to Jeff for the touchdown, where he shuffles to the right and hits him on the crosser. It’s just what coverage you get on the play and where the ball ends up going.
The first play was, if the ball is on the left hash mark we’re running this, then you already anticipated, if you call that one, you expect a completion to the right side, and that means there’s going to be a trips to the other way. So you put your three wide receivers to the wide side of the field.
I think the quarterback and most of the rest of the players knew what the couple of plays they knew two or three plays in, but they didn’t know after that what it would be. I didn’t tell them their play was going to be a touchdown.
Q. I’m thinking even further back then that. The 4th down, before the final 2:20 is happening, you may get that first down and keep the ball, so you’re thinking ahead there on offense, but then also
I have three timeouts at that time, so I’m not in any rush at all. If we get the 1st down there, I’m going to make sure that we score inside of a minute so that because they have no timeouts left. They have already burned all their timeouts, so I’m going to score inside a minute just to make sure there’s no chance they can come down and score.
Q. So if you’re feeling pretty comfortable at that point, just in terms of the timing situation, the idea of not letting the team see you sweat, is that how you’re feeling inside? How does that compare
After they stuff you on the 4th and 1, I’m not feeling too good. But that’s why you immediately have to take action. That’s why calling that timeout right then, I think some people I know you know, but some people don’t realize with the new rules how that works. They don’t realize the clock starts. It’s 25 seconds. If you don’t call a timeout there that’s why realistically now three timeouts is not enough. I know that’s all you get. But it used to be you could call a timeout after the 1st down, you could call a timeout after the 2nd down, you could call a timeout after the 3rd down and you get the ball back. Now you have to call one before you even start. You have to call one before 1st down, so now you know there’s going to be a runoff somewhere along the line. That’s why you knew they would run it for three plays, because if you run it on three down, you guarantee they’ll run time off the clock. But I wasn’t feeling too good. To be honest with you, I could lie, but I wasn’t.
Q. The game Grimes had, talk about what he did to have that kind of game.
The progression that we have is usually based off of coverage. So when you have two receivers let’s throw Carlson into the mix too. When you have three receivers like Carlson, Samardzija and McKnight, if you’re going to go light on somebody, you go light on the guy who has the least amount of production, and that’s how it worked out. Now, David, he made some big plays in this game.
Q. Does this kind of a game open up Rhema and Samardzija because the teams are going to have to focus on Grimes in the future? COACH WEIS:
I think more importantly than that, what it did is, it gives Brady another weapon so that if they don’t, you have more confidence just slinging it over there, if that’s the way it ends up working out.
Q. Talk about your mindset when the holding call was called on the punt. Did you immediately know because it was a holding
I knew it was 4th and 15 so it wasn’t going to be enough. First of all, I wanted to try to talk them out of the penalty, but that wasn’t going anywhere.
Q. And you knew it wasn’t the automatic 1st down in that case?
It wasn’t an automatic 1st down. I knew it wasn’t an automatic 1st down.
Q. You talked about the play of the offensive line. Did you see any positives out of them at any point that you want to mention?
Yes, if you look at it, the greatest positive you can have is the fact that when the game is on the line you know, when the game is on the line, the quarterback has enough time to throw the ball, and really that’s what it came down to in this game. I said it yesterday, and now tape has confirmed it, it wasn’t a good day at the office.
Q. I guess one thing we saw out of the defense of UCLA, a couple of times they brought in one of their backup defensive ends to play in a 3 4. Did you notice that?
They’ve done it plenty of times before now.
Q. So you were expecting it?
The odd look was not something that was anything unexpected. They played a good they do what they do and they played well. That’s what they did. Fortunately for us, we have a quarterback sometimes we take this quarterback for granted. This quarterback goes ahead and throws 300 yards and a couple of touchdowns with no interceptions, and completes over 60 percent of his passes, in a game like yesterday when things aren’t going too well, that’s pretty darn good.
Q. Kind of lost in the excitement at the end of the game is the fact that Jeff’s touchdown is also a record tying touchdown for career touchdown receptions, which basically is accomplished in a season and a half. Talk about how amazing that is.
He’s had a lot of production in a short amount of time, which, if you look at the history of Notre Dame, the fact that he’s gotten to that point is pretty amazing. Just like, you know, he and Rhema are right there, pushing for moving ahead to the all time receptions. It’s kind of amazing, but it’s a combination of the quarterback and those receivers and the whole composition, and I give them credit.
We’re really not that big on individual things, but we’re aware of them. I’m aware that Brady went over 10,000 yards. I think that’s a career accomplishment, though. It’s not just a game accomplishment or a season accomplishment. I think that in Jeff’s case, he’s been fast tracked. He had a great year last year and he’s well on his way to have another outstanding year now.
Q. Any thoughts on why that happened basically overnight for him?
Well, we can go all the way back to last spring, when we first got here not last spring, the spring before that. Here he was sitting at three, and Raymond got hurt and he took the most of the opportunities and it has gone well for him. It wasn’t like this kid didn’t have the ability to do it, he just had an opportunity to do it and he ran with it. Sometimes when you get that opportunity, it’s what you do with it when the opportunity presents itself. I would love to sit there and take credit for it, but you have to give him the credit.
Q. I’m the only person that may want to ask you about his other touchdown yesterday. That’s a play we’ve seen a lot. Why does that work so well, that play?
Because when you’re in the red zone and most teams are playing coverage, it’s called either seven or four, depending on who you are, with safety force on the number two receivers, okay, you’re in a bind. You have two choices if there’s a run action. You’re going to play the run because there’s not much territory there, or you’re going to hold back there and play the pass.
Well, if you play the pass and it is a run, it’s a walk in touchdown. If you play a run and it’s a pass, it’s a walk in touchdown. So you’ve got to count on playing the right one.
Q. Is that just a guessing game at that point?
It’s a guessing game, but you’re playing the odds based on what you see them do. It doesn’t work the same way every week. It all depends who you’re playing against and how they play.
Q. Right before halftime, it’s 3rd and goal on the 6th and you guys are running a QB sneak.
No, it was not a QB sneak. We talked about this yesterday. It was a pass with a run option. If they spread out and left no more than a total of five guys in the box. And after he spread out there were five guys in the box. So he was trying to run it in and we got stuffed on the play, but it was a not a quarterback sneak. It’s a pass with a run option, based on the volume of the people they load you up with.
Q. Talking to David Grimes yesterday after the game you always say that what happens in games follows what happens in practice, so a player has to perform in practice. And David said he heard from the coaches this week there were a possibility for him to have an expanded role. What progress has he made to allow him to step in so seamlessly and have the kind of game he had yesterday?
David has always had really good quickness and really good ability to get open. He’s been really a big part of our offensive practice schemes all the time. How recently, after he came back from getting banged up he was banged up there for a while with his knee, and he was slow at the time, but he’s been able to come back, and it seems like he’s gotten his quickness back. Now combine that with how the coverage scheme went yesterday, it gave him an opportunity.
Brady is not afraid to throw the ball to David. He has confidence in David. Therefore when the quarterback has confidence in you, the chances of the ball coming in your direction becomes a lot higher.
Q. You talk about how you can use what happens in games as teaching moments. What struck me after the game yesterday is a lot of the players said, “Well, we’ve been there before.” When guys are able to execute a last minute comeback, how do you draw from that and how is the best way to sort of make that a positive experience so they can use it if they’re ever in future situations like that?
That’s a good question, because until a team learns how to win a close game, it’s almost like they wait for something bad to happen. Well, what’s going to happen now. I think it started a little bit last year and now it has had a trickle down effect. Now, instead of them waiting for something bad to happen, they’re expecting something good to happen. And I think that’s a mentality that’s only developed when you have some success. They had some success, the most recent one at the end of last year would have been the Stanford game, where all of a sudden you’re down by one and BCS is about ready to go out the window and right down the field to score. And I think when you’ve done it, now the players just expect to do it again. It’s not like they ever give up in a game. I think when your players expect something good to happen, it always gives you a chance.
Q. Somebody asked Bob Morton after the game yesterday, they said, “How cool was Brady on that final drive?” And Bob Morton’s response was, “How cool is Brady always.”
Did you see that when you arrived at Notre Dame or was that something you had to teach him?
I think he has matured in the last couple of years, but he was well on his way when he got here. He has just matured as he’s gained more confidence in what he’s doing, and the players around him. Not to get off track on your question, but I think Bob’s answer is really right, when he goes in the huddle, there’s a calmness, that special something about him, the it I always talk about, it exists, and I think that it keeps everyone else under control and always knows something good could happen.
Q. You talked yesterday about Brockington, about getting him on the field just because he’s been playing well. How much of that had to do with getting those guys out there together with these running teams that you’re going to be playing in the next couple of weeks?
Well, first of all, Joe getting in there originally was based off of Travis’s injury. But then how he played, Travis was really, other than Crum, was our most dependable linebacker before his injury. And when Joe stepped in so admirably in those couple of games, the logical thing to do, instead of just taking him out, was to leave him in there and try to work it out with both these guys both being on the field at the same time.
I think it’s a combination of Joe taking advantage of his opportunity when it presented itself, and then Rick and the defensive staff doing a nice job of finding a way to have them both on the field instead of having only one of them on the field.
Q. But is it good to have those guys working together as a group with the teams you’re facing coming up?
There could be some definite advantages of having Travis and Joe out there, especially with Joe manning that position. Travis especially with all the outside stuff that you can see with these option teams, you need some athleticism in those outside spots. There is a lot of action out there.
Q. Bob Morton said yesterday that
Bob Morton was doing a lot of talking yesterday.
Q. But talking about the line. He said it pretty bluntly, hey, the whole right side had some problems. Do you look at it that way? Is it about just knowing that there are problems? What do you do to correct that, when a guy says, hey, we had some problems on that side?
Maybe if you talk to the guys on the left side, they might have said the same thing to you, to tell you the truth. We had some problems on the right side, but I think we had problems across the board, to tell you the truth.
I think UCLA, for the most part, their defensive line, it was a tough day out there for us. Bob is right saying we had some problems over on his side, but I think it was more a team problem than it was just the right side of the offensive line problem.
Q. You mentioned again Victor had lined up offsides. I know you were kind of disappointed. He did that I think twice in a game before.
I was not very happy with that, if you’re asking. We are going to have a chat here in a little while. But that’s just something, the first play of the game when you line up offsides, that’s not what an experienced player should be doing. It’s one thing if you jump offsides because you’re trying to jump the snap count because you’re trying to pass rush. We all can live with an occasional one of those. But to line up in a neutral zone, that’s not very good on our part.
Q. How do you get that point across to a veteran player like that?
I think he’ll get that message here at about 2:05. I say 2:05 because we start the meeting at 2:00 and I have a couple of things that are more important, but that will get addressed.
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