Sept. 6, 2006
COACH WEIS: … win streak into that game, has been effective 14 out of the last 15, interesting, go back all the way to 1993 that they won I believe 81 percent of their games against non?conference opponents, 44 of 54. So obviously we all know they beat Akron last week. It’s no big secret, Coach Paterno, one of the greatest of the game, 41 years on the sidelines as their head coach, 56 years there, 56 years overall, I mean, the guy’s won ten games 19 times in his career, ten games or more, and won 355 games. So I think that record stands for itself.
Both his coordinators, both Coach Hall and Coach Bradley are alum with Penn State, which I find quite interesting when we did our research. Coach Hall is in his eighth year of Penn State and is a graduate but also a former quarterback there, last year they just handed off on offense average over 34 points a game, average over 400 yards a game, 200 runs and 200 passes. So obviously balance is the way he likes to go. They grossly outscored their opponents 413?204 for the year and first half was even worse, 229?79. In typical fashion I think last year they game up 14 sacks for the year and in typical fashion last week they didn’t give up a sack. New quarterback, Anthony Morelli, he’s a big kid, 6?4,215, strong arm, drop?back passer, threw three touchdowns in the opener. Matter of fact, his first play from scrimmage, he throws a touchdown pass.
Running back Tony Hunt, very underrated, a big kid, 6?3, 220, over a thousand yards last year, he’s fourth on the team in receiving, averages over ten yards a catch, six yards a run, scored six touchdowns. He’s a tough, hard?nosed back who also shows good hands out of the backfield. Scott didn’t show up last week, he was injured. I do know this going back and watching the Orange Bowl last year, he filled in admirably for Hunt. Ken Walsh also showed up in there, Hunt taking over as their fullback. He’s got a little action, they gave him the ball a few times last week. Darling and Lyons seem to share the tight end position, both have good size and are good blockers. I mean, they have great skill at the wide receiver position. I’ll talk about the returning starters, but Peretta (ph) and Williams, I’ll talk about that first. But Peretta (ph) has typical touchdown for 42 yards last year and there’s a guy who is a full?time defensive back and they move him to wide receiver before the spring of 2005 and here he is, last year he averages over 18.7 yards a catch and had nine touchdowns. He had five catches for over 40 yards all for touchdowns. He’s got good speed, good hands, solid receiver, he’s athletic.
Derek Williams, Derek Williams you’ve got to look out for him. He’s all over the place, he’s in the backfield. Out of the backfield, returning kicks, returning punts. Of course he had a touchdown last week, too. The first play of the year, as a matter of fact, he runs a reverse. I mean, so they are trying to find all of the ways they possibly can to get the ball in his hands. He’s a very good athlete, he’s fast, he’s quick and he’s elusive.
Norwood, he’s the third receiver, he’s their slot receiver but he’s also their lead receiver last week, he had seven catches for 61 yards and a touchdown. He’s quick and elusive and he’s a very, very, very productive slot receiver.
They have three more receivers I want to mention because both Golden and Bell are both guys that bring big, big size to this group. Gold is 6?2, 215, Bell is 6?2, 200. They are nice complementary players after you get past the first three guys. Can’t forget about A.J. Wallace, would can play about anything. He’s a returner, he could play wide receiver, he could play DB. He had two kick returns last week for 95 yards, 47 average for each one of them, and also had a 42?yard reverse he ran. This kid, he’s got great speed, he really can run, can’t forget about him.
The anchor of their defensive lines are left tackles. He’s their defensive captain, started 57 out of 37 games, he’s absolutely the mainstay. It’s interesting, they have two guys like Cadogan who plays their left guard, a backup tackle last year and Daise (ph) who is the right guard who played both center and guard for them last year. They are potent offensive players, but the center, Shipley, and the right tackle, Shaw, both defensive converts. So it’s really interesting how their defensive line has been composed.
And they have a couple brother combinations on this team as a matter of fact, Shaw’s brother, okay, is Jim Shaw of ’99 who started defensive end for them last week, got injured during the game. Defense Coach Bradley, he’s been there a long time, 28 years, and has been running the defense for at least the last seven.
You know, last season’s defense, they were one of the few schools in the country, one of five that was nationally ranked in the top 20, rushing defense, passing efficiency, total defense and scoring defense. They did just about everything you can. And last week was no exception. They give up 33 yards rushing on 34 carries, total of 225 yards, they only allowed five conversions out of 18 attempts. The most interesting guy, we’ll talk about the linebacker here in a second, but most interesting guy of the defense is actually Tim Shaw, who last year was an inside linebacker, and because of his versatility, they have been able it use him as defensive end as much as a linebacker which gives him more flexibility in defensive schemes. He’s a guy we have to really look out for.
Other more dynamic players on their team is Jay Alford, the 13; when you see these teen numbers at the defensive line, they get your attention right away, a returning starter on the defensive line, second team all Big 10 from last year. But 37 tackles, 11 and a half tackles per loss, eight and a half sacks. So any time you have a tough inside player with pass rush ability, he definitely presents a problem.
Johnson is back, shows athleticism, pass rush ability. On tape he looks like a pretty good player. I mentioned Shaw before, when I talked about his brother, he went down with a leg injury. I don’t know what his status will be. I know that Gaines came in for him and played admirably and they also rotate a couple defensive tackles in there.
The linebacker every knows about, no big secret why he’s in there, every magazine everywhere about one of the best defensive players, if not the best defensive players in the country. You know, he’s their defensive captain and he’s the leader of their defense. He looks to me like he’s not only a good football player, but looks like he’s a heck of a student athlete as well. Looks like he really cares about school. Connor, 13 tackles last week, forced fumble, two sacks. Another guy we mention at the linebacker position right now, Cianciolo, he transferred from Air Force to join his brother at quarterback, but he’s a backup linebacker.
Defensive secondary has very good athletic ability. Justin King wore 7 last year; he’s wearing 1 now. He’s very athletic on the opposite end. You have Tony Davis, five tackles last week. Scirrotto, starting big safety, he wore 18 last year and he’s wearing 7 this year, he had five tackles. Ben Gummo (ph) Dunne, even though he’s a safety, he’s their second leading guy for the last week with eight tackles, and they also pulled him in to play the nickel. And very seldom do you have a safety come to play the nickel when they go to the nickel defense, and when they drop him down ?? inaudible. They don’t list a special teams coordinator so obviously the way they do it is they spread the wealth among their assistant coaches with the different units, but the most interesting thing I found besides the dynamic returners that we’ve mentioned before, the fact that both their kickers, Kapinos, the punter and Kelly the kicker, both lefties. I thought that was quite interesting. There are not too many times that you go against a lefty punter and a lefty kicker; one or the other, but they have both of them.
Q. You took a lot of freshmen to the game and about half of them played. What’ s your assessment of them?
COACH WEIS: Some of them had a rude awakening getting out there. When they go to block somebody, they have the guy go run right by before you realize there’s somebody might be just as fast if not faster. I think the biggest they noticed was the speed of the game and the size of the players. I think in some cases they have settled in very quickly. But in all of the cases just get the experience of seeing how fast the game is played I think that was the biggest thing.
Q. From the second quarter on you used almost extensively nickel formation, how much of that is dictated by the play of the Sam linebacker?
COACH WEIS: It had all to do with predominately they were using what we call ?? three wide receivers in the back and when they did go to regular, okay, they usually go three open and seven?man protection. Basically with the way it was, we had a wide?open type of game and we adjusted accordingly.
Q. Can you imagine being head coach at some place for 41 years?
COACH WEIS: I’ll be dead by then. (Laughter).
Q. Geoff Price had a good performance the other night. Is that what you saw all spring?
COACH WEIS: That’s how he kicked the whole spring. This is no different from how he kicked in the spring. The fact that ?? we were hoping, you know, that there had been a carryover. You watch it in practice and every day, 50?yard punt after 50?yard punt and you say, well, can he take from the practice field to the game. You know, so far, so good, but I thought that’s a pretty good opener.
Q. Is he able to directionally punt?
COACH WEIS: Well, right now I can only continue having him kick it deep and down the middle. Obviously you’d like to kick it directional when you have those front line returners that you’re going as, but first thing is first, good hang time, good distance, just give him a chance to go down there and recover a kick.
Q. Have you addressed the mental errors on the offensive line and if so, how?
COACH WEIS: Definitely got that addressed and is being addressed and it will continue to be addressed the entire week. This will not be a fun week in practice.
Q. When you play with the defense sometimes you get one breakdown ?? inaudible ?? offensive?
COACH WEIS: Well, I think that my biggest concern is I really want to move forward, not backwards. But my biggest concern and point of emphasis this week based on last week are penalties and mental errors. You know, they are the areas of concern. When a guy physically gets beat, the guy is a good player or, you know, took him awhile to develop, that’s one thing.
But another thing is when you have double?digit mental errors, nine penalties. If we play like that we’re going to be stagnant every week and that’s what we’re going to work on this week.
Q. He didn’t make the mistakes a freshman or sophomore makes ?? inaudible?
COACH WEIS: Well, the one good thing is even when the things weren’t going well, I’m on the sideline, so I can look in their face and see when people start to get rattled. That never happened. It was just frustrating that we were not moving, we were not scoring. I think, you know, that’s what he should do. That’s part of being a veteran, but you’re right, it’s a big plus when you have somebody who has been there and he doesn’t get rattled.
Q. What do you have to do to prepare for Penn State’s linebackers?
COACH WEIS: First thing we’d better do is cut down on penalties and cut down on mental errors and I’m not ?? I’m dead serious. We need to take care of our own problems first.
Q. What are your regrets from last year, is it the way you handled the first game with Michigan State, what did you learn from that that you can use this year?
COACH WEIS: I go over team Top?10 every week on Tuesday. Go over the ten things that I feel that are important to help win a game. Last year I went back and reviewed the first list of things and one of the things there, don’t be distracted, and that’s playing to the crowd.
So there’s just that alone, as a general comment, but use the energy of the crowd to an advantage instead of don’t be distracted. You could see about how last year I felt it was a negative activity, and this year, I’m trying to use that as an advantage rather than as a disadvantage.
Q. In recruiting when you go out and particularly kickers, because it seems to be such a roll of the dies when you recruit a kicker, what are you looking for when you look at a high school?
COACH WEIS: First thing you’re looking for is pop. Do they have pop in their leg. Now there’s a lot of times you get these helium balls in high school sometimes and that ball goes an awful long way. High school ball, sometimes they are not regulated and sometimes there’s a kicking ball versus a regular ball and all of a sudden to see that ball not being tight, all of a sudden it’s going some distance. But watching, you know, seeing a pop in somebody’s leg, that’s the first thing.
After that, you go for consistency. So they are the two things that, you know, if you’re looking, pop in the leg and consistency.
Q. Pop is something that you can see out there?
COACH WEIS: You could see it, but better yet, you can hear it. And it’s sometimes like in our case you have people come in kicking camps that are run through us, let alone when they run through Notre Dame football, you can go watch them, okay. So we’ve had kicking camps here for multiple years. Those guys come in here, we get an opportunity to not only watch pop but hear it.
Q. With Travis Thomas, is his dual role of offense and defense for the whole season?
COACH WEIS: Well, that’s a good question because I don’t really know the answer to that one yet. I think some answers might resolve that way. That’s the way they are going to be for now.
I thought about it. Like Darius was running his butt off the other day and he was kind of gassed towards the end right there. I just felt in a 14?10 game with the game on the line, you want to go with somebody who has been there. And I would like to hand the ball to those two guys in that situation as well, but I just felt Travis was the guy to put ?? and he will continue to be the guy to put in there for the foreseeable future.
Q. Wonder if you could talk about John Latina a little bit, what got you interested in having him on your staff and what he brings?
COACH WEIS: He’s one of my favorite people. John, one of his close friends is a guy by the name of Rich Bisaccia, who happens to be one of my closest friends. So when I got this job, you know, when I got this job, Rich and I talked about the possibility of him coming here but he could not get out of his contract at Tampa Bay. But one of the first ?? not one of the people he mentioned, the first person he mentioned happens to be John Latina. And so I went after him aggressively and hard and he jumped on board, by the way the same guy, his roommate in college was Ruben, so I’ve got a couple connections here. So I went after John aggressively and said trust me, you’re the type of guy, Rich and I have known each other since mid?1980s and he was right, he’s my type of guy.
Q. I heard yesterday that the new rules have made you pull 14 plays out of the game. Does that affect the way that you call plays?
COACH WEIS: We had over 78 graded plays if you take away the penalties. So we had 80, they had 52 or something like that. It really didn’t affect how many we had on offense. We still had a whole bunch. We just didn’t score enough points.
Q. There were some things that Georgia Tech maybe copycatted from Ohio State, do you anticipate seeing that again this week?
COACH WEIS: Until you show you can beat it, they will keep trying to do it. And why wouldn’t they? The thing is by nature, different defensive coordinators have different facilities. So you don’t change your philosophy because of something you see on tape. But what you do do is what you exploit something you perceive to be a weakness the same thing that I would do.
Q. Were Carl Gioia’s misses a physical problem or a mental problem?
COACH WEIS: I think it was his left foot. The problem is, it wasn’t his right foot. It was his left foot. So that’s what we have to get fixed. That was not a question about whether he can kick it far enough. It’s when you know, your left foot doesn’t get right and you go it kick it with your right foot ?? inaudible. And that’s what we’re working on.
Q. This game is being sold as one of the toughest in Notre Dame football ?? inaudible?
COACH WEIS: Well, I think the first thing that it says is that you have two schools with great tradition, and with great fan followings. And they want to come to the game. Our people want to come to the game, that’s no secret. And it’s the home opener, they have a great following, too.
So that’s why, and and they are all within driving distance. I think that’s what accents the number of people that want to go.
With that being said, I’m not in the ticket business, and I really can’t worry about that too much because I know we’re going to be sold out. Doesn’t make any difference who we are playing. The game is going to be sold out. So my job is try to see if we can get the team to play better than we did last week.
Q. What makes Joe Paterno what he is?
COACH WEIS: Well, the thing about it, let’s be practical here and let’s think about what we’re talking about the. The guy takes over the job in 1966. That’s when he takes over the job. So let’s think about what’s happened since 1966, just in our history. We’re talking about Vietnam War right until now. So anyone who has been able to go through all of those cultural changes and still deal with 18? to 23?year?old young men, okay, has to be a special person, because there’s been quite a change in our society in all that time, and here he is, the guy just keeps on with it, just keeps on with it, just show in, they go win their ten games, go to a Bowl game; that isn’t by chance, that’s by design.
Q. Being new to the college scene, do you ever aspire to be held in your clear like he is now?
COACH WEIS: I’ll never be able to achieve what Coach Paterno has achieved. First of all, I’m too old. But I think that in I have my own goals and my own goals are to just run our program the way everyone expects us to run it. And if I do that, then that’s going to be enough for me. I’m not trying to emulate the things that Coach Paterno has done; it would be impractical for me to try to do that.
COACH WEIS: First of all Sunday was the day to address what the issues are or what the issues were. Today is the day to fix it. We have one day to address it, okay, here is what the problems were/are. Today is the day we have to go out start work on fixing them. We might not have fixed them all but we’re going to give it a shot.
COACH WEIS: Let’s start with the easiest ones to fix. Line of scrimmage penalties are the easiest once to fix. There’s really no excuse for line of scrimmage penalties. We have three of the nine, okay, were line of scrimmage penalties. So take that away. We get those out of the way, now you’re down to six. Well, we had intentional grounding, okay, well, I’ll take that intentional grounding. I’d rather have the quarterback to throw a ball away that could get killed any worse than he was going to get hit at the time. Sometimes a penalty you’ll take. There’s certain penalties, like I’ll take an offensive pass interference if somebody is about ready to intercept the ball, one of my guys goes and grabs him and they call him for offensive pass interference, I’ll take a penalty like that because that’s being a smart football player but holding, leg whipping, blocking down field, blocking in the back, those are things that just are a lack in concentration, a lack of fundamentals and techniques. That’s what we have to work on.
COACH WEIS: No, this isn’t about punitive damages for what they have done, okay. This is about a practical approach on how to fix them.
Q. What will you do specifically?
COACH WEIS: They will be tired at the end of practice today.
COACH WEIS: I think that if you give this guy time to throw, you’d better look out, because this kid’s got a cannon for an arm, and he’s tall and he can stand there and see things. It’s not very encouraging to a coach on the opposing team when the first pass goes for a touchdown. That didn’t exactly lift my spirits. You can look back at the 20 throws or whatever he had last year, but when the first throw of the year goes to the house, you know, on a bomb, that doesn’t fire me up too much. He’s got a very live arm. He’s dangerous.
COACH WEIS: Well, see, part of that though, if you watch that game, Akron had a whole bunch of guys in the box. They are playing with eight guys up most of the game and loading up on them. It’s easy to sit there and say, it doesn’t make any dishes who you’re playing against, when guys load up that many people in a box, it’s a tough test and just happened to be how the game was played and on top of that, they were sloppy conditions. So that factors into it, as well.
Q. What do you do to put pressure on him?
COACH WEIS: Well, that’s a good question because it’s a different set of encyclopedias than it was last week. Each week you have to evaluate, you have to evaluate the quarterback, you have to evaluate the offensive line, you have to evaluate the protection scheme. See, it isn’t just the quarterback. It’s who is blocking and protecting the quarterback. And who the players are is one issue, and what protection schemes are another issue. So I think we’re dialed up pretty good to what we need to do, just have to see if we can go out and do it.
Q. Are you pretty convinced that there are more games ?? inaudible?
COACH WEIS: Well, I think we simulate game situations every single game. We’ll go right during practice today, there will be field goals, tomorrow there will be field goals, Thursday there will be field goals. They are always in there and he’s been very productive in this camp so far. No one is more discouraged than he is.
COACH WEIS: It’s never simple. Any time you have a problem, you don’t just wave a magic wand and they are gone. Until you he puts one through the up rights from a distance, you know, not just an extra point, you know, until that happens, you know, like you and everyone else, is this one going to go through or not. Once we get that one through, I think there will be a great upside from there.
COACH WEIS: I did that last year and it was a mistake on my part. This year, it’s an event, okay.
Q. Obviously you want to avoid distraction, but does part of you enjoy any of that at all?
COACH WEIS: Actually we have a lot of work going on because I have to be focused for the game and it’s a big recruiting week on top of it. So trust me, the time that I have available where I’m not just going something directly with the game will always be spent on recruiting. I don’t get involved in at all. I have guys, guys that work for me that have helped me with my families so that they are all set, and my wife knows on game day, I’ll he see you after the game. And about an hour, hour and a half after the game after I’m done with press and shower, that’s the first time I’ll actually sit down and spend a couple minutes with my family.
COACH WEIS: Well, I think every year in this country, you get prejudiced towards guys that have a similar personality to your own. So when I go into New Jersey and talk to a kid, they have seen me a thousand times, where sometimes I come across to some people like, you know, I’m not a good person or listen to this guy, he’s obnoxious; they have seen me every day. I’m normal for them. I’m not abnormal like I am for the rest.
It makes a big difference because now these guys, they get it. Anthony Posano, all I had to do was look at him and he knew what I was going to say before I said it ?? inaudible. They have seen you and they know you, your personality is the norm, not the exception and usually they thrive in a familiar environment. Where I could bring in a farm kid from Iowa and all of a sudden they get a little taste of it and it’s, “oh, God.” It’s a little different.
COACH WEIS: Depends on if it’s for a short period of time or a long period of time. Remember this guy is a starting linebacker. You practice all week, the majority of his practices are defense, we have one period a week or two periods a week where he goes over to offense, that’s it. So would I all of a sudden throw away his time on defense? No. I think that defense would take priority unless it was a serious injury where Darius was going to be gone for the game and I would probably try to work out a way where he could play some on defense and some on offense and on a more equally basis.
To be honest with you, as the game went on, he got better, too. He just didn’t get a lot of touches early but any good running back, the more he gets the ball, he gets it into a flow and when you get into a flow, usually good things start happening.
COACH WEIS: But he’s the backup. It’s tough to get in the flow when you’re not getting ?? everything isn’t predicated by how many carries you get. You go in there when the other guy is tired. That’s when you go in there. I’m not being evasive, if we’re in there for a 12?play drive and the defense goes three and out, we’re back out there again, you could see him out there. But it all depends on how the game goes ?? I really don’t know how the game goes. For example, the defensive players the other night, had a 45?minute period where they were sitting down the whole time ?? inaudible ?? who is tired when you’re sitting down for 45 minutes so it all depends on how much rest they have in between.
COACH WEIS: In the olden days, everyone would go for their official visits when the season is over. Now everybody wants to go to games. We’ll worry about this week this week and next week next week. Just worrying about Saturday.
COACH WEIS: Well, that’s another good question because things do change. But what doesn’t change, okay, is protection schemes don’t necessarily change. Last year they might have pulled out of the pocket ?? you know that the same way I would know that. So doesn’t make a difference what level of football you’re on, you would be able to come up with that deduction. But when it comes to how they are setting up the protections, what routes are they running, what are they trying to attack on your defense.
Really, when you look over the course of an entire year, as long as coordinators don’t change, usually have a pretty good idea of what their personality is just like they do with you. They are doing the same thing with you that you are doing with them. You have to see the new cast of characters, how they tweak their system based on players there. Obviously when you get to Game 4, you know, you really don’t worry as much about what happened last year as what’s happened this year because now you have enough information to at least have the foundation for what you want to do.
COACH WEIS: Any time a righty punter, just think about this now, a righty punter turns the ball over, kicks a spiral, when the ball is coming down, it dives hard right. When it’s a lefty punter and it spirals, it dives hard left. So it’s just the opposite. Unless you’ve caught punts before. There’s a definite difference, righty punter, hard right, lefty punter hard left.
So now you have to spin it the other way, and you actually do that so that the ball will dive hard left. That’s definitely a difference. Kickoff is a little different ?? the draw where normally righty kickers if they draw the ball which most soccer?style kickers do end up going to their left, while a lefty kicker now, the lefty kicker, the ball will go to the opposite side because that’s the way the swing is.
COACH WEIS: Just change where the ball is going to go. It’s not so much the blocking scheme, it’s where the ball is going to go.
Q. The guys heard all summer how great they were, all the hype and now all of a sudden ??
COACH WEIS: And now they are no good anymore.
Right now I think the biggest thing that we’re trying to do is an improvement from last week. Even on the defensive side of the ball, you know, we’re content with how things went, we didn’t create any turnovers, there’s points of emphasis that come up as well. Now obviously on offense, I have plenty of ammo for this week, is probably a nice way of saying it.
COACH WEIS: The No. 1 thing I’m going to try to emphasize, this is not to down play the importance of playing against an institution like Penn State is that especially on the offensive side of the ball, we need to be more consistent with how we play. On the defensive side, we have a little momentum I’d like to keep, so it’s a little different. I have, you know, a team theme, but right now, I’m applying it more towards that question offensively and defensively because there’s different concerns.
COACH WEIS: One of the reasons we talk about it is we don’t play them very often. Last year playing Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl, even though you’re in the same part of the country, you don’t play very often. That’s one of the things that intrigues a lot of people. Next year, we’ll go to state college.
COACH WEIS: All of the good ones that play that position have instincts that you can’t coach you can talk about toughness and athletic ability and tackles and interceptions and all that stuff, but some people are out there and they have all the world of ability but they don’t have natural instincts. He is a very natural and smart, instinctive player.
COACH WEIS: In the last two weeks I’ve probably talked to ten of them, talked to Coach Holtzman, a bunch of guys in the NFL. I use them all that I can. As a matter of fact I got a sarcastic voicemail from Coach Belichick kneeling down in the game the other day how I’m going to have fresh ammo for the players the next day with how we played. That’s the best, you win a close game and you can go in and criticize them for 24 hours.
COACH WEIS: Coach Paterno is a great coach. He has his own opinions on what he thinks is right and wrong, and, you know, they are in a conference that we’re not in. I respect his opinion. It’s not important whether I agree with him or not. His opinion is his opinion. He’s entitled to it. He’s earned it. We’re just worrying about us playing them and I’m sure he’s worrying about nothing more than them playing us.
COACH WEIS: It’s not but it always plays out that way. I don’t sit there and say, okay, I don’t need to go upstairs and say, oh, how many carries does Darius have now. It just plays out that way. I always feel that you have to learn your players and ?? last year we played Stanford, got the ball in the mid to high 30s and we’re still kicking low at the end of the game. Remember, now, this is a long season. It’s one thing when you’re playing at the end of the year and there’s only a game or two left. This is the first game of the year, the last thing you want to do is give them a hundred carries in the first game and all of a sudden he’s spent by about the fourth week.
Q. What you have a guy like Rhema McKnight out so long for an injury, what are you looking for?
COACH WEIS: First of all, we said all camp, his quickness is obviously there, and his athleticism obviously didn’t take any drop off in performance. It’s better than before.
One thing he’s gotten through which I think is good for him is the rustiness of playing against live competition. Remember that’s the first time he’s been on the field in live competition. I think that he’s probably as happy as anyone to get that game out of the way and start moving forward because now he doesn’t have to go into this game this week worrying about, well, is my knee ?? because everyone coming off injury, that’s one thing that can sit in the back of your head whether you like it or not.
Q. A left?sided kicker, how do you simulate that, or can you?
COACH WEIS: You just expect it to spin the other way, because if you don’t have a lefty kicker, especially one that can turn the ball over, you can’t practice it.
Q. And can you talk a little about just the steadying impact of Brown based on what you’ve seen?
COACH WEIS: First of all he’s a big man. He’s a big man. Any time you’ve been playing for a long time, just like any other position, when we talk about Brady’s experience, when you have an experienced offensive lineman, you can’t get enough credence to how important it is to have the experience in the offensive line, because you learn a lot of nuances, a lot of tricks of the trade that make him a lot better player. He’s a nice, solid player.
Q. So how does a guy like Brown ?? inaudible?
COACH WEIS: I don’t think you worry about all five of those guys in front of you, not just the tackle. Righty quarterback, your blind side is coming from your left. It’s comforting that you have a guy with that type of ability protecting your blind side.
Q. You’ve coached against a 3?4 scheme before, particularly in the playoffs against the Steelers.
COACH WEIS: They very seldom to be honest line up in a 3?4 scheme. They just have 3?4 personnel. There’s a big difference. Even with the Steelers you mentioned, they really don’t play very much odd?defense where there’s two?guard bubbles where there’s no defensive linemen on the guards.
I think that’s what presents a little bit of an issue when all of a sudden you lineup on a nose tackle and two ends on the tackle and two inside linebackers that are stacked on the guards. I mean, although Penn State does show up in this, you have to be ready to block that. That is not the majority of what they end up doing.
Q. And they have Tim Shaw, a smaller guy, but they have lined him up over the tackle like they did against Akron, is that something that you look at that you can go at or is it deceiving?
COACH WEIS: Well, he lined up over both tackles and ends in that game, but the thing is, he’s a good player and you have to be concerned. He’s the wild?card in this game because he’s the one that gives them flexibility. He’s the one that allows them to go in and out of schemes with relative ease. So that’s why, you know, that’s why he’s a concern.