Nov. 18, 2007
Q. Through the ups of the season, for yourself personally, describe what your range of emotions have been along the way.
COACH Charlie Weis: Well, fortunately, I’m pretty consistent as far as outwardly what my emotions are. I think I’m pretty matter of fact and, you know, Steady Eddie type of — I don’t have really too many emotional highs and lows and try to approach each week exactly the same.
I’ve had to tweak some things when the lows of the lows have occurred to try to make sure you’ve kept everyone out of the tank and kept everyone going. But the matter of fact approach is great outwardly. Obviously inwardly it doesn’t feel the same because you’re taking — you feel it just the way everyone else does. But I think that there’s a strong urge to make sure that you stay steady and you know don’t get into an emotional roller coaster.
Q. Last year you talked about coverage reads versus progression reads; where is Jimmy (Clausen) in that whole big picture of development?
COACH Charlie Weis: He’s moving along, and as I think I said yesterday to somebody in a press conference that asked, I think it really started to clear up for him actually when he came off the field.
I think before that he was just playing, he was out there playing. I think when he got to sit back, and now you read the scouting report and you study the scouting report and you’re watching it happen, you actually can see, hey, it’s blitz zone three, here is the Sam Mike and blitz zone drop and you can see it happen; or just watching rotations of the safeties and configurations of the linebackers. That’s easy for me to do when I’m standing on the sideline because I don’t have to worry about running the play. But I think since he’s gone back in, after his time off, he’s showing a much clearer understanding of where the ball is supposed to go.
Q. Before you got Brady (Quinn), you said he was more progression and then became more of a coverage quarterback; how long do you think it would take Jimmy to get that concept down?
COACH Charlie Weis: I don’t know what exactly he was because there’s different methodologies when it comes to teaching a quarterback. All I know is the true great quarterbacks are the ones that are capable of throwing routes based off of progression and throwing routes based off of coverage.
And to give you an example of that, let’s say you have a progression, and the first guy you’re looking is outside on your right, and it’s cover two and they roll up that corner right here. Well, any good quarterback now knows, even though it’s a progression read, that guy is already dead. So I don’t even have to look at him any more because he’s already out of the progression.
So even though he might be No. 1 in your progression, all great quarterbacks are ones that can combine that progression with the coverages and get to the right guy or the right area quicker.
Q. With Duval (Kamara) in his development, just curious what you think sitting out a week did for him just in terms of maturation growing up knowing that the spotlight is always on him here at Notre Dame?
COACH Charlie Weis: Well, I think probably his greatest development was off the field not on the field because he realized the importance making our guys whole people not just football players and realized that academics are going to be stressed here and we can’t sacrifice — we’re not going to compromise our players being student athletes. I think they have to understand that they have dual roles here.
Q. Do you think that was kind of a wake up call?
COACH Charlie Weis: I don’t know if it was a wake up call but he’s been playing some pretty steady football. And he had a couple drops in the game yesterday but the one thing that he does do which I’m very encouraged about, besides making some big plays, he plays to his body size. There are some guys that are his height that don’t and play small. He’s learning to use his body and that’s a big advantage going forward.
Q. Defending the big play in the passing game, you guys have pretty much cut that in half from last year, just talk about the biggest keys to making a pretty dramatic jump.
COACH Charlie Weis: Well, I think that the first thing is, I think our secondary has played pretty solid against the pass. Most of the year we have given up an occasional good play but a lot of times the coverage zone behind the linebackers in front of the DBs, and everyone once in a while get lucky, like that one off the sideline yesterday that could very easily have been six if they had thrown it a bit more accurate. I think as a whole we have a veteran secondary that’s played, you know, in the passing game, has played pretty solid a good portion of the year.
Q. Yesterday you were asked about Dan Wenger’s performance and you said ‘I didn’t notice him and that’s probably a good thing.’ Having a chance to review, can you talk about the offensive line’s play as a whole?
COACH Charlie Weis: I think starting with Dan, and as a group, I think Dan actually played pretty solid game and it was encouraging to see. I think the biggest thing that moves at this point is just the experience of identifying the fronts, because there were a couple of issues that we had that you take for granted when someone is in there; that he’ll get you out of some trouble situations.
But the offensive line as a whole, I think the last couple games — now, granted, you’re playing against different competition each week, but I think the last couple weeks, the offensive line has become more aggressive. They have done a pretty good job in many areas, and we have a long way to go to being really good.
We have a long way to go, but there’s a lot of encouraging signs and looking out there yesterday. Really, let’s include Chris (Stewart) in the first five guys, so let’s say the six guys. Those six guys out there, you could see very easily — I know we have the three freshmen coming out and there are a bunch of guys coming in, but you could see very easily those guys being the guys you’re going with at the beginning of next year.
So getting them a chance to start to form some continuity together, that’s a very strong positive, as well.
Q. You mentioned a couple areas, the question to the secondary and big plays as maybe being areas of improvement. Where have you maybe thought you would see improvement where you’re still perplexed it hasn’t come?
COACH Charlie Weis: I think we’ve been fairly inconsistent catching the football. I think any layman could see the last couple of weeks that we’ve dropped a whole bunch of balls and we’ve dropped — I put down four yesterday, and I might be generous. Last week we dropped at least a half dozen, and they are spread out; it isn’t just like one person dropped every ball. And I think that’s cost us — it cost us some consistency in the passing game.
Defensively, whereas we’ve been pretty solid a good portion of the year against the pass, we have given up the occasional game and we’ve gotten worn out on the running game, but that could be a direct complement to the offense not being on the field long enough.
And yesterday, probably the thing I was disappointed with the most had to be regarding the penalties. And there were a lot of different areas, offense, defense, special teams. Any time you go into a game — not that I agree with every penalty, but any time you go into a game and have 11 penalties called, there’s a good chance you could end up losing.
Q. Zibby (Tom Zbikowski) talked a little yesterday, if I understood him correctly, that he had practiced some quarterback maybe during the bye week and so forth. I guess my question is trying to read between the lines, was Jimmy to the point physically that in that time frame Zibby was really the backup quarterback those two weeks?
COACH Charlie Weis: Well, put it like this. Jimmy wasn’t ready to play, and actually Darren and Justin were running two and three in our normal stuff. So what I had to do was I had to have a package ready — I had to have a package ready where if Jimmy wasn’t healthy, and Evan went down, we needed to have something you could turn to if the regular offense wasn’t getting you anything.
So the week of the bye we did — we spent, you know, two periods, okay, putting in ten plays. So we called it the Zibby ten pack, kind of like that. So we had ten plays that he was involved in of which you saw — let’s see, you probably saw four of them yesterday: Run to the right, run to the left with two backs, and run to the right and a run to the left with one back, and then a hand off. I guess four or five plays, but that was like five of the ten.
Q. How’s his arm?
COACH Charlie Weis: Let me tell you something, he was begging me to throw. And I said look, when we go out there, we’re running the football doesn’t make any difference what we do so don’t you even think about throwing it. He will actually tell you he’s got the best arm on the team. Just ask him. I’m sure he’ll tell you that.
Q. Someone pointed out there was a feature on television or interview where you were talking about spending some time with your old team in February or after the season. Just wondered what you hope to get out of that.
COACH Charlie Weis: Well, I think that I’ve probably made several mistakes this year and in my system. You know, the ones who know my system the best are New England, and I think that those guys would have no problem telling me what things I did right and what things I did wrong.
And the problem sometimes, you go to different coaches for some help, and they don’t want to tell you what you did wrong. You know, but I want to know, hey, what would you have done different.
And I think those resources, those people, because we’re close enough and have a very close relationship won’t be afraid of saying to me, what the heck are you doing, and that’s what I want. I want somebody to tell — to be able to tell me, to say it like that, and I know that those guys would do that.
Q. Last week was playing for the seniors; can you play that trump card again, last game in uniform, or do you have to go a different route?
COACH Charlie Weis: I think that could be part of what we talk about, but really the theme is moving the program forward. I think that we made one small step yesterday, okay, but I think we’ve got to be moving the program forward.
And I’m no different than you. The last thing I want to do is go to Stanford and all of a sudden lay an egg and go into the off season saying, well, you won at home on Senior Day, but you couldn’t tie another good performance together.
So I think we want to be moving the program forward; simultaneously not losing sight of the fact that this is the last game for a large number of players. And I think that you can never lose the fact that, you know, being considerate of the guys that are on your team that have been playing for the last time.
Q. Moving forward at halfback, it’s probably easier playing a power back and a speed back in (James) Aldridge than (Armando) Allen, but how do you strike the balance between two guys that are very similar?
COACH Charlie Weis: You know, that’s a fair question. I really don’t have the exact answer right now because this is the first time we’ve really fed Robert (Hughes) the ball that many times.
Actually from how it went, James rolled his ankle and gave Robert an opportunity to get in the mix. When James was back ready to go, and this time Allen had it rolling, and once you have something going, the hot hand, I think with the situation, you just want to go ahead and play it because he’s running with power and running with power inside.
I think that we’re going to have to let that sort out. But I do know that going into the off season, the combination of James and Robert and Armando, you know, will give you a lot of reasons for — a huge reason to be optimistic in the running game.
Q. Aldridge has done a great job of protecting the football this year, does Hughes show a similar ability in practice?
COACH Charlie Weis: Very seldom is the ball out of his hands. As a matter of fact, I think he might have the softest hands of any of the — the softest hands as a pass receiver of any of the backs despite his size. He has very good hands.
Q. Anything on the injury front?
COACH Charlie Weis: I haven’t talked to Jim Russ (head athletic trainer) yet, but walking out yesterday he gave me a thumbs up, which like last week I said was like a MASH unit. He gave me the thumbs up.
So unless something unexpected came up this morning, I think that I’m expecting when I meet with him this afternoon for him to be fairly encouraging.
Q. Winning yesterday, do you think it takes some of the pressure off the team now that they can play a little looser going into the final game knowing that there’s not quite the same pressure?
COACH Charlie Weis: I think the biggest pressure of yesterday’s game — I think next week’s game doesn’t have anywhere near the same pressure, because the game was built up by the coaching staff, starting with the head coach, about sending out the seniors with a win at home, okay. And that was from the second I talked to you guys last week right on through.
You know, that was the whole message, and it would have been a big downer if you built it up to let’s go out with the seniors with a win at home and just spit the bit on that.
And with that out of the way, you can move to another direction; a combination of the seniors playing their last game, but more importantly you’d like to be moving the program forward. And I think that’s the intent; that’s the message we want to move forward with this week.
Q. Talking about moving forward, it seemed like the past two weeks, Jimmy has been playing a lot better. How does that compare to Brady his freshman year? Where do you think he is right now compared to where Brady was when you got here?
COACH Charlie Weis: Well, see, now I got Brady, he was a junior when I got him. So it’s tough for me to — I think that Brady was a much greater physical specimen when I got him. I mean, Brady was a rocked up unit now. I don’t know if he was rocked up coming out of high school. You guys might have a better idea of that than me.
But when I got here when he was a junior, I mean, this is a physical specimen. This is a guy taking the field and everyone thinking he’s a middle linebacker. He’s a big man.
So I think that probably one of the greatest things that Jimmy is going to have to do, and this isn’t about throwing the football and execution. I think the off season strength and conditioning program, and especially size and strength and bulk, are going to be as critical a factor as he could possibly have. This is probably going to be his biggest concern in the off season is going from, you know, 195 to 210. I think that that’s the direction we want to head. He says he wants to get to 215. I said that would take too many In N Out Burgers when he’s back in California.
Q. Is part of that so he can take the beating?
COACH Charlie Weis: That’s critical, not just to take the hit; it’s to be able to shrug off guys. The really good quarterbacks, you’ll see they are getting touch a lot but they don’t go down a lot, okay, because a if a guy doesn’t make a form tackle on him they will brush off a tackle and be able to break away from somebody. I think you need strength to be able to do that.
And I think that’s going to be one of the things that — we’ve always talked about this at length here for the last month. So he knows that this is going to be one of my biggest areas of concern in the off season.
Q. Is he more beat up than you let on, the first time he would have been capable of playing?
COACH Charlie Weis: I just don’t know how efficient he would have been. When I said he was sore all over, he wasn’t injured, but he was sore all over. Remember when we talked about why Evan was going and I said because a fully, healthy Evan — I don’t want to make it injury or scapegoat, but the kid was sore all over, and a healthy Evan at that time seemed like a better answer than sore all over Jimmy.
Q. In the past you shrugged off the pressure, but how did you deal with all of it this year and not let it affect your coaching?
COACH Charlie Weis: I don’t think — I think about everyone you’d ever ask about me that knows anything about me will tell that you I’m very, very consistent. I hardly ever waver one way or another. I don’t get too excited, too excited after a win and I don’t get too low after a loss, because I feel that your team is looking for you for leadership. I think that if the leader can’t show that he’s steady, that’s when you’re team is going to vacillate in a hurry. I don’t think you really can change from that methodology. If you’re asking, do you feel bad, do you think I like being 2-9? I know that’s a tad rhetorical but no one likes losing.
Q. Feeling bad — (inaudible).
COACH Charlie Weis: No, the pressure is not ever an issue for me. It’s more the obligation I have to the players; the obligation I have to the school; the obligation I have to the alum; to the fans; the administration, okay. I just feel I have an obligation, so it’s not pressure I feel. It’s more of an obligation I feel.
Q. Can you talk about the mood in the locker room afterwards?
COACH Charlie Weis: I think it was pretty emotional for a lot of these guys, because you sit there and tell them about playing their last game at home, and it isn’t until they walk off the field that they actually realize that just happened.
And the fact that they have won, obviously the mood was a little bit more cheery than it would have been if it would have been the other way.
Q. And I know yesterday you gave a vote of confidence to Jimmy but after looking at the tape —
COACH Charlie Weis: It’s still Jimmy by a nose over Zibby.
Q. So you don’t want to wait until Tuesday to let us know? I know you usually doesn’t like to announce it at 12:50 on Sunday.
COACH Charlie Weis: I think I’ll keep Jimmy by a nose over Zibby. Thank you for bringing some humor to the press conference, though.
Q. Probably not going to ask a humorous question, but a couple big picture questions if that’s okay. You said earlier in the press conference you said, “I probably made several mistakes this season.” Why do you say that?
COACH Charlie Weis: The first thing I have to do, when you’re 2-9, you have to start with you. As you go to evaluate what happened in your year, I think you always have to start with you personally. I think that you can start the other way; you can start with the players and work your way up, or you can start with you and work your way down, okay.
So I think that what I’m going to do, the 17th of December, when I’m off the road recruiting, I’m going to start that week, early on that morning on the 17th of December and go through that entire week and try to go through the entire year and evaluate what the problems were. Are they schematics; are they personnel, okay; what exactly the problems are. I’m not even worrying about fixing them yet. I want to first identify what they are, and then after identifying where they are, then you can share the blame after you’ve done that.
But I think unless you hold yourself accountable, it isn’t like one thing; it might be a plethora of things. I really don’t know yet at this point until after I’ve gone ahead and did a full analysis. But once I’ve identified what the problems are, then you can go about fixing them and some of them can be schematics. Some of them will be X’s and O’s and some of them might be methodologies of teaching, and there’s a lot of different things that could be involved.
But I know one thing: We have to find out what they are before we can move forward and try to share the blame with other factions. I think you’d better first identify what they are.
Q. What, if anything, can you say that you have learned through the first 11 games personally this year?
COACH Charlie Weis: I think that probably more than any time in my career I have tried to do different things to try to change my approach to not be stagnant and just accept, you know — accept things to just not be okay. I probably tweaked methodologies of teaching, coaching, you know, handling players, practice schedules more than any time in my entire career.
And some of those things were positive. Some of those things didn’t work at all. So you know the ones that didn’t work at all like in that week we’re talking about, you throw those out. Get those handful of things that, hey, this helped, this helped, this helped. I think you’ve got to play on the things that worked and can the things that didn’t work.
Q. In terms of wins and losses, what of the three is the biggest factor: Talent, technique and experience?
COACH Charlie Weis: Are you saying in order, talent, technique or just playing experience?
Q. In the game of college football, your opinion.
COACH Charlie Weis: That’s a trick question because they are all significant factors. I think that, you know, you never can underemphasize technique, okay, and you never can underemphasize — you never can under emphasize playing experience.
But I think it all starts with talent, because if you don’t have talent, what good does playing experience do you? It just makes you a better crummy player. I’m being honest with you. I think it really starts there.
So I think any coach has to be good enough to believe that you’d better not go out and try to recruit the best players in the country because the best chance you have at winning a National Championship at any school is getting the best player you have is kidding yourselves, and that’s what we’re trying to do.
Q. Is there anything over the course of this year that you’ve learned about managing a young football team in comparison to your experiences at the NFL level?
COACH Charlie Weis: One major one. There’s a big difference between an 18-year-old and a 23-year-old. It isn’t like just like a rookie in the NFL, because you can have a rookie in the NFL that’s very mature because he’s already 22 or 23. You know, they can play with the 30 year olds and it’s no big deal.
Now sometimes you still have to baby sit them, too. Sometimes when you come into the NFL as a rookie they act like they are high school kids.
But maturity wise, there’s a huge difference between dealing with a freshman and dealing with a senior. Coming in, they think they are grown men already. But it’s the first time in their lives they have been able to make decisions on their own without mom and dad being around. And the thing that you have to really understand, even though your hundred or so kids are within four years of age, there’s a huge difference in maturity between a freshman and a senior.
Q. I can lighten it back up. I just wanted to ask about Thanksgiving coming up, what are some things you’re thankful for this year?
COACH Charlie Weis: Well, I’m always thankful for the health of my family more than anything else. You know, it’s well documented, you know, I have a daughter with special needs and I always thank God that she’s moving along nicely and she’s happy. I always obviously want Charlie to come but for us it always starts with Hannah. And I’ve had a couple personal experiences this week which really are rewarding to you as a person that you go and meet people that are not going to be around too long, and let me tell you something, every day you see something like that, you go back and think about your own kids, and you just think how thankful you are and even with them being a spoiled brat, you’re just thankful that your wife and kids are healthy and moving forward.
Then, you know, just the family atmosphere that exists at this university. I think that when you talk about — when you talk about a year not being a very positive year, the fact that there’s such a strong support both in this room right here and in the university with the student body, I think it really makes it refreshing to know that people still have a lot of good in them.
Q. And are there any traditions that you look forward to?
COACH Charlie Weis: Eat like a pig and lay on the couch and watch football, like the rest of America. I think our schedule the way we are scheduled up this week, we are going to meet and practice on Thursday morning. And then I’m going to have a big Thanksgiving dinner and let them lay on the couch and sleep it up and we’ll come in and meet the next morning and get on a plane and fly out to Palo Alto.
Q. Other than talent, when you’re out recruiting are there certain tangibles you’re looking for, speed, size?
COACH Charlie Weis: Yeah, I always look for good kids first. I think the last thing you want are a bunch of renegades. You know, hey, if I want problem kids, I’ll just go home. I think you’re looking for good kids. I was with a bunch of them this morning. They have had a long morning already and almost everyone told me, talked about being around a bunch of good kids and I talk about the character and maturity for Thanksgiving, well, that’s the same thing you’re looking for on the road. You want more guys that fit that stereotype that are good kids.
Obviously you want kids that are good students because you can’t get them in here and you want kids that are great players. Otherwise, why would you be going after them? I think probably the most important thing that I look for, okay, assuming those things are standards, I want to see what kind of kid they are.
Q. How much more important is that — (inaudible).
COACH Charlie Weis: Well, I think that most of the guys we’ve been involved with feel ownership in this team. Even though they are not here yet, they feel part of this team and they want to be part of the solution. They want to be part of the reason why we are where we are right now. I think when you give ownership like being part of a family, I think you’re moving in the right direction.
Q. Can you talk about that certain something, from what you’ve seen of Jimmy so far; does he have the potential to develop that like Brady?
COACH Charlie Weis: I was talking about this in the staff meeting this morning. He definitely shows it on game day.
Here is the first thing that I was looking for yesterday. It was a little chilly yesterday, right, 45 degrees, a little drizzle, snow flurries and here is a kid from California, and you say, okay, is he going to shrivel up; is he going to be looking for a parka every time he turned around. I mean, there was absolutely no evidence.
And even when we came offer the field like there might have been a dropped ball or something to end the series and there was no, you no, finger pointing or head down or those things. Those are very, very positive signs for a young quarterback.
Q. And lastly, how does it help put things in perspective and realize more important things —
COACH Charlie Weis: There’s nothing good about losing. Let’s not talk about life lessons from losing. There’s nothing good about losing. Now, there’s things more important than football. Hughes losing a brother is more important than football. Those things are more important. But there’s nothing good about losing. You can use them as teaching lessons, but I want to see a few positives coming out of it.
Q. When somebody may be in your corner one minute and pointing a finger at you the next, is there a time where you just think to yourself like there’s so many more things —
COACH Charlie Weis: I’m only worried about the ones that I can deal with. I’m worried about the players. I’m worried about the coaches. I’m worried about their families. I’m worried about my family, and that’s what I really don’t — my biggest responsibility is to make sure that they are not finger pointing. As long as those people that are responsible for the program and are heading in the right direction, I think that, you know, we’ll get it right and everyone will be on board.
And you want to know something, a lot of times the criticism is justified. You’ve got to roll with the punches now. I mean, it is what it is. And when things go like that, you have to be willing to go with it because that’s just the way life is. We don’t expect everyone at 2-9 to say how great a job you’re doing. I mean, you’re 2-9. Obviously you can do things better. That’s just the way it is.
Q. You were saying before that you pitched this week as kind of being the last game for a lot of seniors. And a lot of bigger seniors that you have, it almost sounded like this was the end for them this week, saying that they have finished up real well. Do you worry about that they will still focus on this week or that there might not be anything —
COACH Charlie Weis: Which guys are you referring to, like the older guys?
Q. Like the fifth year seniors that played a lot.
COACH Charlie Weis: I think, let’s say for example, a guy that’s played great for us all year long, let’s take Trevor Laws. Trevor Laws has got one game left in his career, and next thing you know, getting ready for the (NFL) Combine and all that stuff; is he ready for the NFL Draft. You know, Trevor, besides having an emotional attachment to the universities, and wanting to go out with a win in his last game — for what’s going to happen in the future, he has a lot of game both on and off the field and I would expect nothing less of them than acting accordingly.
Q. There’s still a little bit of guarding against having so much emotion expunged yesterday from everybody and there being a little bit of a letdown; is that something you’ve got to be wary of this week?
COACH Charlie Weis: Yeah, I think that’s definitely true and I’m going to — we’re going to start off Tuesday fairly early in practice hit pretty hard and smacking each other in the mouth and I think that will bring them back to reality that, okay, this is vacation week because it’s Thanksgiving week.
Early on in practice after we knock out special teams, we’ll be in full pads. I think I’ll do my best to bring them back to business because I always have to be a bit concerned about that.
Q. And you talked about the promise that some of the young guys showed yesterday, and it’s certainly been there maybe the past couple three weeks, as well. That said, all due respect to Navy and Air Force and Duke, they are not exactly teams that are challenging for the BCS title game right now. So how do you balance what you see from the young guys versus who it’s happening against, or does it even matter who it’s happening against, as long as they are doing something well?
COACH Charlie Weis: Well, first of all, I think that’s a fair question when you realize that there’s different levels of competition that you’re playing against. That being said, I think the most important thing is you’ve just got to play who you’re playing. I think for us, if you’re talking about moving the program forward, which is what we are talking about doing this week, I think Stanford has to be who we are playing. We have a lot of respect for Stanford, but we are more concerned with us getting better. And I think that we’ve shown signs of getting better and we’ve shown signs of getting better in several areas.
So you know, whether it’s youth movement and regardless of what it is, I think that you have to keep betting better, because if you get ready to go into the off season and you get all these guys to buy into a commitment, okay, they need to have evidence that they are getting better. And the opponent, no disrespect, just like you said, is almost irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.
Q. Doesn’t leadership start with making plays? Don’t you have to be a player before you can become a leader?
COACH Charlie Weis: That’s an absolute truth. You know, I learned that for the first time, I really didn’t understand that — I was young in my career. I remember distinctly.
It was 1991 and it was right after the Giants had won the Super Bowl my rookie year there where I was fairly insignificant as a coach but I was on the staff. And there was a little quarterback controversy and Jeff Hostetler ended up being the starter and the team started floundering during the year. And I went to Phil Simms and said, “Phil, why aren’t you taking more of a leadership responsibility?”
And he said, “Charlie, let me teach you something. You can’t lead when you’re not playing.” That was the first time I ever heard anyone who I had great admiration for kind of teach me, like you kind of have to be out there doing something.
Now, Sam (Young) has been a starter now for two years in a row. He’s been out there for two years, so he is one guy that can say he’s been out there for almost every play, and you can see where he could feel that obligation to help take over some of that reign and hopefully that manifests itself.
Q. You know, kind of going along with the question, as some of these younger players have started to play better and make some plays, is this when you start to see these leaders emerge more than anybody you could during the first half of the season?
COACH Charlie Weis: One of the scary things, which I’m not saying it can’t be done, but you know, there’s a lot of guys that are in the younger classes that have a lot of leadership about them.
So the one thing you always have to be leery about is how young can a leader take over. You know, I’m not talking about just as a quarterback; it would be true with any position. There’s a lot of guys that I see that have it in them to be leaders, but I think that before they are leaders, they have to be full time players.
Q. Along the way, you made reference to making mistakes as the season has unfolded, trying to change a number of different things. And I know you said December 17th is when you’re going to sit down with yourself and make those evaluations, but at this point in time, do you feel the tweaks that you made along the way are in reference to weeks leading up to the game or game day situations?
COACH Charlie Weis: I wouldn’t comment right now because it’s a big picture that we’re talking about, okay. Right now the question is more of a small picture.
For me, I really have to take the whole season in its entirety, and I’m talking about from the first day of spring ball right on through, because I’m going — in my mind I’m going from spring ball to spring ball. That’s where I’m going to.
So for me, I’m looking at a year. I’m not looking at just a game day I’m not looking at a game week I’m not even looking at training camp. I’m looking at from here to here, here is what we did, okay, what did they do wrong, okay, why was it wrong. Did we overestimate; did we underestimate; did we give them too much. There’s a lot of questions.
And it isn’t just going and watching the first game against Georgia Tech and saying, okay, we could have done this better, we could have done that better. That’s the easy thing, you have a clicker and you sit there and analyze the game and say what worked and what didn’t work and why.
I think there’s a whole — you’re talking about a whole understanding of how the team got to where it was to where it is to where you want it to go. And I don’t think that you can do that. I couldn’t do that in a whole day right now; I couldn’t answer that question, okay. I need legitimate time to sit there. I need days to answer that question. I couldn’t answer that question at this time.
Q. Just to follow up, I know where you’re coming from with the 18 year old thing because I probably have one right now that’s leaving dirty dishes in the living room. But you mentioned the difference between 18 and 23 year olds and I think you mentioned that to me because it was right after a game; is the reason it’s showing up this year is because you’re depending on those 18 to 19 year olds?
COACH Charlie Weis: Because you’re playing so many of them. You know, it’s one thing if you have a guy who has a very insignificant role and not at all, because then you can focus more on just their development and then going to class.
I mean, you can get them kind of settled into university life, these kids walking in the door are playing significant roles — you have a guy, the toughest week by far for a freshman football player is the week right after training camp, he may have both football and starting school. It is by far not even close for second the toughest week. Because you come in for the second session of summer school, now you have football. You have eight hours of strength and conditioning with Ruben and two classes. That ends, and now you have training camp. Well, you have no class, okay, so now you have football 24 hours a day; and now school starts and now you have 20 hours of football and you have your classes, okay.
That is the toughest transition period you have. If a guy is not really factoring in the game plan, it’s a lot easier to deal with because now you’ve just kind of slowly progressed him like any other freshman would be that’s not playing football through life.
Or now all of the sudden you’re starting him, okay, you’re playing 20 snaps, playing 30 snaps, playing 40 snaps, in front of 80,000 people on national TV and everyone knows when you’ve made a mistake, and all of the sudden you make a big error in the game and the whole first freaking world knows you did it.
It’s a little different when Brady Quinn would make a mistake because, you know, he was weathered and he knew how to handle it. And he was great with you guys with the media; by the time he was done he couldn’t have been any more polished than he was about being able to handle all the questions.
So it’s different when you never have to deal with the media, too, or when you deal with the media, it was just a lovefest all the time or where in high school everyone thinks you’re the second coming.
I think that as freshmen and sophomores, those couple years, those are legitimate transition years as far as I’m concerned.
But when you’re playing significant roles, it takes on a whole different meaning when all of a sudden you’re not just going there, you’re out there, you’re strapping up and playing.
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