Nov. 8, 2005
COACH Charlie Weis: Navy has put themselves in position to go to a bowl game for the third consecutive year. A win this week would help them attain that goal. In the last four times they’ve come into South Bend, three of the times they had an opportunity to win the game, ’97, ’99 and 2003; all those games they lost by four, four and three in those games.
The thing that’s a little scary about them, when they score first they won 10 consecutive times, including three games this year when they scored first, so that’s one concern. They’re eighth in the country in committing penalties. They’re very disciplined, as you would expect from a military academy.
They’re 5 3, but first let’s revisit the first three losses they had. They lose to Maryland by three and they lose to Stanford by three, and although they lost to Rutgers by 10, with eight minutes to go in the game they’re down by three. They’ve obviously been competitive in every game they’ve played this year.
Coach Johnson, Coach of the Year last year, by the way, he’s been there going on four years. I know in the last three years they’re 23 10. They obviously have been winning a lot of games. They were 10 2 last year.
Last week, it was 28 0 before you can blink an eye. I know their rushing offense is second in the country at 282 yards a game. Last week they rushed for over 400, 418, I believe. With Coach Johnson calling the plays and serving as offensive coordinator, you know where the success is coming from, and it’s one of the reasons why he’s Coach of the Year.
Their whole offense starts with the quarterback (Lamar) Owens who’s 5’9″. He’s a dual threat. Every time he touches the ball he rushed for 485 yards, he’s thrown for 936 yards, rushed for five touchdowns. Last week he was 18 carries for 80 yards and three touchdowns.
They play different guys at fullback, but the lead fullback they play a one slot back as an option. These slot backs, which I call them, (they call them) “A” backs, their main fullback, the one guy, the main guy is (Matt) Hall. He’s averaging five yards a carry and has six touchdowns including the last week 22 for 109 and a touchdown. They play two other guys in there as single back, (Trey) Hines 21 and (Adam) Ballard 22, but those two guys are also in the mix at the slot back positions. They get a lot of production out of the slot back position. We’ll talk about that here in a second.
That position has made a whole bunch of production, both running the pass, and as a group every time they carry the ball they’re averaging 80 yards. They’ve had 12 rushing touchdowns and had two more touchdowns catching the ball and they’re averaging 20 yards.
I’ll mention three guys in addition to Hines and Ballard. (Marco) Nelson is averaging 20 yards a carry and seven yards a catch; (Reggie) Campbell, he’s averaging nine yards a carry and 21 yards a catch; and (Karl) Whittaker, he’s averaging eight and a half yards a carry in addition to all the kickoff returns, so obviously they’re getting a lot of production from all their skilled players in their running game, and in addition you’ve got (Jason) Tomlinson, who’s also the punt returner who’s their leading receiver, averaging 19 yards a catch, as well.
So there’s some big numbers we’re talking about.
Everyone always tells me how their offensive line is undersized. Well, they’re averaging 282 yards a game rushing or 283 yards really. What more do we have to say than that? You can talk about (Anthony) Piccioni and (James) Rossi and (Antron) Harper and (Marshall) Green, all these guys, all they do is play great technique and knock you off the ball and allow the team to go up the field with the ball.
Defense, last week they gave up 245 yards of total offense against Tulane. The problem is that they have created a defensive scheme under Buddy Green. Buddy Green, when I first got into college football, he had been at Auburn in ’84 ’85 before he went on to NC State. But what he’s done is taken a defense that can go in and out of odd and even defenses from a 3 4 scheme to an even scheme, and basically the player that allows him to do that is 45 (Tyler) Tidwell, because he’ll play both the defensive end and outside linebacker in their schemes, and they do that effortlessly. So it causes some problems schematically because you’re not really sure coming out of the huddle whether it be an odd or even and what form they’re going to be in based on a change of personnel because they don’t change their personnel when they do it.
They’re flanked by (Jeremy) Chase and (John) Chan, they’re the three guys that are the constants, whether it’s odd or even, and Tidwell is the fourth. Opposite of Tidwell you have (David) Mahoney and inside you’ve got (Rob) Caldwell who is 11th in the country in tackles, and (Jake) Biles is their other inside linebacker.
Now, the corners are (Keenan) Little and (Greg) Thrasher. I’m going to get to this rover position here in a second. In addition to those two guys, (DuJuan) Price is their free safety and (Jeremy) McGown is their rover. He’s No. 80. He got tweaked a little bit and there’s a possibility he might be hurt a little bit, and if he ends up not playing, you can look for (inaudible), who plays both corner and rover. You could expect to see him out there.
Special teams, there’s a couple of key statistics on special teams. We’ve already talked about the returns. As we were talking about, one of their slot backs and one of their receivers is handling the returns, but the best stat that I’ve been able to come up with is that on punt return they’re only (giving up) 4.2 yards a return, which is seventh best in the country. (Eric) Shuey is their punter and (Joey) Bullen is their kicker who’s only missed three kicks all year and Harmon is their kickoff guy. I’ve already mentioned Whittaker is their kickoff returner and Tomlinson is a returner, so obviously this is going to be a formidable opponent. They’re dynamic on offense, they have different schemes on offense and defense, and they will definitely have our players’ attention here.
Q. The other day you said that in order to be a good coach, good play caller, you have to see the game through your players’ eyes. Because you didn’t play college football or beyond that, did that take you longer to learn to adapt to?
COACH Charlie Weis: No, I think that it was just the reverse effect because when I first started coaching running backs back in ’91 for the Giants, OJ Anderson at the time, who was about my age, who was the starting halfback, and Maurice Carthon, who was a little bit younger, was starting fullback. When I told them how I viewed the game, they thought that coaches don’t usually look at the game that way. They usually look at from their perspective, not through the players’ eyes.
When you can see what they see, when you can visualize what they see, especially when you’re watching the end zone copy and you’re visualizing what they see instead of just standing there with a clicker and saying, “Well, this is what they’re supposed to do,” often that gives you the reason for things that happen on the field, even though sometimes you disagree with what the rationale was. You can move along faster than way than when you look at it from just a pure coach’s perspective.
Q. You mentioned the other day you don’t think much about the bowls. At this point your players have to know that they’re favored they should be favored in the last three games. Does that put more pressure on the players now heading into the last three games?
COACH Charlie Weis: All I know is this: They’re cognizant of the position they’re in. I think that the most important thing they have to realize is that when they’re playing against Navy, they’re playing against a team that’s put themselves in a position to make some serious noise themselves, so we’re not alone in this situation here. You’re playing against a team that is looking to be Bowl eligible and make some noise themselves, so you’re not the only one in that category, and that makes the game that much more challenging, especially against a team that’s as disciplined as you would expect an academy to be and productive on top of that. I mean, you’re not just playing another team here; you’re playing a team that has a similar goal that they can achieve themselves, and that that keeps them level headed.
Q. Along the same lines, this is a game Notre Dame has won 41 straight years. Do you think that do your players think they don’t want to be the team that lets the streak end?
COACH Charlie Weis: They better think that way. I think that way, so let’s hope they’re thinking that way. But, you know, I’m not looking at what happened the previous 41 games. I’m only looking at this game. That’s all I’m looking at. I don’t look in the past.
Once again, just like the question you asked about the future, I only worry about this week. I’m not that smart; I can’t foresee what’s going to end up happening down the line. All our focus has to be on going against the team that’s got similar goals as we do. They have similar goals.
Q. Just defensively, triple option, is there any one area of the defense you previously had talked about the safeties. Is it tougher on one area particularly than it is on the rest of the team?
COACH Charlie Weis: When they play the game, this has to be an assignment game because if anyone breaks down with their triple option threat, you can get exposed by the quarterback. You can get exposed by the single back. You can be exposed by either slot, and on top of that then they motion another guy into the back field and either one toss sweeps or come down the line option with that motion into the backfield. Every guy from the interior defensive line all the way out, if you sit there and say that one guy is more important than the other when you’re playing against an option team, you’re sorely mistaken because this is an assignment game. Everyone has to execute their assignments. Because if not, you’ll get gassed by anybody.
Q. I’ve heard you mention you watched a TV copy of a game; now you’ve touched on an end zone copy. Do you watch different angles of all the games?
COACH Charlie Weis: I make sure you always watch the sideline and the end zone. In the olden days you had to have end zone or sideline. Now everything is inner cut, so when you’re watching something you can watch from the sideline and end zone, sideline and end zone, however you want, but I like to watch the sideline of a play followed immediately by the end zone of a play so I can see from the side view what happened and then see from the end zone view what happened because the perspectives are two totally different.
Go to a game two consecutive weeks and one game sit there at midfield and the other game site there in the middle of the end zone and the whole perspective of the game is different. You see things better depending on where you’re sitting.
Q. And those are done for you and prepared for you?
COACH Charlie Weis: Yes. That’s why we pay these video guys the big bucks, you know.
Q. Going into the season there was some talk about rebuilding the confidence among the defensive backs. I think Mike Richardson would be the first to admit that that was something that was bothering him, a lack of confidence after last season. How have you seen him progress, and it seems like he’s really made strides in that area especially?
COACH Charlie Weis: I’d like to talk more about Navy but I’ll just generally answer that question and move back towards Navy. Mike is a perfect example of somebody that’s fit into a system; he’s bought into the system, he believes in what he’s being coached, and he’s performing at a fairly high level and I think that football players have to be able to get bad plays out of their mind because if not, then you’re thinking about the bad plays and you’re not visualizing the good plays you’re just setting yourself up for a fall if you’re sitting there waiting for something bad to happen.
Q. I noticed in the Navy notes that none other than Bill Belichick was quoted as saying over the last decade, best technique, sound running game that he’s seen was Navy. I was curious, did you and Bill actually study the Navy tapes?
COACH Charlie Weis: You’ll remember his dad coached there for like 30 years. Trust me, he’ll work me up at the game and be all over me. I’m sure he’ll be around.
But one thing we always found, and it was true for almost all the academies that so far as the option, it was true that these guys because of the military background seemed to be more fundamentally sound than just about anyone you go against and that more than made up for sometimes giving up a few pounds, and that’s been the case here schematically. These guys are so fundamentally sound and they’re driven to be successful, it presents some serious problems.
But no, Bill and I did not study that together. This offense really has elements all the way back to when I was coaching in high school. There’s a lot of elements of the wing T in this offensive scheme.
Q. Years ago the option wishbone type style was the rage in college football and the most successful teams…
COACH Charlie Weis: This is actually a form of wishbone. The only difference is the two slot backs the wishbone, the two guys in the backfield, they’re actually on the slot. And then by motion either one of them, you get to the same spot it’s just a broken bone. That’s what it ends up being.
Q. Do you believe that the reason why colleges have moved away from that type of scheme is because players – elite players are looking to showcase themselves more in pro style offense?
COACH Charlie Weis: Oh, I don’t think that’s the case. It’s the type of athlete that you have that dictates what you do. For example, they don’t play with a tight end. We do, we play two or three of them. So it all depends on the type of athlete that you’re going to have and what they’re going to end up doing.
But I don’t think that the pros or any of that really comes into play. It fits the personality of the players they have there, and Coach Johnson is one of the best at coaching them.
Q. Your offense has been based so much on versatility and being able to change every week based on what the other team is doing, but Navy does essentially the same thing week after week. Are you surprised at how successful they are at doing that?
COACH Charlie Weis: What they do is they do what they do every week, it doesn’t make any difference who they’re playing against. So there are two different mentalities here. Realistically what they do is run their core things and make you stop them. They very seldom get stopped. You don’t average 282 yards a game rushing by people shutting you down.
So they are a little bit contrasting to me in the fact that they’re going to come out and take play action shots, and one of the reasons why they’re averaging 20 yards a catch with all those skilled receivers is because everyone spends so much time trying to stop the run. All of a sudden everyone is trying to stop the run, and next thing you know they’re behind you. They execute very well and I have a lot of respect for their offense, and their defense poses a problem because they’ve been able to build a versatile system similar to the ones that I’ve been around that go back and forth from a 3-4 to a 4-3 with relative ease.
Q. The Gatorade shower you took after the Tennessee game, was that the first of your career, and if so, what happened in the locker room?
COACH Charlie Weis: No, it wasn’t the first. It was unexpected. I told them that I was a little disappointed that if you’re going to get me mad, at least hit me in the head. I mean, to hit me in the back I said, `You even screwed that up.’ If you’re going to put yourself at risk like they did, it would be nice if they at least did it the right way. I give them a D minus for that effort.
Q. You’ve mentioned several times the 80 to 90 hour workweeks that you have. You also indicated that your wife and son are your biggest critics. My question is when do you have time to see them?
COACH Charlie Weis: They don’t get up as early as I do, so by me starting as early as I can because everyone is sleeping, I like to get in here early. I’m an early guy. I try to plan certain evenings where I make sure I get home where the kids go to sleep, and that gives me a little quality time to spend with Maura, and we know that during football season it’s never a good thing. We know that, but the fact that because I’m the head coach and they’re able to be around more on game days and around me more on the weekend, actually in the last 15 years this is the most I’ve ever seen my family.
Q. When you bring in the big name Notre Dame stars of yesteryear, do you feel that’s a positive motivator, and when they come in is it a surprise who they are, Montana or whoever might be coming in?
COACH Charlie Weis: No, they don’t know who’s coming, but it isn’t just a surprise to the team. That’s not what we’re really trying to do. What we’re trying to do – when I walked in here there was a number of things I felt were important, and I felt that Notre Dame – there are always people that the student body associates with Notre Dame, and I just felt that some of those people have been fractionalized and I wanted to make sure I got them all back together, got them to join the party. It’s going all right so far.
Q. How often does it happen, every game?
COACH Charlie Weis: Absolutely.
Q. Who do you have coming in this week?
COACH Charlie Weis: We’ll find out this week.
Q. I was curious about your substitution thoughts in terms of second team, third team. Let’s say we have at what point do you put in the backups? Let’s say you have a 50-0 lead at half time. Would you come out with a second team second half?
COACH Charlie Weis: First of all, I’m not going to assume I’ve ever going to be 50 0 because that would be disrespectful to the opponent. For me to approach that subject, it would be almost as if I was planning on that happening against Navy, and that would be disrespectful.
But I will tell you my philosophy. I do not believe in ever running up a score. I don’t see any intrinsic value in doing it. I know some people talk about polls and all that other stuff, but when the game is not in question, when the outcome of the game is not in question, whenever that is, for every coach, that’s the time to start getting some of their guys in there, and I’m not counting on that being the case this week.
Q. With a team like Navy that will run the ball in just about any down, any distance, how imperative is it to really stop them on first down and try to dictate down and distance a little bit more than maybe with some other teams?
COACH Charlie Weis: Really it doesn’t change their philosophy until they get to 3rd down and more than seven. First down, second down, they’re all the same. The only time they really change is when it gets to third and long. They’re all the same. It’s important on every down because if you stop them on first down and they gain nine on second down, now it’s third and one anyway. This is a game where it’s an every play technique fundamental execution game, and if you don’t do that, they can get you on any play.
Q. Your receivers, once again, Mo (Stovall) made a nice catch for the touchdown the other day using that 6’5″ frame to go over a short cornerback. You’ve got that advantage again this week. I guess the question is why don’t coaches recruit bigger cornerbacks to go against the bigger receivers?
COACH Charlie Weis: Well, first of all, bigger sometimes is slower. To get the bigger cornerback, cornerbacks are usually guys that can run real fast, and usually the guys that run real fast are not real big. That’s just the way it is.
It’s like that on every level. It’s like that on the next level, too. You don’t get that many corners that are that big. Speed and size go together, and therein lies the dilemma. You want somebody bigger, you have to risk the fact that they might be slower, and those receivers usually run pretty fast. It doesn’t make any difference how big you are if they run right by you.
Q. You’ve touched on the kids from Navy being a special group and a special program. When you were a student, did you have a sense of that kind of reference for Navy, and also, did you realize how much Notre Dame’s history and Navy’s history were intertwined?
COACH Charlie Weis: I know one thing, the academies were somebody that we always revered in a different light than any other opponent. They were like their own separate entity. I think that really you get a Catch 22 here because you have an opponent on the one hand that you want to beat badly. On the other hand, the respect factor for the young men that you’re going against is higher than anyone else you’re going against because you know that they’ve chosen a path that when their college careers are over, they’re not going to go play in the NFL, they’re not going to take some cush job, they’re going to represent our country. It’s a different mentality altogether.
Now, that being said, I won’t feel sorry for them if we do well, and I’m sure they won’t feel sorry for me if they do well, either.
Q. Mark LeVoir was a guy that came in here very briefly as a tight end, was a really good athlete in high school, played a lot of different positions. Could you comment on what kind of season he’s had and if that athleticism shows up?
COACH Charlie Weis: A lot of tight ends eat themselves into being tackles, and that’s not unusual because tackles today have become people that you want to have athleticism because a lot of times they’re blocking those speed rushers that are coming from the outside. The one thing that Mark has been able to do in addition to that is that he’s a pretty strong person, so sometimes when you get bulky and you slow down with some of the things you’re doing, how much strength you have is not always correlated with how big you are, but Mark is a pretty strong person, which has helped him week in and week out.
Q. The type of offense that Navy runs a lot of times consumes a lot of time off the clock. Is there a little added urgency about getting ahead and not watching the clock get burned up?
COACH Charlie Weis: They’ve won 10 consecutive times when scoring first. That tells you you’d better not get behind because the odds are against you. But just as importantly, you have to understand that this game is probably going to be won with the old (Bill) Parcells analogy where the game is going to be shortened. That means there will be less possessions because there’s a lot of time the clock will be running, so you have to make the most of your own possessions to go along with what you’re saying. You have to make the most of your own possessions because you probably won’t have as many.
Q. Talk about special teams. They seem to have had ratcheted up in the last few weeks. Is that something that took time, to get the system down that you wanted or people feeling more comfortable in their roles?
COACH Charlie Weis: It’s system and personnel, getting everyone situated in the right place. There are some growing pains when you’re trying to learn your own guys. There are some growing pains. But now they have a lot of confidence that when they go out there, and I’m hoping that confidence continues to grow, and it only continues to grow if you continue making plays.
Q. Back to the game Saturday, you mentioned that you thought the secondary did a pretty good job based on the numbers and you wanted to have a chance to look at it on tape. Were you as happy after watching the game?
COACH Charlie Weis: I was pretty pleased with it. My gut reaction was correct when I watched it. There were a number of things I’d say it wasn’t perfect, but at the same time, they threw the ball over 30 times and they got challenged some, and for the most part it was a pretty productive day. Any time a quarterback completes 40 percent completions in a game, it usually meant the coverage was pretty good.
Q. Seeing the game through the players’ eyes, is that from a camera angle or is that input from the players when you watch film together and talk?
COACH Charlie Weis: No, you can’t do that. When I first started doing that, I was coaching running backs, so a lot of times an offensive line coach will start yelling why did he not hit it up in there, but you’re sitting there watching the tape from the end zone, and they wanted to run right there, but he sees a flash of color from over here that the offensive line coach isn’t looking at. But the running back sees it with his peripheral vision. One of the reasons why they start cutting is back isn’t because there isn’t a hole here, it’s because in their peripheral vision that by the time they get there they’re going to get tackled. That’s why they start rolling it back.
The only way you can do that is by studying (it) yourself. You have to see it as if you’re the guy doing it because when just like when I look at it from a quarterback’s eyes, there’s times that I’ll be wrong because I am looking at something from the sideline. Not that often, but it’s a different perspective than when you’re taking your fifth step and you’re looking down the field. It’s a lot different when you’re sitting there with the tape and you say, `I can see what you’re seeing.’ Now, sometimes they’re still wrong, but at least you can still see what they’re seeing.
Q. You mentioned the size and speed correlation mainly with regard to the defensive backs. A guy like Jeff Samardzija, is he uncommonly fast for a big guy because against Tennessee he outran some pretty quick kids?
COACH Charlie Weis: As a matter of fact if he wasn’t so concerned with stiff-arming the guy that was behind him, he would have scored. Both Jeff and Mo (Stovall) both run very well for tall guys. Both of them run faster the further down the field they are because you get those long strides going, and they’re cooking by the time they get going.
The one thing that Jeff has going for him is that he also gets off to a pretty quick start, so he has some quickness for a tall guy. It came back to last week, we talked about him playing small. He doesn’t take a long time to get going, which usually tall guys take a lot longer to get going.
Q. Did you watch any of the game last night?
COACH Charlie Weis: I watched about – part of the first half and then I got sick, so I just said that’s enough. I didn’t throw in the towel, but there came a point where it was time to go home and get in bed and go to sleep.
Q. Can we talk about the timetable you had going into Notre Dame and if this year has surprised you in any way, and are you ahead of the timetable you had set?
COACH Charlie Weis: I didn’t really set a timetable, I just said at the end of the year there are only a few things that I said were going to be certain. I said that we were going to be disciplined, we were going to know what we were going to do, we were going to be physical and play for 60 minutes, and the only promise I made is that well, the only promise I hoped to keep was at the end of the year we’d be playing better than we were at the beginning of the year, and the jury is still out on that one.
Q. It appears there’s a height disadvantage this week. What concerns you about Navy’s secondary?
COACH Charlie Weis: First of all, they put you in a position let’s start at the front because it goes together with the secondary. They put you in a position where you could be confused really easy between going at even and odd packages, and what that does is brings the rover into question about whether or not they’re going to be in a two deep scheme or go ahead and rotate one of those guys to get you to an eight man front. It causes a little confusion, unlike a lot of other teams, because most teams they don’t play a four man front and you know they’re going to be an under or over, and usually the corresponding coverages that go with it, but what you don’t know until you get to the line of scrimmage with their coverage teams what the fronts are going to be before you can figure out what the fronts are going to be.
The quarterbacks are going to have to be sharp against that secondary because we don’t know what scheme they’re going to be in until you get to the line of scrimmage.
Q. Regarding Belichick, a couple of years ago he spent some time with Paul Johnson to study this offense perhaps out of his own curiosity. When you scout and watch them on tape, how much of what they do appealed to your curiosity or intrigued you as a play caller?
COACH Charlie Weis: I kind of like it because when I left South Carolina and went a year coaching in high school in 1989, I was running a run and shoot passing game with a double wing, similar to the formation that’s the foundation of what Navy is running. But because the run and shoot basically didn’t have very much of a running game other than the sprint draw, I went ahead and put the wing T running game in with the run and shoot passing game, and watching Navy, it was like a flashback for me because that’s what it reminded me of. It reminded me of what I was trying to do that many years ago. Actually it’s kind of exciting to watch it.
Q. You were asked about what you thought of service academies when you were a student. How about in your professional career, the stories that you might have heard from Parcells about his experiences, or either Coach Belichick about their experiences around the Naval Academy?
COACH Charlie Weis: I’ve talked several times to Coach Parcells and several other guys that were at Army, and he was at Air Force, as well, but more than anything else, being around both Coach Belichick Senior and Junior, Steve and Bill, they’re the ones that really lived and breathed Navy football and that mentality and they’re the type of people you listen to. Steve Belichick probably knows a helluva lot more football than I do, and I really kind of enjoyed listening to him tell me how the thought process actually worked.
Q. I’m wondering if you can talk about how you mentioned that Navy averaging 20 yards per catch. How has your secondary been able to come together this year and be effective when it needs to be, given the fact that you had three new guys?
COACH Charlie Weis: Right from the start we talked that the scheme was going to be different than they previously had been working with, and when you put in a scheme and you tie it all together between Rick (Minter) and Bill (Lewis), and Jappy (Oliver) because it’s a defensive front obviously comes into play, these guys have grown into the scheme, have become familiar with how we play, and as the year has gone on, you can see progress being made daily.
Q. A lot of times when it’s a coach’s first year somewhere, you’ll see a team struggle early on and they’ll say they’re trying to grasp the scheme or are growing into the new system. What were you guys able to do when you came in? What did you do throughout the winter, spring, summer, to sort of help these guys hit the ground running?
COACH Charlie Weis: Try not to do more than they can handle. That’s always the most important thing. A lot of times coaches want to over coach and try to do too many things. Once you put the stuff in, you have to figure out what your players do the best and just do that because if you try to ask your players to do things they’re not capable of doing, you’re just setting yourself up for a fall.
Q. That being said, does that mean that for instance maybe this year or the year after that we’ll see the players doing perhaps more of what you want them to do?
COACH Charlie Weis: First thing they’ll do is they’ll do what we’re doing better. That’s the first thing, start off with getting better at what you’re doing already, but then it allows you to to add onto it once you’ve got the base there, just how much more you can add based on making sure they get the foundation things done first.
Q. Has it been more difficult to get the kids to focus after a big win, or after like USC, which was such a disappointing defeat?
COACH Charlie Weis: That’s a good question. We would have more trouble coming off of a big win than a disappointing loss if it wasn’t for the fact that you have schemes on both offense and defense that are new. If we were playing against a team that was just playing similar schemes to teams that we had played against, I would answer that it would be more difficult coming off a big win, which is like an emotional high, because an emotional low, usually the thing that happens to a player when they get back on the practice field and get back to normal, where an emotional high, sometimes there’s an emotional hangover that lasts a little bit longer for these players. The emotional lows you try to rally quicker.
I think that Navy’s schemes both on offense and their option game and the defense going in and out of 3 4, 4 3, will get our players’ attention in a hurry.
Q. Just one other thing. The contract you signed, can you clarify to the community outside Notre Dame to those who follow Notre Dame in terms of where you’re going to be for the next ten years?
COACH Charlie Weis: I’m not really talking about the contract. I’m only talking about Navy.
Q. Paul Johnson told us yesterday he thinks the biggest difference between Notre Dame last year and this year is that the quarterback is executing better, is playing head and shoulders above what he played last year. Would you agree with that? I know you’ve watched film of last season. And secondly, what have you done to work with Brady to get him to perform better, and are you working with him directly?
COACH Charlie Weis: First of all, Brady (Quinn) is having an outstanding year. He’s the leader of our team, especially the leader of our offense. He had already been seasoned for two years before I got here, so I certainly can’t take credit for that. He’s felt comfort and ease with our system, and because of his mental abilities it’s allowed us to push the system along a little faster than we thought we were going to be able to, and he’s handled it very well.
I do work with him, but Coach (Peter) Vaas spends extensive time with him. That’s his position coach. I work with him on a daily basis, but Coach Vaas spends a lot more time with him than I do.
Q. Secondly, the biggest challenge I think each year for Notre Dame is convincing their players that a team like Navy that is undersized and doesn’t have the same athletic ability can beat them. Do you think that that’s a difficult thing to do, and as you look as their personnel, do you see guys that can really hurt?
COACH Charlie Weis: If you go to our team meeting at about 2:30, I don’t think you’d have a problem with them having attention to detail for Navy because it’ll be spelled out for them very clearly what could happen in this game. You have to be concerned with every facet of their game.
Obviously statistically you would say the first thing you need to be concerned with would be their offense. They give us four yards a punt return, they have a good kickoff return and they have a good punt returner and they’re going in and out of odd and even on defense and they’re going from cover two to cover three. There are a number of things in a short amount of time.
Remember, this is really a three day workweek, not including the game, and we’ve got a lot of work to do in a short amount of time.