Oct. 24, 2005
COACH WEIS: Although it wasn’t a perfect performance in any facet, just the fact that we can get away from that game with what turned out to be a convincing win when it ended and go into a bye week with an opportunity plenty of opportunity for constructive criticism, I think is a good thing.
It will give us an opportunity this week to try to clear up a lot of things that we see went wrong. Two of the major issues that we’re going to have to deal with this week were the high volume of penalties; we had 11 penalties in the game, seven of them on offense, which is way too many. We need to work on both sides of the ball. We had line of scrimmage penalties, we had four on offense, we had two on defense out of those 11, not including the personal fouls or holding penalties. But that’s something we’re really going to need to work on. That’s too sloppy.
The other thing that I thought was sloppy in the game was actually our ball security. Ball security can take place on all three facets of the game, but it kind of showed up a little bit on both offense and defense in this game. Mo (Maurice Stovall) had the one ball out after the catch, it was rolling around on the ground, they could have had the ball down on the 10- or 15-yard line. The ball rolls out of bounds. Anthony (Fasano), when we were going in right before halftime, he gets hit, the helmet hits the ball and gets knocked out, but still the ball’s out. There were a couple other times where receivers were holding the ball loosely, and we’re really going to have to make that a point of emphasis this week.
Same thing is true on defense. I’ll cite two plays; I could cite several. But Mike (Richardson’s) interception where he catches it and then without getting touched, the ball comes out, and we go from having a turnover for us to giving the ball back and a first down. Also, as good a play it was with Zibby’s (Tom Zbikowski) interception return for the touchdown, I’m not the biggest fan when the guy’s got 30 yards from the end zone and now we’re holding the ball out like a loaf of bread. That doesn’t fire me up too much.
So we’re going to be making those two points of emphasis this week, both the volume of penalties, especially line of scrimmage penalties and ball possession, which also comes into play on special teams.
Speaking of special teams, I thought it was a very average day for our special teams unit. There were several things that I could cite. We had the miscommunication on the one kickoff return. That led to us punting the ball in plus territory, them getting a 22 yard return, and next thing you know, they end up scoring a touchdown.
We had a block in the back on a kickoff return that cost us yardage. We had a guy turn free to block a punt unblocked on a punter, looked like he was surprised that he was turned free. We didn’t block the punt.
So there were about three or four issues that happened during that game on special teams that I wasn’t very happy with, but I thought it was a very average day by our special teams unit.
I thought D.J. (Fitzpatrick) did a pretty nice job in the game kicking, and will be our special teams captain for the Tennessee game. I will tell him later, so at least let me do that.
I think that the other two guys that kind of stood out are Leo Ferrine had a couple solos as the gunner on the punt team when he was getting doubled. And another guy who kind of came into play a little bit was Joe Brockington. Mitchell Thomas got banged up a little bit there early in the game and Brockington went in for him as a backup and ended up making a solo tackle and causing two penalties as well, which I thought sometimes those things go unnoticed. So I thought those three guys were the guys that kind of showed up for me on special teams.
On defense, I thought we played pretty hard, but I thought it was a pretty average performance.
We did have four sacks and we did have a couple interceptions. Of course on one of the interceptions, we gave it right back to them on a fumble. We did score on defense.
I don’t think we tackled real well. That’s going to be another point of emphasis this week. We did have three penalties on defense. The one on Justin (Brown), I can’t be too mad at the one on Justin. When a quarterback is out of the pocket and the defensive lineman’s hitting them, maybe they call it a blow to the face, I don’t know. I thought it was a pretty good play.
But the two offside penalties when we jump into the neutral zone, we just can’t have that.
We did cut down a little bit on their big plays. They had 13 big plays for 239 yards for an 18-yard average.
But I thought the one thing that we didn’t do very well was tackling. They had too many yards after they were first touched both in the running game and some of the swing passes they were throwing. It was across the board; it wasn’t like any one person. So we’re going to have to go ahead and emphasize this week some of the fundamentals on tackling because we thought we gave them a little too much.
There were some guys, obviously, Zibby’s interception stood out as, a nail in the coffin type of play. The three guys that kind of impressed me in the game and I probably would have included (Derek) Landri in there if he didn’t have two false start penalties, but he doesn’t get a bone this week, so therefore I thought the three guys that impressed me some of the game were Trevor (Laws) inside, who seemed to create some havoc, and both the defensive ends. Both Victor (Abiamiri) and Ronald (Talley). I thought Ronald stepped up. You know, Chris (Frome) is out, you really don’t know what a guy is going to do the first time he goes in there. But I thought he was really solid, and he had a sack on top of it. I thought those three defensive linemen and Zibby kind of stood out for me as I watched the game yesterday.
On offense, obviously, we executed very well in the passing game. The quarterback, the two wide receivers, the tight end, there was a lot of production out there.
We scored three out of four times in the red zone. The only time we didn’t score was when we fumbled down close, right before halftime, where we still had a timeout left. If we don’t score, we just call the timeout and kick the field goal. So we lost points right there.
The thing that bothered me the most in the game offensively obviously was we had seven penalties called on us on offense. Four of them were line of scrimmage penalties. That’s going to be a big point of emphasis for us this week.
With all the pressures they put on, they only had one sack, they did have another half dozen pressures on the quarterback as well.
I think we’re really going to have to work on our ball security. I was pretty happy for the most part with our third down conversions. I thought we did a pretty good job with that.
I was exceptionally happy with the start of the second half of the game offensively. We scored 21 points there right off the bat in the third quarter. That’s been one of the areas that we’ve been pretty good in the second quarter offensively, but we haven’t really been the best in the third quarter. So I was pleased how that went.
So in summary, it’s some big time performances by Stovall and of course Quinn. Throw Fasano in there. Once again, just like Landri, I would probably be talking up Fasano more if he wouldn’t lay one on the ground.
Overall I’m not as upset when you look at the stats and say, well, you rushed for 1.9 per carry, but all those look passes and swing passes that we threw out there when they’re bringing the house, and we throw those balls to those receivers at the line of scrimmage, to me they’re like outside runs. You’d be adding another couple hundred yards to your running game. If anyone took a couple hundred yards added to the running game, I don’t think anyone would be complaining too much about the yardage there.
Q. Charlie, you mentioned the defensive linemen. There were a ton of tackles by all your defensive linemen. Was that scheme, was that something you were doing differently, or just the game kind of lent itself that way?
COACH WEIS: I tried not to give it away too much when we were talking last week, but any time they split out that big, you’re just asking for a quick interior lineman to make plays, or defensive ends.
See, defensive ends, it’s really risky normally when you duck underneath a tackle. But as wide as those guys are, they still had a chance to make a play. And for the most part the defensive line was pretty solid. When splits are that big, now it becomes the one on one battles, and sometimes you can out athlete people when you get into that mode.
Q. As far as your week goes, how much of that will you dedicate to recruiting this week?
COACH WEIS: Besides nighttime, it all depends. We have one pending personal issue that’s going on that is not personal with anyone here, but one pending personal issue that’s going on.
But right now Thursday and Friday look like my days for that. As a matter of fact, we’ll wait and see, but it might be with me on the road.
Q. When you go on the road, are you going to be seeing or talking to the coaches, or do you like to look at a high school kid?
COACH WEIS: No. If I’m going, I’m going for a purpose. I’m not going to schmooze.
Q. Peter Vaas, can you talk a little bit about him and what he’s brought to your staff this year.
COACH WEIS: I’ve said this before, that any time you can bring in a veteran coach who knows technique and fundamentals and you don’t have to worry about coaching the coaches, you can worry more about coaching the team than coaching the coaches, I think that it takes a lot of pressure off of me where I don’t have to sit there and be around Brady Quinn all the time because I know he’s being coached well and I know he’s being told the right things to do.
So what it does, really, is alleviate a lot of pressure off of me where I’m free to be places where I can be in practice without having to be there the whole time.
Q. How much do you do with Tennessee this week?
COACH WEIS: We’ll have scouting reports done on Tennessee before the staff hits the road. Staff is going to hit the road Wednesday night. We’ll have seven on the road for Thursday and Friday. These will be our last two days of in season recruiting. They could be on the road for six days. Our last two days will be Thursday and Friday.
So Wednesday night before we hit the road, we’ll have the Tennessee scouting report done minus the South Carolina game that they’re playing this week. But I told everyone I want that done so when we come back in on Sunday I’ll give them off on Saturday so they can spend some time with their families but when we come back in on Sunday, I don’t want to be spending time working on the scouting report, I want to be worried about game planning.
Q. A question about the assistant coaches. When you were putting together the staff, you made sure to get some people who had Notre Dame experience either as coaches or as players. Why was that important to you?
COACH WEIS: Because this is a little different place. It’s really important that people understand what a Notre Dame mentality is. That doesn’t mean football mentality is really any different, I’m just talking about the whole school.
Even in recruiting, you’re looking for a different, a special not a different type of kid, you’re looking for a special type of kid. This way, if you’re going to recruit nationally, which you really need to do, if you want to go find kids that are good kids that can read and write, you have to be willing to go recruit nationally if you’re going in for the big boys. But I think it’s really important that you have to understand what Notre Dame stands for. It’s not the same as a lot of other schools.
Q. With the assistant coaches having the Notre Dame knowledge, where has that helped you this year, just in recruiting?
COACH WEIS: It’s more the whole program being on the same page of, “This is Notre Dame football.” Having both coordinators having both been affiliated with Notre Dame in the past, and I could include Peter (Vaas) in there and then go to Ron (Powlus) in Player Development, having people around that know the experience makes things a heck of a lot easier for you when you’re decision making or trying to sell a specific message.
Q. When you talk about big plays like BYU had the other day, how do you define that? Is it more than 20 yards?
COACH WEIS: 10 yard runs or 20 yard passes.
Q. Do you have goals each week that you try and limit them to?
COACH WEIS: Yeah, none. (laughter) That’s the goal. You’re always trying to avoid big plays. You’re trying not to give up a run for 10 yards, trying not to give up a pass for 20 yards. I know that’s not realistic, but I’m saying that’s the goal.
Q. What happened on the illegal substitution thing the other day? Can you explain that.
COACH WEIS: Whose version of it do you want?
Q. Yours would be best.
COACH WEIS: Well, their version from that fire drill that they were running was that as long as you don’t go into the huddle, they could run them on and off any time they want to. As long as they don’t go in the huddle.
So they said what was going on was completely illegal. As long as they’re not coming in and out of a huddle.
Okay, now, the one time I did it when they tried to flag me and then they picked up the flag, I just had the conversation with a guy on the sideline. I said, “Once again,” so that we didn’t mess this up, I said, “This is what I want to do. This is not a penalty, right?”
He goes, “No, that’s perfectly legal.”
And of course they threw the flag.
So he went in to overrule because he had just got done telling me it wasn’t a penalty, or else it would have been a penalty. If I didn’t have that conversation, trust me, there would have been a flag on us.
In this one case, this guy, he just wanted to save his ear a little and go in and make sure he got that one cleared up.
Q. Last week you talked a little bit about getting some more reserves some more action. Is that the same setup this week?
COACH WEIS: You mean in practice this week? Tuesday and Wednesday especially, we’ll kind of split the day in half where the first half of the day we’ll be really emphasizing fundamentals and technique, so some of the things I talked about ball possession, tackling, line of scrimmage, those type of things. We’ll spend a lot of time on fundamentals and techniques.
Then when it comes to pounding them, the actual true hitting part, then you pull back on the guys that are out there, you pull back from the snaps when the guys are out there who are snapping, get those other guys to get the more physical snaps.
Q. I think it’s kind of almost a cliche, “Take what the defense gives you.” People talk about that a lot. But when you look at a defense and you break it down, are they always giving you something? Is there always something there to be taken?
COACH WEIS: Usually. Usually there’s something. The biggest problem that you really have is when a team just lines up and just plays base defense. And if they just out physical you, that’s the one time that Xs and Os can only take you so far.
But any time a team is committed to either stopping the run or stopping the pass, you should be able to do the other one.
Q. And, lastly, (Derek) Landri’s status at this point, are you aware of that yet?
COACH WEIS: He was ready to go. For a time I thought that he was done. Next thing you know, I turned around, he was out there, sitting there ready to go.
We fortunately came out of this game with very few things, nothing that was really significant and that’s a good thing. No surprises.
Q. Coach, can you talk a little about just from game one till now, where do you think Brady has improved the most, knowledge of your offense? What was he done best?
COACH WEIS: Is this a trick question? Because I could say he only played one game, if I really wanted to do this.
Q. Since he started under you.
COACH WEIS: Okay. Well, the way I’ve been with any quarterback I’ve ever been around, the more confidence I have in them being able to handle things, the more I’m willing to back away and put it in their hands.
I’m talking about different quarterbacks, a big range of experience. Some of the most experienced quarterbacks I’ve ever been around did not want to have a lot in their hands; they wanted you to just call the play and let’s run it. Whereas there are other quarterbacks that are like sponges that just want more to do and you can count on them. He’s one of those guys that is always there saying, “Give me more to do.” So until he proves me wrong, I’m going to keep on giving him more to do.
Q. One of the things you mentioned earlier was that if a quarterback is not comfortable, you won’t give it to him. He said nothing you’ve given him made him uncomfortable. Did that worry you at all, or is it that he’s so confident he can take it all in?
COACH WEIS: Until he proves me otherwise, it doesn’t worry me at all. It makes me happy, tell you the truth. You just got to ease into this, though. You just don’t all of a sudden give him the kitchen sink. You have to just grow in what you’re doing.
But we’ve given him a couple games now, both this game and the Purdue game, he did a lot of that; that was him, that wasn’t me. I could sit there and take all the kudos I want, but I don’t throw it. He’s the one making the decisions and the throws. So give credit where credit is due, and it’s not to me, it’s to him.
Q. You mentioned that you weren’t aware of the records. But looking back on it, he set the record now for touchdown passes in a season and it’s barely over half a season, the beginning of the second season, if you want to call it that.
COACH WEIS: The only good thing is it was Ron (Powlus’) record, so we can abuse him a little bit here. I didn’t even know that until somebody told me. We’ll have a little fun with that.
But other than that, he’s not really worrying about records. I’m certainly not worrying about them. I try not to worry about people’s feelings too much. All we’re trying to do is score touchdowns and win. If we can go into a game where he can hand it off 50 times and throw it 10, and we were winning the game, I think he’d say, “Sign me up.” He is not a selfish person. He’s not begging for more throws. Whatever it’s going to take for us to move the ball and score touchdowns, that’s what he’s looking for.
Q. I think you mentioned last week if he keeps on progressing, he’ll probably end up being a first round draft pick.
COACH WEIS: I’d be surprised if he wasn’t.
Q. What does he need to do to get to that level?
COACH WEIS: The more experience you get, you know you have to understand now, first round draft choice, when you talk about the NFL, is an abstract because there’s different ranges within the first round. There’s a lot of dollars difference. You look at the first pick of the first round and the last pick of the first round and you’re talking about zillions of dollars difference.
So going into the NFL, you can’t just be one year wonders, like all of a sudden you have one year and all of a sudden everyone is in love with you. People, when they’re going to invest that much money, when they are going to invest those big millions and millions of dollars, they want to make sure that they’re getting what they feel is a proven commodity. The more experience you have, the better off you’ll be.
Q. You talked about the special teams. How much tampering are you still doing there with personnel? Are you continuing to see that as a competitive spot where people are competing for playing time?
COACH WEIS: We’ll see what happens. There’s a couple guys that got dinged. Chase (Anastasio) was dinged. Mitchell (Thomas) got dinged. What happens is all of a sudden when some of those guys get dinged, now you’re putting in other guys who weren’t the guys that were practicing with the first guys, it’s just like offense and defense, you break a little bit of that continuity up. That this will give us a good week.
As a matter of fact, right now, we’re dedicating we talked about it in the staff meeting before I came down here we’re dedicating Thursday as a special teams day where we can teach some fundamentals, go back and stress some fundamentals and techniques with different guys, both the first guys and the second guys. Sometimes on a game week you can’t get all the backups ready to go, you got to get the guys that are playing ready to go. So this week on Thursday is kind of dedicated to see if we can get some of those things straightened out.
Q. You got (D.J.) Hord some playing time for the first time, really, in this game. Are there any other freshmen that you anticipate down the road will get their first playing time, or is this the point of the season where maybe you say let’s cut it off and get them another year of eligibility?
COACH WEIS: Well, first of all, we don’t talk about redshirts at Notre Dame. I told you last week, we were getting ready at the start of the second half of the season and everyone thought that was just some catchy phrase that I was using. But, really, it’s the first game of the six game season. There’s a lot of football to be played yet. If somebody gave us a reason to get ahead of somebody else, we would still use them.
I know that there are fifth year possibilities for people, but right now we’re worrying about this team, we’re worrying about this year, we’re worrying about Tennessee. Right now, this week, we’re just worrying about getting better.
There’s only a few of them left now. That doesn’t mean if somebody didn’t present themselves or a reason for us to put them out there, D.J. has given us a reason to be out there. Offensively, he played a little bit in that game; you might not even have noticed. But he was in there at the end of the game.
But in that game plan, he got plenty of reps in practice last week with the possibility of him playing. Remember, when you’re playing with four wide receivers on almost every play for a good portion of the game, you’re only one play away from him playing. He was that close. One thing happened to a couple different guys, he was in there and he could have been in there on the second play of the game and we weren’t going to stop what we were doing because that was what the plan was.
Q. Finally, a little bit more about this staff, you said when you first came here you hadn’t even met some of these guys. Are you a little bit surprised at how well things seem to have congealed with this staff, because the communication problems that you talked about in the Pitt game sure don’t seem to be there right now and this staff all seems to be on the same page with you?
COACH WEIS: First of all, it was a very good staff before we got together. Now we’ve kind of grown accustomed to each other, and it’s a very close staff, they work very well together, they’re hard working, they’re intelligent. But everyone’s getting used to each other. When that happens, just like players getting used to playing next to somebody, well, same thing happens with coaches. The mesh is a good one.
Q. Charlie, when you were talking about
COACH WEIS: I thought you were done?
Q. I know. You’ve inspired me. This is my second season.
COACH WEIS: (Laughing.) Touché.
Q. When you were talking about draft choices and such, as a college coach, how do you keep agents away from your kids?
COACH WEIS: Our players have a very unique opportunity that most college kids won’t have because I buffer for them.
So I’ve talked to every one of these kids already. I’ve talked to every one of them. I’ve talked to all the kids who have no eligibility left and I’ve talked to all the ones that would be draft eligible with eligibility left. So I’ve talked to every one of them myself.
They know, because they have a resource like me, they know and they know that I’ll tell them the truth. So I think because of that, it makes it a little easier to make sure we don’t do something foolish.
Q. When you were talking about Brady’s progress and so forth, and I imagine you spend most of your practice time with him, how about your young quarterbacks, what’s their progress been like in practice?
COACH WEIS: Well, it’s actually been interesting to watch because, first of all, David (Wolke), it is a unique experience for David because he’s second. He gets the least amount of work of anyone the whole week because he’s not down with the show team. So after the individual sections where all the quarterbacks are together which I always have enough time where all our players get coached by their position coaches, I don’t just throw them down the other end of the field to go play show team. Some people do that; I just don’t believe in doing that. I believe you need to be getting coached fundamentals and techniques by your position coach but when we get to that part of practice where we flip the switch to go to show teams, David stays with Brady, and Brady gets almost all the snaps.
So, actually, David gets the least reps of anyone when it comes to that time. The guys that really get all the work really are Evan (Sharpley) and Marty (Mooney), are really the guys getting all the reps because they’re the ones that get to run every play in show team.
Sometimes it’s tough in those because it’s the first defense against the third offense, so sometimes it’s tough to make a fair assessment. I just like the progress, what I’ve seen in the fundamental and technique period.
Q. Then the last thing for my second season, is Justin Hoskins injured?
COACH WEIS: I met with Justin on Friday, so we’re going to see where we are here today. He’s going to come back. He’s been working out with Ruben (Mendoza) and we’re going to get back and see where we are right now here today. So we just had this little pow wow on Friday on this very subject, and I’ll find out the answer to that, where we are, after I meet with him today.
Q. Coach, there’s never been a situation where Notre Dame already had 19 verbal commitments in recruiting in October. The reports almost seem to be that you’ve been doing almost too good for your own good and that you have more good players out there than maybe still scholarships available. Are you comfortable with the method and the approach you’ve had to recruiting?
COACH WEIS: Well, first of all, what do they know? All these gurus that are recruiting, I mean, give me a break. Do they sit there and watch Xs and Os, or are they just watching them play in a high school game?
There’s a lot that goes on to the evaluation process. I’m not getting into exact details of recruiting. If you’re asking me are there good players out there that we’re not going to take, yeah. If you ask me am I happy with everyone who’s already said they’re coming, absolutely.
So when you’re happy with the guys you have, it doesn’t make a difference who’s out there, they’re our guys and they’re guys that we want here, so I really could care less, tell you the truth. Doesn’t faze me in the least.
Q. How much patience do you exercise in recruiting as far as let’s say there’s one prospect that might be highly rated.
COACH WEIS: It depends on the numbers at the position. Like if you’re looking for linemen and you’re going to take four or five linemen, the early ones, you want one of your top 10. If you’re down to one spot, the first guy’s got it. The second guy’s on deck. Third guy’s in the hole. That’s just the way it is. So it all depends on the number at the position and where you are in the process, and that’s where we are in the process.
Q. One guy would say, let’s say, “I’m not going to decide until signing day…”
COACH WEIS: If they were the right guy, we’d be waiting on them. That would not hold true for everybody.
Q. Throughout the first half of the season or the first season and now the start of the second season, there were many instances where a receiver has popped open for you, wide open, it happened several times Saturday. When that happens, is that I guess I should say why does that happen? Is that a result of you lining up in a formation and the opposing defense saying, Okay, we’ve seen that formation, this is what they’re going to do, and then you do something different?
COACH WEIS: That’s sometimes the case. Sometimes you know what they’re going to you know what their reaction is going to do to a formation. Then the flip side, some of the ones that happened on Saturday were just, when you get a blitz happy team, you just can’t help yourself in some of the formations you line up. But if you’re going to bring that blitz and not check out, you’re going to have to show your hand, and that means you’re going to have to leave somebody uncovered if you’re going to get there.
So sometimes it’s just knowing that this is what you show every time you do it and then getting them to react to do it. Then sometimes knowing that if you line up in the formation and they’re going blitz, because that’s what they do, they’re going to have to show their hand based off of what the formation is.
That’s why formation, a lot of time, can dictate what they’re going to do.
Q. You mentioned that David Wolke probably gets the least amount of snaps in practice. This last week’s game gave you the opportunity to put him in with 7:09 in the game. He didn’t attempt to pass. In a situation like that, do you ever go to the mindset, is there any situation under which you’d say, Okay, the lead is big enough, even though there’s some time left on the clock maybe I’ll let this guy throw a couple just to get that game feel?
COACH WEIS: No, I would never throw the ball and rub it in anyone’s face; I’d never do that. I might throw a pass just to try to get a first down to keep the chains moving. But if I put him in, hopefully, the opportunity will present itself where he can actually do that where he’s running the offense.
But I would never in the fourth quarter of a game when you’re up by 20 some points, just come out there slinging it all over the place just so he can get practice time in. I’m sorry, I’d rather do it in practice. I think it’s disrespectful to your opponent.
Q. That being said, how do you prepare him? If it’s closer, obviously Brady would be in the game. How do you prepare a backup quarterback for a game situation when there’s really very little opportunity for him to actually get out there?
COACH WEIS: That’s a good question. That preparation, after the fundamental and technique period, which, remember, that’s a good portion of the first half of practice now. He’s getting coached in throwing the ball a whole bunch early in practice.
But what I’ll do, right in the middle of team reps, I’ll put him in there for a couple of plays because really the role of the backup quarterback, when you have a clear number one, the role of the backup quarterback is to be ready at any time.
So that’s how I put him in there. I don’t tell him when the reps are coming. I also don’t tell Peter (Vaas) when the reps are coming, this way he can’t tell David that the reps are coming so he’ll be ready for them. Because that’s really the way it is in a game; you never know when a quarterback is going to go down and, boom, you’re in.
So rather than telling him when they’re coming, I kind of spot plays here and there so he can come in and execute the plays when those times come up. The role of the backup quarterback when you have a clear number one is more mental than it is physical.
Q. Then the final question, following up on something I asked you about Brady (Quinn) on Sunday and his courage in the pocket, one of the things that I’ve noticed is he’s got a remarkable ability, even when he’s being rushed at, sometimes there’s a simple side step where he can get out of the way; his footwork is very good. Is that one of the underrated things about quarterbacks? People always talk about arm strength and accuracy and field vision, which are all important, but you don’t hear them talking about footwork, which is something Brady seems to capitalize on.
COACH WEIS: Well, there are two things that are very, very noticeable about Brady and his improvement. Number one, his moving in the pocket not moving the pocket, but moving in the pocket. That’s one of the things that you know that guy Tommy (Brady) that I’ve been dealing with for the last bunch of years, was very, very good at moving in the pocket to give him an opportunity, a window, to still throw the ball. (Brady) does that very well, which is sometimes a very unnoticed fundamental that we work on that he does very well.
The other thing, this kid is a very, very strong person. I don’t know if you ever looked at him, but he is chiseled now. Like the first touchdown pass, a guy comes on him, he just shrugs him off and then steps up and throws a touchdown pass. That is not something that a lot of quarterbacks would be able to do. He’s just a physically strong person.
Q. Coach, after watching Saturday, this question begs to be asked: Did your career path ever intersect with Mouse Davis?
COACH WEIS: I did visit with Mouse Davis back in South Carolina when we had the run and shoot. We talked to Mouse Davis, we talked to John Jenkins not Father John Jenkins, by the way Mouse Davis, John Jenkins, those run and shoot guys. Yes, we went from the veer to the run and shoot at South Carolina. We spent some time with all of those run and shoot guys.
Q. Was influences of that evident on Saturday?
COACH WEIS: No. What you saw Saturday, first of all, run and shoot always has a back in the backfield. It’s either a two by two or three by one, which trips are spread; okay, that’s number one. And you always have a run element, so empty (backfield) really doesn’t come into play.
If you talk about the look passes and swings that we throw in the game, that’s just an evolvement from check with me(s) that we’ve been running over the years.
Q. My second question and thank you in advance the psychology of the new season, the second season, if anyone suggests that you’re trying to lay a logical foundation and buffer into a quest for a National Championship in 2006, how would you respond?
COACH WEIS: I’d say I’m worrying about Tennessee, staying true to form. The biggest thing I was worrying about is them being flat after the previous game. You need to have a message to sell to get them headed in the right direction. For the most part they bought into it and the coaches did good jobs of selling it and I think that it gives them an opportunity to now get rested up and work on all the things we messed up in this game to get ready for Tennessee.
Q. If I may even ask a follow up to what you’ve just said, in terms of talking buffer into 2006, etc., have you hit a moment this season where you are more convinced than ever that you can compete for a National Championship next year?
COACH WEIS: I’ll be honest with you, I’m kind of disappointed that we lost the two games we did. I’m disappointed we’re not in it right now.
So you’re talking to the wrong guy if you’re ever going to think I’m not thinking that way.
Q. You had a pass play where Brady Quinn, he dropped back to pass and he pump faked and the defense, about five guys took the hook, the bait.
COACH WEIS: Wasn’t that a thing of beauty?
Q. It was funny, I saw a pass I thought I could throw.
COACH WEIS: We had a couple more of them in there, we just didn’t get an opportunity to call them, to tell you the truth.
Q. Was that a read on his part?
COACH WEIS: No, that was a call. That one right there was called.
That’s exactly what it is, you pump fake because they know you’ve been doing it all game. Every time you do it, the first time you do it, you can count on it being a touchdown. I would have liked to have seen what would have happened if we had called it again.
Q. The other thing was, throughout the first half, you’re throwing the ball, it seemed like the offensive linemen almost were jumping out of the huddle, getting back up there because they’re having fun with it. They were bringing seven guys but they were taking care of business, three step drops, quick passes, things like that. It wasn’t like they were being worn out on every play, it seemed like they enjoyed the pace of the play with the passing game.
COACH WEIS: First of all, I think that Brady (Quinn) does a good job of getting everyone under control at the line of scrimmage.
Second of all, when they’re bringing all that pressure and the linemen see the quarterback still on his feet and the ball being completed, that’s their job.
They have just as much fun when that’s happening than when you run the ball for, you know, an eight-yard gain. They enjoy themselves when there’s success out there.
He threw the ball for, what, 287, something like that, in the first half. Obviously, there was some success going on.