Sept. 23, 2008
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COACH WEIS: Before we get into Purdue, I want to make a note of regards to events this past weekend. I’m still in the process of gathering information, but until further notice, I’ve decided to hold Will Yeatman from competition until his matter is resolved. Any other action as it relates to team rules, including the situation with Mike Golic will be handled by me.
From a team standpoint, both Will and Mike will be at practice. But, Will, I’m not going to let him compete until we have — unless we have resolution. I won’t let him compete this Saturday unless we have resolution on this matter.
Moving on to Purdue, they’re obviously 2 1 with their only loss being a tough overtime loss against Oregon at home. Coach (Joe) Tiller is in his 12th and final season as the head coach of Purdue and last week he became the winningest coach in their program’s history with their win over Central Michigan. In 11 years he’s been in — well in the last 11 years that he’s been at Purdue, they’ve gone to bowl games 10 times.
We all know that Danny Hope who is their offensive line coach is taking over as the head coach next year. Ed Zaunbrecher handles the offense. He coaches the quarterbacks. He’s done a great job of developing (Curtis) Painter who is considered by most all as one of the top quarterbacks in the country. And they’re averaging over 33 points a game this year.
Painter who is their captain ranked second in Purdue in percentage completion. I think is just a tad under 60. He started 35 games in a row. He’s got a strong arm. And, you know, as it relates to our defense he has a strong arm. He gets rid of the ball quick. He makes quick decisions. They throw a lot of quick passes. And in addition to that, he is not afraid to tuck it and run it as he’s done in the past.
Obviously, the number one guy, his biggest helper is Kory Sheets. Kory has done a heck of a job being the full time guy. You know, he shared carries in the past, but now he’s the go to guy. He’s leading — he has more touchdowns than anyone in Purdue history with 43. Last week he had 17 carries for 91 yards and a couple touchdowns, averaging just under 5.5 a carry. He also had five catches.
The guy’s got good speed. He’s got good quicks. He likes to run north and south, which is the sign of a good runner. And he’s also a good receiver out of the back field. And one other thing with this kid, he can make you miss.
(Justin) Siller gets a little time. He’s seen time at quarterback as well. They had this package with him at quarterback, but he is their second leading rusher. (Frank) Halliburton handles the fullback. At tight end, Kyle Adams is coming back from a knee scope. I think he is a long shot to play this week. I think (Jerry) Wasikowski will still be in there at tight end, who started all three games for them.
At wide receiver you know (Greg) Orton was the team’s leading receiver over at Z. We’ll hear a lot about (Desmond) Tardy this week who is expected to fill the role of Dorrian Bryant who has been a nemesis of ours for the last few years. He has a lot of similar components. He catches the ball well. He has good speed. You know, so we’ll have to worry about him.
Actually, you have to be considered with winning ten over at X. I think we’ll see a lot of Kevin Smith, a lot of Valentine and a lot of (Joe) Whitest. I think they’ll see a bunch of receivers that will get involved into this mix.
Now on the offensive line. You know, (Garret) Miller, right now it looks like Miller will be at left tackle, (Eric) Hedstrom at left guard; (Cory) Benton will be at center; (Justin) Pierce will be at right guard and (Zach) Jones will be at right tackle. (Sean) Sester, he had a back injury, and they’re trying to ease him back into there, no pun intended. You know he started 38 games for them. The more he plays over at right tackle I think we’ll see Zach Jones a little bit more over there at left tackle.
On defense, you know, Coach (Brock) Spack, also coaching the safeties. They’ve only giving up 22 points a game. They’ve been good on third down. Getting off the field with only 31 percent conversions on third down, and in the red zone only giving 38 percent on touchdowns. Last week they had four sacks.
I think really the cornerstone of their defense is their front four. I think they return three guys that played a whole bunch for them. Alex Magee started 25 games. He was a tackle, now he’s at end. Along with (Ryan) Kerrigan will be the other end, and we’ll also see (Keyon) Brown as a swing guy. I think they’ll play all three of them.
And we got Ryan Baker as the nose and (Mike) Neal as the three technique. And I think their defensive line has really played pretty stout for them so far this year.
At linebacker, you know, their go to linebacker is (Anthony) Heygood. In 4 3 defense, he’ll be their Sam but when they go to nickel they’ll move him inside. If they’re playing 4 3 Kevin Green will handle the mike and (Joe) Holland will handle the Will. But they’ve played almost all nickels so far this year because of the teams they’ve played against. They’ve played almost all nickel defense. So that’s moved Heygood from the Sam into the Mike position.
The defensive back group returns three players who have played a bunch. They play six or seven guys in a bunch of different positions. They’re pulling them in and out. The one constant, you’ll always see (David) Pender to field corner. For example, Brandon King’s the boundary corner, but then in nickel a lot of times you will see him in there as the nickel back. Torri Williams, he is the free safety, but he’s also — we’ve also seen him play boundary corner and nickel. So between those guys and, you know, you got (Josh) McKinely will play both the safety positions and the nickel, (Frank) Duong, the Penn product which has scored a big touchdown for them, you know, and (Dwight) Mclean, they’ll both show up at strong safety. So they have a core group of guys they roll in and out. And some of them are playing corner and safety and nickel. So they’ve done a nice job of getting these guys to be interchangeable.
Coach (Mark) Hagen handles the special teams. Interesting, you know, (Chris) Summers, this year he’s a returning place kicker, but now he’s also added punting to his duties. You know, he doesn’t have to kick off because (Carson) Wiggs takes care of that. (Andy) Huffman is a long snapper. Then kick off return Tardy and Sheets are really the guys you got to be worried about. And punt return, they’ll put Tardy back there. So there’s obviously some names you heard over and over again. And I think they’re the guys that we’re going have zero in on if we’re going to have a chance of beating Purdue.
THE MODERATOR: We’ll throw it to questions.
Q. Charlie, I don’t know how much you can get into this, but when you reinstated Will after the first suspension in spring, what kind of discussions did you have with him in terms of, you know, maybe the relatively thin ice he was on and how did behave himself and face the challenges college students temptations all that they face every day?
COACH WEIS: I think I try to treat these kids similar to if I were talking to (my son) Charlie. And, you know, the trials and tribulations you have as a parent. I think that I always try to talk to all the kids the same way. And whether it be Will or Charlie Jr, or whoever else it would be, you know, I think that I try to — as you go through growing pains, you know, you just try to educate and teach and let them know that you weren’t perfect when you were going through the growing experience yourself. And you just try to educate them to try to as best you can give them as much guidance as you can.
Q. And we talked to Will — it seems like he has a good head on his shoulders generally. College kids are going to parties, nothing new. But given the relative thin ice he was on, are you disappointed he would put himself in that kind of position?
COACH WEIS: I think that it’s not mine to speculate, especially because I’m still in the gathering information mode, you know, really what happened. I’m not here to play judge and jury. I think most important thing is to just for me to look out for the interest of the kids and the team and the university. I think that’s — I have to try to have those mutually co exist peacefully and just try to do what’s in the best interest of all three.
Q. Just to clarify, Mike obviously being sort of a different boat in terms of not having a prior thing to worry about, is this just sort of one of those internal matters?
COACH WEIS: He’ll be handled by me.
Q. Moving on to football stuff. Looking back on the weekend, have you sort of come to any decisions in terms of what your identity offensively might be, anything that changed?
COACH WEIS: I think that we all know that if you just — you know, you look at the tape at the first three games, we’ve had more success throwing the ball than running the ball. But you can’t make a living — you can’t make a living just being one dimensional in football.
I think that as we have studied — I saw, for example, the list of guys that are requested to the talk to today, and there’s a lot of offensive linemen and a lot of running backs that are on that list, and coaches as well, because, obviously, one of the themes of the day is how are we going to get the running game going. I think that’s what you can address it some by scheme, but a lot of it comes down to, you know, working your butt off fundamentally to make an improvement. I think that’s one of the things — one of the main focuses for what we’re doing this week is that.
Q. If you wind up — hypothetical situation — using pass more, set up the run or whatever, is Jimmy capable of handling the kind of workload that he had last week on a weekly basis, or do you not even want to put him in that position yet?
COACH WEIS: I’d prefer not to do that. I’d prefer not to throw it 50 times and run it 25 times. I’d prefer not to do that. You know, that being said, I’ve always been a guy who believed in balance. I always believe that it makes things a heck of a lot easier on the quarterback if you can run the ball. It makes it a lot easier.
When defensive linemen can just pin their ears back and know you were throwing on every down you’re usually putting yourself at risk.
Q. Charlie, you’ve often talked about being opponent specific when game planning, where you look at a team like Michigan State you know what they’re going to do, you know what they’re going to bring. Are there two distinct styles to game planning?
COACH WEIS: I think each team you go against has a different personality. For example, Purdue has an offense they run, but their offense this year isn’t exactly the same as their offense last year, mainly because you take that tight end and that slot receiver from last year were two of the best college football players that we went against. You know, a good portion of their offense centered around getting the ball to that tight end and getting to that slot receiver.
Now that doesn’t mean they still don’t have a tight end and a slot receiver, but now all of a sudden, you know, it might be 24 getting the ball on handoffs all the time. Or it might be 21 out there getting the ball thrown to the him all the time. Because things change.
You know, as personnel changes you still have your offensive philosophy but, you know, your mentality has to change to get the ball in the hands of the guys that give you the best chance of making plays.
Q. So in your situation, obviously you have to have core group of plays to build off of. Then I suppose the opponent specific comes after that. What percentage would you say is, sort of, the core, this is what we do, then what percentage would be, sort of, opponent specific?
COACH WEIS: I think — you are talking about game plan specific versus core plays?
COACH WEIS: I’d say — for example, this week, I’d say the core plays are always at least two to one. There’s always at least — you know, sometimes it’s as high as 75 percent, but I’d say, you know, it’s at least 2/3s of your game plan or core plays that you have been run is since training camp. And it could go significantly higher, but it’s never lower.
Q. The offense is still relatively young now. Can you maybe looking back to Brady Quinn and whatnot, were you able to put a higher percentage of opponent specific stuff with a Brady Quinn as opposed to what you are up against now?
COACH WEIS: I think our team is getting a little better at being mentally to be able to handle more game plan specific things. I think that we’re a lot better mode now than we were, you know, when the season ended last year till now. Let’s just go from the season ending point, we’re in a much better place as far as that goes.
Q. And does that sort of grow as the season goes on?
COACH WEIS: It should. You should think by the end of the year it would be much higher level than it is as we currently speak.
Q. Should Will not be able to go Saturday, what does that change for you offensively as to lose your best blocking tight end?
COACH WEIS: We’re ready to go with him or without him. So you have to have that covered on both ends. So we’re ready to go both ways.
Q. Does it change a lot of what you might do?
COACH WEIS: Tweak, I’d say.
What you can’t do — because of uncertainties you can’t go and say, I’m counting on this or counting on that. What you have to do is you set up a plan, but you have to do the tweaking on the front end, not the back end. In other words, you can’t all of a sudden say now I have him or now I don’t have him. You have to play as on both accounts like you do and you don’t.
Q. As far as your tight end position in general, I mean, it went from possibly being one of your strongest positions to one where it could be a numbers crunch. Do you need to start moving people?
COACH WEIS: I’d say the depth chart has changed. I think the obvious guy that comes to the forefront right off the bat is (Joseph) Fauria. You know, he’s a guy who, you know, there’s a good chance he was going to go through the year and not play this year. Well there’s a good chance that won’t happen. As a matter of fact, today instead of practicing on the scout team he’ll be practicing up with the big boys. Because you have to have your contingency plans in place just in case.
Q. Is he the only contingency plan or do you have others as well lined up?
COACH WEIS: We have other contingency plans, yes. That’s a fair question. And the answer is yes. But the names I can’t give you on those. But we do have them.
Q. Charlie, you haven’t scored yet in the third quarter. Part of that, you had the different approach against Michigan coming out. Are you comfortable with the adjustments that you have made at halftime? You had a turnover right at the start of the third quarter against Michigan State.
COACH WEIS: I think that the three games have been — each game’s been a little bit different. You know, I think that the against Michigan State probably I felt out of the three games I felt the most comfortable with how things were handled going into the third game, which is what you would hope to be the case.
You know, the second game we went in a different mode, so you weren’t expecting to come out there and go on a 12 play drive. You know, you were hoping to, but if you didn’t, and you ended up punting, you know, that wasn’t going to be the worst thing in the whole world.
But I felt more comfortable against Michigan State. And I think that that stat will change. I am very optimistic about things moving in the right direction there.
Q. As a rule with your running backs, when they get in a situation where they don’t have much room to run, say this past Saturday, as a rule, do you want them just pounding it up in there or do you want them to continue to poke around to see if, you know, they can find that opening in time?
COACH WEIS: Well depends on the run. There’s several times — for example, let’s say we have an outside run called and let’s say the edge has caved in where you can’t get to the edge. My verbiage to them is always cut your losses. Cut your losses. In other words, make one cut, get up field, and if you get two yards, you get two yards, but cut your losses.
In other words, just because a play was designed to go the edge, I mean if you are look at the edge and you got the ball in your hands and it’s getting caved where it’s moving towards you instead of moving the other way right there, I think there’s times where you just have to say, you know, let’s make the best of what we can. And it’s not going be second and five but it will be second and eight. And let’s come back and make a play on the next play.
I think there’s certain runs where — like an inside run can bounce all the way out the back door. You are never going to inhibit a guy from doing that based off what they see. But on a stretch run, something to the outside, you don’t expect to stretch it to one side and bounce it all the way out the back door to the other side.
Q. Lou Holtz use to say that he was going to get so many touches for Tim Brown per game. Not to say that Golden Tate is Tim Brown, certainly, but he is certainly one of your most explosive players. Are you looking at saying, okay, we’ve got to get this guy so many touches per week?
COACH WEIS: I am going to give you the yes part and the no part.
Yes, we’d love to have the ball in his hands because he’s shown to be a playmaker every week. On the flip side of that, the other thing is if everyone wants to roll over coverage to him, you know, and roll everything up over here and let all these other guys be one on one on the other side, that isn’t a bad thing either because we have confidence in Michael Floyd and David Grimes back and before you even get into (Duval) Kamara and Robby (Parris) and George (West) and all the other guys. You know, there’s positives even when they’re rolling into him so that you can only get him a limited number of touches because now you are getting all the other guys with really touch coverage on the other side.
Q. Personnel questions. Grimes is cleared, you’re confident he will be ready to go?
COACH WEIS: He’ll be playing this week.
Q. Also Steven Filer, I believe he made his first appearance this past week. Did you feel he was too good of an athlete to preserve at this stage?
COACH WEIS: We felt we needed help on special teams. And there were a couple guys in that athletic mode, that — you know, the two guys — I’ll give you the other guy who hasn’t played yet. Jonas Gray, the other guy who hasn’t played yet. They’re the two we’re watching on a weekly basis, you know, that on practice on special teams keep on showing up and keep on showing up. So those two guys are guys that, you know, you have to make those decisions, well do you force feed them and just go ahead and put them in there? And we did that with Steven last week.
Q. Charlie, going with the running team. When you came in from New England into the college game, what were you able to take that was very helpful from the pro in designing a running game at this level where did you need to tweak that?
COACH WEIS: Well I think that fewer runs from more personnel groups, you know, to keep the things as simplistic as possible I think is a good way to go. Because defensive football teams always, you know, look at looks. And when you can make it easier for the offensive guys, you know, that’s a good thing.
Now the difference is — when we first got here we had more of a draw runner, you know, than a inside zone, outside zone runner. It was more of a draw runner.
You know Curtis Martin, believe it or not, he was a draw runner. He is a draw encounter. Those were the two runs he wanted to run. Whereas Corey Dillon he wanted to run inside zone and outside zone.
So I think that a lot of what you do offensively in the run game isn’t just, just what your linemen can do, it’s what the mentality of the guys that are going to be playing out there with you. And I think that as that’s changed we’d try to get more into a combination of not having just a draw being our only run right there that’s successful, being able to run inside zone and outside zone as well.
Q. And some games it seems again more Harrison Smith, some games more Sergio, what do they do different, what do they do where they match each other’s skill so much?
COACH WEIS: Well I think that Harrison, you know, is a very — first of all they’re both physical players. But I think Sergio has shown more man cover skills than Harrison. So if we’re going to put them in nickel defense and be matching them up on a slot receiver, okay, the more natural, if you are playing more match up zone, you know, where he’s going to jump a guy almost man to man is Sergio. You know, if you are just bringing a lot of heat, okay, or just playing regular zone, you know, then Harrison more fits the bill.
So I think the Corwin and Jon has done a nice job of interchanging those guys and getting them in and out where they’re both highly involved in the mix and you get to use the best of both their abilities.
Q. Have you put a fine point on your kicking situation in terms of personnel and that?
COACH WEIS: Which part of it?
Q. The place kicking situation?
COACH WEIS: We’re going to kick field goals at the end of practice today and they’re both — I’m going to let — we’re going to have two guys out there kicking and we’ll see how that works out.
Q. Your kick coverage situation, both punt and kickoffs, have been outstanding this year. Can you talk about that? And you’re going against two really good kickoff guys.
COACH WEIS: Yeah, I think we haven’t tried to do much schematically. We haven’t tried to over coach them. And I think that we’ve had guys that have been consistent play makers.
Obviously, the (David) Bruton and (Mike) Anello combination, we’ve seen them show up. We’ve had a whole bunch of guys involved in the mix. A different set of guys on kickoff than on punt. But I think that — I think there’s been very, very good effort and it all starts with those two guys, with Bruton and Anello.
But, you know, as they start to spend more guys taking care of Bruton and Anello then there’s other guys who got to step up and go ahead and make a play.
Q. Follow up a little on what Brian was asking you about taking Yeatman and everybody else out of the equation. Just as a coach, from a preemptive standpoint, do you talk to the guys about alcohol; do you kind of leave that alone?
COACH WEIS: You probably can guess this one, but I talk to them about every issue known to mankind, and alcohol is only one of. There are very few societal issues that I don’t address on a fairly regular basis. And I don’t wait till there’s a problem to address them. I mean, I address them on a fairly regular basis.
Q. In the preemptive thing, again, we’re sitting here and you got a room full of people that probably had a beer before they were 21.
COACH WEIS: Not me. (Laughter.)
Q. Okay. Not you. But some of us went to colleges in states where the drinking age was 18 at that time or 19. How does that fit into the message that you give them?
COACH WEIS: Well it’s tough when you are dealing with, you know, the range of — you know, within the team you got 21 and 22 year old guys, then you got 18 and 19 year old guys, obviously 20 year old guys, so I mean you have within, you know, the guys that are considered, you know, men, and a guy that’s, you know, six months younger than him. So, I mean, it’s fine line. But all you can — the laws are the laws. I think you just got to be as blatantly obvious or truthful as you can with them. I think that’s the best you can do is be truthful with them at all times.
Q. Charlie, your first two years you had a running back in Darius Walker who could rely on to carry 20 times a game, with raw at the stretch play. He caught a hundred passes from Brady Quinn so you could rely on him as pass receiver and pretty good with the pick up too as his career went on. Is it easier for an offense and a play caller to have the luxury of one back like that to keep a rhythm?
COACH WEIS: I think that it’s easier to establish an identity when you have a mentality of back that is either one person or very similar person from one guy to the next guy. I think it’s easy to do that.
You know, for example, if you were just — let’s say the Pittsburgh Steelers. You know, their whole mentality was they were going to ride 34 and ride 35, which is inside zone to the right and inside zone to the left. When one guy came out they were going put another guy and run the exact same play. So they were going to get running backs that would run the exact same play, similar body types and all the things so they can run the same thing. Then your team then eventually gets good at running those things because you run them over and over and over again.
But, you know, every team has now become more situational where they don’t the — they have different guys can do different things. I mean, San Diego was on last night and they have that little guy right there that’s as fast as can be. When they give him the ball, it’s not like giving it to LaDainian (Tomlinson). LaDainian is one of the best but when that little guy gets in there you better look out because every time he touches it, he may be taking it to the house.
I think your team knows it’s not just one mode. Think there’s very few teams in football that are in now that are settled into one back with one mode.
Q. Does it make more difficult for a play caller let’s say to have a specific back who is a receiver and another back who is —
COACH WEIS: What’s difficult is not giving away exactly what you are doing based on who you are putting in there. Like all of a sudden you are putting in this back, well then you are doing that. I mean, because what you don’t want to sit there is tell the defensive coordinators, hey, this is what you are doing based on which back is going in the game.
Q. Do you feel maybe you have gotten into that?
COACH WEIS: No, because we just call the same plays. We’ve gotten to the point where, you know, there’s — each one of our guys does something different best, okay, but we don’t change the plays. We don’t do that.
Q. Second part. I was wondering what determines kickoff strategy as to when to squib it, when to kick it more toward the side line, and when to try to go deep?
COACH WEIS: Two of the biggest things are weather and the ability of the returner. Like if you have one dynamic returner or if you are kicking with the wind or against the wind, you know, I think those things all come into play. And the time of the game, that comes into play too.
But squib, you know, squib kicks sometimes can get you in a lot of trouble. You know, just like pop up kicks can get you in a lot of trouble depending on where and when they happen in a game and where the kick goes to.
Like a lot of times when you see a pop up kick you know some people kick it to the 35 yard line figuring that their guys are going be right there and cause a fair catch. Other guys are kicking it down to the 15 yard line. They’re two totally different kicks.
So I think that your game plan comes into play but I think that weather always has to factor in on what kickoffs you are using based off of whether you’re kicking with the wind or against the wind more than rain or any of those other things.
Q. (Inaudible) coaching theory or most dangerous kick off is high down the middle to about the ten yard line where you set up the edge?
COACH WEIS: That’s not necessarily true depending on hang time. You know, if you kick the ball down the middle to the ten yard line but the ball’s in the air four and a half seconds, there’s a good chance you’re tackling, you know, inside the 25 or inside the 20.
Hang time, you know — now the worst kick, worse than that one is the line drive to the ten the yard line down the middle. Because now he’s got the ball, not only is it short but it’s already in their hands, and your guys that are running down the field haven’t had a chance to get themselves in position to make a play.
I mean, everyone wants to kick the ball out of the end zone. There’s not anyone that doesn’t have a kickoff team that doesn’t want to come out and just have every play be at touchback. But I think hang time is definitely a significant factor.
Q. Last thing. I have appreciation for kicking the ball 70 yards or so. The most asked question I’ve gotten the last ten years is: How is it on a campus of 4,000 males recruiting nationally Notre Dame can’t find someone to kick it out of the end zone?
COACH WEIS: And my answer to that is we’ve exhausted a lot of alternatives on this one. We’ve had Gong Show after Gong Show just so you know. Isn’t like we haven’t, you know, given people opportunity to do exactly this.
But you want to know something? When it comes time to do it in front of the eyes, it’s amazing how much different those kicks look. They might be the greatest backyard kicker in the entire free world, but when all of a sudden when it comes to actually having to do it in front of other people, just somehow it doesn’t play out the same way.
Q. You mentioned the other day that the running game looked better in practice. It hasn’t translated on the field. Just looking back at the opponents you’ve played, against Michigan which is one of the best run defenses, you guys did better than the other opponents. But against the other teams you’ve done worse. Is it a matter of consistency or have you been able to put a finger on why?
COACH WEIS: I think fundamental — it’s a matter of fundamentally playing sound. I think against Michigan, you know, for example look at that game. I think they didn’t figure we were going to even try to run the ball. So when they don’t think you are going to try to run the ball and you are calling almost the exact same plays okay but they’re working because they’re worrying more about stopping the pass.
You know this week I give credit to Michigan State because they came into the game saying we’re going play our front seven and our two safeties and you are going to have to throw the ball to beat us, and they got the best of us in that exchange right there.
Some people talk about an eight man front, that’s closer to a nine man front. But still it comes down to even if you don’t block the safeties, even if you are just blocking the front seven, it still comes down to moving the line of scrimmage. As you watch the game as the line of scrimmage doesn’t move in the defense’s direction then usually something good is not going to end up happening. And that happened too many times in this past game.
Q. Is one of the possible solutions try to go to more misdirection to keep teams off balance or do you just have to wait until your line can start moving back?
COACH WEIS: We were in direction in that game. It’s just that I think you need to move the line of scrimmage. You know, I hate to make it be so simple sometimes, but you got to move the line of scrimmage. Because when the line of scrimmage starts moving that way, you know, usually something good is going to end up happening.
Q. There’s been a lot of discussion about establishing and identity through the run game. In your philosophy is there nothing wrong with having a passing identity if that works?
COACH WEIS: No. But as we’ve said right from the beginning, the problem is if your identity all stems around the passing first. Okay, now you’re exposing, you know, you’re exposing yourself to a lot of problems that you’d like to try to avoid. If a defensive team could come in here and say look if they’re just going come out there and throw it all day and just pin their ears back and come after you, you’re opening yourself up for pressures, sacks, quarterback hits, interceptions, strip sack fumbles, you know a lot of innings that we revisited in the past. So the fewer times you have to put your in that position, you know, the safer the game is. That being said, you got to do whatever you got to do to put you in the best position to win. That’s what you got to do.
Q. Is there a difference between having the pass when you are down to catch up and passing from the start when you can do whatever you want?
COACH WEIS: Absolutely it’s different. It’s totally different. Because, you know, when — you know, fortunately we have not been in that situation this year until the very end of this game. We’ve not been in the situation where you couldn’t run the offense. When we’ve moved to that mode it was not because the game was over. We moved to that mode because the other mode wasn’t working.
Q. How concerned are you with the amount of turnovers you’ve had?
COACH WEIS: My biggest concern, besides the fumble in the red zone last week, which obviously is a concern, is most of our interceptions have been in one on one situations where either a play by the receiver or better throw by the quarterback, a combination there of, of one of those two, would prevent a lot of those situations.
You know, and I think that when you get one on one opportunities, now there’s risk reward that comes with one on one. I don’t mean throwing into double coverage. Anyone can look at a ball thrown into double coverage and say, he threw it into double coverage. But when you have a one on one opportunity, you know, and you have a chance of hitting a home run and scoring touchdowns, a lot of times you are going to throw that ball. And between the quarterback and the receiver their job is to make sure either we catch it or nobody catches it.
Q. (Duval) Kamara’s got a really big frame does he have to work on using that more to his advantage?
COACH WEIS: He does use that to his advantage. I think what’s happening with him is he’s had about everything, every factor happen to him, you know, all in a three game sequence. Bouncing off your chest, jump ball situation, I mean, you know, making a play on an under thrown ball. There’s — you name it, he’s had about all of the exposed to him in a short amount of time.
Q. He probably just needs something good to happen you think?
COACH WEIS: Well I think that would help him and Jimmy. Because it isn’t just Duval, you want to have chemistry between the two guys right there. Jimmy likes to throw it to him, we need to do a better job of making sure that if we’re not catching the ball, no one’s catching the ball.
Q. Lastly for me, after a loss is there anything calming about coming back home and not having to go back on the road?
COACH WEIS: There’s nothing calming after a loss. Losses are no fun. Staying home is Saturday, you know it’s Friday and Saturday, you know. These are get back, watch the tape, be miserable, you know, look at all the opportunities you had in the game, address them, fix them, address them with the players, start game planning for the next team and move on. And that home element will be soothing towards the end of the week but there’s nothing fun about the beginning of the week. Coming home after a loss.
Q. I was wondering in light of the problems at tight end what happens with Luke Schmidt?
COACH WEIS: Luke’s in a position where if he’s healthy, which has been Luke’s biggest deal in the last couple years, if he’s healthy he is in a position where he could be a major contributor to this football team.
Q. He seems like a kid who doesn’t have a lot to say. Pretty quiet kid. Is he like that in the locker room?
COACH WEIS: That doesn’t change. He’s a very quiet young man.
Q. On first and second down on a passing play is Jimmy sort of under order not to run or is there a chance he’s flush with the pocket and scrambling?
COACH WEIS: He is never under orders not to run. I prefer he never run. When we’re running a quarterback sneak. But a quarterback’s never under order not to run.
All quarterbacks are told to keep your eyes down the field and look for some action on the play. You know, it isn’t like we’re dealing with, you know, a guy who runs a 4.4 here. But he is never under order not to run. He knows he always can run. I just want to make sure he doesn’t do something stupid and protects himself when he goes down. But he is never told not to run.
Q. In the spring game last year on the second offensive series I think he may have run what 15 consecutive times. This is going back. But I think like 15 consecutive running played. Just watching it, it almost felt like everyone knew you were going to run but you were going to prove a point or the offense was going to prove a point ?
COACH WEIS: I wasn’t calling plays in the spring game. You are will have to ask those guys. I was just watching in the spring game. Just like I don’t tell the quarterback not to run, I did not give the coaches a mandate of what to do in that game. So you got (Rob) Ianello and (Mike) Haywood and those guys today you ask them that question.
Q. One last question. Did Michigan State, how much of its first six runs were to set up that seven play for goal?
COACH WEIS: The seventh play was dialed up as a play that we had in the openers regardless of how, whether or not the plays worked or not.
You know, we had a whole package. You know, it wasn’t quite the Miami Dolphin package, by the way but, you know, we had a whole package of plays from that formation. We just didn’t get to some of them because of how the game went.
Q. Finally, when you were here, I think, there were SYR’s in the dorms. I mean kids were basically in their dorm drinking under age and priests were watching. As a coach or administrator how do you protect kids who are actually drinking in someone’s house as oppose to going out to a bar?
COACH WEIS: Probably my biggest concern is my own house. I’m thinking about what’s going happen in the future.
You know, my wife and I had the conversation about that just last night, you know, just what do you say? I mean, I think that once again it goes back to when I was talking to Eric before I think I just have to try to be a parent and give as good a guidance as you possibly can. You don’t give the guidance as a coach, you try to give it more as a parent because there’s that catch 22. You try to always guide them in the right direction as best you possibly can.
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