Aug. 8, 2008
Coach Weis Press Conference Podcast
Fall Video Coverage Home Page
COACH WEIS: Good afternoon. Before I get started with our opening part of media day, there are a few issues I’d like to address. First of all, as the head football coach at Notre Dame, I’d like to pass on our condolences to the family of Joe Yonto, a well respected coach who has been a fixture around this University for a lot of years. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.
A local note in the Michiana area, one of our favorite establishments, Polito’s, burned down last night. And to Frank and all those people over there, we’re thinking about them, too.
I was watching Brett Favre yesterday and this morning. Obviously, with that getting resolved, the rest of the free world can now move on to other football issues.
But as I was watching him, who I have a lot of respect for and watching how the whole situation was handled, probably the one thing I was able to take from that that I thought was a very strong analogy to how I feel right now is we’re moving forward.
Okay, we’re moving forward. The Packers are moving forward. The Jets are moving forward. Brett Favre is moving forward. And that is exactly where our team is, we’re moving forward.
We’re excited about this season. We’re looking there’s really a two part theme: The mode and then the end message. But what we’re really trying to do is we’re trying to get off to a fast start. That’s what we’re trying to do. And that’s going to be the tempo in practice, and that’s going to be the tempo in the whole of training camp. That’s going to correlate into the beginning of the season.
Because I think with our team, it’s very important that we get off to a fast start. That carries over from springtime when I used with the football team an analogy that I learned from (Bill) Parcells a long time ago called “Dive Right in.”
Many of you have seen our players walking around campus with these “Dive Right In” T shirts. And I want to take a moment to, without getting into a Parcells, to explain what that whole thought methodology was.
As you know, I grew up in New Jersey, and going to the Jersey Shore. Parcells grew up in the same area and used to use this with the football teams he coached. That he was looking for players that would “Dive Right In.” Then he’d go on to explain what that meant.
In Jersey, Memorial Day opens up the Jersey shore. It might be 90 degrees, but the water’s about 50, and no one wants to go in the water.
So there are two types of people that would go to the beach that weekend. One group of people would go up there, put their toe in the water and say, Oh, I just don’t know if I can do that. And they’d walk in a little bit, and walk in a little bit, and most of them would then return to their suntan oil or lotion and go lay back down on the beach.
Then you’d have those loony tunes that would just throw their stuff down and just go running into the water and just “Dive Right In”.
Basically, the whole thought methodology with our team is we’re looking for players that want to “Dive Right In”. I’m not looking for toe in the water type of players.
I’m looking for players that aren’t waiting to see how things go. They’re going to be part of making things go. That’s been our whole thought methodology from the beginning of 2008 right to this time. And we want to take that thought methodology and tie it into a fast start and that’s what we’re trying to do.
Look at the return, 38 monogram winners from last year. If you look at the last two games of the year, our kickers included, 19 of the 24 guys that started the game are all back here. 19 out of 24.
You look at that and you pair that up with the thought of what we’re trying to get done in the off season. We even took a little different tact with our linemen. You know, linemen a lot of times complain, why am I running 110’s all the time?
But in the off season, even though they had to take a conditioning test, in the off season we were working on getting these guys bigger and stronger, and the numbers don’t lie.
For example, you’ve all received depth charts, and as of yesterday when we all weighed in, the first two offensive lines, everyone’s 300 pounds or more.
And for the first time in history, Chris Stewart is no longer the heaviest lineman. He weighed in at a svelte 329, which is quite a drop from a couple pounds under four bills when he got here. He looks wonderful.
As a matter of fact, now you can call Sam Young Tubby, because he now outweighs Chris. But it’s nice to see Chris coming in in such great shape.
With the running backs, we weren’t worried about their weight as much as their strength, and all three of the guys that are in contention all raised their bench press 100 pounds from last year to this year. That is a significant upgrade in strength.
Our interior defensive linemen, the guys that lineup in the nose, we wanted them all to get to at least a 600 pound squat. Ian (Williams) got there, Paddy Mullen got there, Brandon Newman’s there, and Pat Kuntz, though we have him listed defensive end, if we slid him inside, he’s there, too.
It was important that we didn’t just get 300 pounders in there, but we have guys that have very strong legs and be able to hold the point inside on the run game.
Our captains did a wonderful job in the off season. You know, David Grimes had a great summer, Mo Crum’s in the best shape he’s been in. He’s injury free, feels like a new man.
And David Bruton is just a freak of nature. You know, a guy who I mentioned last year, under 5% body fat. 41 inch vertical jump. In the summer he was raised his squat 95 pounds. He’s always finding a way to improve himself. Those three guys did a fine job getting us ready to start the year.
That being said, this is where we are. This is August 2008. We’re talking about 2008 only. We’re moving forward, a la Brett Favre. We’re diving right in and trying to get off to a fast start. The floor is open.
Q. Can you talk about Terrail Lambert, and with the personal office, do his responsibilities increase or are they enhanced?
COACH WEIS: It’s interesting, because early this morning he and I had that conversation. He was going just from freshman year to this year explaining to me how he always felt that from freshman year on that by the time he got to this stage in his career he would hope to be in a position to be able to lead and guide people.
He’s really even though David’s the captain, as in the secondary, Terrail really has taken over those corners and taken them under his wing. And you can see them gravitate towards him. I think that’s going to be a great asset for us.
Q. Running back by committee again this year with the three?
COACH WEIS: I think let’s split it into two and one. Okay, let’s think about Armando (Allen) on one side and then Robert (Hughes) and James (Aldridge) on the other side, because really Robert and James are very similar players. So I think that they’re kind of competing against each other to see who would get more reps.
Because Armando’s more that change of pace guy, so he’s almost like his own separate entity. Like he’s 1 A already, and then we’ll see from the other two guys who gets more reps based off of performance.
Obviously, if you went off the spring, Robert had a phenomenal spring. If you just were picking off the spring, you would put Robert in and say you’re first. But James and Robert would battle it out, and Armando’s kind of off to the side.
Q. I know you want to talk about 2008 and so do we. How do you prepare this team after what happened last year in the off season?
COACH WEIS: We’re not saying one word about last season. It’s August 2008. There is not one word. You will not hear one word out of anyone about 2007. It’s August 2008. I’ll answer any questions about August 2008.
Q. I had a conversation with Lee Corso.
COACH WEIS: With who?
Q. With Lee Corso. He is of the opinion that you are such an offensive minded coach that you can’t possibly go more than two games without resuming play calling duties. I mean, is it within your nature and psyche to go a full year without assuming play calling responsibility?
COACH WEIS: Yes. I’ve done a lot of due diligence on this. This has been a process. This isn’t something I mean, I don’t leave anything. I think everything out thoroughly.
Although I could see Robert and James are pounding it down somebody’s throat, I can hear them say, Run it again, run it again, run it again. Or we’re throwing it and they can’t cover it. I can say, Throw it again or play action pass.
But I’m not going to be standing there studying the call sheet and remembering every formation and trying to decide if it’s a left hash or right hash play. Okay?
It will allow me to get fresh bodies on the field, and be able to look in the players’ faces and see what we need to do. Not have to be meticulous as far as the call sheet goes. That statement is erroneous.
Q. First the health of your team going into fall camp. Is there anybody that is going to be limited?
COACH WEIS: The only one that is just borderline is Will Yeatman. About a month ago he had a bit of a hammy. He ran really good when we were running, he ran really well and he’s going to practice.
I think that I would probably limit him a little bit from extra running and things like that in the very beginning.
But everyone’s practicing. Everyone’s healthy. Everyone’s in good academic standing. So I can’t say anything more than that.
Q. With Sam Young, take us from the little talk you guys had to how it’s evolved into now?
COACH WEIS: I think when you talk to Sam today because he’s one of the guys you’re going to talk to today, you’ll see Sam has really matured. And probably matured before his time.
But now as a third year player who has played a couple of years already and has gone through both successes and failures, I think he’s become a much more mature player and a player that people turn to.
Q. I’d like to get your thoughts on the pictures that appeared online earlier this week and what happens from here?
COACH WEIS: I’m going to answer that in two sentences. First of all, I think the obvious thing, on a serious note, I think it’s important that I don’t condone underage drinking. I think that’s important to say.
But that being said and no sarcastic moment really meant to be, but give me a break. Let’s move on.
Q. Well, let me ask you this
COACH WEIS: Let’s move on.
Q. I’m going to ask you this question anyway. The players, let’s face it, they are underage and they pose for a picture in a situation that allegedly is questionable. They were in a position where they were allegedly drinking. Your thoughts on that?
COACH WEIS: Alleged by who?
Q. The website said they were participating in something called the Beer Olympics.
COACH WEIS: I said let’s give them a break and let’s move on. That’s as far as I’m going to say. I’m not going to take it any further than that.
Q. Not going to be any discipline?
COACH WEIS: Let’s move on.
Q. I’ll move on to the interior defensive line. Pat Kuntz and Ian Williams. What makes Pat more suited than Ian?
COACH WEIS: Ian’s got a heavier load. You know, he’s a 30 plus pounder. Pat weighed in at 288 this morning. But Pat what Ian has is a very low center of gravity. Which, if you watched him play, you’ll see that that’s his natural position of play. Where Pat has shown position flexibility where he’s been able to play inside and out, and we have not seen from that from Ian.
Q. You talk about position flexibility. What does Pat do that enables him to move between those?
COACH WEIS: He’s had to take gaps a lot more than Ian has. Ian’s been able to basically put his hands on the center, and get off and make plays. Where Pat’s in his stay here has gone through a couple different schemes where we’ve seen him be able to move and penetrate and be able to do both.
I will say if we were in a game right now today, okay? And Ian were getting rested, the first person that would be playing there would be Pat. So we have the availability by position, flexibility to take him from one position to get him to the other position.
Q. Do you see Corwin Brown and (Jon) Tenuta sharing game plan responsibilities? Can you talk about the dynamics of that relationship?
COACH WEIS: Throw Jappy (Oliver) in there, too. I think game planning is going to be intertwined. I think getting Jon in there has been invaluable for the progress of our defensive staff. Corwin is welcome. The three of them have gotten along wonderfully.
I probably wouldn’t be able to say that if I hadn’t been able to watch them so much in spring time. But I think that in the grand scheme of things, we get in the games, Jon’s going to be upstairs, Corwin’s going to be downstairs.
I think having been in both spots to call games, if you are calling games from the field, which Corwin’s going to do, having a guy like that to be able to feed you information, it doesn’t get much better than that.
Q. Couple of Michigan-related questions. First off, what do you think of Jonas Gray? What can he do for you this year as far as contribution wise? And secondly, what kind of added element does the Michigan Notre Dame rivalry have now that Rich Rodriguez is at the helm?
COACH WEIS: Well, first of all, Jonas is one locked-up unit. When you see him out there for a freshman, you don’t get any more chiseled, well-defined athlete than this guy. And for a guy who is young, he shows very, very good leadership skills. The players seem to gravitate to him.
We always talk about that special something, well, you know, the players like being around this guy. That usually bodes well for what’s going to happen down the line.
As far as Michigan, you know, obviously you’ve got them early in the season, and we’ll spend the majority of our time talking about San Diego State, but I have a lot of respect for Rich.
Rich knows that his offense is a pain in the butt. And he brought the guy from Stanford in there. It was a blitz when we played them on defense. So it’s going to be a very, very challenging opponent.
Q. What are your goals for yourself as a coach this season?
COACH WEIS: I think I have to be more actively involved in all facets of the game. Which I don’t think I’ve done, really been very actively involved with all three facets of the game. I think I have to be actively involved.
You already know that I’m going to be actively involved in special teams. I know that I’ll be involved in offense, not as a play caller, but being able to guide those guys and give them observations as I see them.
And now because I don’t have to do the play calling, it’s going to allow me when we get on defense and they’re deciding what’s going to be dialed up next, to actually be paying attention more to everything that’s happened on defense.
Because if you think about how the game is played, when you’re the play caller on offense, and you’re off the field, you’re not really worried about what’s happening on the field. You’re worried about fixing any problems that took place, and then deciding what you’re going to do next.
Now that I no longer have that responsibility, it gives me an opportunity to be more involved with all three facets.
Q. Of the guys that you have right now, what percentage would you say are guys that are ready to “Dive Right In”?
COACH WEIS: We’re going to find that out. We haven’t had a practice yet. And I don’t know what that number is. I know we’ll have at least 22. I don’t know if it will be 30. I don’t know if it will be 40. I don’t know if it will be 50, but we’ll find at least 22.
Q. At what spots looking around the depth chart do you anticipate some of the freshmen working their way into the mix?
COACH WEIS: Well, it’s an interesting dynamic this year versus the last few years in that all of them are going to have to earn their way up. It isn’t shallow at so many spots where they automatically get in.
Obviously, we’ve lost some people on the defensive line, so with a large number of guys that we’ve brought in here there are some opportunities.
But think about the spots where we’ve lost somebody. Like John Carlson going, Mike Ragone and Will Yeatman are here already, but you’ve got two, and you also have Luke playing some in that position as well. But you’ve got two young prospects on the verge.
You’re bringing in three wide receivers that all can play. But they’re going to have to earn their way up the depth chart.
So you might have guys on the offensive side or defensive side. You have a couple of young linebackers that can really run. You’ve got a couple of young corners that can move up the depth chart.
But these guys are going to come in and start third team at best. So where they’d be second team in the past certainly not going to be third or four team, and they’ll work their way up there. At least we don’t have as much pressure for them to have to win the job. Now if they do win the job, it’s a good thing.
Q. Evan (Sharpley) was away playing baseball this summer. Can you give us an update on how his summer went?
COACH WEIS: He hit pretty well. He thinks he can hit lefties, by the way. Told me to make sure I got that out there. He mixed and matched. He stayed in the Midwest to play so he could be here for us in the off season and go through summer school classes with everyone else. I’m very, very happy that he’s in good shape and he’s ready to compete. He wanted me to make it a point to let you know that he’s hitting lefties.
Q. What would you say you’re most excited about with this team heading into the year?
COACH WEIS: I think that any time you’ve got a large number of guys that now it’s their second time around, it’s their second go around. Now in some cases it’s the third go around and Mo Crum kind of feels like it’s his tenth go around.
But so many of the guys when it’s their second go around, you don’t have to go through the trials and tribulations of going through the initial stages of getting on the field.
Usually for any football player at any level, the single most significant jump as a player comes from your first year playing to your second year playing. And we have many, many players in that group.
So it’s just a question of how many of them can make that significant jump at the same time. That’s what I’m excited about.
Q. In your mind do you envision camp being different this year than how you’ve run it in the past?
COACH WEIS: Well, it’s, you know, we went all the way back to last year, and we talked about it. I think there will be a lot more selected spots, but there will be a lot more full speed. Once we get full pads on.
Q. How about a comment on who do you anticipate returning punts and kickoffs this year?
COACH WEIS: I think that you have some of the older guys who have experience in David (Grimes) and George (West), but I’m really because I’m going to have the returners as one of my areas of responsibilities, it’s going to be Armando and Golden (Tate) and some of those guys.
You’ve got Armando probably listed as the first kickoff returner, and the first punt returner. If we don’t, we should, because that’s probably where I’d like to put him.
Q. You talked about the increased size and strength of your team; what about the speed? How much does that have to improve to get your team back moving forward into the elite?
COACH WEIS: Obviously that depends on position, you know? With those big guys we weren’t worried about the speed. We were worried about the strength. You know, I think that we wanted to make sure that the one thing we did was put ourselves in a position where we could compete physically the interior parts above the offensive and defensive line.
As far as speed goes, you’ll see that we’ve got some wide receiver that’s can run. You’ll see we’ve got some DB’s that can run, and we’ve got some linebackers that can run. I think the running backs and tightens are not too shabby either.
Q. Whether it be Evan Sharpley or Dayne Crist, how much competition do you see this fall at the quarterback position? Or is this Jimmy Clausen’s team?
COACH WEIS: Well, it’s Jimmy’s job to lose, clearly. We all know where we are. For the first week or so those three guys will probably get about third reps. You know, because we’ve got to find out what we’ve got with Dayne.
But right now the depth chart as we walk in the door is very clearly established with Jimmy one, Evan two, and Dayne three. That is walking in the door right now. You’ve still got to go by what you see.
But we’ll give them all going on equal reps before we start the disparity of reps a little later on in camp.
Q. Following up on Jimmy Clausen, where do you feel he is right now on a leadership and maturity standpoint?
COACH WEIS: I think that before the leadership and maturity physically it’s night and day different. I think that he was disappointed that he weighed in at like 215. He ended the year at 194. So from 194 to 215, we’re talking about a night and day difference physically.
When you go into practice and watch it, it will be pretty obvious when you look at him. I can say when you see him, you’ll see the same thing.
Now that being said, those other two things become easier when your body is in better shape. Now instead of having to concentrate on the physical as well as the mental and the team spot, you know, team leadership part, I think you’re going to see him progress dramatically in the other two areas because he’s in so much better shape physically.
Q. You have a new athletic director this year; have you had a chance to sit down and talk?
COACH WEIS: Oh, sure. We’ve talked face to face a few times. We’ve talked once for a very extended period of time. We’ve had several phone calls, too, so it’s been a wild summer as far as that goes.
But that’s moving along nicely, and I look forward to Jack (Swarbrick) getting here on campus and getting everything settled in.
But trust me, from afar, he’s pulling what I had to pull the first year here. You know, wearing that dual job where he’s wrapping up his old business and getting all the things set here. But I look forward to getting him here and getting going.
Q. Was it mostly just getting acquainted conversations did you talk about expectations?
COACH WEIS: We talked about a whole bunch of different issues. But you know we went to school about the same time. He was there a couple years before me. There’s people that we know.
You know how it is he didn’t know me that well, and I don’t know him that well, but we both have friend that’s know both of us. So it makes it a little bit easier to talk to somebody and say hey, what’s the guy like? And everyone gives the guy a ringing endorsement. You can’t get anyone to say anything negative, that’s always a good thing.
Q. You’ve had experience before with good offensive lines gelling as a group, allowing your skill position players to play well. As you look at this group as a whole, can you give us an upside for this group on the offensive line and their prognosis?
COACH WEIS: I think the first thing is they’re much bigger and they’re much stronger, which allows you to play much more physical at the point of attack.
The one thing you have to do is let them play physical at the point of attack. So I think that we have to make sure that we’re not passive, and we let them do that. Then you adjust based off of what you see.
So I’m interested to see how much the strength, the size and strength correlates to performance on the field. You know, for that, I can’t give you an answer yet, because we haven’t even been out there yet.
Q. Following up on that, is there a psychological aspect to giving up all those backs to get a guy set up after a game or even in the off season?
COACH WEIS: Well, I think one of the things before you can get to that is if you’re pounding the ball down people’s throats, you don’t put yourself at risk to have those type of numbers. I think that always helps when you can do that. So I think they’re all tied together.
One thing is when you get down big in games and you’re throwing the ball all day long to try to come back, you obviously exposure offensive linemen as well as everyone else. I’m going to try to do all I can to make sure we’re not in that situation.
Q. 7 and 20 is in the past?
COACH WEIS: That’s correct, it is in the past.
Q. Yours is a game of a long off season?
COACH WEIS: Pardon me?
Q. Yours is a game of a long off season. Time to think, time to withdraw. What are the changes Charlie Weis has to make with Charlie Weis in terms of changes with the players, as a head coach in general?
COACH WEIS: That’s already taken place. I think the most important thing is how am I going to handle it from today forward? I think it’s not what I’ve done, it’s what I’m now going to do.
The question actually you asked before about play calling, I mean, you have to make sure you make a commitment to doing that before you do it. Because, if not, it’s superficial, just like you said.
So I think there isn’t one player that you’ll talk to that hasn’t seen a number of the things that have been transformed, and you can’t be phony. I’m sorry, but my problem is I don’t have that in me. You know, good or bad, I don’t. And I’d even tell the players, this isn’t the way I like it, but this is the way it’s going to have to be.
So I think it’s how I handle it forward, not the off season. The off season is over with. This is August 2008, Brett Favre, we’re moving forward.
Q. But aren’t there lessons from last season that need to be applied to this season?
COACH WEIS: They have been all the things you can do in the off season have been applied. Now it’s how do you handle what you’ve applied? I think that’s really the second part of that question right there. How are you going to handle those things you’ve applied? I’ll put a big question mark because you have to see how it goes, right?
Q. Could you expand on why you think a fast start is important for this team?
COACH WEIS: I think that the team is hungry to get out there and start winning football games. And if you come out there and you start losing football games, that doesn’t mean you can’t still have a good year, but that’s not what we’re looking to do.
I don’t think you can talk about having a fast start in your football season but not practice that way in practice. I think the whole tone has to be about a fast start. I’m on the coaches about a fast start. I’m on the players about a fast start. They’re all on the same page. They know what we’re trying to do. And I think my job is to put pressure on everyone to make sure that’s the way it goes.
Q. Can you talk about what the loss of Darrin Walls means to some of the other guys on the team?
COACH WEIS: Well, any time a good player isn’t there, in the interim, it opens up very, very, very big opportunities for some players that we think very highly of.
I think the biggest loss is depth. Any time you take a front line player out, I think we have front line players behind them, but now you have to look at the trickle down effect. That means that there’s guys that are third team that are not too far away from getting on the field.
You have two freshmen corners coming in in R.J. Blanton and (Jamoris) Slaughter, those two guys coming in, they’re not that far away from getting into the mix.
We feel really good about Raeshon (McNeil), we feel really good about Gary Gray. And Leonard Gordon, the corner safety for us that you guys don’t know too much about, we feel good about him, too.
Now because this one guy isn’t here, it puts those guys one step closer to actually being on the field. And I think that is the challenge. You have to make sure that your depth isn’t hurt by something like that happening.
Q. Following up on that, would it seem the biggest loss is the experience? That is something you really can’t replicate?
COACH WEIS: Raeshon and Darrin came in at the same time. I think experience and playing, I think that is definitely true. I think that you lose playing experience. But I have to reiterate, not to give just the political answer, I have a lot of confidence in Raeshon McNeil. I’m a big fan of Raeshon McNeil.
And I’m also a big fan of Gary Gray. The difference is he’s not played in a game because he was coming off that shoulder last year. He really doesn’t have game playing experience, where Raeshon does have game playing experience.
Q. Realistically how do you get your players to forget last year?
COACH WEIS: I think that as you talk to the players and watch in practice and, you know, we’ve been drilling this now. This isn’t just something that happens overnight. This isn’t like all of a sudden you come to the front of the team and say, okay, we’re not talking about 2007 anymore.
This has been a whole process. But, you know, we’re moving forward.
Q. How much this spring did you talk about putting the players in position to build up their confidence? When you move forward, do you feel like that confidence has been rebuilt initially or how do you do that?
COACH WEIS: We haven’t been on the field yet, okay? So I think it’s a bit premature for me to give the honest answer to that. But I can tell you they’re in a lot better shape with a lot more smiles. That means football is a little bit more fun for them.
But then again, they haven’t gone through what they’re about ready to go through. This is not going to be an easy camp. But at least they know it. They know what the tempo’s going to be, and I think they’re really looking forward to doing the same thing I’m doing, trying to get going. Ask me that question in a week or two, and I’ll try to give you a more objective answer.
Q. What is the linebacker position? In the spring there was a lot of mixing and matching guys around? Are you looking at the depth chart as a dimension of that? Or have you settled on the direction you want to go with the guys and in the order you want?
COACH WEIS: The one guy that stood out for the coaching staff the whole spring. We always knew about Mo Crum. He’s like an old reliable. I think he’ll be here for the next five years.
But the one guy who made plays all spring all over the field all the time was Brian Smith. And in this defense, the guy who is in position to do that all the time, is the middle linebacker. So now Toryan (Smith)’s going to have his work cut out to get there ahead of Brian. But Brian is the one guy who stood out for the coaching staff every day, every play.
Q. What happens if you hear one of your players bring up something about last year? Is there a punishment?
COACH WEIS: They won’t. They won’t. I can promise you one thing, they won’t twice.
Q. Early on the depth chart at left tackle, it looks like (Paul) Duncan and (Mike) Turkovich are even Steven there. How do you feel about that position and that battle?
COACH WEIS: You have two seniors that both have playing time. Instead of getting that six man rotation for five spots like we’ve done in the past, those other four guys are settled in nicely. Those two veterans that have playing experience are going to battle it out, and may the best man win.
Now the one thing we do have is both Paul and Mike have some position flexibility where they could bounce inside and play guard, where they could conceivably bounce over to the other side. But I’m pretty high on Taylor Dever over there at the right tackle position, too.
So I’m not really looking for that. I’m looking to get the best player out of those two guys. You’ll see in camp, I’m tell you in camp, one day one guy will be running with the first group. And the next day the next guy will be running with the first group. So that will be going back and forth until we go by what we see.
Q. I would imagine it’s different when you’re reintroducing players like Travis (Thomas), I think he had to earn things back, and will Will (Yeatman) and Pat (Kuntz) go through a similar process this summer?
COACH WEIS: We don’t have them in the summer. As coaches we don’t have them. Coaches are on vacation. But they worked their butts off with Ruben (Mendoza) in strength and conditioning, and you know we’re in good shape there.
The one difference between Pat was Pat was a front line and starter, where that wasn’t Will’s status. So with being out there every day of every play last spring, it’s tough for me to imagine saying okay, Will, I’m going to put you ahead of Ragone who just busted his butt the whole spring. It doesn’t work that way.
Q. With the improvements Jimmy’s made, how does that change what you guys can do? Does it expand options on the playbook?
COACH WEIS: It definitely allows you mentally to do some things that there were no time last year. But as Dennis implied there before, too, it all starts with the offensive line.
It’s great to have all these imaginative ideas on how you’re going to expand the offense, okay? But the first thing you have to do is make sure the quarterback isn’t getting killed. He’s ready mentally to handle a bunch more than where he was last year, a bunch more.
Q. What will you take in the defense, will you take an active role, make suggestions during the game, what do you do?
COACH WEIS: The first thing is I talked to the coaching staff this week. I talked about the mannerisms in which I’m going to give coaching points to players on defense.
I said I’ll never come in and tell you. I’ll say, Hey, John, let me say something here. Or, Hey, Jeff, let me say something here.
I’m going to give the players coaching points based off of my view on how I would be able to adjust or attack them if I were going against them. So where they’ll get the view from the defensive coach’s point of view.
My expertise is as an offensive coach. So when I see a corner with his hips turned a certain way I’ll say, Look, I’m going to stick you and run right by you because I can see you’re not in a back pedal right now.
So at least they’ll be able to get an objective analysis on how things they’re going to have to do different to get better on defense. And we’ll worry about the games when we get to them.
Q. Can you talk about the whole theory of “dive in”? How do you go about doing that and showing the team that you’re taking that approach?
COACH WEIS: For example, let me just talk about like I’ll take two guys. If you watch the offensive players, watch the offensive players in the off season, okay? You look at David Grimes, okay, and say physically, okay, leadership wise, all those other things. Here’s a man on a mission.
So you already know, you know, hey, David Grimes is not a perfect player, okay? He’s not perfect. But he’s the type of guy you’re looking for. You want him on the field. David Bruton, I’m going to leave Crum out of this one, because he’s like my favorite son.
So I’ll go with David Bruton. The same thing is true with David Bruton. These guys, you can’t get rid of them. Every time you turn around they’re there. They’re always there. Okay? Because they can’t get enough.
I mean, that’s the type of guy you want on on your team. That’s what the really good ones do. The good ones that want to be great, that’s what they do. That’s two good starts.
Q. Couple of receiver questions. You probably have guys that you feel are consistent and reliable. Is it important, you hope, for someone who just sort of becomes that sort of game breaking weapon you have on the outside? Second part would be — I don’t know what you’ve heard or the feedback that’s trickled back in your offense about Michael Floyd so far this summer?
COACH WEIS: I’ll start with the second part. You know, the feedback on Michael Floyd from Jimmy has been through the roof. It’s been very, very, very good, very, very, very positive.
You know, look at him physically, he doesn’t, once again, I don’t know but when you see him out there in practice, he doesn’t look like a freshman. He looks like an upperclassman that’s been around a long time. You look at him and say that’s what I’m talking about.
With that being said, I think that you’d like to have one or two guys. Let’s say that Duval (Kamara) and David (Grimes) are your starting wide receivers right now. I think between those two guys you’d like to see another couple of guys that you think could come out there and play football, no doubt about it.
I don’t mean just playing okay, I don’t mean playing just consistently, I mean guys that can make game breaking plays. I think that it’s going to be interesting, because the competition is going to be very, very good. Because there’s not a changeover, there’s just added players.