Nov. 14, 2006
COACH Charlie Weis: Army, their head coach, he took the Chargers to the Super Bowl in ’94 so he’s one of a kind. Head coach in college for at least 15 years and head coach at two different places in the NFL, both with the Chargers and the Lions in the 90s, ’92 to ’96 with the Chargers and Lions ’97 to 2000. His son, Kevin, he’s the offensive coordinator. He’s a graduate of Naval Academy, and as most Army teams, he’s got their offense rushing for four yards a carry and is probably one of the foundations of their offense.
There’s two quarterbacks that we could see this week. Carson Williams, a true freshman. He started two games this year, played in five, started two. He was all?start quarterback in Alabama that could have gone to Arkansas, North Carolina State and Vanderbilt, among other schools, and decided on West Point. And Dave Pevoto, he’s a junior. Now, he’s started the first eight games this year and they have played nine. So we’re not really sure which one we’re going to get. We might get a little bit of both.
The running back is also an interesting difference between the two guys we expect to see. McMahand, he’s about five?six, about 170 pounds and he’s played in all ten games, started seven of them, and started the year third on the depth chart and at the end of training camp he was the first. Leads the team in rushers, four?and?a?half yards a carry and just under 600 yards. You have him, and then you have Tony Moore who has been playing more lately, no pun intended. He’s a true freshman. He entered the season as their short yardage back, but his role obviously has been expected. He’s rushed the ball for 350 and four yards a carry, staying with their four?yard?a?carry motif they have and five touchdowns.
The fullback, he started every game this year and they are not afraid to give him the ball. He’s averaging 5.3 per carry and is the fourth leading receiver on their team and he’s backed up by Frye who has been his primary backup.
Tight end, you know, Tim Dunn, he’s played in 34 games in his career, started every became this year, he’s third on the team in receptions, has a couple touchdowns. He’s backed up by Larson, who started the Air Force game and the Arkansas State game when they went with two tight end sets, and when they go to three tight end sets, they bring in Mike Evans.
And wide receiver, Walter Hill, he’s a senior, started 18 games in his career, nine this year. He’s their second leading receiver. And their No. 1 guy without a doubt is Trimble. Trimble is pretty good now, fellas ?? let me see if there is any ladies ?? I’m okay with fellas then. He’s a pretty good player. He’s started in all ten games this year. He’s their leading receiver and he’s third in the country in punt returns. He’s a about player. He’s averaging 18 and a half yards a punt return, scored two touchdowns and has another couple touchdowns catching the ball. This kid is a good player, he has good size, six?foot, 214. Corey Anderson we’ll definitely see because he is their primary kickoff returner; although he didn’t do it against Air Force last week and I’m not sure why, and Mike Wright we’ll see, as well.
The offensive line, the one guy I’m sure will start and play most or all of the time is their right tackle. Now, at every other position, I’ve seen two guys both playing. For example, left tack tackle, after Zelenak got hurt, who is their starter, he got hurt in the UCONN game, but after that, I’ve seen both Lemming and Cox. At left guard I’ve seen both Evans and Weisner. At center I’ve seen both Miranne and Bier, but Bier also is their starting right guard who I’ve seen him and Weisner both at right guard. So there’s nine guys, or eight guys in a rotation that have played but the only guy, Collier is the only guy who has played almost all the time.
Defense, their coordinator has been at Army for seven years, been coaching 27 years. What they do is they do a really, really good job on defense on third down getting off the field. Teams are converting only 37 percent of the time on third down. And I think one of the things he’s done a good job of is handling his defensive line situation, because they have played about ten different guys on his defensive line. Now, one guy that we probably won’t see, Sprague, okay, ’99, he got hurt in the Kent State game. So you know, of the ten guys that I’ve seen in there, the guys that I think that we’ll probably see the most is Cameron Craig ?? Cameron Craig and Brandon Thompson will probably be the end, and Harrington and Fusco will be the tackles.
Linebacker, Shrode, he’s their middle linebacker. He started 21 games in a row, he’s their team’s leading tackler and the only guy who is right behind him in tackles is their will linebacker, Scruggs; he started 21 games, as well, and second leading tackler. So they have been playing next to each other for a long time and Rockwood would be the same linebacker who would come off the field when they to nickel.
Their safety, Campbell, got hurt. He was hurt in the Tulane game and was lost for the season. He’s a guy who is really playing well for them. So now what I would expect to see at the safety position, I think it will be Pierre and Murray will be the safeties, and at corner will be Laird and Grevious. Now, Laird who is their field corner, he’ll move in to play nickel when they go to nickelback situations, and they will bring in Josh Mitchell to play but he won’t go in at nickel; he’ll go in at corner.
Now there’s another one, Opuko (ph), was the other corner who started the first seven games of the year but has not been playing as much as late. Special teams, Gary Miller is their coordinator, been there for three years. He was an assistant offensive line coach and took over special teams this year.
The things that are of note, once again, I’ve already mentioned before, okay, when we were talking about their punt return game when I was talking about Trimble, but their punt return is averaging third in the country on punt returns. And while we’re at it, their kicker, Miller, is 24 for 24 on PATs and 11 for 14 on field goals.
Now, Tolson handled the punts. Koenig will be the kickoff guy, so they have a kicker and a kickoff guy. Holder will be Rinehart. They have a long snapper and a short snapper. I’ve already mentioned Trimble and Anderson as the returners, punt returner and kick returner. The other kick returner who I saw back there against Air Force was Damion Hunter, who is a true freshman, so they put him back there. I’ve seen both him and Anderson back there as the primary kickoff returner.
Q. What are the thoughts on your kicker situation and what you’ll do with that this week?
COACH Charlie Weis: Brian has talked to Carl and we’ve talked to the other guys, too. We’re going to be doing a little competing this week.
Q. So you would treat that position like any other position?
COACH Charlie Weis: I think that if a starter doesn’t stand up to starter performance, the starter not the starter anymore. But Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week will determine that. There will be a competition going on.
Q. Assuming nothing, of course, because you’re not taking Army for granted, but if you were put in a position where because Brady is in competition for the Heisman Trophy, would you allow him to stay in for another series or would, I know you don’t want to ??
COACH Charlie Weis: No, I would not do that. I would love for Brady Quinn to win the Heisman Trophy, but I’m not going to risk Brady Quinn for stats. I would not do that.
Q. Anything special for Senior Day?
COACH Charlie Weis: First thing we are going to do, every senior, fourth or fifth year guy here, will all go to the hotel regardless if they played, if they played one down. I think it’s something special for them to be a part of ?? because not everyone goes to the hotel the night before the game.
So we have extra hotel rooms to make sure they are all there, and of course all their parents have been invited for the pep rally on Friday night. We’ve gotten response from everyone and close to everyone’s parents will be there, too.
So I think it will be a special ?? I like the way it was done before I even got here; that they bring them on Friday night. Because on game day, you know, it gets to be kind of a distraction. It’s already an emotional day as is, to realize this is it; this is last home game of your career.
But I like the fact that they get to be recognized on Friday night at the pep rally.
Q. Do you look forward to the challenge of, quote, starting over at quarterback?
COACH Charlie Weis: I think it will be ?? obviously I have more important things to worry about at this time, as I’m worrying about Army. But it will be an interesting spring.
Q. You said on Sunday you would get an you update on Carlson after you were done with us; where does that stand now?
COACH Charlie Weis: About where we thought it would be. He won’t play this week. I could lie and say he’s day?to?day, and just try to throw a smoke screen out there, but he won’t play this week and he won’t play next week. And he’ll be at the hotel and he’ll travel with us the next week and he’ll be ready to go for the Bowl game, whatever Bowl game that would be.
Q. Looking at a bigger picture, what type of legacy do you feel the senior class has given here?
COACH Charlie Weis: I think their legacy will be determined in the next three weeks.
You’re always remembered by how it ended. That’s out you’re remembered.
Q. Army has got 20 interceptions on the season, from what you’ve seen, is that more from the changes in the lineup and inexperience, or are teams having certain success with certain type of coverages?
COACH Charlie Weis: I think it’s been a combination of both. I think both statements in your question, both statements are two. I think it’s been a combination of both.
Q. Would it be fair to say this is your biggest challenge as a coach in terms of not letting a team look ahead? These kids are smart and know what’s coming down the road.
COACH Charlie Weis: I don’t know, it the second round of playoffs. It doesn’t seem that ?? if I can’t get guys up for a playoff game, I’m doing something wrong, and I should be judged accordingly.
Q. Last week you talked about tackling; how do you think you fared over the weekend?
COACH Charlie Weis: I think our tackling was significantly better against Air Force. I just think that sometimes we’re just a little bit late but the tackling was better.
Now, that was not something we normally do, we don’t normally play the whole game with a post?safety. The majority of the times we play, we have some form of two safeties, whether they are corner or half?field players. When you have to go away from your normal deal, I think that, you know, it almost becomes a bend?but?don’t?break mentality right there as you’re making sure they nickel and dime you down the field, especially after you get up pretty big early.
Q. Whether it was John Ryan, Toryan Smith, James Aldrige, seemed like you were able to get more guys in there for meaningful, early?game downs; what did you take way from their performance?
COACH Charlie Weis: First of all, the defensive guys was out of necessity. We needed to get them in there to try to give some of those guys a little bit of a blow. Our plan with James was to try to get them involved in more meaningful reps. The short number of reps we’ve given him at end of games, we know he can run the ball hard, but at end of the game when there’s no other threat than just running the ball. So it was good to get him into the mix with all of the starters in there where he got a little taste of, you know, this is what it’s like when there’s a lot of versatility. It’s not just hand the ball to you to the right and happen the ball to you to the left.
Q. Could you just expand on John Ryan a little bit, a guy that certainly there will be opportunities for him next year?
COACH Charlie Weis: He’s got a lot of ability at defensive end. You know, one good thing for him beside the fact that he plays so hard and he has such a high motor, he’s gotten to watch one of our best players play all year. So it’s good when you can watch somebody like Victor play. Victor is a very good player, and when you’re a young guy, it’s good to watch an experienced guy that really knows how to play the game to be able to be sort of your mentor.
Q. Does it feel like your playoff analogy has a little bit more weight this week given your rise in the standings?
COACH Charlie Weis: I think the first round was important, too. If we don’t play fairly well last week, then this week, we would not have ?? it would not be as important.
So now this week becomes more important to make the next week more important. So I think that all those things happen and certainly helped us and helped magnify the importance of the game.
But I think that, I don’t really believe in using just fake things for motivation. I think that Senior Day alone and playing against Army should be enough to avoid any emotional letdown and looking past the next opponent.
Q. Seeing how it is Senior Day, and I know there’s a few games left this year, what has Brady meant to this program, the last four years in your mind?
COACH Charlie Weis: I can’t imagine any player in this country being more important to his team than Brady Quinn is to ours. I can’t imagine it. Maybe that exists. I just can’t imagine it. Therefore, he’s meant it to our team, he’s meant it to our coaching staff and to our entire university. He’ll be dearly missed.
Q. You have a great relationship still with Tom Brady; and, with Brady personally, what are you going to miss when he’s gone?
COACH Charlie Weis: Well, the way he’s handled himself regardless of what the situation is. It’s easy when people are patting you on your back and saying how great you are. It’s really, you know, it’s the times when the grind, you know, when there’s no games and see how you handle yourself. He’s the hardest working guy we have on the whole team. Nobody works harder in the weight room, no one. They might meet work, because he’s not going to get beaten in the weight room. Coming off of a loss when things are not so good, who is the first one to accept accountability and responsibility? This guy is still mad they missed a post to Samardzija at the end of the game. He’s still talking about it. I had to tell him to shut up. He’s still talking about it, how we blew that one play. I said, give me a break.
Q. Do you anticipate that he’s going to be some degree involved and important to your program years down the road?
COACH Charlie Weis: I could see that he’ll always be a significant factor in our program, always.
Q. How much do you talk to the players who were not even born yet about the similarities between your senior year as a student here and this current season?
COACH Charlie Weis: Well, I broached the subject ?? I broached the subject earlier, but really it was more something you broach when things were not going well.
Now as they have started ?? as they have started to kind of fall in line, you know, there are some definite analogies that you could make back to my senior year.
But there’s still a lot of work that has to be done, and I think that once again, it’s really important on my part as the head coach to not use anything phoney. I mean, it’s really important to just emphasize how important it is for us to play well and just go out there to try to beat Army.
Q. Your team, once you lose one game or once anybody loses a game, does anybody have an argument better than anyone else with one loss?
COACH Charlie Weis: I mean, everyone will make their case. There isn’t one team out there that doesn’t believe that they are the team. Everyone thinks that way. And after this Saturday, there’s going to be another team with one loss and they will be making their case, too.
So, I mean, there’s a bunch of teams out there that are just making their case. You know, I think it’s just really important for our team to just go out there and really play our best game against Army. That’s what I think. That’s all we can do. We can’t control any other factors. That’s the only game that we can have something to say about and we respect our opponent.
Q. Most of us never see all of the stuff you do behind the scenes with parents and we forget they are still the parents’ kids, can you talk about how your relationship has changed, any funny incidents that have happened over the last two years?
COACH Charlie Weis: I think the No. 1 thing with parents is they appreciate ?? they appreciate, especially the older ones, the older players’ parents, they appreciate how you are looking out for them for their future.
And I think that as the head coach, that’s part of your job is to not be hypocritical about looking out for them and their future and helping, whether it’s in football or not in football, to help provide them an opportunity to be successful in life. And I think that’s the No. 1 thing parents look for and we try to do that as much as we possibly can.
Q. As a follow to that, can you explain how do you that in areas out of football?
COACH Charlie Weis: Okay, well, let’s say I might have a senior that doesn’t intend to play football that I might excuse from practice so that he can go on a job interview on Wall Street; I’ve done that. All of a sudden they are not there and then they are back, because he doesn’t intend to play football, but he has a company that want to interview him for the second time. I think parents appreciate the fact that it’s not just about football all the time. That’s happened more than once.
We had one of our players last year, okay, we’ll leave the name out, who actually got a $50,000 signing bonus to take a job in business. I had never heard of that before. Where were those when I was graduating? (Laughter) They gave him $50,000 to sign just to take that job instead of taking with another job. It’s interesting to be in those situations where somebody has that request; hey, can I go interview with such and such a company on Wall Street on Monday? I might miss weightlifting. Okay, you can miss weightlifting. See if you can go land yourself that job. I think parents appreciate that.
Q. I won’t ask the name, but could you give me the name of the company?
COACH Charlie Weis: Touché.
Q. With it being Senior Week and so forth, Travis Leitko was a kid that didn’t have to come back here, and was kind of a neat story; has it played out that you’ve been happy with his contributions and it’s been worth it?
COACH Charlie Weis: Really for his sake, he did need to come back here, because he needed to finish what he had started.
So you say he didn’t need to come back here; I really kind of disagree with that, but I think the best thing for Travis was that he did what he did. He came back here, he was not promised a scholarship. He had to do well in summer school and he had two classes and he got two A’s in those two classes, and that give him an opportunity to come out as a walk on in training camp and went through training camp and earned himself a scholarship.
I think it’s a win?win. I think Travis won. And therefore, Notre Dame won. I think both parties came out on the upside on that one.
Q. I’ll follow that up a little bit, I guess should I have said, didn’t have to; some kids wouldn’t have done that in the same situation.
COACH Charlie Weis: Yeah, I agree with that. But I think the kid’s got a lot of character, and I think he wanted to make sure he finished what he had started.
Q. In terms of Carlson, is there a procedure that will or has been done with him?
COACH Charlie Weis: Oh, no, he doesn’t need a procedure. Just needs time. He just needs time. Fortunately it wasn’t severe, but severe enough where if I play to play him in the USC game, I could do damage. So that would not be a smart thing to do.
Q. In terms of Travis being in position with strong side linebacker, seems like he’s the guy that comes off the field in nickel, does that necessarily help the running back situation?
COACH Charlie Weis: No, he could play ?? but he and Joe are interchangeable. So either one of them could be on the field in nickel. It was just the configuration of the team we’re playing against; that’s the way ?? that was the easiest way for us to do it with the least amount of teaching. Because then it knocks them over from one side to the other side and then doubles the teaching. You know, so when you have a system that you put in where you are trying to make sure everyone knows what to do and cut down the mental errors, that was just the most simplistic way of doing it.
Q. In terms of your running backs, Darius, Prince, Aldrige configuration, is that about where you want it in terms of splits?
COACH Charlie Weis: Well, you just don’t know how many carries there’s going to be in a game. You know, Darius is our starter and you know, there’s definitely times for James and I would like to give Munir more time and I would like to give Travis more reps. Depends on how many times you’re going to get an opportunity to run the ball in the game, based on the last game where we had the ball 46 reps, 46 or 49; it was in the 40s that we had the reps for the game. So there’s some games you’d like to run the ball 40 times.
Q. Some observers have said that one of your strengths is you’re not afraid to ask questions or admit you’re learning something; what would be the biggest lesson you’ve learned from this season?
COACH Charlie Weis: Oh, we’re getting into philosophy now. Well, there’s several, but let’s just cite one.
I think that realizing that this is Notre Dame and you’re always under a microscope. I think that you have to understand that the people who cover you on a daily basis have a different perspective on what you’re saying than the people who don’t. And I think because of that, you’ve got to be very leery of saying something that even in jest, because it’s often misconstrued as a state of mind rather than what is actually stated as. And I think that that’s very ?? it a learning experience, because sometimes you say it, you say something, and you don’t realize the negative connotation that could go with it. I think that’s something that I’ve learned that’s kind of important.
Q. What’s the biggest lesson you’d want your seniors to learn from you?
COACH Charlie Weis: I’d like to think that in the short time we’ve been together, and it’s really been a short time because it’s only been two years, in the short time, they have realized that football can intertwine with the university and in real life they can peacefully coexist. Even though there’s truly a difference being a student and when you’re on the football field and then when you’re taking those things and just being a normal person in real life. I mean, those things can peacefully coexist, and I would like to think that ?? I’d like to believe that.
Q. You mentioned the other day about trap game; you don’t think this is a potential trap game?
COACH Charlie Weis: On the surface, yes. That’s why I gave that analogy. On the surface, it would be.
But, you know, I only answer that with a somewhat rhetorical question. And you’re going to play for the last time, ever, at your home stadium in front of your home fans, in front of your students that you’ve been buddies with for four years with your family and friends here; how could you want to do anything but play your best?
I know that’s rhetorical, but I’d like to think that should be ?? that, and the fact we’re playing Army; one thing you do know about any of the service academies. They talk about physical matchups and all that stuff. The one thing you do know is you’re always going to get their best. That’s what you’re going to get. You’re all going to get their best. You’re never going to get anything but their best.
Q. Army does have a historical tone to it in terms of years ago this was quite a match; do you talk to them about that?
COACH Charlie Weis: I haven’t talked to them about that. But I’ve got a couple lecture, lessons about Army versus Notre Dame, because of the recent game, the Rutgers game, talking about how big of a game it was, I got the whole history of the Army/Notre Dame decades ago. There’s things I learned that really weren’t so significant when I was in college at the time.
Q. Any general thoughts on the Ohio State/Michigan game?
COACH Charlie Weis: Obviously you have 1 versus 2, the two undefeated teams that have got it rolling. It should be an interesting ?? it should be an interesting matchup. We obviously played one of the teams this year and played one of the teams last year and we lost to both of them.
It will just be interesting. Obviously Ohio State is playing at home. I think turnovers will decide the game. I think it will be very ?? that will be the critical factor in the game. Whoever turns it over, I think that on Sunday morning, you look down and say, they turned it over this many times versus that many times, that team probably won the game.
Q. No rooting?
COACH Charlie Weis: I root for Notre Dame. Whatever is best for Notre Dame, that’s what I’m rooting for. Tell me what that is and that’s what I’m rooting for.
Q. Would that not be a close game?
COACH Charlie Weis: Win by a hundred, sign me up. Whatever is best for us, that’s what I’m rooting for.
Q. Probably unlike the other two service academies, Army runs a pretty conventional offense, is there a certain amount of admiration that those kids line up and just try to run it?
COACH Charlie Weis: But they still run the option, which that surprised me a little bit. I thought when I saw conventional, when I originally are heard they were a conventional offense, I figured that just meant they were in normal formations. But they still run the option.
So it’s still a threat. It’s still part of their package and they are averaging four yards a carry. So you’ve still got to be concerned with even though they have got conventional offense, you’ve still got to be concerned about stopping the option.
Q. Bobby Ross coached a Super Bowl and a co National Champion, can coaches coach anywhere?
COACH Charlie Weis: Well, it’s obvious that this guy can coach anywhere. I don’t know if coaches can coach anywhere. Some people are better suited for different jobs, but this guy has done it at the top of the game on both levels. So you have to put him in that category of guys that can coach anywhere.
Q. I thought I read this in the book, do you have a brother who went to West Point?
COACH Charlie Weis: My brother, Peter.
Q. He graduated?
COACH Charlie Weis: Mm?hmmm.
Q. Is there a certain admiration?
COACH Charlie Weis: I remember his pleb year, going into that Eisenhower Hall, sitting there with a bunch of those plebs, sitting at a table ?? I’ll give one Army story.
So we’re sitting at a table with about 12 people and having a couple of cold beverages that they are allowed to, and a couple upper classmen wanted the table. Place was packed. So these were a bunch of plebs, so the guy came over and these guys all stood up at attention and basically told, you know, they needed the table. And Coach Weis, as you can imagine looked at these people and said, in a nice way, asked them what they thought that they were doing. (Laughter) And they apologized to me and moved on. So I asked my brother and his friends to go ahead and return to their seats and let’s continue our conversation.
But I remember that distinctly, as well as going to a Marshall Tucker Band concert there, as well, that same weekend.
Q. Is he your younger brother?
COACH Charlie Weis: Yeah, I have an older sister and three younger brothers.
Q. Marcus Freeman, would you talk about somebody you constantly being in the shadows, he came in with Anthony and kind of played second fiddle to him. Anthony moves on to the NFL and now Marcus still was behind John Carlson kind of overshadowed there. You mentioned what a thrill it was for the entire team when he scored the touchdown, but just his role now and how much it changes in such a crucial situation. Can you talk about just how important it’s become?
COACH Charlie Weis: I think it would be more threatening if we didn’t have that type of confidence in Marcus. It would be one thing if you were saying, well, now all of the sudden your two freshman tight ends are now your starter. If you have a senior who has been playing a whole bunch the last couple of years, even though he’s been anonymous because the front line guy has been getting the notoriety, a guy with Marcus stepping in, I think that everyone on the team has total confidence that Marcus can perform.
So therefore, it alleviates a lot of the concerns you would have, game planning and everything else, because you’re not changing anything with him in there.
Q. Last year you may have had an idea that Anthony was going pro at the time on the fifth year, discussions coming up, and you also recruited two very good freshman tight ends at the time and you had John coming back. What was the discussion like as far as what is Marcus’s future for this year and role, because you had your present and you had your future and it’s kind of hard ??
COACH Charlie Weis: We play a lot of two tight end sets and it was his job to lose and he didn’t lose it. He’s been ?? you know, we used ?? he’s one of those co?starters that I was talking about, that at the beginning of the year, it was Graham and Asef and Marcus and Asef got hurt, they are really the 11th starter and he’s been a starter for us the whole year. He’s just been a starter in our two tight end sets where John has been our starter in all the sets. That’s really ?? he’s played probably at least half the snaps all year with the reps with the two tight ends in there.
Q. Was there discussion about a fifth year ?? inaudible?
COACH Charlie Weis: Fifth year is a whole different, you know, conversation piece. But fifth year is something that is discussed between me and them and then they file ?? they file with the school to get cleared for it. They are almost always accepted, but, you know, they have to be in good standing academically and socially and all those other things. All our guys are in that boat, so it just worked out for him and it worked out for us.
Q. You gave us a nice overview earlier regarding what to look forward to for Army, can you give us a brief sound byte on what our biggest obstacle is going to be against Army this week?
COACH Charlie Weis: I think handling the emotions of Senior Day. And that’s no disrespect to Army but it’s an emotional day. You don’t see these guys in the locker room after the game where you see like tears coming down after a game like last year after Syracuse. I mean, these guys are emotional after this game.
This is not just your normal game to these guys. This is it. I mean, when you sit back and reflect, you know, that you’ve been part of an organize, part of the university here for a bunch of years and this is it, really, you know, it’s something that gets to you.
I think control your emotions, emotion is going to be one of the things you talk about with the team today but a couple different categories. One of them is playing with emotion. The other one is controlling your emotion. And I think that emotions can be a big factor for us in both those games, playing with emotion and then controlling their emotion.
Q. When you prepare for a team you look at the tape, but do you normally run the plays, or when they slow you a side?bar you isn’t seen, how do you react to that?
COACH Charlie Weis: During the game?
COACH Charlie Weis: Every game there’s things ?? you can only practice so many plays when you have a 20?hour work week. There’s only so many plays you can practice. So what you try to do is you have them mentally prepared as best you can. For example, offensively. They can bring a pressure, they can bring a blitz that they have not run all year long. Sometimes I tell the quarterback, well, if that happens, just throw it away and we’ll come back and play the next play, don’t worry about it.
I mean, you’ve got to play the odds. Usually what they do is what they do. Same thing with everyone else. I think that same thing with defensively, we could be ready for one thing on offense and all of a sudden they could come out with something else. Well, you know, you just regroup and adjust and let’s go. They are trying to win the game just the way we’re trying to win the game.
Q. Would you prefer to go up against a team especially late in the season that’s unbeaten whether it’s Army, USC or whoever?
COACH Charlie Weis: I just want to beat Army, that’s all I want to do. I’m not into worrying about beaten or not unbeaten. I just want to beat Army and they want to beat us. That’s what I want to do. This game is the only game that’s important to me, beating Army.
Q. What was your reaction regarding Joe Paterno’s episode on the sidelines, and get you thinking about any close calls that perhaps you had in your career somewhere along the line?
COACH Charlie Weis: It’s very easy for that to happen. I know when I was in New England, I had a four?prong cane there the year after my surgery, and I had Damon Huard and Rohan Davie, my second and third quarterbacks, one standing to the right of me, one standing to the left of me. Look, you have one job to do: Protect me. You’re not playing, just protect me.
That’s the only job they had and twice they screwed it up. (Laughter) I got run over at Giants stadium, I mean, right to my back and I got run over again at Buffalo right to my back. Fortunately, I didn’t get hurt in either one.
But basically I said in a team meeting the next day, we won both of those games, so the team meeting the next day, not only did I get humiliated as they rewound me getting run over about a hundred times, but you can bet that Damon Heward and Rowan Davie were taking a verbal beating from me at the same time; one job to do.
Q. Obviously one of the legacies of the seniors is the experience and mentoring that they provided to the younger players, given the amount of players you’re losing on the offensive side of the ball, can you talk about how they have done as a group preparing younger players for what will happen next year?
COACH Charlie Weis: I think that one phrase that ?? I was talking to a high school coach out in California this year, and he gave me a very ?? the last year, and his perspective I thought was one that I knew that I would be bringing back up at the end of this year.
But because he was on a high school level in the same situation where he had graduated a bunch of players, and the phrase that he came up with which I thought was great which I’m going to copycat and use this year was “tradition never graduates.” And I think that being, you know, that perspective is a great one to utilize for our younger players.
I mean, players can graduate, but tradition doesn’t, and I think that that’s what Notre Dame to be standing for. So just there’s going to be a change of personnel every year. There’s going to be people going out and there’s going to be people coming in. That’s just the way it is. But if they are part of a tradition, I think they realize it’s just one guy moves out and the next guy moves in, and your job is to win regardless of who wins and who comes in.