Oct. 26, 2006

Irish head coach Charlie Weis talks about senior safety and all-star candidate Tom Zbikowski.

Q. You have a couple guys that are really in the media spotlight; Tom Zbikowski is one of them, yet he’s not a quarterback or a wide receiver. Why do you think that is, and what about his personality makes you comfortable with him being out there?

COACH Charlie Weis: First of all, I think that everybody knows about his toughness and then knows about his return ability and then knows about him being a local boy makes good, being a Chicago kid. I think the cult hero status really came into play in June when he went to Madison Square Garden, now all of a sudden everybody is fascinated with the two?sport type athlete.

Here’s what I’d say about Zibby: Besides him being a runaway pick for defensive captain by his peers, which he was, here’s a guy who practices like he plays. He practices every day hard, and he really never says boo. He never – hardly ever says anything. He just goes out there and practices and plays as hard as he can. He loves to play the game. That’s what people like; they like when people are not whiners or complainers and they love to play the game.

Q. Tommy gets into the end zone for the sixth time in his career (vs. Penn State). Doesn’t happen that many times by accident. What does he do or what is it about him that this happens for him?

COACH WEIS: Some people can say it’s opportunistic. Some people can say it’s lucky. All I know is, I hope it keeps happening. He has a nose for the ball. The ball comes to him. It’s kind of funny, I’ve watched guys in my career, just amazing how it happens. I mean, sometimes guys are great players, sometimes they’re not. I remember we had an old DB we picked up from the Cowboys with the Giants years ago by the name of Everson Walls. Every time it turned around, somebody was throwing the ball to him. He was a corner. He ran a 4.8. The ball was going to Everson Walls. Seems like every time you turn around, somebody was throwing an interception to him.

Zibby is one of those guys where the ball comes to him. Part of it is his instinct. Part of it is being in the right place at the right time.