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UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS MEDIA CONFERENCE


September 16, 2014


Charlie Weis


CHARLIE WEIS:¬† On to Central Michigan, who's 2‑1, Coach Enos's squad.¬† He's been there for five years.¬† Interesting because he hired Morris Watts to be his offensive coordinator, who's been coaching for over 50 years, and probably one of the few times you'll get to see a game this year with old‑school football on offense.¬† Now, he does have all the modern tweaks.¬† He'll spread it out and have all that stuff available to you, but this is an old‑school football team, multiple running backs, multiple tight ends, try to pound you, pound you, pound you, pound you, a big group of offensive linemen which we'll talk about here in a second.
But this is a game that a lot of us grew up watching play on offense.¬† It starts with their quarterback Cooper, who's a big guy himself.¬† He's 6'3", 220, he's a drop‑back quarterback.¬† Last year he was even with his touchdowns to interceptions.¬† This year he's got 4:1, so okay, he's greatly improved his touchdown‑interception ratio.
There's a good chance their lead running back, Rawls, won't play from what I understand.  He's now indefinitely suspended.  They list five different guys, but if Rawls doesn't go, we'll probably get the most out of Lavallii.  I know there's another three guys on the depth chart, but he's clearly second after Rawls as far as how they do it.
They have a fullback that plays fullback that's probably going to be Bacci.  I know they've listed Garland in there, too, and then you'll have two tight ends that will both play.
Beyond the line of scrimmage, Kinville is more beyond the line of scrimmage guy, and Butler is more the move guy for them in their offensive scheme.
As far as the receivers go, we really don't know the status of Davis.¬† Davis is a front‑line wide receiver, could play for anybody.¬† Got hurt on a punt return in the first game of the year against Chattanooga, really hasn't seen action since.¬† He's 6'2", 190, he's a good receiver but he's also a good returner.
Kroll, Williams and Anthony Rice are the other receivers.¬† I have to give a little shout‑out for Anthony being he's another guy who's probably spent 100 nights at the Weis house in Indiana as a high school teammate of Reilly Jeffers, went to the same high school together, and he was boys with Tre' Parmalee and Charlie, so I'd be remiss if I didn't at least mention Anthony whose parents I know very well.
On the offensive line, they're all big.¬† They're all 300‑plus pounders.¬† The guys with the accolades are the left guard Phelps and their center Beamish.¬† But they're all big guys and they're big and physical, and that's the way they like to play.¬† They want to run the ball down your throat, and if we're not ready for it, that's exactly what they'll do.
Joe Tumpkin runs their defense sort of with the same mentality we just talk about.¬† They're very big inside.¬† They have four 300‑pounders that they roll through there in the two inside positions, and really, as you look through all four of them, I mean, they just keep them fresh, and they just keep them coming, keep on pressing the pocket between the center and the guards.¬† They're going to have their hands full with these guys.
Ostman, who plays at defensive end on our right, their left, is a high‑effort defensive end who gives a lot of people trouble.¬† Serpa is on the other side.
At linebacker, they're led by Cherocci.  He averaged 10 tackles a game last year.  He goes with their 3 technique, and Hamilton goes with their nose.  They say Mike and Will, but they kind of go with the 3 technique and the 1 technique.  King plays their nickel.
The one thing about all three of those linebackers, they've all been in the program for at least four years.
Their secondary, I'm really impressed with Wilson who's their boundary corner.¬† Greer and Frazier handle the‑‑ Greer is a field corner, really, and Frazier and Annese handle the safeties.
Coluzzi started off the year as both their punter and their kicker.  He had gotten banged up a little bit in the Chattanooga game, as well, but he's back in there.  He's been a punter.  You'll see both conventional punts and you'll also see some rugby punting where he rolls a little bit to his right and punts the ball, usually making it tough to catch and giving a big roll.  Eavey has taken over as the placekicker and the kickoff guy from Coluzzi, probably stemming from that original injury.
Zenk is their long snapper.  I talked about punt returning.  We really have to be concerned if Davis is a go because he makes plays.  And Williams, who's one of the starting wide receivers I mentioned before, Williams will handle the kickoff returns.
The floor is open.

Q.  You talked a lot about the team's psyche, but how about physically?  Did you come out of last week okay?
CHARLIE WEIS: ¬†We have a couple guys sick, but other than Zunica, who we thought maybe had broken his fibula but he didn't, he's just sore, everyone is set and ready to go.¬† Just like any college program at this time of year, you start to get some kids sick.¬† But I don't know if‑‑ when you're sick, you're always day‑to‑day.¬† They might be practicing today, they might be practicing tomorrow in a couple of cases, but we're aware of that.¬† Injury‑wise we're in good shape.

Q.¬† You talked about Montell's accuracy.¬† What can you do in practice to help a guy accuracy‑wise?
CHARLIE WEIS:¬† Well, there's about two or three things that you could do to work on that, and without getting into particulars, those are the two or three things that we're going to work on today.¬† I'm not going to get into here's what we're doing to fix the problems because I'm not going to say, hey, Central Michigan, here's what we're doing, okay, but there's‑‑ I've been coaching quarterbacks for a long time.¬† I'm not the quarterback coach or the offensive coordinator, but I know enough about quarterbacks to identify problems and how to fix them, and Montell spent Sunday meeting with Ron, John and me.¬† It was a full‑‑ he had a full plate on Sunday, but at the end of the day when he walked out of there on Sunday, I think he understood, A, what the problems were, and then B, what we're going to try to do to fix them.

Q.¬† You talked about his accuracy throughout the off‑season, considerably better than obviously he showed last year.¬† Is it just live action, getting out there?
CHARLIE WEIS:  I think it was a bad day at the office.  That's what I think it was.  Do you have bad days at the office?

Q.  I have.
CHARLIE WEIS:  Well, he had one.  He had a bad day at the office.

Q.  How is Montell's confidence right now, and the same question overall with the team, how confident are they for Saturday's game?
CHARLIE WEIS:  Well, which one?  Give me one question.  By the time Montell left on Sunday, I think Montell was feeling a lot better than when Montell walked in because when you see what the issues are and you see what the answers are, and if you believe that the answers can solve the issues, then you're okay.  It's when you don't have an answer.  That's a bigger issue.  But there were a lot of simple things that could be done.
Obviously I can't do anything about the bad day.  We all had a bad day that day.  He was just one of the guys who had the ball in his hands on every play, so it obviously becomes magnified.
As far as the team goes, that's what Sunday was all about.¬† The first half of Sunday was hammering them.¬† The second half of the day was moving on to Central Michigan, and I think that without me choreographing anything that any player says to you when you guys have them tomorrow, I think I clearly got across to them that that game‑‑ you've got to put that game in the rear view mirror and you've got to be focusing on Central Michigan because if you don't, you'll get whooped again.

Q.  Do you rely on the seniors for that?
CHARLIE WEIS:¬† I met with the captains, not the seniors.¬† I met with the captains and I let them take it from there.¬† We addressed a whole bunch of things.¬† I gave them what was on my mind, they gave me what was on their mind.¬† It was pretty much the same thing, though.¬† For example, Ben Heeney, I can give you four players right now with the exception of maybe a play in the game that had really good games.¬† Ben Heeney and Victor Simmons had really good games, okay.¬† I mean, not good games, they had really‑‑ Justin McCay, he had a really good game.
Now, you don't always see it by production, okay, but he had a really good game.  Semke, he had a really good game.  I mean, so when you talk to them on Sunday, you just don't come in and just start hammering away at every single issue because some guys actually played really well.  It's just that it doesn't make any difference if a handful of guys play well when there's a number of guys who don't.  So I mean, there are actually some guys that walked out of there feeling disappointed in the loss but at least good that the coaches recognized that even though the game was bad, they played well.

Q.  Is that enough to keep the outcome, the most recent one, from being a significant hit to the progress of the program?
CHARLIE WEIS:¬† I think it's gone for the players.¬† It might not be gone on the street, but I couldn't tell you the street because from the second we got back, it's been all identify what the problems are.¬† You can't turn away from a game like that and ignore the things that didn't go well.¬† You know, I addressed the coaches on things that I don't like there.¬† I addressed the players on things I don't like there.¬† But you can't ignore the things that that didn't go well.¬† That being said, once that happens, you also can't let them leave on Sunday thinking about Duke.¬† So I went and showed them‑‑ they watched the entire Purdue game that Central Michigan went to Purdue and whooped up on Purdue because I want them to understand, don't think this is a MAC team that isn't capable of doing the same thing to you because they went on the road to Purdue, and if they didn't give up a garbage touchdown late, the score would have been 48‑10.¬† The game ended up‑‑ it was a domination by Central Michigan on offense, defense and special teams.
Now, they had a bad day at the office last week themselves.  I mean, we weren't the only team that had a bad day at the office.  They had a bad day at the office, as well.  Not too much went right in that game against Syracuse, so I'm sure they were reeling a little bit themselves, but not for one second did I want our team here not respecting who they're going against, so when they watched that Purdue game when they walked out of here, they know they'd better be ready to bring it, and you don't have time for sulking.

Q.¬† How much did having Rawls and not having Rawls have to do with the additional ‑‑
CHARLIE WEIS:¬† I mean, he's a 100‑plus yard rusher every single game, and looking at, following the issues that are going on, I'd be kind of surprised if he played this week.¬† Sign me up for that.
But I've got my own guys' issues on and off the field.¬† I don't wish bad on anyone else, but I think that the kid is a legitimately front‑line player.¬† I think he's really good.¬† So would it have affected them, yeah, it probably would have affected them.

Q.  How has your offensive line performed through two games?
CHARLIE WEIS:  I think that the guards are the steady Eddie on our team.  I think actually Damon played better at right tackle in the second game than he played in the first game.  Pat is going to get half of that cast off today.  I think he played with one and a half arms in that game, so he's going to get a much smaller cast on, which gives him his fingers and everything, which I think will help him tremendously, and Keyon, as I addressed before, he was part of the problem.  He was part of the problem right with Montell because there's only two guys that touch the ball on every play, so I mean, your problems are going to be magnified at those two positions if you don't have a good day.

Q.  Have you been working Larry at right tackle some?
CHARLIE WEIS:  Left and right, yep.

Q.  Is that just normal rotation type stuff?
CHARLIE WEIS:¬† Well, I mean, Damon is one of those guys who hasn't been feeling that good, so you have to‑‑ without getting into all that type of stuff, you just have to protect yourself.¬† If he's your next best tackle after your first two guys, if he's the next best guy, then you have to have him ready to play on either side.

Q.  Is Montell on any kind of a short leash on Saturday versus Central Michigan?
CHARLIE WEIS:  Okay, I'm going to gather myself before I give that answer.  I expect Montell to play very well this week, okay.  If you're asking me will I have Cummings ready to go if things don't go well, I'll have Cummings ready to go if things don't go well.
Short leashes as a football phrase, that has no definition, because you don't know when that could happen.  Is that the first quarter, is that the second quarter, is that the start of the second half?  All I know is whoever is going to give us the best chance to win this game, that's who's going to be in there.  And right now we think that Montell gives us the best chance to win this game.

Q.¬† You said the spotlight is obviously on the quarterback.¬† What other keys‑‑ you wanted a more efficient passing game.¬† What are some other keys to maybe that happening?
CHARLIE WEIS:¬† When the game goes like that game went, the only answer I can give you other than give the quarterback more time, which is obviously the more time the quarterback has the more chance you have, it's really unfair to try to judge the other skill players because they become‑‑ I wouldn't say nonentities, but they become less significant because it really only starts with the guy with the ball in his hands.¬† So when I go to grade guys in the passing game from the other day, to be honest with you, with the tight ends and the wide receivers, I would give every one of them an incomplete because I really can't‑‑ if they run what they're supposed to run, which they basically do, they don't make mental errors, very seldom do they make mental errors, still it comes down to what happens when the ball comes in your direction, and that just didn't happen very many times in that game right there.
It's not avoiding the answer, it's being honest with you.  It would be tough for me to be critical of those guys because there wasn't enough action going their way.

Q.  Is that more on the offensive line than the quarterback?
CHARLIE WEIS:¬† No, it's all on the quarterback.¬† It's all on everyone in protection.¬† Protection is not just the offensive line, it's running backs, often it's tight ends, too.¬† Obviously the more time the quarterback gets, the better chance he has, but there were times in that game when the protection was great and the quarterback was bailing out and flushing out of the pocket when the pocket was‑‑ the integrity of the pocket was great, so that just goes back to the same bad day at the office that was part of that.

Q.¬† The problems on 3rd down, is that just another example of the passing game needing to be more efficient, or is there anything more that‑‑
CHARLIE WEIS:¬† Well, it really was the passing game on every down.¬† 3rd down gets magnified‑‑ if you're not throwing and catching, if you're not throwing and catching, 3rd down gets magnified because now you're punting.¬† It wasn't like every 3rd down was 3rd and 12.¬† We had 3rd and 4s, we had plenty of manageable situations right there, but our efficiency in the pass game was not good, and it's definitely magnified on 3rd down.

Q.¬† The field goal that was block was obviously a long one.¬† That's two games in a row.¬† Is thatjust flukey stuff or is there ‑‑
CHARLIE WEIS:¬† No, the one in the first game was the problem.¬† This game, we talked‑‑ Wyman and I talked about whether to try it or not.¬† He goes, well, I'm going to have to hit it lower because he was going to have to drive the ball.¬† I already knew he was going to drive it, but to be honest with you, the ball was not blocked by the guys inside.¬† It was the guy coming off their right edge, off their left edge, but it was because he was taking so much time to try to drive the ball to kick it 57 yards or whatever was there.¬† The kid could have said to me, Coach, I can't make it, but that wasn't his answer.¬† I liked his answer.¬† His answer was, hey, let's give it a shot.¬† He said, I'm going to have to take a little bit more time and try to drive it, but let's give it a shot.¬† So more power to it.
But there were two different issues.¬† One was penetration up the middle, and this was trying to take a bit of time to try and make a 57‑yard field goal.¬† Actually I think Wyman has been‑‑ I know he's probably 50/50 based off the stats now, but actually he's hit the ball pretty solid for us after two games.

Q.  I mean, he expected, once you kind of announced John as your kicker, he expected, okay, I lost the battle, but he stayed ready, obviously.
CHARLIE WEIS:  Well, he expected it until Tuesday was over.  After Tuesday was over, he didn't expect it anymore, because after Tuesday there was then a new period the next day and he was now the kicker, okay.

Q.  Even if it was only 12 hours, do you think that that just kind of exhaling a little bit maybe helped him?
CHARLIE WEIS:  That's possible.  I don't know that.  It would be purely a guess on my part.  I wouldn't know that.

Q.  On the new depth chart you have Harwell as the punt returner.
CHARLIE WEIS:  Well, I've done a lot of things here in the last 48 hours, but there's a lot of things that have been changed on special teams in the last 24 hours, okay.  That's one of the things that's been changed.  There's a lot of things that have been changed.

Q.  The big plays on defense that you gave up, you mentioned gapping.  Is that just mental errors and one guy missing an assignment?
CHARLIE WEIS:  Well, let's talk about the four big runs, and the four big runs, two of them we had a guy for every gap, the hit versus blitz zones, so the line is slanting a certain way, so there's a guy there in position to make a play, and we don't touch him, okay, on two of them.
On one of them there was a player standing there unblocked, untouched, you know, and didn't even touch the guy.  Okay, and I don't know why.  He just froze.  He looked like he just froze, okay.
And another one was the run was kind of clogged up, and he bounced it out.¬† It was the one up the right side, the back to back, the 30‑yarder and 40‑yarder when he bounced it out to the right side, that was a bounce‑out run that sometimes happens in a game.¬† So the bounce‑out run that sometimes happens in a game I have less of a problem with than the other three when you have a guy in the gap on two of them, okay, and guys just overrun the play, and the other one when you have a guy standing right there, no one blocking you, and you have to make the play.¬† So they're all a little bit different.¬† None of them are acceptable.¬† The only one I can really kind of excuse is the bounce‑out.¬† Everything is clogged up, nothing is there, you bounce it out, now you run it up the sideline.

Q.  Referencing what you said earlier about some guys playing a pretty good game, was Michael Reynolds one of those guys?
CHARLIE WEIS:  No, I would not put him in that group of people that played really well.

Q.  Throughout?
CHARLIE WEIS:  I think when Michael Reynolds was rushing the passer, he looked good.  When he wasn't, he didn't look very good.
You're not going to get me to say yea on very many players you could bring up right now.  Take your pick.  There aren't going to be very many of them I'm going to say, yeah, they played well.

Q.  You mentioned Victor Simmons.  He's a guy who made pretty good numbers last year.  We didn't talk about him much in the preseason.  What do you like about him?
CHARLIE WEIS:¬† Here's a guy who played all‑out the entire game.¬† Didn't make any mistakes, made a few plays, okay, but you can tell the guys that made some plays, were in the right spot, didn't give up any plays, and he stood out.¬† When you watch the tape, you could sit there, he's in the right place and he's making plays when plays are going his way, and when he's not, he's not giving up anything cheap, okay, and that's when you know you did your job.
There's some days you'll get more production than the others, but when you do your job and don't give up any plays, that usually means you played pretty well, and he did.¬† He played‑‑ I called him out in the meeting.¬† He was one of the first people I called out because it's not the normal type of person.¬† Ben Heeney is easy.¬† You go make your 15 tackles and give up a play in the passing game, but other than that you're sideline to sideline, you're not missing any gaps, you're in the gaps you're supposed to be, you're playing hard the whole time.¬† The guy gets banged up, comes off the sideline.¬† He could have stayed out if he wanted to.¬† He couldn't get back out there fast enough.¬† I mean, that's why Ben Heeney is who he is.
But Victor Simmons I thought played‑‑ I was impressed.¬† I thought he played very well.
I didn't mention the running backs.¬† I thought the running backs ran the ball really well again.¬† I thought both those guys have showed that they're going to run tough, and not every yard was easy, but they ran tough in the game.¬† You know, so it gives you‑‑ hey, we've been there before now, and we all know, I'm not going to give you illusions of grandeur, we can run the football.¬† If you can't throw it, if you can't score points, you're not going to win.¬† The players and the coaches all understand that very clearly.

Q.¬† This may be kind of a simple dumb question, but‑‑
CHARLIE WEIS:  Go ahead.  Dumb is right up my alley.

Q.  For three years you've had running backs, you've had different offensive linemen, you've always been able to run the ball; you've had different quarterbacks, different receivers and not been able to.  Is there a common theme on what's wrong?
CHARLIE WEIS:  Well, I'd say this is where we've played two games and let's wait a while before we come to that answer.  That's what I think.  Let's wait a while, because right now it would be unfair of me to give an answer because there's not enough evidence to be able to back that right now.  You know, I just don't have a good enough answer yet.

Q.  What was the Duke defense doing that shut down Harwell?
CHARLIE WEIS:  Montell shut down Harwell.  Duke's defense didn't shut down Harwell.

Q.  You mentioned after the game this week, and you've said respectfully honestly that you're not trying to disrespect an opponent, but it's all about you guys this week.
CHARLIE WEIS:  I agree.

Q.  Will your team against this style of team be matching their physicality?
CHARLIE WEIS:  Well, put it like this:  They already know what's coming today.  I mean, they know what's coming today.

Q.  What is it?
CHARLIE WEIS:  You won't have to worry about whether or not today will be a physical practice.  And you'll have Reagan and Bowen right in the middle of it.  Okay, as a matter of fact, Reagan today, he was doing something different than he normally does.  Normally he just gives the play to the signal caller and it goes from there.  Today he has Ron doing that, giving the plays to signal callers, but he's going to be right in the middle of everything, all over him.  This is the type of practice I'm really looking forward to.

Q.  You talked about Victor playing so well when he was playing all out, and we saw how well your team played in the first quarter with the motion against Southeast Missouri.  Is that a big key for you guys, just playing with that emotion in a home game coming up this week?
CHARLIE WEIS:¬† Well, each player, there's plenty of guys who played with emotion the entire game.¬† There's plenty of them.¬† The problem is some guys handle negative plays, they don't have short‑term memory, so they harp in the past instead of, okay, the play is gone.¬† I don't know how many times, okay, that series is over.¬† Let's go.¬† You have to play the next play, and I think that when people‑‑ when players are thinking more about what happened than what's going to happen, you know, that's not a good thing, so that's been the biggest point of emphasis here in the last 48 hours.¬† Let it go.¬† I mean, you've got to let it go.
If you give up a play, let it go.¬† What you can't do, you look at the first series, we had three bad plays in a row now, okay.¬† You don't‑‑ you only notice the first one, but all three of those plays there was a problem on, and the problem wasn't all 11 guys.¬† The problem really started between the quarterback and the center, okay, and before you know it, you're punting and you never even gave your team a chance.
Put it like this:¬† I'm glad there's lights out there because when the practice is over, the quarterback and center are going to hang out together for quite some time.¬† I don't know what time tutoring starts, but hopefully they'll be in time for tutoring.¬† We can't be out there because that would exceed the four‑hour day.

Q.  You've obviously really tried to help out a lot of young quarterbacks.  I guess with Montell, what is the usual progression as far as a younger guy making the decision of where to get the football, how quickly to get rid of it, and really identify if a guy like Nick or Tony is open?
CHARLIE WEIS:  Well, it's not a question of whether they were open.  He's now seen them open.  You were at the game.  You saw them roll out twice and Tony is standing there in the flat without anyone within 15 yards of him.  I mean, Tony can't get any more open than that.  I mean, so the key is throw it to him.
I can do some things, for example, when you roll out of the pocket, normally people read things top down.  Why, because you have more time.  Well, then maybe this week instead of reading them top down, maybe they're going to read them bottom up, so if somebody is there right now, go ahead and give it to him.  There's a perfect example of on the exact same play, you would see if there's clutter down the field, you're looking in the flat, go ahead and throw it to him.
But the question about shutting down Tony and Nick, you know, it wasn't like Tony and Nick didn't have opportunities to make plays.  They did.

Q.  How big is this one?  You've made no secret about how big Duke was.
CHARLIE WEIS:  I think everyone knows that this is a critical game because now you go into the Big 12 stretch that we're about ready to go into, and I'm not even worrying about any of those games right now.  I think this kind of sets the table, sets the table either way, either sets the table well or it doesn't, sets the table where you're really, really fighting, fighting an uphill battle.  Either way you're going to be fighting.  I mean, it's a tough league.  You're going to be fighting every week.
But I think if you go out there and play really well against a good, physical team and win the game, I think that you'll be really encouraged going into the next one.

Q.  When players are having a tough time, I assume they would come to you and express their feelings, but for a coach when there's tough times, where do you go?  Who do you talk to?
CHARLIE WEIS:¬† Me personally?¬† My job is to get everyone else‑‑ the head coach doesn't have that release, okay, but I have to be there not just for the players now.¬† You do that for the coaches, too, believe it or not.¬† I know you guys don't think that coaches are people and stuff like that, but you have to worry about their psyches, too.
I think that that's what I do on Saturday night; I figure out on Saturday night what I'm going to say on Sunday morning.  Some of the damage control you've already done on the plane, as much as you could do, okay, but once you get back and you've watched the game, you get back, it's 11:15, I sit down there, sit in the chair and get the clicker in your hand and go watch the offense and the defense and special teams, now it's 2:00, and you have a much better idea of questions that some of you asked after the game.  Now what you've thought has either been verified or didn't exactly happen the way you thought it happened.  But I know one thing:  By that time you already can now get a mindset on how to address the problems.
One of the things you have to do is you have to beat them down and build them up all in the same day, and if you think that they come in and I say that's okay, then you don't know me very well, because I don't do that.  I think it's important for everyone to know, here's what the problems were, okay, and these problems are caused by you, and then go about how to fix them.  And that's true with coaches, too, just so you know.  I do the same thing with them that I do with the players, because there's things they'll say, why do you call this or what were we doing here or what was your guy doing on this play because whether it's a position coach or a play caller, there's always issues that come up.
But really, I think by the time 6:30 or so Sunday night hit here when these guys were leaving the building, I think that they were on to Central Michigan.

Q.  First play of the game where it looked like Montell was surprised that the ball was snapped.  Was that a miscommunication?
CHARLIE WEIS:¬† No, that play‑‑ on the second play that happened.¬† On the first play the ball hit him in the hands but the snap was 100 miles an hour.¬† On the first play it wasn't him snapping it early, and it wasn't ball placement, it was a speed ball, which really caught him off guard.¬† He got his hands on the ball, it hit him in the hands and then went over his shoulder.
But those are the type of things that it isn't where the snap‑‑ the location of the snap was on that play, it was the speed of the snap.¬† So sometimes it's the location of the snap, okay, sometimes it's the speed of the snap.¬† Sometimes it's not being on the same page exactly when that's going to occur.¬† So really it's a good question because there's about three different issues that took place on that play.¬† The ball was right here, but it was coming so hard, sometimes like in baseball you say it's too hot to handle, it was like one of those ones where the ball was coming back so fast, it surprised him.¬† And it was hot.¬† You'd like for him to catch it, but it was hot.

Q.  Was the center too emotionally keyed up?
CHARLIE WEIS:¬† Well, I don't know.¬† He had a bunch of family there.¬† That could have been it.¬† I don't know.¬† That doesn't explain the second one or the third one or the other ones that we were dealing with right there.¬† But we're working on it.¬† We're working on it.¬† It's not that‑‑ I promise you one thing:¬† It's not because either one of those guys doesn't care because they do.¬† They want to be good.¬† They want to fix the problems.

Q.  You already mentioned Avery, but first road game for a bunch of your freshmen and obviously a lot of them got out there, too.  Just the whole experience, what do you think of how those guys handled the road trip?
CHARLIE WEIS:¬† Well, Avery doesn't act like a freshman, so it's tough for me to look at him like a freshman.¬† I think there's different guys you look at different ways.¬† There's a couple guys that looked like they were more looking at the opposing stadium, and really it wasn't a very intimidating place now.¬† There was about 25,000 people there.¬† They're far away from you.¬† It wasn't loud.¬† So there really was nothing to be intimidated about.¬† I mean, you're playing against a nice, solid team.¬† They're not great, but they're a nice, solid team that's turned the corner and they're winning, so you're going to have to play well, so really there should have been‑‑ field was in great condition, weather didn't turn out to be an issue, but I mean, really you could look for reasons.¬† There really isn't one.¬† We've got to places where a freshman walks in and says, my God.¬† You walk in and there's 88,000 people there or 100,000 people there, and some of them get overwhelmed, but that game, that should not have been the case.

Q.  But it was for a couple of them?
CHARLIE WEIS:  I'd say a few guys it was a little bit much for.  But Avery, he certainly wasn't one of them.
See, the thing about that game, you go into‑‑ my biggest concerns in the game, by two biggest concerns on defense were their passing game and quarterback runs because I thought we'd be vulnerable.¬† Quarterback didn't run the ball one time, and the passing game was basically no big deal.¬† They hit McCaffrey down the middle of the field versus two Tampa, okay, and on a pick play, he gets open on the 5, catches, misses‑‑ it hits him.¬† If he tackles him, they're kicking a field goal; misses the tackle, they score.¬† Other than that, their good guy, No.3, two catches for 14 yards.¬† Blakeney, five catches for 45 yards.¬† So my two biggest concerns we pretty well shut down.¬† I wasn't counting on big plays in the run game.¬† I wasn't counting on our pass game being inefficient.¬† I wasn't counting on not being able to score.¬† Those are the things that ultimately‑‑ ultimately those are the things that end up getting you, that and turnovers.¬† But even the turnovers just led to six points.¬† The defense D'd up on both turnovers and held them to three both times, so it wasn't like there were 14 points.¬† The defense held them both times.

Q.  Harwell's had past experience against Central Michigan and has had success, as well.  Is he excited to play against Central Michigan again?
CHARLIE WEIS:  Right now I don't care what Harwell is excited about.  What I care about with Harwell is that he's the leader of our offense and he gets all over them so that today we have a good practice.  You know, he's had big numbers against this team in the past.  He's had good days, but that's the past.  I'm only worrying about today's practice leading into Saturday's game.

Q.¬† You talked a little bit about Cozart in the pocket last week‑‑
CHARLIE WEIS:  I was looking to wrap this up.  That's what I was doing.  But I promise you I will answer your question, go ahead.

Q.  Is that also something you will focus on this week in practice, the pocket practice as well as the accuracy?
CHARLIE WEIS:  Pocket presence is a different deal, and I agree with you that I think that that was also an issue in the game.  Pocket presence will definitely be addressed.  Not will be addressed, it already has been addressed and will be addressed on the field here today.
Thank you for clearing that up for me because that helped me.  It did.  I'm not being sarcastic.  I'd like to be sarcastic, but I'm not being.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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