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September 20, 2014

Charlie Weis


Q.  You described this game going into it as a table setter for conference play.  How do you feel the table was set after today?
CHARLIE WEIS:  Well, I think that our guys played tough.  Their guys played tough.  That's the way Central Michigan plays.  But we're going to have to win games.  We're not as dynamic as some other teams are offensively, and I think that we're going to have to win some games that are slugfests, and I think that especially with the one on the horizon coming up next week, I think this was a good game to get ready for that one.

Q.  I know you answered a lot of questions about Montell Cozart last week and you said it wasn't all his fault, but you also acknowledged that he could play better.  How did you feel he responded to what happened last week and the way he played today?
CHARLIE WEIS:  Well, in the first half we played obviously very conservative, but every pass we were throwing, almost every pass we were throwing was of the short variety because we wanted to get his confidence back, that and the fact we lost a couple offensive linemen on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.  It was a little bit of a concern.
But he completed most of those passes in the first half, and then in the second half we felt good enough about letting him throw the ball down the field a little bit.

Q.  Nice way to start the game, too; the first touch to Tony Pierson.
CHARLIE WEIS:  Yeah, we put Tony in the backfield and let him run a speed sweep.  We thought that we'd have a chance with that personnel group.  With no backs in the game, using Tony as the back would give us an opportunity to potentially have a play, and we obviously got a big one.

Q.  You mentioned the physicality of the game.  How do you feel your defense responded today?
CHARLIE WEIS:  Well, they only gave up 10 points and they gave up three turnovers.  I think the only thing that I was disappointed at was the one time we had them pinned back on the 7‑yard line, and not only did we not keep them pinned back but I think that was the drive they went and got the three in the first half.  Other than that I thought they played pretty stout up front.

Q.  You mentioned the short pass building confidence.  Same philosophy trying to get Tony the ball early?
CHARLIE WEIS:  Yeah, I think the only way you can guarantee Tony touches‑‑ in the past gave you've got to throw it to the guy who's open, but in the run game, when we end up putting a personnel group with four wide receivers and one tight end, now they're playing it for empty, and now Tony is the back in the backfield and giving you an opportunity to get to the edge, and obviously it was a big play early in the game.

Q.  10‑10 early 4th quarter, you got 3rd and 9.  How big of a lift was that touchdown?
CHARLIE WEIS:  Well, we'd gotten into plus territory a few times but hadn't really done much at that time.  I thought that play was the turning point in the game because the guy took a shot at it and Justin held onto it and when he turned around you knew where he was going, but you're finally feeling that, okay, there's a big play that now could put us in position to win the game.

Q.  Was it good to have one of those plays go your way?
CHARLIE WEIS:  Yeah, I try not to look at it exactly that way, but I'd be lying if I didn't say yes, so I will emphatically agree with you on that one.

Q.  Do you not think for a kid like Justin who's had so many ups and downs in his career to deliver a play like that, his senior year, all that stuff‑‑
CHARLIE WEIS:  It's good for Justin because like I said last week when the game was over, I only called out a few people for having really big games, and I said sometimes you don't see it in the production, and him getting an opportunity to make a big play like that, it's almost like payback for all the hard work you've put in.

Q.  Jake Love had a couple of complete‑‑
CHARLIE WEIS:  I actually called him out‑‑ the only player I called out in the locker room was Jake Love for those back‑to‑back plays, because I like you felt that those two plays seemed to take the wind out of the sail.  We had just taken the lead, now they've got the ball back, and they're still only down seven, but Jake makes those two plays first of all on the screen when they've got three guys out there, and he's the only guy that was close, and then he comes back right the next play and gets a tackle for a loss, and I think those two plays kind of helped seal the game.

Q.  Is that him being in the right spots, or is that him just working?
CHARLIE WEIS:  I think that he was in the right area, but still, no, it's just being a football player.  I saw their coaches kind of mad at their linemen out front, but you get these big linemen lumbering out there trying to block these guys in space, sometimes it's easier said than done, and I think Jake kind of squirmed his way through there on the first one, and I think the first one was big, and the second one was just as big.

Q.  You talked about linemen blocking in space.  How big was the block by Pat Lewandowski when he sprung Corey Avery there at the end?
CHARLIE WEIS:  Yeah, that whole play is dependent on the tackle getting a block on the second level.  The whole play is designed around the tackle doing that, and when he got in the way, next thing you know it's a score, and it's a two‑score game and the game is basically over.

Q.  When you guys went up seven and you had a couple of possessions there where you maybe could have added to it, you went to Michael on one.  What was kind of the thinking there?
CHARLIE WEIS:  Well, I think maybe you should ask your fraternity brother what he thinks.  Maybe you can call him over here and see what he thinks and we'll go to the next question.

Q.  Early in the third quarter you had marched down the field a little bit and put Michael in there‑‑
CHARLIE WEIS:  Well, I didn't put him in there, John put him in there.

Q.  Good point.  Any idea how that was called or‑‑
CHARLIE WEIS:  Michael is more of a power runner.  You can run quarterback power and quarterback counter, but we don't run those plays with Montell.  We run reads with Montell, but we don't run power plays with Montell.

Q.  Did you feel good about the energy your players came out with in the first quarter, especially after last week?
CHARLIE WEIS:  Well, I think that Tony's big play early in the game kind of sparked everything, but my biggest concern actually was the delay, because for those of you who have been around here now, two years ago when we played against Oklahoma State, the game is close, we have a delay, we come out flat, they stop us.  We go to Baylor, it's 21‑14 at halftime, there's a delay, we come out and they stop us.
The thing that‑‑ not so much the first quarter start, but the early start in the third quarter, I think that that was just as big because of how our track record had been in previous delays, like we're in the locker room, we have no idea how long the delay is going to be.  I was actually told it was going to be at least 45 minutes, so you know, we kept their equipment on because they weren't really sure how long the delay was going to be, but you know, we've talked until the cows come home about how to handle lightning delays, but I thought that both the very start of the game with the big play with Tony, but just as importantly, the start of the third quarter after a little bit of an extended break, I thought that was big where I felt comfortable that we were going to play hard for‑‑ play hard and have a legitimate chance of winning the game.

Q.  Have you ever heard a game official announce a pending quote, everybody but the center?
CHARLIE WEIS:  Well, he could have rephrased it and said the center is a‑‑ and used any phrase you would like to, but that's not the way he chose to word it.  He chose to word it that everyone else was wrong but not the center.  Needless to say, that will be worded quite different tomorrow when we're in our team meeting.

Q.  The D‑line got good pressure on the quarterback.  What did you think of the way they played?
CHARLIE WEIS:  Actually they had pressure all night.  I was disappointed in the first half because some of the plays they actually played in the first half, the quarterback saved for 12 in the first half, and about three or four times I think he's going down, and he scrambled the one time for 25 yards.  So a couple of their completions in that, we're hanging all over them, but I thought he was under good pressure most of the evening, the first half and the second half, which was good to see, because we haven't‑‑ that hasn't shown up here in the first two games.

Q.  In terms of getting the passing game going, how important was Jimmay Mundine today?
CHARLIE WEIS:  Well, when they started playing the way they did, the way they played in coverage, okay, where they were dropping their weak safety down to try to take away the run to the weak side and then widening their nickel outside and dropping their safety, having their safety over the top, where the natural hole was was where Jimmay was.  So it was important for Montell and Jimmay to make a few plays in there, and they did.

Q.  When you go back to that 3rd and 1 and then you had the 4th and 1 and you called the time out and went for the field goal‑‑
CHARLIE WEIS:  Well, we were trying to draw them offsides.  We had a conversation about going for it or not, but you're me now; we've had three 3rd and 1s in the game and haven't converted on any of them yet.  You're making the decision do you give your players confidence and say that you're going to go for it, or hey, look, we missed a field goal, but the right thing to do in that situation was to regain the lead.  Unfortunately the kicker didn't help me out on that one right there.  I don't exactly look like a brain surgeon.  But I definitely felt it was by far the right thing to do based off of what we had done in short yardage at that point in the game.

Q.  You said on TV that you were disappointed in last week's game that when negative plays happened the team didn't move on.  How did you feel the team did today?
CHARLIE WEIS:  I thought it was significant improvement.  I don't think that they harped on things.  There was a period in the game where we had‑‑ I don't know if there were two or three‑‑ it seemed like three‑and‑outs, maybe there was a 1st down in there, but they were kind of driving a little bit.  Even though they're not scoring, they're out there for multiple plays and our offense is off the field too quick.  I think the difference between last week and this week is no one ever‑‑ I wouldn't say panicked, no one ever looked like they were down, like oh, no, this isn't going to go.  You just keep fighting through it and fighting for another way and end up making some plays.  We didn't run the ball enough in the first half, but a lot of those bubbles really are runs, so when you're gaining five yards on those bubbles at 1st and 10, that's like a five‑yard outside run.  You have to understand the way we're thinking; we had only called about‑‑ we only ran the ball about five or six times in the first half, but then we completed, I don't know, 15, at least‑‑ seemed like 15 bubbles out there, which are all to us sort of like outside runs.

Q.  There were a few breakdowns obviously, but how did you feel the guys did who hadn't started did?
CHARLIE WEIS:  Well, this was a tough week.  You know, I told you last week that I had some guys that were sick.  Well, really Damon practiced all week.  Damon practiced right through Thursday, and then on Friday they said he couldn't go.  Now, Damon, Smithburg came in on Wednesday, and we're having meetings in the morning, and he told Coach Reagan, I'm not feeling very good, so he sent him to the trainer, trainer sends him to the doctor, and that afternoon he's getting his appendix out.
I mean, when you lose two fifths of your starters in two days, one you knew you were going to lose, but Damon we didn't know we were going to‑‑ that didn't happen until Thursday.  I mean, so it was‑‑ it probably led to some of the pressure in the first half, pressure in the first half, and I don't know because I haven't talked to John yet, but might have scared him off a couple more runs being called in the first half, but I think once he felt things had settled down in the second half, he went back down to giving it to De'Andre and Corey a lot more.

Q.  Maybe the drive or two drives that had the Jake Love plays, Courtney Arnick actually made back‑to‑back plays where he had the tackle and the sack.  How much does that help you at that depth at linebacker?
CHARLIE WEIS:  Yeah, I think that Courtney, it seemed like the whole sideline was all jacked up when he came off right there, so it's always good when a player makes a play and the players are off the field and they're just as excited as when they're on the field.  Courtney showed up today, and that was good because especially as we get ready, today the pace of the game wasn't very fast on their part.  They huddle, and it's not a fast‑paced game.  We know those fast‑paced teams are on the horizon, and guys like Courtney Arnick, when you have confidence that they can come in and make plays, that's a good thing.

Q.  Do you think in terms of that, how this translates, this win and this effort, how it will translate to the Big 12 Conference?
CHARLIE WEIS:  In this case, I only translate it to Texas.  I'm short‑sighted.  I just translate it, Texas is pretty salty on defense, they roughed us up up front pretty good last year at their place.  I think they'll try to do the same thing again.  You always look at the correlations that you can, and I think that when you're looking more than one game ahead, you can't do that.  We're not good enough to do that.  We can't‑‑ we can't look at any game and say, well, we're good with that one, we're okay with that one, let's just worry about the next one.  We're not good enough to do that against anybody.

Q.  How encouraging was this finish?
CHARLIE WEIS:  I wish you'd just be able to see‑‑ well, I shouldn't say this because Katy would then take advantage of this comment so let me reword it.  The locker room was as happy a locker room as we've had in a long time.  Those guys knew that the fourth quarter really could go any way now.  We very easily could have lost that game.  But the fourth quarter they made a bunch of big plays, turnovers on defense, stops, big plays on offense, both the play to McCay and the screen pass to Corey.  I think that the players are in good spirits, but they realize we've got a lot of work to do if we're going to have a chance to win next week at homecoming against Texas, we've got a lot of work to do.

Q.  Any idea how Smithburg might have come out?
CHARLIE WEIS:  Hey, I had casts on him and he was back in seven days.  He had it on Monday ‑‑ he wanted to play that week, he really did.  He wanted to play.  And I remember that game in SanDiego, I'm glad he didn't play because it didn't go too well.
But I also remember him playing the next week and almost beating the Rams single‑handedly, so I think Smithburg, he'll probably be cleared sometime in the middle to end of next week, so I think that there's a possibility that he could play.  Usually it's seven to ten days.  The amazing part about it, he gets operated on Wednesday afternoon.  Thursday morning we have meetings at 7:30, he's in there.  It's amazing, modern medicine.  I said, what are you doing here?  He goes, well, we got meetings, don't we?  So he wants to get back out here, and I'm hoping Damon will be back, too, but that caught us a little bit off guard.  I had said that some people were sick.  The medical staff, I trust their judgment with all those things.

Q.  What was this week like for you coming off Durham and the tough game?  You find out who your friends are when you go on the road and play a game like that.
CHARLIE WEIS:  The first thing I do is turn my computer off.  I literally turn it off.  I don't not go on it, I turn it off.  Has it been off all week?  It only got turned on today because my wife was going to be here in case she wanted to go on the computer.
Because I sleep in my office, okay, and I have the computer off, I'm oblivious to the real world.  I barely know what's going on with ISIS to tell you the truth.  I'm really oblivious.
And I think that, not to use a coaching phrase, but the guys I work with, they always believed in what they used to call a bunker mentality.  You've just got to work your way out of it.  You dig yourself in and try to dig yourself out, and that's what we tried to do this week.  So I give credit to the coaching staff and the players for not throwing in the towel and just going through the motions, but that's what we're supposed to do.  That's why we're in these positions.  That's what we're supposed to do.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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