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October 3, 2006

Charlie Weis

COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Wide receiver is a little different. Bradford and Moore were their two main guys. Now, Bradford tore ligaments in his foot and he's probably gone for the year and more. He got hurt in Navy game with a stress fracture in his foot and he's supposed to be out four weeks, and this is the third of the four weeks, so we're really not expecting to see him. Miller and Lynn are the two guys that we expect to see. But they're both being pressed real hard by two freshmen, Sherman and Yancy. All four of those guys will play in the game, but we'll see both the veteran guys and the freshmen.
Now, the offensive line, this is quite interesting, when we did the research on them. As a group their offensive line leads the nation with 147 career starts, which is more than any group of offensive linemen in the nation, and they've played various positions across the line. Now, we expect the starters are going to be Smith, Vincent, Cochran and Edwards, but in addition to that, Simpson has started 29 games in his career, including the first three of the season.
On defense A.J. Christoff, some of you know him more than me from his stint here at Notre Dame in the early '90s; he also coaches the defensive backs. Now, this is his third stint at Stanford. Last year he spent time with Mike Nolan with the 49ers, and there's definitely a 49er influence on their defense. When he was at 90s -- he must be a heck of a coach, because he coached A. Wood, and anyone who can put up with A. Wood -- he also coached under Minter, so he gets the double whammy right there, when he was at Cincinnati.
Their defensive line, they've got Horn, Udofia and Egboh are their starters. Udofia, not only he starts but his brother is a kind of a swing guy at the Sam linebacker position, as well, and in fact, he swings time with Powers. They're the two guys who play Sam.
At linebacker, Okwo is back. He's had three weeks in a row where he's been in double digits in tackles. As a matter of fact, he's only played three games this year and he's the third leading tackler on the team. I think they're very happy to have him back. He's a very, very active player; look at this 55 because you're see him running all over the field. He's a very active player and he makes a whole bunch of plays.
Maynor and Snyder are the other two, remember they play a 3-4 defense and you'll also see Bulcke and Silva in there, as well, because they play six linebackers for the four spots.
On secondary, Brandon Harrison, he moved from safety to corner. He's their most experienced defensive back. He started 32 games as a safety. But they moved him from safety to corner this year, and Sims has kind of taken over just most recently over from Sanchez, who had started all 11 games at corner last year, so we expect to see both of them. They're both in there in their dime package anyway, and Lofton and Hooper start at the safeties. Hooper started 22 games in his career, as well.
On special teams, Coach Hammerschmidt, who is also their outside linebacker coach, is taking his first season as the special teams coordinator. Ottovegio is their punter, Zagory is their place kicker. They've got two long snappers; the long snapper for the punt team is Newhouse and then for the field goal team it's Cochran. I said before, Hobbs is their punt returner, and I've seen three guys back there as kick returners, Jones, Evans and Kimble.

Q. I know you've said in the past that you don't necessarily have routes specific for receivers, but Brady has liked throwing to Rhema for quite some time, the two previous years, and he's leading the time in receptions again. What is it about Rhema that makes him an attractive target for Brady, and second, what qualities does Rhema have that will assist him in his pursuit on the next level?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, first part of the question is when you have two front line receivers, which I consider us having two front line receivers, I mean, you can take our two and play them with any two in the country, and when you have two front line receivers, it really is tough to pay a lot of attention to both of them. So it's kind of pick your poison. If you want to pay extra attention and roll onto Jeff, then that leaves Rhema basically running one-on-one routes on the backside. If you want to try to take both of the two receivers away, then it leaves the tight end one-on-one working the whole middle of the field. So it's a really tough dilemma when you have a couple of front line guys opposite each other.
I think that Rhema like the other day was the benefit of a lot of rotation towards Jeff, where Purdue in the past has played a lot more quarters, they played a lot more three cover last week, and almost everything was rolled to Jeff. So now it's all one-on-one on the backside. When it comes to that, Rhema to follow up the second part of your question, is a very good route hunter with very good quickness and very good hands.
As a matter of fact, when he drops a ball, it's usually not because he's not capable of catching it; it's usually just a lack of concentration because he's got very good hands.

Q. Does he remind you of anybody that you've seen on the next level?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, the more I watch him, okay, the more he starts to remind me of a couple of the more physical types of quickness receivers, à la maybe like a Hines Ward. Hines Ward has made a reputation of being the most physical blocker of any receiver in the country. I wouldn't say Rhema has quite gotten to that point yet, but he's capable of doing that. But he runs routes the same and he has the same type of quicks and also the same type of body type, to be honest with you.

Q. Givens, he's a little bit --
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: That was the role model that I gave Givens. Givens studied Hines Ward. That's who I had him study after his first year in the program. He's a lot like Givens. He's actually a lot smoother route runner than David was. David has got brute strength that very few receivers have.

Q. Could you give us an idea the route that Ashley McConnell has had to travel to get to the spot that he's in because really he wasn't in the picture until this year?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, one thing he did is he came back this off-season -- after this off-season -- sometimes I see a guy at the end of spring ball and then I don't see him much until the first week in August because we can't meet with him unless there's a problem so I usually don't see them. He dropped a bunch of weight on his own, it wasn't mandated by me. I did tell him he was fat, but it wasn't mandated by me. That's the pot calling the kettle black.
He was like around 250-ish and came back around 230-ish. You know, I'm not sure exactly what he is right now, but he came back in great shape, and all of a sudden he just played himself into the picture, where he came out of training camp clearly as the No. 2 fullback where he probably wasn't even on the radar at the time.
You know how it is now, once you get your opportunity, all of a sudden you're 2 and you're in good shape and you have a good attitude. Our philosophy has been somebody gets hurt and you just put in the next guy, and he's the next guy, and he's taking the opportunity and running with it.

Q. How would you assess how he's played the last three games?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I think he's been solid. You can talk about the inside run where they were bunched up in there. I'm just trying to run the clock, and of course I'd love to get 1st down, but I think he's been solid. He's been solid in blitz pickup and he's been solid as a lead blocker.
Really it has not been a noticeable difference with him in there than with Asaph.

Q. Last thing, and off the subject, how much of an opportunity did you get to spend with the '66 National Championship team? Coach Parseghian was not here; isn't that correct?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I talked to Coach Parseghian early in the week to see if he was going to come to the pep rally. We had a long talk and he said he was going to go. He wanted to let them have the game, have the pep rally, have the game and the pep rally not be about him, so he was just going to go to the social functions that they had on both Friday and Saturday because they had something on both of them. I spent time with them before, and then before the game I went over and spent some time with them, also.
But I thought at their dinner on Saturday night, I wanted that to be about them. If I go show up, all of a sudden it's about me and us, and it's a good time to reminisce and not talk about the state of the union.

Q. You mentioned on Sunday Darrin Walls, you didn't want to scar his psyche. When is baptism by fire the right course and when is it time to ease a player in?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, I mean, sometimes it's out of necessity. Sometimes you have no choice. There's a lot of ways to go. You know, I can just cite a couple examples not related to Notre Dame, but I'll give you a couple quarterback examples. I know back in 1993, we drafted Drew Bledsoe and went through preseason, and we weren't very good. We had just gotten there to New England, and we weren't very good at the time, and we went through preseason and we decided the hell with it, we're just going to play him and we're going to protect him and we'll be very conservative and it'll cause us to lose some games early, but we were going to get him in there, and we figured that baptism under fire was the best way of getting him ready to go. You know, he ended up -- that ended up being the right course of action for him.
Conversely, you could look at the way the Titans handled McNair, where they drafted him as a third pick or whatever it was in the draft and they waited about three years before he really played, but when he played, he played at a high level. There's different mannerisms of doing it. I can look at putting Sam Young in there for the opener and saying there you go, you're putting him in, starting him at right tackle because the team is going to be blitzing all night long, and sometimes it's just because he's the best guy out there and you have to do it. Whereas in Darrin's case because you have a veteran like Ambrose in front of him, by necessity you're not forced to throw him into the fire that quickly.

Q. Does it have anything to do with a particular position? Are you more apt to -- is it basically how --
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: It's highly unusual for a freshman to be playing in the line that quickly to tell you the truth. Usually you're more apt to get a skill player, a running back, a wide receiver, a guy like that that has rare athleticism. It's usually easier to get them ready to go. But running backs have to know how to pick up the blitz and wide receivers have to know how to side adjust and defensive backs need to be able to adjust to multiple coverage schemes and fronts and formations and all that other stuff. It's just how quickly they pick it up and the necessity, how quickly you need them to play.

Q. As far as Mike Richardson very quietly having a nice year, you don't hear a lot about him; I guess in that position no news is kind of good news?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, I've been giving him a lot of kudos. There's a lot of people at the next level that have been asking about him, and I've said similar to what you've been saying. I said you don't notice him very much, that means he's doing a pretty good job. He's playing corner and he bounces inside when we go to nickel and he's been a pretty solid player for us all year long.

Q. When you study the tapes are you noticing defenses staying away from him?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Oh, I don't -- not particularly. But I think that he's very often matched on one of their best players, and when those players get limited some, that usually means that he had a pretty good day.

Q. Travis Thomas, Ambrose, Bob Morton, Bobby Renkes, all back at No. 1 on the depth chart we've been given. How solid is that, or do you have to wait until you see them in practice?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Oh, they're all ranged from 'they're in' to 'they're probable' to 'they're questionable.' I'll just wait and see how it goes for the next few days. Some of those guys I'd be very surprised if they weren't starting; other of those guys I'll just have to wait and see what I see when I'm out there. But we haven't been out there yet, so I'll just have to watch Tuesday and Wednesday and be able to make a judgment before Thursday.

Q. Given that Stanford hasn't won a game yet, you know they'll come in here with a reckless attitude, might try some trick plays. Gerhart is a baseball player. As you research them do you have to watch him throwing the football as a possibility? Do you have to kind of defend against ghosts a little bit?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I think that first of all, I think you're underestimating Coach Harris. I don't think Coach Harris believes that he just has to go to gimmicks to win the game. I think he's one of the most sound fundamental offensive coaches in football. I've known him a long time. It goes all the way back to when he was coaching the Jets. This is not a guy who has to gimmick it.
Does that mean he might not try things, whether it be special teams or offense or defense, to try to create a play? I think sometimes you have to try to create a play. But I think that I'm familiar with Gerhart being a baseball player. As a matter of fact he's supposed to be a top-of-the-line baseball player. Although you could have a halfback passing, I think that the quarterback has been playing there for five years. Usually I like to live under the adage that Parcells had; "Let the guys with the arms throw," and that's usually the quarterback.

Q. Given the experience of his offensive line, as you watch them on film, why are they struggling so much with the running game right now?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, I mean, their leading rusher is averaging over four yards a carry. I think that's what happens is sometimes when you get down in the game -- we've been there, done that, right? All of a sudden you get down in the game, and now all of a sudden you're throwing it a lot more than you want to throw it and people are teed off at you. I think sometimes the game, it's a question of circumstance just how things end up going.

Q. Any prediction on the Yankees/Tigers series?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, I'm obviously prejudiced towards the Yankees. I'm an avid Yankee fan, so I'd be rooting for them no matter what. So we'll see. We'll see. I'm reluctant to say three. What do you think, shall we say four just to play it safe? I'll say the Yankees in the Series, how's that?

Q. With Ace off, is his injury more serious than you initially thought?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: No, his injury is an injury that will be with us the entire year. The question is simply this, okay: Can he play with it or can't he play with it. I'm just about at that point where after this week we'll make that decision because if he can play with it, then we go through the whole year, we practice and we play and then we fix it after the year is over. It's an old injury, it's not a new injury, okay, so it's either can you play with it or can you not play with it. If I feel he can't play with it, then I'm better off to go ahead and get it fixed because if I get it fixed then I'm going to end up losing him for the rest of the season.
The one thing that I still have in my back pocket on this one is that he got hurt in the second game of the year, so because it's a legitimate injury, if I go ahead and get him fixed, he's eligible for medical red shirt for this year which because he played last year would leave him a potential of three years to play three.

Q. In the event that -- that's something you're going to discuss with him I'm guessing?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, I've already discussed it with him. We're going to look at it this week and we're going to make a decision this week. So you'll know this week. I'll let you know when I know.

Q. As far as guys like Chase and Ashley, do you see something when they come back for their last year that they're more focused than maybe in previous years because it's their last shot?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I think everyone wants to play, but I think the older you are, the more you want to be a part of -- everyone who's on the team wants to play. Everyone wants to play. Everyone wants to play every play. But I think especially guys that see it's about ready to end, you're about ready to graduate, I think those are the guys that really get the hungriest to get out there every play they can possibly get out there.

Q. Is it something you see right away?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: It's like that with every senior, just that some of them you just -- their vision of what their role is and your vision of when their role is is not the same.

Q. Someone had brought up trick gimmick plays. You've run a couple to perfection this year. How much is spent practice week on that? Do you install new ones week each or do you have a pile of them that go --
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: What I do is we install them until we run them. Once I've run plays, then I replace them with new ones. Like today in practice, we'll have a new -- because I used some of them the other day, whether they be shots, or specials as we call them, a new set that we'll start practicing. You don't know when you're going to call them. They'll be called sometime this year, you just don't know when. They might be called this week.

Q. Do you invent those, or is that just like any other scheme things --
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: You invent them, but a lot of them are retreads. You know, you've been coaching for a while, there's a lot of volume of plays and there's plays you ran yourself and then there's plays that you've seen other people run that looked darn good when you watched them. So you put them in and you start practicing them, and then eventually the time is going to come where you go ahead and call them.

Q. Do they work more often in college than they do in the NFL?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: They work there, too. It's a question of when you call them. Sometimes you've got to be fortunate. At the direction of Travis Thomas -- I know that my first year in the NFL we had that play in every single week with the Giants, and the first time Parcells calls it is in the NFC Championship game. He hadn't called it all year long, and we're in the NFC Championship playing the 49ers and they hadn't won it 100 years in a row, and he direct snaps the ball to Gary Reasons, who runs down and gets it in field goal range, which is one of the biggest plays of the game. It's one of the things that you have in there, and sooner or later you end up calling it.

Q. Conversely, Michigan State, Trannon threw a pass and the guy was wide open on a gimmick play like that. How do you prepare a defense for something?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: You know, ironically we practiced that play about six times, that play, or something very similar to that play, about six times that week. The way they formationed that play, the guy who we always had covering that wheel route was Travis Thomas, and on that play the way they formationed it, Travis was not on the weak side, he was on the strong side.
So six times at practice they ran it, six times we had it shut down, and the one time they ran it they had it formationed in such a way that the guy who was going to have the wheel route was now the strong side linebacker instead of the weak side linebacker, and the rest is history.

Q. On the other side of the fence, let's put yourself on the side that you were personally writing a newspaper story, newspaper article, radio, television broadcast, analyzing the upcoming game. How would you compare the strengths and weaknesses of the two teams? What should the fans look for?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I would say that Notre Dame's offense has been inconsistent, and let's see if they can tie two in a row.
I would say that off special teams we should see if they can get better production out of the kickoff and kickoff return units. We all know that Price is having a good year. That's no misnomer. But our return game has left a lot to be desired as well as our kickoff unit. And I'd say on defense, I mean, you've got one of the best offensive play callers in college football going against our defense, and I think our defense will be challenged with a veteran quarterback that's been in the program for five years.

Q. You always hear going up against an unbeaten team or a team who hasn't won, how do you keep the team up for it without looking to the next game?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: There's two things. The players are not dumb. The players read the papers, okay. There's evidence from last year's game of what happened, okay, how it was a dogfight and how we were fortunate to win. Now, that lasts for about a day, okay, so there's a number of ways you challenge them on top of that to make sure that they're confident and not overconfident.

Q. I know Steve Croft from 60 minutes was in town doing a profile on you. Can you tell us what that's going to be? Is it going to be focused primarily on you and your coaching?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, basically what had happened there -- why don't we talk about -- I'll tell you, I'll talk about that, but let's talk about that next week on a bye week because I think that takes away from talking about the Stanford game and gets me talking about me, and I think that I'd be more than willing to answer that question when it gets to be next week, okay?

Q. We talked about your philosophy about playing freshmen and also the fifth year thing with Notre Dame. If this were a different job and the school's philosophy was different about fifth year players, do you think you would find yourself red-shirting more kids?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, I think there's still a number of guys that are in that boat at this time. I mean, there's still a number of guys. I have the list down of guys that have not participated in a game yet. You're in a Catch 22 on that one because these guys will all graduate in four years. They graduate in three and a half years in a lot of cases. So a lot of them want to move on and start their real life after that. If they don't see themselves playing in the NFL, a lot of them want to go take jobs and get working. So what benefit do you have if you save a year with a guy if he's going to graduate in four years and go take a job anyway?
See, most other schools, or should I say in many other schools, a lot of athletes take more than four years to graduate. That is not the case here. There isn't one player on the team that's not on track to graduate in four or less.

Q. In the practices we're able to see some stretching and some drills so we aren't able to see some guys like Toryan Smith, what kind of progress they're making. What kind of progress is he making? Is he someone that can still make an impact this year?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, I think that on the horizon we have more of these times that want to play with regular people and run the football, and I think that that plays into his strength. Remember, when you're a high school middle linebacker, what are you basically doing? You're basically stopping the run from sideline to sideline. You're not into four wide, four open, spread formations with everything that's happening right there.
So does he still have an opportunity to make some noise? I'd say yes. But a lot of it has to be dictated by who you're playing against.

Q. I think last year we talked, Tennessee was a team you brought up as a team that had a defense that was very difficult for you to game plan against, call plays against because of the nature that they can just line up sometimes and just try to out-physical you. In building your own defense, is that something that you strive for, and also, is that something that's years -- a process that takes years to get to?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I think it takes a few years, but I think that every defensive coordinator or defensive play caller ideally would like to be able to rush the passer with four guys and play seven guys in coverage. I don't know anyone that wouldn't want to be able to do that.
I think that when there's a lot of things -- a lot of things that come into play, whether it be secondary linebacker or defensive linemen, but I think everyone would like that. In reality, how many NFL games do you watch on Sunday where you don't see them blitzing a third of the plays or more? It's for the same reason, because creating that situation is a lot easier said than done. It's easier said than done because it's not three, it's not two, it's four. It's four.
Like Ogunleye with the Bears, when he was playing their left defensive end for the Dolphins, it was really tough to get ready to play the Dolphins because you had Jason Taylor on one side and Ogunleye on the other. When he left, which I was happy about, when he wasn't there anymore, now you could slide things to Jason Taylor. Like anyone else, I'm not here to give you pro football analogies, but I'm here to give you a practical answer to that question.

Q. Do you see people sliding things towards Victor?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I think he's gotten a fair amount of help on his side. People have tried to get some -- it's not just sliding that way. Sometimes it's tight end chipping, sometimes it's back chipping. There's two ways you can do it, you can slide to him and you can slide away from him and have either a back or a tight end help with the tackle that's blocked. I've seen a little bit of all of those things.

Q. Carlson, you've talked about what a weapon he is in the middle of the field and that he's really good on the vertical routes. What do you want to see out of him for the rest of the season? Where his improvement going to come from?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I like his fiery nature because he's competitive. Anytime he misses a block or anytime he doesn't run a route right, he's a perfectionist, he's a smart kid with a real high motor. I think he's getting better with experience. I think the experience of playing is what's helping him the most because it seems like every week, things that you didn't -- like that catch that he made down the middle of the field, I don't know last year if he makes that play because that was not a perfect throw and catch; the ball is a little high. But he just plucks it because now he has a lot more confidence. It wasn't that he doesn't have good hands, but now he's playing with more confidence. I think the more he plays, the more confident he's going to become.

Q. I'm curious of your opinion on this: For your kids to play five games in a row against undefeated teams is overrated; that may or may not be. That said, how unique is it for them to go from that to a team that is 0-5?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, I don't lie to our players. I don't ever try to use a ploy that isn't a fact. So for the last five weeks, that was a fact, and it wasn't overrated. It was reality.
Now you don't have that one, so you don't use that one. You don't try to conjure up something that doesn't exist, okay, so there's two different tacks now. One is the evidence of our game in November last year. Okay, that's number one. Two, you can take a cutup tape of this team and show them all the reasons why you should be concerned. In addition to that, you can challenge your guys to step up their level of play and see if we can't play a lot more consistent because we have not shown that yet. We have not shown as a team that we play with a level of consistency yet. There's a couple of different things going on at the same time.

Q. To that end, is there anything at the top of your list? Is it to get that second offensive consistent game in a row and maybe see the defense not give up the big plays?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, they're both on my top ten, consistency and big plays are both in the top ten. I have a couple different things I'm going to go over, on the list that I'll go over with the team here at 2:00 or 2:30. They're both right on that list; consistency and big plays are both down there.

Q. You've said that you have not paid as much attention, just focused on yourselves. Is this one of those weeks where you do spend more time looking at yourselves than you do the opponents?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I think I'm doing both. I think that I spend more time looking at us next week than I do this week. That's what I -- I try to use a bye week as a real time for self-analysis. I think that you can't get caught into that trap because if you fall into that trap, then you're going to forget about taking care of what business you have at hand, and I treat Stanford just like playing Purdue to me. I treat it exactly the same. When I don't have a game, which I won't have next week, is the time I'll spend a lot more time on self-evaluation.

Q. You mentioned the players are aware of the situation, 0-5, struggling, winless through last week. How do you go about combatting that?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: What did everyone tell them last year when they were rolling into Stanford? "They're done, they've thrown in the towel, you're going out there, you're going to whip on them, going to a BCS game, no problem. Go out there and have a nice Thanksgiving dinner," and now you're fighting for your lives in the last minute of the game. There's evidence. Really, there's visual evidence and it's you. It's not somebody else, it's you.

Q. You talked a little bit about Geoff Price the other day. I was talking to him, and I think early in the season, he said that the biggest pressure for him is not kicking in front of the crowd, it's kicking in front of you. He says that that's his biggest worry. Is that a thing you try to get with all players? Do you like having that intimidating --
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Yes, and here's the reason: If I can make the game easier for them, that's a good thing. I mean, if I can put more pressure on them in practice than they're going to get during a game, the game becomes easier.
Usually for most people the game is harder. I try to stand as close to them as I possibly can, as close to them as I can, and any time there isn't a perfect ball, I mean, it's nonstop chatter. But it's easy for me to take credit for Price because he's kicking so well. I'm not the one punting the ball. He's the one who got his head straight. He always had the major league leg, and he's the one who's out there punting it. I don't think I have much effect on him anymore.
That sounds good, that might have worked in training camp, but I think he's got earplugs in because I don't think he hears a darn word I'm saying, which is probably a good thing.

Q. You have a couple guys that are really in the media spotlight; 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. For guys like him and Jeff and Brady, how does that prepare them for the next level in that sense, not being foreign to it?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, it all depends on where they go. If they go to New England they're not going to talk to anyone anyway because they're not going to be allowed to. It all depends on where they go. They'll go to some places and they'll be the media darlings. I can promise you if any of them ends up in New England, they won't be talking to the press. You think I'm bad.

Q. As you approach the end of this season, how do you look at this team through five games?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I think that we have a chance this week to end the first season, the first half of the year on the rise, and I think that this game is very important. This game is not a game that you can just go and be content to just sneak by. You have a chance to go into an off week on the rise, and I think that's why this game is so critical. You're playing a team who would love nothing more than to make their year by beating you, so that's always a challenge.
From our standpoint, coaches and players, you'd like to see this start to happen, and it hasn't started yet. We've had this, we've had this, we've had this, we've had this, but what we'd like to see is this start to happen. That's what I'm hoping to see this week.

Q. With the bye week is there more recruiting this week?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: As a matter of fact, on Tuesday when -- I'm going to talk about two things on Tuesday. I'm going to have a press conference on Tuesday I think at noon, and I'm going to talk about self-scouting and then I'm also going to kind of give you the lay of the land what's going on in recruiting, not who they are and where they're going but how we're doing it to kind of give you guys a little different angle for the week on what's happening there, too. But I'll talk about that on Tuesday.

Q. Guys have had some pretty good success the last two years running with no huddle. Can you talk a little bit about what goes into making sure that they're successful out there and how it might be a little bit different and what goes into it than running a normal offense?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, first of all, you need to have a smart quarterback. Okay, second of all, you have to decide -- there's two different modes of no huddle. One mode of no huddle is to stand at the line of scrimmage and have really no sense of urgency how fast a play goes on. You're just not huddling. The other one is what I call like a two-minute mentality where you're in a hurry-up mode. Second of all, you've got to make sure you don't have too many plays.
The biggest problem that coaches have is when they get into a mode like that, they try to have too many plays. I think the Buffalo Bills back in the K-Gun days when Jim Kelly, probably before you were born, by the way, but back when the Buffalo Bills were lighting it up going up and down the field, they had about ten plays total. That's all they ran, and no one could stop them.
So it's not the amount of plays. It's having a quarterback who understands the plays, getting the protection set right, and being able to run it with a sense of urgency because what you've done is simplified with the defenses can do because you're going to get a lot less looks when you're not huddling up.

Q. From like a receiver standpoint then, is it more route running and execution or is there more room for like improvising?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: There's not room for improvising. They're getting signals and that's telling them what to do.

Q. Then if Thomas can't go this weekend, what did you see or what would you like to see from Brockington maybe that you didn't see last weekend or that can make him just get better?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: First of all, I thought he was pretty solid, to tell you the truth. You didn't really notice him getting exploited out there. Probably the biggest play of the day that you noticed him is when he dropped the interception, which he took a lot of ribbing from his teammates on. But really you didn't really notice him much out there. I think that's a very good thing when a guy goes in there really for the first time with a bunch of meaningful reps and you don't really notice him too much.

Q. Do you see another guy like maybe McConnell or Anastasio?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I think that's a fair question, and I think that's the right assessment. Here's an older guy, fourth year in the program getting an opportunity to be more just a special teams player and getting some snaps in there and taking advantage of it.

Q. I asked you about Richardson earlier, how he doesn't really show up on tape. What does he do well when you watch him?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: He shows up on tape to me.

Q. What do you see from him?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, first of all, he's easily our most physical corner. He plays with a very -- with a physicality that allows him to play in those positions. But usually when you have a physical corner, you don't have a guy that has the speed or athleticism to play the position, you're using just a quote-unquote cover two corner. The fact he's been able to play both a jam type of corner and be able to play on the slot receiver shows that he has some position flexibility.

Q. How would you describe his personality? When we talk to him he seems like one of the more reserved guys.
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: He doesn't say a word. I mean, if you get him talking for more than about ten words in a row, you did a good job because he doesn't say very much.

Q. I wanted to follow up on one of Jeff's questions about trick plays or gadget plays. I would think there's a tendency with your special teams when that play is in that the guys would want to hurry up and rush it in some way. You had talked over the weekend about Samardzija letting the play develop, come, and just following through. How much time do you spend talking to the guys about letting the play develop and not rushing it even though there's a little bit of a novelty to it?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Unlike that play that was just put in for that week, it was based off of a look that we were going against. Most time when you put in a play or put in plays, you might have put them in all the way back in training camp and now you're starting to dial them up from your inventory, why they look good versus a certain team you're going against.
I think the whole thing is you don't use them -- some people just call them just to use them. I think the key thing when you have them is use them when you think that the odds are in your favor. You don't just dial them up just to say, hey, look-it, I can run reverse. You run them because you think the odds are in your favor. I think that that's -- I won't call very many of them in the year, but when you call them, you're hoping to call them at a time when they have a good chance for success.

Q. Is there a difference -- there's no tendency for a player to have a tell at the line of scrimmage or anything like that, where they just have a different posture about themselves?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: No, not usually, because usually you're practicing only one and you're practicing it over and over and over again to try to create all the different options that could happen in a play.

Q. When you're playing the week before a bye, does that give you more flexibility to be maybe a little bit more cavalier in your play calling giving Walker say more carries than normal because he can rest the next week or anything of that nature?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I don't play for considering the next week. I only consider that week. I understand the question, but I am still looking at this as a 12-game regular season, and bye or no bye, what you don't want to do is extend a guy past -- last week he already carried it 31 times and had another seven catches. That's 38 touches in a very productive game, okay.
I think you can get a few games like that. Last year against Stanford he had a bunch of touches. But I don't think you can have too many of them because especially at that position, every time you're carrying the ball, you're getting whacked. You're not getting sorta hit; you're getting hit pretty good. I think you want to do it both at the running back position and at the quarterback position is try to take as many hits off them as you possibly can.

Q. Along a similar lines, again with the bye week, can you talk about there's some young players that are starting to get meaningful reps. Is it maybe more important to get them this week because, again, next week it won't be there?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: No, as a matter of fact, next week they'll get more meaningful reps than they'll get this week because next week I'll take a couple of days and those young guys or inexperienced guys, we'll be pounding the hell out of them because that's when you evaluate where you are with them.

Q. You touched on the pass rush a few minutes ago. When you go back and look at the big plays that you've given up, do you have a sense how many were breakdowns in the secondary and how many were because you gave the quarterback too much time to throw?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, we have numbers on those, and I always look at it as a team thing. Are there times that the quarterback has too much time to throw and has a chance to pick it apart, yes. But there's plenty of times where the quarterback is getting hit, and just as he's throwing, he's throwing the ball and you can sit there and say, well, the pressure isn't enough.
Well, there's plenty of times where there's plenty of pressure, just a guy is open and they get him the ball. I'm not big on giving up any unit. I just look at it as a collective deal, that it's 11 guys out there working together. I never point fingers at defensive line or linebackers or DBs. I'm just saying we've got to get everyone on the same page.

Q. That was one of the goals in the spring was to improve the pass rush. Is it coming along the way you had hoped?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: The only thing that you'd like to have -- like the last game, they threw the ball 46 times and we didn't have a sack. That's never a good thing when they throw the ball 46 times and the quarterback never gets sacked. I would like to see that improve, but so would the defensive staff and so would the defensive players. That's a high volume of passes without getting to the quarterback.

Q. You've said a lot of complimentary things about Walt Harris. I know you know him a little bit. What's your take on why you're playing an 0-5 team? How is it that sometimes bad records happen to good coaches?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: First of all, from what I understand, they've had a whole bunch of guys get banged up on offense. I can go right down the list if you want me to.

Q. I know them.
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: All I'm saying is I know them, too. When your starting running back gets hurt, you've got a front line receiver, he tears ligaments in his foot, your starting fullback, he's gone for the year. Now all of a sudden it breaks your offensive continuity, and no one knows that better than me. So when that happens, you never say it because coaches don't go out there and make excuses. But I think it's a very practical answer to your question because I think there are obvious things that you look at and see why there's breakdowns, and those breakdowns often are based off a lack of continuity.

Q. How hard is it not to want to say it all the time and not to want to say look around me, look at the situation I'm dealing with and sort of move forward with the guys that you have?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, fortunately/unfortunately for the guys that are in this room that are tired of listening to me, coming from New England, Belichick's philosophy was 'keep your mouth shut, never say a word and we don't want to hear about it.' So if someone was hurt you're just putting in the next guy and that's just the way it is. The assistant coach's job was to have those guys ready to go. If somebody went out, you put in the next guy.
As a head coach, pulling for me and for Coach Harris, I think we live under that same guide, that if someone gets hurt, you put in the next guy and you have to get them ready to play.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the left side of your offensive line? Ryan Harris, deservedly so, gets a lot of attention, but talk about what Dan Santucci brings to that side with his experience and what he brings there.
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: He brings experience, but he also brings a high level of toughness. I love guys like Santucci because these are the guys -- we always used to call these guys, like the coaching phrases, blue collar guys. They just get in there and they grind you and they grind you and they grind you, and they're really strong and it's really important to them. You know, everyone always told them their whole lives they're not athletic enough to be able to play, and all they do is pound you and pound you and pound you, and on top of that he's smart. So it's a good combination to have somebody who's got a high level of competitiveness who's tough and he's also intelligent.

End of FastScripts...

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