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October 21, 2006

Charlie Weis

COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Before you ask questions, as happy as we are in our locker room, disheartened UCLA is in their locker roomy think it's only right before I start answering questions to commend UCLA. I mean, that was a heck of a game and we were very fortunate to win.
A lot of things had to go right at the end of the game for us to win that game, but I know as the offensive play-caller, they took it to us pretty good with their defense and we were fortunate to make a few plays at the end of the game. I think our offense -- I think our defense, you know, played pretty stout against them as well. This 20-17 score is very indicative of a defensive struggle, which it was. I think that you have to commend UCLA and how they played, because they deserve it, before I start answering questions. And, fire away.

Q. I believe you are now 5-1 in games decided by seven points or less. What factors can you attribute to that?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, a lot of things had to go right at the end of the game. I think that, you know, we got stopped on the fourth and one, and then the one time when they had to, they came up and made a play. But I think that all of the circumstances that took place from that play to the game ended, okay, were players prepared to win. We called a time-out before first down, which is that new rule now and if you don't do that, you lose the game right then.
So you call time-out to stop the clock before they run 25 seconds down. Every second was precious at this time. And then, you know, our defense stops them on the first couple of plays, time out, time out. We knew on third down that the right thing for them to do would be to run again. So, we loaded it up, and we had no time-outs. The guys popped up, we got off the ground, we went through that whole deal at the end, got the ball back, the offense goes right to the line of scrimmage, so we don't waste any time so that we were prepared and went out there.
What it really came down to was players making plays. Quarterback and their receivers made some plays at the end of the game and made one miss, got in the end zone and we were really fortunate to win. But I think that the players showed that they were prepared at the end of the game to handle end-of-game situations.

Q. At the end of the first half, can you describe what happened there, did Brady audible?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Yes, he did. I was in no hurry. Because I had two time-outs left, so I was going to wait even another couple more seconds before I called the one with 16 seconds to go. And that was a run -- that was a run-pass-check that based off of the fact that in hindsight, it looks like they are bringing in a real linebacker and it was a blitz. Then we would have gone ahead and thrown the ball. But he thought that -- you know, he thought that even after he made the check to go ahead and lay the ball up, he thought that he could have walked it in there, and obviously he was wrong.
But because we had already gone over the fact that we had a time-out left and if anything happened, okay, just make sure we come out of here with three. We just -- we just didn't make a play there and had to settle for three.

Q. If you could take me through your mindset on that final drive, what's kind of going through your head at that point.
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well it was important to me first of all to figure out whether or not the ball is going to be in the middle of the field, the left half the right half. They had been getting some decent pressure on us, they had some decent protections the ball was going to be one place versus the other place. Fortunately the first two calls we called, even though Brady was under some duress, the first couple of calls we had were the calls that I kind of drew up on the sideline before we got the ball sack, so it just happened the way you diagramed it. Jeff got out-of-bounds-on the first one, I think it was the first one. He got out-of-bounds so the clock was stopped.
Fortunately the two or three plays I gave them were actually as they occurred. So this way the players could have had a little kind of a head start to realize what was going to end up happening and then still came down to having -- Jeff having to make or miss and Brady had to roll a little bit. But I put in a couple of design rolls there to get away from pressure to make sure we couldn't take a sack because the game would be over.

Q. How much do you practice those type of situations?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, it goes back, and in your case and a lot of the guys that are around here all the time, know that we start that in training camp and we practice those situations. But we always are talking about time management. We talk about time management every week. We don't practice necessarily that specific situation, but each week we create a couple of new ones.
I can't say that that specific one was practiced this week, but we've practiced it, you know, more than -- multiple times.

Q. How often did you maybe tell Morton to move over to try to help?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: It wasn't just Morton coming over. We had the tight end coming over, the back coming over. We had a couple things. But what ends up happening, it all comes down to how much exposure you want to have, how much protection you have versus how much exposure, because that's what really messes up flare control.

Q. Not to take any away from UCLA's defense under any circumstances, but did you feel possibly with the bye week you came out a little lethargic?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: What I just told the team. I'll answer honestly like I always do. I felt that the offense came out lethargic. I didn't think the defense did. So sometimes as the head coach, who is also the offensive play caller, want to come in and say to the team, we came out flat, but I don't think that was the case on defense at all. I think the defense gave up a couple big plays for touchdowns and one pass interference, but most of the day the defense was pretty he stout. You could sit there and say we were flat, but then you sit there and say UCLA is not taking it to you; so you're in a Catch 22 there. I would say they definitely were getting the best of us.

Q. Half of division one has not converted four fourth downs, talk about what you were trying to do. Were you trying to send your team a message, their defense a message, or is it just circumstance of the game?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Sometimes you get right on the fringe, right on the fringe where you sit there and you tell your team, hey, fellas, we can go ahead and make this play. But once in awhile, once too often there, you almost end up losing the game.
But, what are you going to do now? It's fourth and one. It's the end of the game. You're going to punt right down and hold them down there? Maybe you could do that and maybe you could take that chance, but we were in plus territory. I just think that our guys -- I'm trying to tell both our offense and our defense that when I call that, you get a cover for my mistakes.
But more often than not, we've done a fairly good job of converting, so there have not been too many times, but the one big one, the defense comes up big and holds them, because one first down, the game is over. So the defense comes up big and gets us the ball back and gives us the chance to win.

Q. A lot of times you're thinking about big picture and whether the team is improving; did they improve or survive today; is this how do you look at today?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Here is the thing. Good teams win games like that. Good teams at the end of the game somehow, good teams make a play at the end of the game to win. Let me tell you something. I'm not going to feel miserable about this win, I promise you. You want to be miserable, fine. I'm going to be happy. Any time you win a game like that -- we're very fortunate to walk out of there with scoring a game -- scoring a touchdown inside of 30 seconds to go with no time out left. Sign me up, you want to give me a couple more of those, I'll take them.

Q. Could you talk about the play of Carlson today and the way he played his first calf?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: What he did, he was catching the ball, not only was he making a couple big catches but they all seemed to be in traffic. You know it's one thing when the tight end is running wide down the mid of the field and he makes a play, but that's not what they were today, even the first one, that fourth and one where we were expecting on a play action, he makes an adjustment, we are expecting on the play action the way their safeties are so stout in the run game; on fourth and one I'm expecting safeties to go ahead and take the cheese and complying up there can and they didn't. He crosses his face and that was a boom, boom type of play right there that we end up hitting the first down right there. The catches he made were all in traffic. So, you know, that's big time.

Q. The starting linebackers, Rockington, Thomas, can you talk about changing that up?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, Travis was ready to come back and Joe played really good the last couple of games. So we just didn't feel that taking Joe out of the lineup was the right thing to do, and we also didn't feel that keeping Travis out of the lineup for injury was the right thing to do. We just felt that we played both of them. Our outside linebackers often are interchangeable and it gives us more versatility because Joe has three solid games in a row and got us Travis back out there in too.

Q. How would you evaluate the offensive line in terms of pass protection?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I would say it was a tough day at the office.

Q. The decision to change up the punt returns, was that more precautionary or are you trying to get more people involved?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Their punter has had a bunch of short punts this year, a bunch of them. You notice the first one, right to where we had Jeff placed. We had two guys back. West was back there ten, 15 yards deeper than him. That's just smart football, when you have a punter who hits one 45 yards and hits the next one 30 yards, well, I'd prefer the ball not to be rolling around on the ground. So we put him in there to catch the short ones, first time he was back there he caught it, and next time it was deeper and he turned into a blocker.

Q. Did you take an opportunity to remind the team that there's still five games to go in the season?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I think that right now, I didn't want to take away -- I didn't want to take away from the feeling of euphoria in that locker room right now. But they very clearly know my feeling on Navy and the respect I have for Navy. But I think right now, I'm going to give the fellas a few minutes to enjoy this one.

Q. Can you just, what did you see when -- what were you thinking when Smarge (ph) caught that flash pass?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I'm not sure if they were in Tampa or not, but I know they were dropping two in the middle. One thing we talked about was getting Jeff across the middle guy, because unless he got across the middle guy, it would just be a completion for 15 yards. But you know, Brady bided some time and then Jeff got across that middle guy.
Now, you get any good receiver, any good receiver in open field now, where he's on the run, you know, you've got a chance of something big happening.

Q. When your offense is struggling a bit, do you ever have to pick them up on the sideline, or are they pretty composed?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I think as long as you make sure the team doesn't see you sweat, and I'm serious, I think that they need to see that you're not going to lose your composure. At half-time I said look, fellas, it's 14-10, we haven't played our best football. The offense, you're kind of out there going through it, but you're down four points. Obviously it's a little different now 17-13 and a couple minutes to go in the game. But I think that this team is a very mature team that didn't lose their composure, as much as we compliment of how UCLA played, I'm very proud of how the fellas ended this game today and you've got to give them credit for that.

End of FastScripts...

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