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October 24, 2006

Charlie Weis

COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, this is the 80th consecutive meeting between Notre Dame and Navy, making it the longest intersectional rivalry in the country, and one key stat that we came up with over the last four years, Navy is 11-1 in games following a loss, losing back to back games only once during a four-year span.
So obviously they're coming off the loss to Rutgers where Hampton goes down and now Kaheaku-Enhada, I've been practicing that one, Kaheaku-Enhada is now listed as the starter, but I'm sure that we'll see both Enhada and Bryant both show up in the game.
Coach Johnson, his fifth season at Navy, he calls the plays. His career head coaching record, went 95 and 33 for a .742 winning percentage. This season offensively -- well, first of all, last season he had the best rushing attack in the country, so they've dropped all the way to No. 2 this season, averaging 316.6 yards a game, 5.4 yards a carry, time of possession is just under 33 minutes, and they're converting just under 50 percent on 3rd down. I think it's mid to high 40s.
Their offense is kind of intriguing to me, a combination of the wishbone and the running chute, and there's a lot of different components that all come in.
Slotbacks, two slotbacks that they play on every play, not that they're both on the same side all the time. They had great production out of this position. They've used multiple guys. But the position has rushed for 685 yards and six touchdowns on just 78 carries. So that's 8.8 yards per carry through the first seven games out of that position.
Reggie Campbell is their No. 1 guy. People say, well, he's 5'6", 165. Let me tell you something; he's good about just at everything he does. He tied an NCAA Bowl record by scoring five touchdowns against Colorado State last year, he serves as a sprinter on the track team, he's their third leading rusher. He's got 399 yards, he's averaging 9.1 per carry with four touchdowns. He's also tied for second in team receptions. They don't throw it that much. He's got eight receptions for 124 yards, 15.5 average with the longest 77.
Now, Singleton is their No. 1 starter opposite of him. He's a transfer from Georgia Tech in 2004. He's got 12 rushing attempts for 59 yards and a 4.9 average.
In addition we're going to see White, who's averaging 10.3 per carry. We're going to see Hines, who's probably the fastest player on their team who's averaging 11 yards per carry. So they use a bunch of these guys in there, and they all have great production at that slotback position.
They list multiple guys at fullback or their singleback. Ballard, he's their starter; he had a touchdown against us last year. He's like their workhorse. They give it to him and really is the center of their offense. He's got 104 carries for 597 yards, 5.7 per carry with a long of 81. He's averaging over 85 yards a game.
In addition, Hall plays, he played nine games and started -- last year he played in nine, started seven before he got hurt. He got hurt in the game against us. He's averaging 5.8 per carry, as well. 5.7, 5.8, they give it to that singleback, and it makes you -- every time. You've got the singleback, you've got the quarterback, you've got the slotbacks, they're all involved in this run game.
At wide receiver, O.J. Washington and Jason Tomlinson I think are their starters. Tomlinson looks to be like their No. 1 guy. He's tied for the team in receptions.
But you will also see Barnes and Sudderth in there, as well. The interesting thing is you look through the offensive line, Pritchett, he's considered their best offensive lineman, he's started every game the last couple years, he's at left tackle.
But you could say that about a lot of people. Rossi, he's their center, he's their team captain. He obviously anchors that line. He started 25 games in his career. Bragiel, he's started 22 games in his career; Harper, right guard, he's started for the last two years. And Meek, who probably has the least experience out of them, he saw action in five games last year and he started all the games, all seven of them, this year.
Now, on defense they'll play both an odd front and an even front. Buddy Green, known him for a long time since way back at his NC State days in the mid-80s, but he's also their secondary coach. This is his fifth year as a defensive coordinator here at Navy.
Let's talk about their defensive line first. They have a former offensive -- outside linebacker by the name of Tye Adams who will man one end. Their nose guard will either be Cylc or Wright, they play both of them in there, and Chan is the opposite end.
Now, as I go to talk about the linebackers, the fourth one I have down here I'm going to talk about first because Tidwell, No. 45, who's ranked fifth on the team with tackles and 14th in the country in tackles for loss, he's the guy who provides them versatility to go back and forth between odd and even. Last year he wasn't -- this is what he's doing this year. He's the guy who puts his hand down on the ground when they want to go from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3 defense.
Mahoney, he's the second leading tackler on the team, outside linebacker. Caldwell, he's their captain, inside linebacker, started every game, leading in tackles, three and a half for loss, a sack, three forced fumbles. He's a really tough, smart, hard-nosed football player.
The other inside linebacker will either be Sovie or Spencer. I've seen them both in there, so it's a combination. But Tidwell is the guy who provides them versatility and Caldwell is their captain on defense.
Also on defense in the secondary, there's a couple potential things I need to bring up. King, who's normally a starting corner for them, he missed the Rutgers game with an undisclosed injury. What they did is they brought McGown who's their starting safety down to play corner. Now, Little starts as the other corner.
Now, if McGown does go to corner, they really have multiple guys that they could put in that position. I mean, they could put Price in there who really hasn't -- we haven't seen him since the UMass game, the second game of the year. Last week it was Buffin they put in there. They could also put Miles in there, as well. So if King doesn't play, we expect to see McGown at quarterback and Little with the safeties being Miles and Buffin.
Now, at safety they have a special teams coordinator who's also the slotback coach, Jeff Monken. Their place kicker, it's interesting, they have two place kickers, both righty, and they use both of them all over the field. Like Bullen, he's ten for ten on PATs and two for three on field goals, so they've used him more than Harmon, but Harmon is 11 of 12 on PATs and seven field goals. They both have a long of 39 so it's not a short distance versus a long distance high.
Harmon is also the kickoff guy. In 30 kickoffs he has eight touchbacks. Veteto, he's their punter. Oberlander is their snapper, Bryant who I mentioned as one of the two quarterbacks is their holder. Tomlinson is their main punt returner, and both Campbell and McGown are back there as kickoff returners, with Campbell as I mentioned before, a dangerous guy averaging 26.5 per return with a long of 72 this year.

Q. With everything that Travis Thomas has had to learn this year, probably more than anybody on your football team on both sides of the ball, learning a new position, and now he's moved to a Sam linebacker position and playing against a team like Navy, his learning curve must be incredible here in the last few weeks.
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Yeah, he's really been exposed to a lot going all the way back to last spring. Just to be able to put yourself in a position to flip from one side of the ball to the other side of the ball this late in your career, okay, is quite a change.
Throw into that the fact that he's had multiple coaches since he's been here on top of everything else, so he had different head coaches, different assistant coaches, different philosophies, there's been a lot of grasp. But to be honest with you he's actually playing some of his best football right now.

Q. You mentioned the other day that the 4th and short you wanted to go with the 233-pound quarterback, and I know that you don't make excuses when you lose a guy. But how much does not having Asaph Schwapp in those situations hurt you offensively?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I know Asaph better than I know Ashley, so this is not a disrespect to Ashley. Ase was a guy who a lot of times in those situations because he's close to the line of scrimmage, you just turn around and give it to him and figure that he'll be able to -- remember, Asaph is bigger than Ashley. Ashley after he went on the Weis weight watcher plan or whatever he did to drop a bunch of weight, Ashley at one time was 250 to 260 last year. He came back to 230. So it's a big difference. Ase is a lot bigger than him.
It's not ever to make an excuse, Ase not being there, it's just that I knew more what I was going to get from him because that's when we would give him the ball.

Q. I believe you threw the ball deep more often last year, and I know you had another very tall receiver in Maurice Stovall, but do you feel like there's a lack of pure great speed at wide receiver, and has that hurt your deep game?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: No, we're getting a lot more cover two, to be honest with you. When you get a lot more cover two, what are they doing, they're rolling up on the wide receivers. Now your deep throws are really down the middle. That's why a lot of our deep throws have actually been to Carlson going down the middle of the defense because that's what's open. You can't just sit there and say, well, we're going to throw deep and a team plays cover two. When deep throws become a lot more vulnerable is when people is playing like press man-to-man coverage.
Now the answer to that question becomes a lot more validated because now you can judge, it's one-on-one, we're going deep, can you beat them or can't you beat them. But when you're cover two and you've got a safety over the top, there's no sense even trying to throw it there.

Q. With a team like Navy coming in that runs the ball so much, going into the practice, the week of practice, do the linebackers and the safeties get a little extra pep in their step? Are they excited for this kind of game?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, there's two things that come into play. First of all, because this is not a tricky -- this is not a tricky type of situation here, okay, but you really have to play physical, fundamental, sound football when you're playing a team like Navy because they study -- funny because I was just talking to a coach a little while ago, they study the run game just the way I might study the passing game. They say, well, they're going to do this here so we're going to do this little wrinkle. They're so good at what they do, okay, that if you just make -- if you don't play sound, physical, fundamental, smart football, you're going to put yourself in a bind.
The one thing you leave your suspect to is by being overaggressive on the run, you leave yourself open for some play action shots. Now, they hit one last year and they had a couple more of them open. I think that's another thing that comes into play is making sure you don't let guys run right by you on the times they are going to throw their play action passes.

Q. And if Navy is so good at looking at what you do and adjusting their running game to do that, to try to exploit whatever you do, how does that adjust your coaching throughout the week?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: You have to be more simple in what you do. You don't try to do as many things. You just try to do them better.

Q. How would that affect, say, the defensive ends, guys like Victor Abiamiri?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: It all depends on what Navy's tack is against us. Last year what we saw on tape versus what they did against us was a little different on both sides of the ball.
Now, they've had two weeks to get ready. They're coming off a bye week, and when you're coming off a bye week there will be some wrinkles that no matter what we plan on doing, we're going to have to adjust to as the game goes on because they're going to do what they do on a regular basis, but they've also had opportunities to put a couple wrinkles in that we're going to have to be ready for.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about what you see out of Victor so far this year and where he's heading, and kind of compare that to what you saw when he first got here?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, I mean, Victor has put himself in a position now where teams -- when we go against anybody, they know -- they have to know where Victor is. I think that he's drawn some special attention, but at the same time the one thing I do know about him that I didn't know when I got here is that he has a very, very, very high motor that goes with his athletic ability. There's a lot of people with athletic ability that don't have a high motor and he goes high on every play. It presents a problem week in and weak out for any defense that we go against.

Q. A couple things. First, they have a new quarterback coming off of a bye, a guy who hasn't played as much. Does that change things because they're such a run-oriented team or does that not really matter in how you look as things as much?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: See, last year -- let's start with Enhada, Kaheaku-Enhada. Now, he played in all 12 games last year, was basically on special teams as a backup wide receiver, and he's been considered one of their better athletes, so he killed it in the spring game. So this is not a guy that they're looking of having any comfort level of him being in there.
And Bryant, there's a guy that was a top recruit. As a matter of fact, I think Auburn offered him as a defensive back. I mean, this is not just another guy athletically. He saw a limited time in their Bowl victory and he's seen action in both the UConn and Rutgers game. I think because they've had two weeks to get these guys ready to go, I think that they will not feel uncomfortable about doing what they're doing. I think that if they were short-pressed on a short week to get him ready to go, I think it would be a little tougher.

Q. Does it change the way you prepare for them at all with speeds and knowing how fast they are maybe?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: No, I think that you have to prepare for what Navy's offense is. I mean, Coach Johnson has done a great job at Navy doing what they do, and they do it very, very well. So you just have to play sound, physical, fundamental football.

Q. Is part of what they do maybe part of the reason why they have such a line that is fairly light compared to almost every other Division I team?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I think they go hand in hand. Either that question or asked the other way are both true. That's true, and if you just reverse the question, maybe what they're doing is based on the size of the guys they have right there.
But I know one thing, you can talk about size all you want, but let's talk about motor, and you don't get guys playing with any faster motor than these guys, and that's across the board. They play with a motor on offense, defense and special teams. I've talked to some guys that went to the academies, and their answer to me, which was kind of revealing to me, was football practice was the easiest part of their day. You could see where these guys would be on a mission to do something positive.

Q. Looking at your team now, the run game, again, only 50 yards last week, is that a thing that you're going to try to put an emphasis on again this week like you did a few weeks ago?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: That would be the correct assumption.

Q. It seems coaches can never satisfy everyone around. When Lou Holtz was here, his identity was a smashmouth physical offense, but he was criticized that maybe the passing game wasn't fully utilized. Under your tutelage here, the passing game has just been shattering records, but now the criticism sometimes seems to be that the running game isn't physical enough. How are you able to balance with an offensive line within the finite time limits in a week to be both proficient in run blocking and in pass blocking because Bobby Bowden said it takes something extremely special to be able to do both.
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: That's a loaded question (laughter). First of all, I don't care what anyone thinks, let's start with that one. So the criticism, by whom, to whom? Unless it's coming from my wife or my kid, I really don't care too much.
Second of all, with that being said, I think selling to your team, which is really the part and the issue that I'm taking as really where we're heading with this one, every Tuesday when we come in here, the point of emphasis is always on run and play action pass. I mean, we will not throw a drop back pass the entire day today.
So when you go into today's practice -- when we go into a game, it isn't like I say we're not going to be able to run the ball today, so we're just going to throw it on every down. I throw it because we're not running it. That's why you throw it. Now, if you rush the ball 30-some -- what were the stats from last week? What would you do? Would you run it or would you throw it? You'd throw it, too. So I'm going into this game, and if we run it 35 times for 41 yards I'm going to be throwing it again. If we get the ball and we're running it and we're gaining five yards a carry I'm going to be running it and running it because there's a lot less things that can go wrong when you're running it.
I would always like to run the ball -- I've said this stat before. You know if you run the ball 40 times, you've usually won the game in our offense. Not in their offense because that's a staple. They're going to run it 40, 50, 60 times. I would always like to be in that position.
But we always emphasize, the first day of the week is almost entirely running play action pass. Really for them to differentiate is just making excuses. We don't make excuses.

Q. To follow up a little bit to what Mike was asking, what did you see that Darius maybe could do differently in his running? Are you satisfied with where he's at right now?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: It's a combination. It's everyone. It's Darius, it's the offensive line, it's the tight ends. Everyone is involved in the run game, it's not just the runner. You know, it's scheme, it's the coach. You know, there's a lot of things involved there.
We've spent an exorbitant number of hours here in the last few days seeing if we couldn't get the running game headed in the right direction, and we'll see how it goes. I'm expecting some positive residual effects.

Q. When you sit down and look at it, do you look at the teams that you go against and say, hey -- like UCLA and their defenders and all that, do you kind of break it down and say, hey, look who he was facing in these different games?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: No, no, because once again, like we were talking about before, you just set yourself up for making excuses for why things don't work. I mean, either they won't or they don't work. Why don't they work? Because coaches did a crummy job, scheme is no good, or if the scheme is good, the players aren't doing something right. Now, is it one player or is it five players? Man, I can't tell you. There's across-the-board type of things when that happens, and then there's the players that you go against that are playing pretty well. So they all kind of come together.
But no matter what, you've still got to find a way to make it better. That's what you need to do. You've got to find a way to make it better. That's hopefully what we'll see this week.

Q. You may have addressed this on Sunday, but is this a game where you see more of Aldridge?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: We'll see how it goes. I mean, I'm not saying that to be evasive here. We'll see how it goes. I would have liked to have seen more of him last week, but that's not how it played out.

Q. Just because of the situation?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Because in the game last week there was too many things we were having to do to try to generate some things -- when you go from one thing to another mode to another mode, that's not tailor-made for an inexperienced guy. When you're trying to find something that's going to work because what you thought was going to work is not working, you need some experience there until you can find a niche to create something happening.

Q. You talked last year about how your offensive system, you'd like to have one feature back who gets the lion's share of the carries. In your development as a coach, when did you adapt that as your philosophy and could you talk about why that is?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, when you set up your offense, when you set up your offense, you have to set it up around what your players can do, just like what can your offensive line do, what can your tight ends do, what can your wide receivers do, what can your quarterback do. Now, when you're setting up the offense, okay, if you have a quarterback that is tailor-made to run the option, then you run the option. If you have a quarterback that's a pro-style drop back quarterback, then you drop back and throw the ball.
You recruit for that mentality that fits what your mentality is, but I always believe that you've got to set the offense around certain players. In the running game, you can't set it up around two totally different styles of guys.
Now, what you do when you bring in the other guy, you have him do what he does rather than what the other guy does, but you can't set the offense up around two guys. If I had a scrambling type of quarterback versus a drop back type of quarterback, I wouldn't set up the offense around one -- I'd set it up around one and the other guy would have his own set of plays.
But you can't set it up around two people, and the same thing with the running back, unless you have two of the same. If they're different styles of runners you have to set it up around one, not two. There's only a 20 hours to work with in the week.

Q. I realize UCLA stopped you on a quarterback sneak right at the end of the game before you got them to go 3 and out. I was just curious, is that something that falls into the training camp, you practice it then and you expect the players to have it ready, or is that something you touch up on a week-to-week basis, the quarterback sneak?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, we had made four of them in the game, so they were one out of five on them. So if that one makes it, too, we wouldn't be having this conversation. The other times we ran a quarterback sneak, we moved the line of scrimmage, the quarterback moved forward and we got 1st downs. That one we didn't, and they weren't all on 4th down situations. But it's something I always think that unless they have more guys than you do, if you need this far for a 1st down, you should be able to get it. And we didn't.

Q. My question is where you've had a lot of success over the years, is that something you practice or --
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: We practice it. We practice it, but we practice it on short yardage day, which would be Thursday, actually Wednesday and Thursday.

Q. And the keys, it seems like something maybe a lot of people would take for granted outside that just watch football. What are I guess the most important things a quarterback needs to do to execute it, not give it away? Could you just talk about the finer points of that?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: On a quarterback sneak? Man, obviously get the ball in your hands and keep your pads down and be generating force going forward. Too many quarterbacks that are not good at quarterback sneaks stand straight up. If you watch any quarterback game where you see quarterbacks that get blown up on quarterback sneaks, you usually see them standing almost straight up when they're going. Most of the guys that get their pads down usually are able to generate enough yardage to get a 1st down, usually.

Q. On Sunday you talked about it and I was hoping you could revisit the clock management. As far as your game day duties, where do you rank clock management in importance?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: For me personally? Who does it?

Q. No, as far as just in terms of importance, where would you put clock management?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I'm very, very, very high -- clock management to me is very, very important. I'll give you a simple one. Getting a play in in time for the quarterback to call it in the huddle, go to the line of scrimmage and be able to run an operation. To me that's clock management.
I mean, how many times have you watched a game and you get frustrated because you're waiting for the play to go in, you're waiting for the play to go in, now the play goes in, now the people are rushing to the line of scrimmage and you're saying, well, why does it take so long? It happens occasionally with us. It doesn't happen very often. I'm giving you a more obvious example of clock management.
See, people always think of clock management just at the end of halves or at the end of the game. They don't think about the management that happens throughout the game. I've always been meticulous on trying to get plays in in a hurry so that we can go ahead and get it called in the huddle, get to the line of scrimmage and give the quarterback ample time to run the situation.

Q. Is it just staying organized upstairs in your mind? How difficult is that juggling act of calling plays and getting them in?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I think once you know how to do it, it's a fairly simple procedure. You call a play, and when you call the play, before they've even left the huddle, you're going over in your mind what are the two potential things that can happen, the good one and the bad one. And then what are the plays that correspondingly would follow based on that.

Q. You've seen a lot of coaches at all levels struggle. You touched on it, more at the end of halves with their clock management you see it quite a bit. What do you think it takes to be good at managing the clock?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, see, I have a little bit of an advantage because I'm the head coach and the play caller. One of the problems comes when they're not one and the same. Sometimes they're not exactly on the same page.
So like I've been the offensive coordinator before where I've said to the head coach, what do you want to do, or I want to do one thing and he wants to do something else. That happens.
So when you happen to be the same person, the head coach and the one who's making the decision, we have less problems with that because I'm the same person. I think that's one of the frustrating things that some head coaches and corresponding coordinators on their staffs would have is making sure you're thinking the same thing when those situations present themselves. There would be times where we'd play a game -- let's say in New England, we'd be playing -- if we were playing the Colts and we got the ball back right before halftime, scoring points was not the issue, not letting Pete have the ball back was the issue, making sure no matter what that he wouldn't get the ball back with time on the clock where he could go down and score. And then if it got to a point where it was safe enough to be aggressive to go for the end zone, then you could go ahead and do that.
Whereas if you were playing a lesser offense, you're playing against a team whose offense isn't very powerful, then you be far more aggressive, then you get stopped in three and you punt and it's halftime.
A lot of it has to do with the offense and the defense. But it all still comes down to the head coach and the coordinators.

Q. Just one more thing on Navy. Could you just give your general thoughts on I know this rivalry and series is kind of special to you given what the academies stand for. Could you revisit that?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, you think that we've been playing -- we've been playing -- 80 times in a row we've played this game. Obviously the guys that go to Navy are different than the guys that go to Notre Dame in the fact that when they buy into going to Navy, they're buying into a commitment to the armed services after they're done.
In the next month we have three teams that all fit this same criteria, and I think that our team better look out every time you play an academy because they've got a lot bigger picture in mind than sometimes we do.

Q. Just to follow up on that, is the rivalry with the service academies, with Navy, different than the rivalries with Michigan and with USC and teams like that?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: They're different in the fact that Navy is a national school, and to me a national school means this is -- Navy has a connotation of representing our country, not just an opponent. I mean, these are kids that a year from now could be in Iraq. This isn't your normal opponent right now that's getting ready -- how many of these guys are going to end up playing in the NFL? After they put in their service, maybe one, two, five years from now? These are guys that are going to go represent our country, therefore what they stand for is different than any other opponent that we play other than another armed service.

Q. Going back to play calling, I noticed the quote after the game on Saturday that the final drive set up so perfectly down to the hash mark that the ball was placed. Has play calling become that sophisticated, or has it always been that type of science to figure out where --
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: It's a totally different game in college than it is in the pros because the hash marks are so much wider. See, the hash marks in the pros are much tighter, so therefore there really isn't as much of a boundary or a field as there is in college. The college hash marks are so much wider so that's why there's so many calls that are relative to where is the wide side of the field. I think that's one of the things that guys coming from the NFL to here have to learn in a hurry, how much of a difference it is, which it's significant. It's significant in the kicking game, too.
Go watch a pro game sometimes. The ball is on the right hash for a pro kicker so it's about six inches over from where it normally is. It's really not that much of a hash mark kick. Whereas now you go to any college or high school game and look at where the hash marks are, that's a wide angle that you end up kicking from. So I think that the college game is different than the pro game because the hash marks are significantly closer to the boundary.

Q. In terms of scripting games, has that always been a part of your coaching style?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Yes, we've always scripted, but one of the things you have to do now is you have to take into consideration for what your last question was, left hash and right hash plays. Like I might have some plays -- I have plays in the game plan that I'll play middle of the field, left hash or right hash, it doesn't make a difference, and I'll flip them, left and right formation, but I have other plays that I'll only call if the ball is on the right hash or if the ball is on the left hash.
Sometimes if you put a play, you might get to play 4, and on play 4 you might have a check with me where you might run to the right or you might run to the left. Now, play 5 might be 5A and 5B based on where the ball went. I don't know if it went to the left or went to the right, but if it went to the left I'm running this one and if it went to the right I'm running this one. As long as I've been calling plays for the last ten years or so, I've always been scripting.

Q. In the AP Poll this week, Notre Dame got votes anywhere from No. 6 to No. 15. I was wondering, in your opinion do you think this is a top ten team?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I think we'll know that in about five weeks. I mean, we might be a top five team in five weeks. I mean, if you're basing off of -- if you're just basing off of one game, I'd say our defense played a top ten game and our offense didn't in the last game. But ask me that at the end of November because right now I couldn't answer that question.

Q. A lot of the media look at the next four games and say, okay, this is a pretty easy stretch. How do you keep your players from thinking that?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, it's pretty easy after the tape that they just watched on Sunday because it's really easy to focus in on all the problems you've got to correct yourself, and that's -- then you have to apply them -- the defense which played pretty well in the last game will immediately have the attention, and all they can do is watch this tape of Navy. I mean, it's a totally different offense, therefore that gets your attention.
The offense, we've got enough problems on our own to deal with, and now you've got a team that goes back and forth from odd to even on top of it, and then you also have the element that they've had two weeks to get ready so you don't know what the element of surprise is on top of everything else. So there's a lot of ways to -- that are pretty practical applications to get their attention.

Q. You had spoken about some of the challenges that Victor faces with double teams and backs chipping and so forth. I know that some teams that you play even flip their defensive ends somewhat. What's the advantage or disadvantage of doing that?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, what they'll do is they'll play a strong side end and a weak side end. There's a lot of teams that to do that. They'll put a certain end, the bigger guy to the tight end side and the smaller guy to the open side. A lot of teams do that in different systems, from way, way, way back. I mean, like the old 49ers used to call that guy the elephant end, the big end versus the pass rush end. There's a lot of people that use things like that so that the guy -- that end was always a guy that had more size than the other size.

Q. Do you see an advantage in doing that over a left and a right end?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I think that usually these guys get comfortable in a right-handed stance or a left-handed stance. Usually they don't feel nearly as comfortable when they have to put the other hand on the ground.

Q. And last from me, statistically, 3rd down conversions is the one statistic I've heard you talk a lot about. In terms of other rankings like where you are nationally in rushing offense or passing offense, passing defense, do you look at those? Do you have goals for yourself?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I know what they are. I'm worrying about wins, that's what I worry about. That's the stat I worry about. I'm worrying about how many wins we have. That's my stat. You ask me my stat, I'm worrying about wins.
I'm cognizant of all the stats. I do self-scout, I look at them every Sunday. I get a computer printout of everything that happened and I compare it to where we were the previous week. I compare three games at a time versus the three games previous to that. I do a season analysis. I'm cognizant of what they are.
But usually subjectively I've already gotten that feel because I just went through the game in my head anyway, and I've watched -- I usually have a pretty good idea of what's gotten better or what's gotten worse. But that changes week to week. Every week that changes. I'm worrying about putting the team in a position to win. That's my number one responsibility.

Q. When you first arrived here, we asked you if there would ever come the day where you would relinquish the play calling and you were very diplomatic and you said, we'll see down the road, but you obviously have a lot of pride in and prowess at calling plays. Is it realistic to think that you would ever relinquish that as head coach of Notre Dame?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I think there would come a time. We're not at that time, okay. There would come a time when I knew -- when I felt comfortable that Michael or whoever, I'm using the theory of Michael, okay, was thinking the way I think because the one thing you don't want to do, and you don't want to be in a position where you're calling the plays and the head coach is second-guessing every play you call. And if I turn it over to somebody, conversely, I don't want to be doing that, as well. I want to be going with the flow. I like to be able to do that.
But the last thing I want to do is turn it over to somebody and then after three plays say run this, run this, run this, so I think it will take a little time. There's some guys that have been able to do it, there's some guys that haven't been able to do it. I mean, I have friends that just have never been able to do it. Andy Reed told me, I can't turn it over. I've got to be the guy -- I don't think people would know the offense as well as I know the offense. That doesn't mean he doesn't have confidence in the guys working with him/for him, it just means that he doesn't want to be jumping in turning it over to somebody, then jumping in five seconds later.

Q. And if you did relinquish that, what would you turn your attention to by giving up that responsibility?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, I think that right now -- I have my head set on with all three phases, so what it would allow me to do is spend more time watching the game because when I'm talking to the defensive coaches, I'm also thinking about what we're going to do on offense, and then I have to click over -- I wait a little while until after all the statistical information is in, and then I'll click off and say, okay, run it down for me and we'll -- and then I'm writing a few notes. You're trying to do a lot of things at one time.
But realistically when you have a veteran staff like we do, I don't have to worry about calling defense. I'm more concerned with knowing the defense and interjecting my thoughts on the defense and calling the offense.

Q. What's your reaction to after a win you drop one in the AP Poll, two in the Coach Poll, one in the BCS?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, the things that surprise me are in that situation -- I'll just cite a couple of them, like one of the teams that jumped us had the same game that we had. Another down, they're playing at home, they're down and they win by a field goal. Another team that jumped us wasn't even playing. They're sitting at home eating cheeseburgers, and they ended up jumping us. So that befuddles me.
We go into a game with 27 seconds to go, come from behind, win a thrilling game, and because we win a thrilling game, let's move us down because one team is not playing and the other team had the exact same game, exactly the same. Tell me how that works. Maybe I'm just stupid, just tell me how that works. You're on the AP, tell me how that works (laughter).

Q. I don't get a vote. A lot of times you say you don't worry about the poll. When do you begin worrying about those things?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, the number one thing is you want, hey -- let's be very practical here, okay. Would I love for Notre Dame to play for the National Championship this year? Absolutely. Is it a chance that it happens? Remote. Is there a chance? Yeah, there's a chance because any team with one loss has a chance of playing for it.
Now, a lot of things have to happen now, okay. A lot of things have to happen. But is there a chance? I'd say there's a chance. It's remote. Would you agree with that? It's remote, but would you say there's a chance? Remote.
Other than that, what's the next thing you want? Well, you'd like to play in one of the big games. So what do you have to do? Then you have to win. That's what you have to do. If you win, things usually end up taking care of themselves.
There's great wins, there's ugly wins, okay, but they all -- they're all wins, and when it's all said and done, the teams that are going to have a chance to play in those games are going to be the teams that won enough games to be in that position.

Q. You've been asked this year about either Landri or Laws, and whenever you're asked about one you seem to group them together. Do you think of them more as a unit, that they depend on each other?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I think that those two guys feed off of each other. That's why I always put them together, because they have a lot of similar qualities. Okay, they're not the 300-pounders that a lot of other people play with, but they're athletic, quick, tough football players, and they've made significant improvement as far as play making from last year to this year.
So I think by doing that, buying into the whole team way of thinking, I think by putting those two guys together, I think I'm doing them justice because I think they've both made significant improvements that have made us better.

Q. And they seem to be similar on the field but they seem to have very different personalities.
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Yeah, their personalities are not the same, but you're talking about a kid from Minnesota and a kid from California. A lot of that has to do with where you come from. But I think that they have fun playing together.

Q. You mentioned a few minutes ago about time management. Do you ever think you don't want to score too fast, or is scoring, no matter how fast or slow, good at all times?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, obviously you'd like to score with one second left to go in the game, but let's go back to like Stanford last year when we got the ball on the ten yard line and Darius runs it in. It's never bad to score. I mean, it's never a bad thing to score. Now, it's easy in hindsight to sit there and say -- I watched the end of that Philadelphia-Tampa Bay game the other day. Who would have thought the guy kicks a 62-yard field goal? You said, well, if they would have taken more time to score.
Your job as an offense is to score. When a coach calls a play and says we better not score on this one, we'd better wait one more play, it goes through your mind but you never can say it's a bad thing to score.

Q. And I have one more on time management. The other day you talked about calling a time out right away at the 1st down. Why would you not call a time out there instead of the next three plays?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: What if they throw an incomplete pass? Then I don't have to use one. That's the reason. If you don't call a time out, they run the 25 seconds down, now you call a time out after 3rd down, now they can throw. So now what you do is you gave them an opportunity to run it into a run pass option instead of having to make them run. So now by calling it the way you call it, now you're forcing them to run on 3rd down because anyone in that situation, okay, if you're going to throw, 3rd down would not be the one to throw, okay. If the clock is running, you want to make sure the clock keeps running. That's what you want to do. No matter what, you want to run as much time off as you possibly can. Now, because the rules are changed, anyone who doesn't do it that way is making a big mistake.

Q. Because of the streak and everything else, I think Navy probably feels they don't have anything to lose this week. Is there any way you can coach against that or do to relieve the pressure on your team in that situation?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: We're not even going to mention -- that won't even be mentioned.

Q. How significant of an advantage is that for them going into a game being able to feel like that? I assume maybe in that first Super Bowl you had against the Rams you had kind of the same feeling?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Unfortunately every week we play, it's a statement game for the other team, beating Notre Dame. Beater Notre Dame is a statement game. So I look at it -- UCLA, that would have been a big statement game, Navy would be a big statement game, week after that would be North Carolina, then it will be Air Force, then army, then USC. Sometimes people think that we act arrogant, but really beating Notre Dame is national, it's not like local news. It's national news.
I mean, I look at them all the same. I think that Navy is not going into this game talking about losing 100 times in a row. I mean, that's the last thing that they're worried about. They're trying to win one in a row. That's what they're trying to do. They're coming off a disheartening loss because they lost their starting quarterback, and they have every intention of going out there and doing everything they can to win the game.

Q. Is it fair to say there's more pressure on you guys than them, though?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: No more pressure than last week and no more pressure than next week. They're all the same.

Q. On Joe Brockington, where was he in your estimation at the start of the season? I know you moved Travis to his position. There must have been some concerns.
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: He was the backup behind Travis. That's where he was in training camp, and then when Travis went out, he went in, played well enough to keep him in there.

Q. Can he play both of the outside backer positions?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, the Will and the Sam sometimes are just -- I could call them OLB, OLB, and then it wouldn't be any thing. Other than Mo Crum being in the middle, they're kind of interchangeable parts.

Q. Since this is a one-question shot I'm going to ask you a little bit about Brady and I'll make it a three-part question.
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: You're cheating (laughter).

Q. Can you talk about his development since you arrived? Two, you talked about playing to your players' strengths. Are you able to do more because you have a quarterback like Brady who can make throws that maybe some other quarterbacks don't? And three, with your NFL experience, what do you project him as far as next level?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, let's start with number one. He had already been playing here for two years when I got here, so the learning curve of getting out there and getting your feet wet had already taken place. He was already intelligent when I got here. He had already been playing for two years when I got here, so realistically you already had something good to work with because you had a kid with athletic ability and intelligence that had been playing for two years.
Secondly, because he has a lot of those special qualities, intelligence and physical skills coming together, it allows you to expand your offense quicker than you initially would, putting in a system because you can put more responsibility on the quarterback than you could with somebody of lesser either physical skills or mental skills.
Last but not least, I think he's a can't-miss in the NFL.

Q. Ambrose and Victor are going back to their hometown this weekend. Do you talk to players who play in those kind of homecoming games as to not get sort of caught up in the whole return?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, earlier in the week I try to excite them a little bit about doing it, about, hey, look how many tickets you can get your hands on, how many people are going because I think it's something special to guys to be able to do that.
But I make sure I stress later in the week as it gets closer to the game that the focus stays on the game and not on the whole entourage trying to get a piece of you when we go on the road because I try to make these trips like business trips as much as I possibly can.

Q. And where is Ambrose in terms of his return from being out?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: He returned last week. I mean, he's back and ready to go.

End of FastScripts...

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