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UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME MEDIA CONFERENCE
November 4, 2006
Q. Just comment, first of all, on Brady's performance today.
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, I thought he had a pretty good day. I think that he was pretty accurate with our game plan and we decided we were going to go into the game and make sure we didn't come flat -- come out flat. I said all week that I was trying to control the tempo of the game, and we came out of the no-huddle and he executed very well. Those four touchdown passes, no interceptions, that's usually a pretty good day at the office. There were a couple more that we had our hands on; could have been a better day at the office.
Q. Season-high 45 points today, 38 last week. What has the offense been able TO do in those past two games that maybe wasn't there in the UCLA game?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, these two games were a little different. Last week it was basically a run, play-action type of game. This game was an in-and-out-of-mode game. We're in no-huddle and we're back to a more conventional deal. I think just our playmakers made some plays, quarterback and Carlson had one and Rhema had a couple, and Jeff had one; Derek's got his 20-plus touches. I think when all of those things added up, it usually means we had a pretty decent day.
Q. What effect if any did the melee on motivating the team to close out the game?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: The melee was over by the time -- it had no effect on the end of the game.
Q. And finally, what Jeff did today, he set a record for touchdown receptions, but a lot of those passes have come from Brady Quinn, can you talk about what they have accomplished over the years?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I think it's pretty amazing that he accomplished it really in a year, year and a half. He really just played last year and this year. So imagine, you know -- if you want to give me these guys for two more years, I'll take them and see what numbers they can really throw up, because they really threw these numbers up in the last two years.
Q. Can you comment on the play the of the defense today?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I thought the first half, with the exception of the one drive which we gave up, I thought the defense really came and set the tempo in the game, and that's one of the big things.
I thought the defense came out and set the tempo of the game. We got after them pretty good. I think that third quarter, giving a couple big plays up, that didn't exactly lift my spirits, but I did like how hard they played and I did like the fact that they took control of the game early.
Q. How about the offensive line play, we seem to ask you about it every week. Are you seeing some improvements, are you concerned about it?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I'll wait until I see the tape. I know that we gave them a few sacks and the other quarterback got hit. It's not always the offensive line's fault.
So, for example, I know the one time when he got sacked on the long yardage, it was covering three, want to be going back to Rhema. In that one case, that was on the quarterback. It wasn't on the offensive line because we were looking in the wrong direction. It's not every time you see it. It's one thing when it's a fire drill at the quarterback and somebody gets beat on the edge, and you can obviously see that happen, but you know, sacks are a combination of things. It's not always just let's put it on the offensive line. So I'll reserve judgment until after I get a chance to see it.
Q. On a style note, is this the first time you've worn a hooded, gray sweatshirt?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: No, I've worn a hooded, gray sweatshirt but usually with a rain coat over it, but the rain held off. The rain coat was in Henry's hands, Henry was ready to give it to me but the rain held off.
Q. You look a lot better in that than some people I can think of.
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Ha-ha-ha-ha. Sorry, Bill. (Laughter).
Q. Did you give any thought to trimming the sleeves with the sweater?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: No. (Laughter).
Q. On a more serious note, you have --
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: That's a good one.
Q. You miss New England, don't you.
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I do. No, not really. (Laughter).
Q. And on that note, you have given up a fair number of big plays defensively. Clearly that concerns you. Yet it keeps happening week after week. Would you comment on that, explain that?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I think that in the first half, it was -- the first half, that was really a drive on their part. It wasn't just a big play. They had a few -- they had a 121-yard completion the first half, and that was the biggest play they had the whole first half, with the exception of the kickoff return for a touchdown. Obviously you can't blame the defense for the big play there.
In the third quarter, they hit a couple and one we just fell down on. Just we scored one when they feel down, too. Sometimes it's a little bit of a fluke. Rhema scored that one touchdown in the second quarter when the guy went to jam him and missed him.
Sometimes these guys do fall down. They are not perfect. I'm concerned any time we give up long ones. It's something that we keep on working on. It has not been that way every week. It's actually been better this year. But we gave up a couple of them today.
Q. Can you talk about the play of Laws and Landri, two players that you often group together?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I think it's pretty obvious that these two guys create some havoc inside and that helps the whole defense. They are very quick off the ball and they penetrate. Whether they are involved in pressuring the quarterback or because they are being blocked, it helps for Victor and those guys off the edge. But they are always -- every game, one thing you can depend on with them, they will always be active.
Q. Did you see UNC adjust to the havoc they were creating in the middle at all?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I saw them have a couple shots up the left sideline, that's all. I didn't see much in the running game if that's what you're saying. They had a couple of runs but I saw them hit a couple of shots up the left sideline, that's what I saw.
Q. Can you talk about Hakeem Nicks and what you saw from him?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I'm not talking about their players. I'm talking about our players. You ask them about their players.
Q. Can you talk about, if you have concerns about the running game taking so long to get going against a team that has not stopped the run very well this year?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: No, didn't run it. It's not going to get going if you don't call runs. Our deal today was we were going to come out and we were going to throw it a lot the first half. And when we got control of the game, we were going to come back and run it a lot.
And statistically, I think when it comes right down, we were always about close to 50/50 in the game, which it didn't really make a difference to me when we end up calling them. I like to get some balance. But earlier in the game, we knew we were going to be in no-huddle. When I call 18 plays in a row and I stick in three runs, it's going to be off-balance when you are in no-huddle mode and you're just sticking in a couple of draws.
Q. Can you also talk about the knuckleball Samardzija threw and what the forecast is of his career as a pitcher?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Actually he got hit. We run that play in practice and this kid can sling it. They were bringing in a blitz zone on the play and John came over and blocked the one guy, and then the guy who was coming down for the blitz zone went ahead and brought it on and was hitting him as he was going to throw it.
I would have liked to seen him have another second there because Rhema is about ten yards behind him at the time right there. Just didn't pan out.
Q. Was there something that you saw maybe throughout the week that gave you the idea that you gave up a lot of extra points?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: No, almost every game when we bring pressure with Landri and Laws, they are close to touching the ball almost every game. It's not the first time Derek has had his hands on one, and Trevor has had his hands on one, too. The key point is there's a lot of defensive linemen; when it gets to be extra point field goal rush, they just take the play off, and that's really the key point. Kudos to Landri because it shows he's not taking a play off, even though they just scored a touchdown, he's going out there and this is like blocking a field goal to win the game. This is blocking an extra point, so you have to give him a lot of credit on playing hard on an extra point run.
Q. Can you talk about the career touchdown record, Samardzija?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I've only been here for two years and most of his production, when we got here, he was a backup and he became our third receiver. And then Rhema went down and he became our second receiver, and by the end of the year he was our first receiver. He's caught a lot of balls for us in a short amount of time and he's been very, very productive.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about the day that Maurice Crum had? He seemed to be all over the place.
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: He was all over the place, and I think that what happened, especially early in the game, is we were bringing a lot of heat early in the game, and for that same reason we were in no-huddle, we were bringing a lot of pressure in the game because we wanted to set the tempo in defense. We had gone out to some flat starts in a few games and we were not going to law that to happen today. I said we were going to try to do something different, and he was very active and involved in a bunch of plays.
Q. A lot happened on special teams today all over the board. Can you sum up the whole day on special teams?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, I mean, obviously, I was very aggravated on the kickoff return for the touchdown. I was very happy with the punt return for the touchdown. I was upset with the drop punt by George. I just yanked the first offense. The first offense I had just pulled him out of the game before that punt return.
So I looked out on the field, and I'm saying Jeff is our safe punt returner and I look out there and I say, oh God, I just pulled him out of the game on offense, and he's going to go and catch a punt and I'm going to lose my wide receiver on punt return so. We put George out there who promptly laid it on the ground, and that was a real good coaching move on my part. You could see I was all over that situation. So I can blame that one on me because I caught George a little bit off guard there; I pulled zippy and I pulled Jeff and all of a sudden he had to go in there.
But we did have some tackles inside the 20, okay, and I thought Price hit the ball pretty well today. You know, there was a little wind out there, so there were highs and lows in this game. Once again, I'll have to wait until I go see the whole picture.
Q. From your vantage point what happened with the fight at the end?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Oh, on the sideline? Well, I thought that -- I thought that the hit out of bounds, was very marginal, I would be very disappointed -- I'm not going to sit there and say whether it's late or not. I'm not the official. They obviously called it a late hit, so they thought it was. I'm not going to be disrespectful to North Carolina. But you hit a quarterback like that on the sideline, the least you should expect is your guys to go in there and make sure in they are okay. After an experience we had earlier in the year, I think our coaching staff jumped in there early because they had orders from me and everyone when that situation happens again to make sure it didn't escalate. I thought that it ended up getting under control very quickly, including their guys were coming from the field to come in there. I thought they did a good job of not, you know, making it into something worse than it could have been potentially.
Q. Your thoughts on the ebb and flow of the game; in other words, is it true that a team like North Carolina, nothing to lose, the more they are in it later in the game, that sort of thing, that concerns you there?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, it was a two-fold thing on that one. I think that's a true statement. You know, it's always a true statement. But I thought more importantly, for our team, you know, to come out and play flat the first half would have been bad coaching.
So I think that it was up to us to make sure that you are playing a team that's 1-7, obviously they played their best game of the year against Wake last week and had not thrown in the to you he will. The coach had been dismissed, did not throw in the towel and played one of the best game they had played. That gave us visual evidence they were going to come in and play hard today. Therefore, my job was, and the coaching staff, our job was to make sure that our players were ready to go early in the game, and I felt our players were ready to go early in the game.
Q. I've been asking you about music all week, so I can't stop here.
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Talk to me.
Q. Chicago knocked the door down for a half-time show.
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I was in the locker room. I didn't hear.
Q. When is your official request going for your Jersey favourite to hit the field?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I'm sure if I told him, "Jon, we're coming for half-time," they would dial up 'Living on a Prayer' very easily. I hear it at the basketball game very often. I don't if I could deliver that but I would love to have them here. They have a standing invitation any time they want to come.
Q. John Carlson just had an impossible matchup for a lot of linebackers.
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: He's a dig dude, now. He is, he has a big body now. He's a good football player. He blocks well. He's athletic, he can catch, he's dangerous with the ball, his hands; he's one of those guys that's been like this all year long.
Q. Victor, sacks today, do you feel he's starting to grasp the potential he has and he's ready to start producing, go on to the next level?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I think that Rick and Jappy have done a nice job of turning him free a little bit, widing him out a little bit. I know we go against him in practice and we can't block him. I know that. If we don't put two guys on him, you know, it's a long, hard day for us, too.
So I think that, you know, it causes people -- you've got two choices. Either give extra attention to him, or else you go one-on-one with a tackle; and Victor most of the time is going to win most of those one-on-one battles.
Q. Could you talk a little bit about Aldrige and how he's improved from the beginning of this year to where he is now?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, he's been ready to play physically for a while. Mentally he's getting closer and closer to being able to handle our whole package. See, for a freshman, this package, me running the ball inside is the easy part. Just turn around and hand it off. As a matter of fact, the first play he was in there the first half, we actually threw a play-action pass and they actually brought the guy I was concerned on. I said, oh, no, here he comes. He picked up the blitz and that's when he threw the corner route to Carlson that we dropped, I don't know if it would have scored or didn't score. But talking about James, his first play in the game, okay, they bring a blitz and he goes and picks it up. The fact that he's starting to grasp the whole concept of the offense just bodes well for his future here with us.
Q. Will you have time tomorrow night to watch any of the Colts and Patriots?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: You can bet on it -- don't use bet. (Laughter) The least time I said that was with me and Brady, and the NCAA slapped me on the wrist. You can count on it. How is that?
Q. You've got ties to both.
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: No, I have ties to one. I'm a Patriot/Tommy Brady fan. That's who I'll be rooting for. No disrespect to Indiana, no disrespect to Mr. Polian or Tony, but that's where my heart is.
Q. As you move forward out of this game, what do you feel good about going out of this game, what are you concerned about as you head to the last stretch?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, I think that I'm concerned about tying together a string of games -- well, right now to be honest with you, the biggest thing I'm concerned about is Air Force. I hate to be so practical, but, you know, I sat there and watched them win 100-0 last night. Things are going bad for them in the first drive and all of a sudden the guy takes a 99 to the house, I don't know what the final was, 44-7. Right now more than anything else, I'm worried about getting any bumps and bruises healed and getting ready to play Air Force and really not worrying about any crescendo or fever pitch or anything like that, you know, as far as a team on the rise. I'm more concerned with just continuing to get better and let's go make that trip out to Air Force and see if we can't beat Air Force.
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