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November 18, 2006

Charlie Weis

COACH WEIS: Fire away.
By the way, it's 35-24 at the end of the third quarter. (Referring to Ohio State/Michigan game.) (Laughter).
Just figured I would help you out a little. And yes, I did hold the score from being announced during the game, if that was the next question, because I thought that our players would be scoreboard watching rather than focusing in on the game. And I said that -- I said that we would call up when the game was near an end and go ahead and announce it.

Q. What about the green uniforms? What brought that on, the green jerseys?
COACH WEIS: You really want the story behind that?

Q. Please.
COACH WEIS: Two nights ago I was sitting there with my wife and my son. My son actually brought it up he said, "Dad we should wear the green uniforms."
"Charlie, that's an unwritten rule, uniforms you never wear when you're playing against the No. 1 ranked team in the country."
"He goes, well, Dad you tell me how special this senior class is. It just doesn't seem right that they don't get an opportunity to be honored as seniors going out." I thought for a 13-year-old kid to make a statement like that, I thought it made a lot of sense.
So I sat down with our captains and I brought it up and we went over the pros and cons of wearing green. I felt that we would get a little juice in the locker room and by the fans when we went out there, which I was definitely concerned with us being flat. Even though we had a couple holding penalties in the first couple drives, I thought the fans were into the game and I thought the players were into the game, even though the offensive production in the first two drives didn't indicate it.
But I thought more importantly, it gave an opportunity to let this special group of seniors, which we really feel that this is a special group, is kind of like our gift from the team, the coaching staff, the under classmen, to our seniors.
Q. Just wondering if you've spent any time looking into USC yet?
COACH WEIS: Well, would you like for me to lie? (Laughter).
Q. The truth is preferable, but --
COACH WEIS: I've watched every game, every play, offense, defense, special teams -- no, I have not watched every play on special teams. But I've watched every play on offense and defense. That, I can tell you.

Q. You just mentioned how your son could see how the senior class is special. What is it about this class that has been so special, what they have accomplished?
COACH WEIS: Well, we can go over -- like say a fifth year guy. A fifth year guy has been through a whole bunch of coaches now and a whole bunch of assistant coaches. They have had highs and lows. These emotional roller coasters are not necessarily a good thing.
But more than anything else, more than me liking these guys, which I do; I like these guys. I'm really happy for them. Usually you're proud of them first. I'm actually happy for them. I'm just happy that they get to end their college experience like this, you know, on a high.
As I told them, we still have two more games to go, but to be able to play the last time at your stadium in front of your family and friends and students that you've been with for the last four or five years, I think it's something special.

Q. Earlier you posted a sign -- inaudible?
COACH WEIS: No, but I think that -- I don't think we would be content to end up 10-3. I don't think we would be content now. I know we're one game better but we still have two more big games.
Obviously USC, we know how good they are and whoever we're matched up in a Bowl game, we're going to come up against a top-flight team in the country. Whether it's the first team or whether it's not, that's not the point. We're up against two tough opponents to go. As I tell these guys you're always remembered how you go out the end of the year. You're not going to be remembered by beating Army 41-9. They are going to be remembered by that game out in California and what happens in that Bowl game. We have a lot of work yet to do.

Q. What would have been the cons of wearing the green jerseys?
COACH WEIS: I started with what I said to him, the unwritten rule, the rationale. He said, well, where is that -- it was almost like implied, well, is that etched in stone; we can't set our own rules?
I thought it was a very good suggestion. I always get leery, to be honest with you, the media, like, oh, here Weis goes again. But I really thought bringing it to the captains and asking them about it. As a matter of fact when I asked Quinn, he said that was the toughest question he was asked all week, whether to wear the green jerseys or not. And then I called him a wimp and he said, okay, I want to wear them.
But they were unanimous, the captains were, and they didn't tell anyone, even Zbi, would was able to not tell Samardzija which is a miracle in its own right, you know, that he was able to do that. (Laughter)
But I think that what we actually did is I had a video guy go in the locker room, one of our video guys go in the locker room before the game, because I never get to see their reaction when they go in there and see in their lockers, so I'm looking forward to watching that myself.

Q. (Will you wear the green jerseys again?)
COACH WEIS: That's a good question and I think that's too early for me to answer. We won, so we got that out of the way, you know. So we can't say, if we're in the green, we're going to lose, so at least they got that stigma out of the way. We'll have to see how it goes.

Q. You don't often see a coach get teary-eyed or misty on the field. How proud were you, and it seemed like you were soaking the moment in when the players were coming around?
COACH WEIS: You know, I think when you come here, the older guys have already had, you know, a couple coaches already. They have already had position coaches and head coaches. You know, people always say, when you get to recruit your own guys; they are my own guys. These are my guys.
Like I said, I'm proud of them, but more importantly, I'm just happy for them. I'm happy they are where we are and they know we have a lot of work to do. I think tonight is the last time they will ever play at home for most of those guys. I know some of them have a fifth year we'll discuss yet but that's not the point. For most of these guys it's the last time they will ever play here but to enjoy the evening with their family and friends after a big win is special, and I'll be watching the USC Cal game in case you're wondering.

Q. It looked like Mike got together with the offense and then Brady, did he get a nudge from you to go over and talk to them?
COACH WEIS: I told them they were playing soft on defense; that we had just gotten two holding penalties and we had, you know, an interception. I said now if they are going to play soft, they are going to have to nickel and dime you, if they are not going to feel that we have the patience to just do that. I went and told them, you have to be patient, fellas. We're not going to score in big chunks here. We are going to nickel and dime them because that's what they have been dictating for you to do.
The general tendency for an offense is to press, they want to score in a hurry. That's not the way the coverage was being dictated. What I told them after the two drives is relax, it's 3-0; you're not down 100-3. Let's just get things under control, realize I'm going to run the ball and throw short intermediate routes, which is what I told them we were going to do and what we did most of the rest of the game. I just wanted them to know it was a change of game plan. I've always told you the type of person that waits long to change the game plan -- well, we changed it after two drives because we had a bunch of downfield throws designed to go in there and they were not going to work. And we got out of it after the third drive and we got it on the third drive, and that was pretty much it the rest of the game. We could pretty much control the ball the rest of the game.

Q. What went through your mind when the students and the seniors and fans were chanting "Beat SC" when you first heard it?
COACH WEIS: I agree with them. (Laughter) That's what was going through my mind. They could have been louder.

Q. What did you like what you saw in X's and O's in today's game and what makes you say, we need to do some work?
COACH WEIS: Well, we were very simple in this game plan because, you know, the players didn't know that part of what we practiced this week was for next week. But they didn't know that. Because then they would be thinking that I'm thinking towards next week. So about two-thirds of what we practiced this week, they didn't see in this game; well, why did we practice all this stuff?
He thought out bread and butter no huddle package on the offense and our bread and butter package on the defense, we played sound, fundamental football would be enough to win the game. I think, you know, you have to tie these things in together. You never can look past one opponent and get yourself caught short. But I think that that's basically what I'm getting at. You have to look at these in sequence and kind of fit them all together.

Q. I asked you this earlier if you thought this year's team was better than last year; is it still too early to tell?
COACH WEIS: It is getting close. It is too early to tell, though. Last year we ended up with Syracuse, 34-10, somewhere in that neighborhood, very similar game, other than the fact last year the offense didn't perform well in that game, it was more of a defensive game. Defense played well today. Offense, Darius ran the ball for 160. Brady really had one bad throw the whole day -- well, he threw one in the dirt. The one interception earlier where we forced it and we quickly got out of that mentality and went into more short, intermediate passes and run and said, just be patient, don't be impatient here.

Q. Did you have any special intention to get the ball to Marcus more today? Could you assess his play as far as you saw it?
COACH WEIS: I can't tell you. I know he blocked pretty well. I don't know -- we don't design to throw the ball to anyone. When we call a play, it's all based on where the coverage is, and therefore, the ball goes to the guys based on what coverage.
Today Samardzija has nine catches and Rhema had three catches. It could have -- the coverage was different; it could have just been the opposite. It could have been Rhema with nine catches and Jeff with three. We don't design to get the ball to anyone. Whoever is open off the coverage gets the ball. I just know he blocked pretty well.

Q. Were you concerned at all toward the end of the game that the offense was not going to get another series?
COACH WEIS: Oh, no, I know we would get the ball back but I wanted to give John Lyons a carry, I wanted to get Aldrige a carry, I wanted to get McConnell a carry. After that pass interference call, I know it was going to get -- it was getting kind of close, getting kind of close to not getting in there.
But I think the most important thing for me was to make sure I got the guys, you know, try to get those guys on the field to at least be part of that experience.

Q. Were you glad to see Brady soak up a lot of it? He jumped in the stands, and I think some of his friends jumped out of the stands, too.
COACH WEIS: I think he's been watching his brother-in-law and that Green Bay stuff they do. Isn't his brother-in-law in Green Bay where they dive into the stands? I think he's been watching too many Packer games.
Brady really enjoys being part of the experience and enjoys being part of the student body. For a guy that's of his stature, he could very easily, very easily act like a prima donna, and he doesn't have one ounce of that in his body. I think he wanted to share that moment with the fans, especially the student body at the end. He's really a special person.

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