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November 19, 2006

Charlie Weis

COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I'll make a few comments about Army and we'll get on to USC. Yesterday's win makes us 10 and 1 for only the fifth time in school history.
Special teams, a couple points of note. Derek Landri blocked another field goal, that was our fourth block of the season. Kyle McCarthy had a big play in the game coming up with that fumble recovery in plus territory on the kickoff. We missed a PAT, which is more an operational thing than it was the kick, and we had three penalties called on our special teams, one a holding call on Maurice Richardson, and they had two blocking the backs called. I think that both of those -- if I recall correctly, both of those were on Mitchell Thomas.
Defense was probably our best performance of the year. We held Army to nine points, 12 1st downs, 58 net yards rushing, 1.6 per carry. 92 yards passing, a total of 150 yards or 2.6 per play.
We held them to 5 and 14 on 3rd down, but four of those 3rd downs were in the fourth quarter, so I think our first defense really didn't play great on 3rd down. We did have three penalties, Victor had a late hit, and he was the second man in. Usually when you're second man in, you end up getting caught.
Then we had two penalties very late in the game, Raeshon McNeil was lined up offsides on a play down there inside the 10, and then they called Leo for that pass interference down there close.
On an individual basis, Joe Brockington led the team with eight tackles, Derek Landri had an excellent game. He had seven tackles but four and a half of them were for losses, and he had two sacks. Trevor Laws, by the way, also was involved in seven tackles.
Mike Richardson had the two picks, and I thought Chinedum, even though he only had three tackles and a pass break, but I thought that was as good of tackling as I've seen from someone him, going in the alley and just stopping guys cold.
Offensively we had 26 1st downs, rushed for 221 with a net of 6.3, which that's a very good average. Darius I thought was outstanding, rushed for 162, a couple touchdowns. I was happy for him to go over 1,000 again this year just like last year.
Brady had his workmanlike effort. We would like to have the pick back, but 22 for 30, 73 percent completions, three touchdowns, 218 passing.
Probably the stat that I like the most, we were in the red zone five times and scored five touchdowns. That lifted my spirits.
We were 6 and 10 on 3rd down, we gave up the one sack, which was kind of a coverage sack anyway, and we did have three penalties. We had two holdings on Santucci, and the play-by-play had Turkovich on the false start. I thought the false start was on Olsen.
I was a little concerned with the nine penalties, but overall despite the slow start in the first two drives on offense where we had two holding penalties, an interception in the first two drives, we scored the next five times we got the ball. So generally I was pretty pleased with how the day went.
On to USC. They've won 32 straight at home, won 54 out of 57, three losses coming by a combined total of eight points. They had that one little rut early in the middle of the year where they went to Washington State and they won by six and played Washington and won by six and played Arizona State and won by seven, and everyone says, oh, it's not the same USC. Then they go to Oregon State and they got down big and made a frantic rush and got stopped on a two-point conversion to tie the game at the end and everyone says, oh, not the same USC.
Here they are, they blow out Stanford, they go beat Oregon, they beat Cal last night, and they're in the same position they always are, PAC 10 champs with a chance of winning a National Championship like they always do.
I think that sometimes they don't get enough kudos, and I think that Coach Carroll and his staff have done a great job. He's been there six years and he's won 85 percent of his games, 63 and 11. He's lost 11 times by a total of 47 points, and when he loses he only loses by four points a game. Only one of them was by more than a touchdown.
By the way, in his career, I'm well aware that in his career at USC he's 19 and 0 in the month of November, and I'm sure he's looking forward to trying to make it 20 and 0.
Now, lane Kiffin, he's their offensive coordinator, he's also the receivers coach, he's also the recruiting coordinator. This is his sixth year her USC and the second year he's been the offensive coordinator.
They're pretty stout on offense. Everybody says, well, Reggie is gone, LenDale is gone, Leinart is gone. Well, they're averaging 31 a game and rushing for 142 and throwing for 250, and that's 392 total yards per game, and they've only given up 13 sacks all year long.
Everyone says, well, they've got Booty in. Well, he started all ten games this year, completed 62.3 percent of his passes, 22 to 6 touchdown/interception ratio, 241.7 per game. Just like last night against Cal, you watch the game, he was 18 for 31, 238 yards, two touchdowns, about how he is every game. That's why he averages 241.7 and he threw for 238 last night.
The running back is kind of interesting. Moody got hurt in the Oregon game, got an ankle injury. We don't think he'll be back. We're not positive. As a matter of fact, Washington got hurt in that game, as well, and he got an MRI and it revealed he had a sprained knee, but he did play against Cal even though they started the freshman C.J. Gable, which I'm assuming the reason they started him is because of the knee that Washington had just come off of. But he started four of the last five games and is their leading rusher. He's rushed for 703 yards and just under five yards a carry with eight touchdowns.
I think that if Moody is not back we'll see him and Gable, who came onto the scene last night. It seems like every time you turn around they've got a new front line running back that runs real well. So Gable starts last night, he's third on the team in rushing after last night. He's got 250 yards and 4.23 average with three touchdowns. He also is dynamic on kickoff returns, where he's averaging 27.6 a kickoff return. Last night they give him the start versus Cal, which obviously is a huge game. He comes out and starts, 19 carries for 91 yards at 4.8 average, and he also had a 35-yard catch.
It's obvious what they've been able to do with their running backs is they lost Reggie and they lost LenDale, and these other guys have stepped right in and performed really well.
They've had a slew of injury at the fullback position. They've gone through about four different guys. Let's take right now Allen Bradford, who's a true freshman, looks like he's now at the top of the depth chart because of the number of injuries they've had. We were involved in trying to recruit Allen ourselves last year. I know he's a very, very, very good athlete who can play on either side of the ball. He was both a linebacker and a running back in high school. Last night he started at fullback.
At tight end, there's three guys. Fred Davis is the starter, he actually came to USC as a wide receiver, he's fourth on the team in receptions with 26 catches and three touchdowns. Dale Thompson, he'll show up, as well. He's played in all ten games and he's actually started the last three. And they do have a third tight end that shows up, Jimmy Miller.
Probably the greatest strength of their offense positionally, as far as depth goes, wide receiver, because it's really status quo from last year only with a year more experience. They've got one of the best combinations of wide receivers in the country. I don't think anyone would argue that point. Steve Smith right now this year is their leading receiver. Dwayne was -- we'll get to him here in a couple seconds, but Steve started in all ten games and he's got 55 catches for 874 with a 16-yard average and eight touchdowns. Typical for him, he had another good night last night, six catches, 88 yards, touchdown along the 37.
Dwayne Jarrett, he missed one game against Washington, but he obviously is their go-to guy, second leading receiver on the team statistically for 48 catches with 610 yards and seven touchdowns. Last night he had five catches for 66 yards and a touchdown, as well.
Patrick Turner -- they have great size with Jarrett, not that Smith is small, but at 6'0", 200, he's the smallest of the bunch, because now you come with Patrick Turner who's another 6'5", 230 guy, he's a third wide receiver, he's played in all ten games. He's the third leading receiver on the team with 28 catches and a couple touchdowns. Last night he had a couple catches.
Now, they have one injured receiver, Chris McFoy, he got hurt early in the year in October. He fractured his shoulder, and he was expected to miss six to eight weeks, so we don't know if we'll see him or not. After the first three guys they have two freshman, Vidal Hazelton and Travon Patterson I think are the two guys that we would expect to see after the first three. But that combination of Smith, Jarrett, Turner, that's probably as good as it gets.
On the offensive line, basically the offensive line is anchored by two guys. All five of them have been starting all year long, but we can start with Kalil, their center. He's played and started in every game in the last three years, and last season he was All-PAC 10 first team. And the left tackle Sam Baker has played and started every game in the last three years, but he's a former guard that was named All-PAC 10 in 2005. He was also named to multiple All-American teams, as well.
Kalil and Baker anchor the line, but the left guard, Radovich, he's played all ten this year, Rachal, the right guard, he's played and started nine games this year. He missed the Washington game. And Williams, he's played and started all ten games at right tackle. So they're pretty solid at their offensive line.
Once again, a lot of the reason you hear them just starting this year is they had three guys go into the pros last year. I mean, they've done a great job of just replacing the guys -- guys leave to go to the NFL, they've got another set of guys coming in of that caliber of player that just come in right behind them. They obviously have done a nice job recruiting and coaching.
On defense, Nick Holt returns to them. He's been head coach at Idaho for the last couple years, but he had been the linebacker coach at USC from 2001 to 2003. Their defense is pretty stout.
This team is probably as complete a team as we go against on offense and defense. They're giving up 14 points a game, three yards per rush, 92 yards rushing a game, 196 and a half passing per game for a total of 288.6. They have 23 sacks. They're 39 percent on 3rd down. The teams getting in the red zone only score a touchdown 50 percent of the time, and I think that's pretty good statistically when teams can hold them to scoring touchdowns 50 percent of the time.
Now, let's start with the front seven or so. I'm going to include more than seven guys because this is as fast a group as you're going to come against. Lawrence Jackson, he's played and started all ten games this year. 2005 he was All-PAC 10 last year. This guy is athletic, he uses his hands, plays the run, he can rush the passer, he has good leverage and he can come off the edge, as well. Last night, typical game, five tackles, one and a half for loss, force fumble a sack and a pass breakup. His typical game.
Now, Sedrick Ellis will man one defensive tackle. He's played seven games. He missed the Nebraska game, the Arizona game and the Washington State game. They are the three games he's been out of this year. He played against us last year and had nine tackles and a sack, and he was 2005 All-PAC 10 Honorable Mention. He's a tough inside player. He's got pass rushability, he's a good player against the run; last night four tackles, a pass breakup and a fumble recovery.
Now, manning the other tackle will either be Moala or Barrett. Now, Barrett, he's played nine games this year and started the first six, and he didn't show up in the participation report in the Cal game last night. I really didn't see him in the game, so I'm not really sure -- when I watched it this morning and when I watched it last night, here's a guy who started off as a tight end, then they moved him to defensive end, now they moved him to defensive tackle.
Now, Moala, he's played in all ten games and has seven starts. He started in the Cal game where he had three tackles and a pass breakup.
Brian Cushing, he actually is playing like a standup end for them. They call it 3-4 but he's really playing like an end. He's a Will or end for them and their 3-4 personnel grouping. He's played and started in all ten games this year, and he is a lot like Shaw from Penn State. When we went against Penn State, they used him virtually almost identically in what they do with him because he can drop and cover or he can rush. He gives them the versatility to go in and out of packages, and he's the guy that gives them a lot of flexibility in their defense.
Now, when they want to take Brian out they'll either put in Kyle Moore, or last night I saw Alex Morrow a little bit. They'll put in a bigger body if they want to just put in a true defensive end and go to a 4-3 defense, they have the capability of doing that with either Kyle Moore or Alex Morrow, and the other thing, you'll also see Tofi inside as a backup tackle.
Other linebackers, I'd say this is -- just like I talked about their wide receivers before, I'd say their linebackers really make this team go. They are fast and they are athletic and they are aggressive, okay, and I'll work my way from strong side to middle to weak side.
Let's start with Sartz. In this season he's played and started in ten games, he's fourth on the team in tackles, 50 tackles, five and a half for loss, four sacks, forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, three pass breakups. This is a guy in 2005, again the season starting the first two games but dislocated his shoulder missed the rest of the season. He's playing very well. Last night he had four tackles and a pass breakup.
Maualuga in the middle, he's played ten games this year and started nine. He's their second leading tackler on the team with 66 tackles, four for loss, a sack, a pick and a forced fumble. He's a good player, he runs well, he's physical and he flies around to the ball. Last night he had four tackles and a half a tackle for a loss.
And then you've got Keith Rivers, their Will. He's played and started in all ten games this season. He's their leading tackler, 67 tackles, five and a half for loss, two sacks, two pass breakups, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery. He's another guy who runs well, he makes some plays, athletic.
I'll tell you what, when you watch these guys blitz, you better be ready because whether it's Rivers or Maualuga coming inside or whether it's Sartz or Cushing or those guys coming outside, you'd better be ready because they bring it when they bring it. I'll bring up the safeties here in a second because they bring it, too.
Now, they did lose two defensive backs this year. They lost Pinkard at safety and they lost Thomas at corner. Pinkard tore ligaments in his left knee in the first game of the year and he's off for the year. And then Thomas started two games this year, he suffered a broken foot against Arizona State and he's supposed to be out six to eight weeks.
Cary Harris, he's played in all ten games, made eight starts at corner this year, he took over for Thomas when Thomas went down. He took over for Kevin Thomas.
At the left corner you've got Terrell Thomas, he started all ten games this season -- excuse me. At the other corner is going to be -- let me take a time out here for a second and let me regroup.
Terrell Thomas, he started all ten games this season. In 2005 he tore ligaments in his right knee and missed the rest of the season, but last night against Cal there he is, six tackles, a forced fumble and a pass breakup.
Two safeties, Taylor Mays took over at safety after the injury to Pinkard. He's a true freshman. We tried to recruit him, too. He played in all ten games this season, he's making nine starts. He's fifth on the team in tackles with 48, leads the team in picks, he had three interceptions, had a big one early in the game last night, three pass breakups.
Kevin Ellison, he's their starting strong safety. He played and started all ten games. He's third on the team in tackles with 52. Now, here's a guy you'd better look for him near the line of scrimmage because he's looking to blow plays up, not that Mays isn't, but this guy is around there, he's aggressive in run support, he likes to be around the line of scrimmage. He was the leading tackler last night with seven tackles and a pass breakup.
The other DB that we'll see significantly, especially if we go to multiple wide receivers, is McCurtis. Now, McCurtis is the backup for everybody when they put four out there. He's the backer corner or safety. So he's the backup for everybody. When they go to nickel, he's the guy that comes in and plays their nickelback. Only other DB we might see is we might see Wright, but we will see McCurtis.
Special teams, Tom McNair is their running back coach, also the special teams coordinator. I'll tell you what, if they're not scoring touchdowns, you know they're going to make field goals and extra points because Danelo, he's 13 of 14 in field goals and 36 out of 37 on PATs.
We have Woidneck handling the punting and Buehler as a transfer. Last night -- it isn't enough of a worry to worry about Danelo, they've got this kid coming in here who's listed as a kicker and a safety and a fullback. All of a sudden they trot him out there and he makes a 49-yard field goal, okay. Made it easily, too. Pete calls time out, they think about it, they bring out this guy I've never heard of before, he nails a 49-yarder.
Their kickoff guy, Van Blarcom, he's kicked off 59 times this year and has 35 touch backs. Collins is their long snapper, McDonald is their holder, and I had mentioned Gable before as a kickoff returner, but Reed and Harris are the two other guys we expect to see back there as returners.
And that's all I've got at this point.

Q. After seeing the results of last night, it looks like in the polls, AP 1 through 6 is going to stay the same and Southern Cal is at 2 and Michigan is at 3. Can you still envision a way that you guys can get to the National Championship game with those things?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, I'm trying to be practical here. I think that -- you know, Ohio State is obviously going to the game. We obviously lost to Michigan at home. I'm well aware of that fact. I think that our best chance, without going being a politician, our best chance is to go out to USC and beat USC and let the chips fall where they may. You beat the second ranked team and everyone has one loss, that's the only way you can even have a stake at the claim. In other words, you can't even be involved in the conversation if you don't go beat USC.
So the way I look at it, rather than politics saying, hey, we go out there and beat USC, we're No. 2, we've got one loss, they should make us No. 2, I'm going to tell my team to go out there and beat USC, do everything we can to beat them because that's what they're trying to do, they're trying to beat us, and let the chips fall where they may.

Q. You're not going to think to politic about the Michigan game, worry about that at all?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, you know, there's so much of that going on, I don't know what more can I say. I mean, we lost early in the year to Michigan. I mean, we lost to them early in the year.
Does that mean that we might not with an impressive win over USC -- which is going to be a tough test; it's not going like we're going to go out there and win by four touchdowns; it just doesn't work that way. But with an impressive win over USC at the end of the year, could that do enough to do the trick, where you go in and beat the second ranked team, right now that's possible. There's a lot of bias that people have, do they want to see a rematch, do they not want to see a rematch.
I really don't know how everyone else thinks. I just know that all we can do and me as the head coach is to go out there to California to try to beat the team that's in position to play for the National Championship themselves.

Q. Someone asked just the other day about your senior season here, is that team facing more odds than a couple teams ahead of them and no one thought that they could do it. Is that something you might bring up?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I'm hoping that happens. I'm hoping that happens, but I'm not counting on it happening. I'm hoping that happens. But if you go there and you put all your eggs in one basket -- we're going to be playing in a Bowl game somewhere, and it's going to be a good Bowl game. If it ends up being for the National Championship, that would be great. But if it's not, there's some other -- all those other BCS games that I think we'll be in one of them are all big games.
I don't want to be disrespectful to any of those games because wherever we end up going, we're going to try to bring a good product and try to win the game wherever we're going.
Would I love for everything to fall in line? Sure. But I think that we only can do one thing, and that's try to control what Notre Dame does. We're going against a big enough opponent this week where that's a tall enough task as it is.

Q. Do you think you have clinched or are pretty secure in your BCS Bowl?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, looking at the number of teams that have two losses already, which there's a whole bunch of them that have two losses already, I mean, and look at the number of teams that have one loss, I mean, I don't know that for sure. I really don't know that for sure because there's guaranteed spots, there's non-guaranteed spots, you have to be ranked in the top eight or top ten or top 14. I mean, there's all different criteria for different teams. All I know is we have a tough test this week just going out there to try to beat USC.

Q. Looking back now after a year, last year you were asked about the game afterwards, and you said it would never be a good game because you lost. Have you changed your opinion at all of that game?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: That was still a miserable game and will always be a miserable game.

Q. I have one question about yesterday's game. The 4th and 1 on your own 21, was that looking ahead just giving James a key carry? What was the reason behind going for that at that point?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: There's a couple of definite factors involved in doing that. And even with it how it turned out, it turned out great because we got stoned, I could be miserable, and the defense held them and we blocked the kick. There's a lot of good things that happened with that bad one.
The only one who was stupid on that one is me because we didn't make it. But I look at the whole combination of things. We don't make it, defense holds them, we block a kick, okay, and that now is a teaching tool where I can say to the defense or to the special teams, that's the way to cover for your dumb head coach.

Q. The reasoning, you're ahead, you --
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I don't want to tell you the reasoning, but there was definitely -- it wasn't just, oh, we'll just wing it on our own 20 yard line in our own territory. There was definitely a rationale, but I care not to share that.

Q. Obviously without revealing your game plan, how do you beat a team like this? They are so strong in so many areas. They just reload from one position to the next.
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, in general the first thing you have to do is be ready to play for 60 minutes because what happens is a lot of teams go into the locker room content that they're close, and it's happened over the last couple years as I've watched this team. There's been a lot of times in the game where it's close at halftime, and next thing you know they're winning by two, three, four, five touchdowns.
So I think the first thing everyone has to understand is this has to be a complete team effort to have a chance to win but has to be a complete team effort for 60 minutes because before you even get to the problems that they cause by their personnel, that's the first thing you've got to sell to your team, that they have to understand, that if you're winning by one at halftime, that's not a good thing because this team has done so well in the second half.
I mean, that team plays -- the team we're playing plays with a chip on their shoulders where it really doesn't make too much difference to them when things go bad because they expect something good is going to happen. That's the first thing you have to overcome before you go play them. That's before you start addressing all the personnel issues and the schematic issues, which is a whole other set of encyclopædias.

Q. You know Pete Carroll pretty well and you've competed against him. What makes him such a good fit for USC?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, first of all, let's start with the fact that he's always been one of the brightest defensive minds going. So the first thing he did is got that defense cranked up and he got them going.
Second of all, he's a tireless recruiter, and I think that one of the ways you get good in college football is pounding the pavement, and he's out there all the time.
Tie those things together and hire in a good staff and having all the players buy into his mentality, I mean, he's obviously got a winning formula that works for them out there. I don't know if I'd fit in out there myself, they'd probably run me out of Dodge, but it definitely fits for him.
Even with them losing the National Championship game last year, he still is the bar because he's done it consistently year after year after year.

Q. You've always said that the best player plays, and if that's a freshman it's a freshman. He doesn't hesitate at all playing freshmen in a program where he obviously has great talent returning. Is that --
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: He started two freshman backs last week, had a freshman halfback and a freshman fullback. No big deal, put them out there. He has confidence in his players, the players have confidence in him, and that's one of the reasons why they play hard and they're good.

Q. Do you think players feed off that?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Players definitely feed off of when they believe that the best guys are playing regardless of the year.
I can't tell you the number of times I've talked to people where they always felt that players play because coaches wanted them to play. You can't coach like that. You have to coach whatever is the best interest of the team. That's really what you do, and he obviously coaches that way.
He coaches with reckless abandon, too. You can see that he's not afraid -- people talk about me. He's not afraid to take a risk in any situation, and you'd better be prepared for that.

Q. How many trips have you made to the Coliseum?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I've been to the Coliseum a fair amount of times, it's just been in the pro ranks.

Q. How does your team prepare for a game after playing against teams like Air Force and Army where they're not as big and fast as USC?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: That's a good question. I really don't have an answer for that one, though. It's not like I'm going to pour some track team in here now. I mean, that is a good question. I think that you don't; you adjust to it.
You try to simulate it just like we talked about simulating the option and then not being able to get it the same speed that's really run at when you're playing the game. I think that you have to game plan for speed. You have to game plan realizing that there's speed on both sides of the ball. That's just part of what you've got to do. I can't go into any more depth in an answer to that question.

Q. Is that something that will come back to them quickly on the field do you think?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, there's attacks and counterattacks. You have to try to use their speed against them. That's what you have to try to do.

Q. Tom addressed it a bit earlier, but in the history of polling, there's a philosophy that has been used, and in Notre Dame's case in '89, the pentatocracy at that time decided head-to-head was the decision-making factor. In '93 it was the last loss that decided the Championship. Do you have any sense that they might be shifting the goal posts again back to '89 and awarding Michigan another chance?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, I think if you get too involved with the politics of all the broadcasters that are just giving their opinion, just like you or I would be if we were sitting in that seat, I mean, if you get too involved in it, it really doesn't do any good. We all have our own opinion of what we want to have, and obviously in the seat that I'm in, I'm rooting for them to say, well, they just had their opportunity. That was their opportunity, they lost the game, so let's pick somebody else. That's obviously the side I'm on.
But along with all those other one-loss teams that aren't Michigan, we're all on that side. That's just the way it is. But I'm not going to politic one way or the other. I just know that we have a tough test going out there to play USC, who I understand is going to be ranked 2, and I think that right now we're going to just go out there and try to beat the No. 2 ranked team in the country.

Q. I know you have a major headache this week preparing for SC, but I might be giving you another one. If Michigan gets their rematch, and especially if you beat them this week, there's a very good chance that may favor you with an invitation to play the Trojans again in a match-up. Do you have any thoughts about that? I know all Bowls are like children, you love them all, but any thoughts on that possibility?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I think that whatever Bowl wants to take us versus whomever we're going to play, we'll go and be a good representative and we will be happy to go.

Q. Last year after all those upsets, you talked about how hard it is to keep players out of track meets. Can you talk about the year before, what USC has done? They don't seem to have track meets.
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, what they've done is they've had a string -- even this year where I talked about that string of games where they had a chance of losing. It's just when it's close, even when it's close when maybe they were supposed to win, in the eyes of the public were supposed to win big, the bottom line is they still close out the games and win. So even the games where they've had emotional valleys rather than peaks, they still seem to find that something inside to finish off the game and win it.
You look at the one game they lost, I mean, they're down big and they make this frantic rush at the end of the game, and you have to believe if that made that two-point conversion with all the momentum being on their side, you have to believe that the odds are they're probably winning the game in overtime. You have to believe that.
Now, they knocked a pass down in order to say that you had a huge win, but even if that game you have to give USC credit for how they came back where a lot of teams wouldn't make that frantic comeback.

Q. (Inaudible.)
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: It was just -- you can't -- no matter how much you beat your heads against the wall about keeping them up, keeping them up, keeping them up, we're still talking about 18- to 23-year-old kids.
Sometimes people get sick of me giving a pro football analogy. It's impossible in the NFL, too. You can't do it. And we're talking about grown men now.
Even in that case when you appeal to, hey, we can't have a letdown, you can't have a letdown, you can't have a letdown, you still have them because emotionally them being at the same fevered pitch every week, it's tough to do.

Q. You talked about some of the players building on that question about preparation. Some guys have said I've been looking forward to this game all season and someone said we're going to treat this team the same as Army. What is kind of the middle ground?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, the reason why I personally got a jump start is because this is a short week for us. It didn't have to be just because we were going to play them. But I usually do my preparation, most of my preparation for the team we're playing on Sunday and Monday, most of my preparation. But this week is a little screwy because we're leaving Thursday afternoon, so you lose a half a day on Thursday.
Now, we pick it up when we get out there, but before we leave here, all my preparation is going to be done for that game. So to do that I had to move everything up in my mind, and like this past week was a really tough week because now you're forced to do all your work exactly the same for Army and then tack on USC on top of it.
That's what last week was. The last week was probably the hardest workweek I've had this year for that reason.
So for our players, today will be a little bit different because instead of coming and watching Army today, they'll watch USC today, for the same reason. We're going to lose a half a day on Thursday to travel. We'll get a little jump start today.

Q. Did you do anything last year with Stanford? You had a short week that week.
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: No. The problem last year is I felt that I had adequate time because we were not leaving Thursday afternoon, we weren't leaving until Thursday night. So this year we're doing it a little different. We're leaving earlier than we left last year. I'm going to practice Thursday morning, stuff them with as much food as I can, give them a nice Thanksgiving dinner so they all can pass out on the plane on the way out there and get them out there a little bit earlier because I want them to get acclimated to the time a little earlier.
Even on Friday we'll go over to the Coliseum and run around a little bit. We won't run any plays or anything like that, but we'll go run around a little bit because they'll have been sitting around since Thursday morning and they'll have probably eaten about eight meals by that time just so they can get out of that loginess (sic) out by Friday.

Q. You talked about all the guys that you targeted that are reflected on his roster. I'm sure Pete Carroll could say the same thing looking over your roster. How much of a subplot to this game is that?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I think that we go after a lot of the same guys, and he wins on some and we win on some. The only way you're ever going to get any good recruiting is if you're willing to go against the best, and whether you get them or don't get them, you have to be willing to go against the best.
I think it's really important not to be afraid to lose in recruiting because you wouldn't go after a guy because you conceded him to an opponent. I think it's important to go after the best guys, the high character guys that can read and write and they can play, and everyone wants that.
It isn't just USC and Notre Dame, everyone wants those guys. But you have to be willing to go after that and you have to be reluctantly willing for them to tell you no because if you don't do that, that means you're not competing for the best guys.

Q. Does that add a little extra to the outcome of the game?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I think there might be a player or two out there that is still on the fence which way they're going to end up going. There's a couple of them that we're both still involved with, but there aren't that many of them at this point.
I mean, last year we lost and it was a positive in recruiting, so I can't answer that until after you tell me what's going to happen in the game.

Q. Landri has been a pretty consistent guy for you all year, but lately he just seemed to kick it up a couple levels. Can you talk about him a little bit?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: When I watched the tape early this morning, that's the one thing -- sometimes when you're watching the game, you notice plays but you really don't remember everything that happened in the game. And when I watched this morning, it seemed like every time I turned around he was in the backfield, I mean, just in the backfield, in the backfield, in the backfield. It wasn't just the two sacks. I mean, there's tackles for losses. I mean, he was in the backfield all day. He was playing on a mission.

Q. Do you know what got into him?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I think that he's prided himself that he's playing his best ball at the end of his career. I think that's what's got into him. I think that he's one of those guys who's been ending his career like this, and that's a good way to be ending it.

Q. Talking a little bit about the politics of the whole Bowl system and BCS and everything, and even branching that out to the All-American things, do you feel like it's counterproductive for you to do that? Do you feel like if you sit there and make a statement people throw it back in your face?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, it's not I think; they do. It's not I think they do; they do.
I have my opinions. It would be no big secret. If I ask you a question, well, who do I see playing in the National Championship? Your answer would be? What would I say? I'm asking you what Charlie Weis would say. Who would I pick?

Q. Ohio State and Notre Dame.
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Let's see, Tim, who do I have winning the Heisman Trophy? Okay, how about the Biletnikoff while we're at it? Should we keep on going?
Everyone knows my bias. I'm prejudiced towards Notre Dame. I'm always going to side for the best interest of Notre Dame, always. 100 out of 100 times, I'm always rooting for Notre Dame.
I'm not an objective observer, I'm biased, I'll admit it. Shoot me.

Q. Do you ever when you're watching these games late at night and ESPN pops on and you hear somebody, well, their schedule or --
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I don't get too annoyed with that. Some of it is schtick, too. Some of it is you watch Coach Holtz and Mark May, it has to be choreographed. It can't be that good or that bad. It's just so perfect together.

Q. You mentioned there's been a couple times when we've asked you about Demetrius preparing you for option on teams like that. How about Zach Frazer?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: He's done a heck of a job in a number of weeks this week because he's more than a pure drop-back passer, and he's been throwing the ball better as the year goes, not that he had problems throwing the ball. But now you get used to the tempo, because remember, they're going against a fast tempo because they're going against their first defense every day. Actually those guys get more used to the speed of the game running show team than Brady does running the first team because those guys are going to get some first defense where Brady is going against a show team defense. So in reality they're more ready for the speed of the game themselves.

Q. You mentioned a couple times this year where you felt like your son has given you good advice about writing the book and about the green jerseys. I wondered if he had any words of wisdom for you for this week.
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: He's been -- he's just waiting for the game. He's really excited about this one.
I think between Maura and Charlie, I think that sometimes they are definitely people who keep me a little bit more level-headed towards making impractical or irrational decisions sometimes that sometimes you can't just bring a lot of people into the boat on those things because you know that the first person that's going to be scrutinized for things like that is going to be you.
So who's your sounding board? I know for me the two people I'm closest with in the world are my wife and my son. And my daughter, but she cares not to speak back. She cares not to have a vote.
They keep me grounded on things like that. But Charlie is pretty fired up for this one.

Q. I forget the words you used, but at the start of the press conference you referred to USC as a little underrated or underappreciated with all they've accomplished?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I think they're taken for granted, I really do. I think they're taken for granted. Here's a team -- look at what they've done since Pete has been there. They started off slow the first year, then they started winning and they haven't looked back. They just win, win, win, win.
People talk about ugly wins. Probably one of my few gripes that I have is when people scrutinize schedules, they'll talk about our ugly wins. If you take any one of the teams, any one of them, okay, and look at certain games, you can find games -- well, that wasn't a very good win. Okay, did we have some games that were close? You betcha we did.
But most teams -- we talk about those emotional highs and lows, you have a couple of those during the year. Still, the bottom line is they're 9 and 1 with two left to go and they've got us followed by UCLA. We're 10 and 1, and there's a lot of good teams out there.
But I think that Pete, Coach Carroll, his staff, that whole program right there, it's obvious he's had it rolling here for quite some time, and this year is certainly no different.

Q. So if they're taken for granted at 9 and 1 with a loss at Oregon State, are you guys taken for granted at 10 and 1 with a loss to Michigan?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, the "he-said, she-said" type of philosophy that we can get into, the only thing you can get into is you say, well, this team is better than this team and this team is better than this team. I can go give you ten different scenarios just like as if you were sitting with the fellas doing it yourself.
But it does me no good because right now the only thing that we really should be doing is trying to figure out how are we going to combat all those things I just talked to you about. So really I think that we have to just try to go beat USC. We beat USC, whatever happens happens. But let's do that first. Let's do that first before all of a sudden you're trying to say, hey, we should be there. Let's see if we can do that first.

Q. Where do you think this game will likely be won and lost?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Oh, look at the strengths of their team. Let's not talk about our team for a second. Let's talk about the strength of their team. No matter which way you go, pick your poison. If you try to shut down their wide receivers and give all the attention to wide receivers, they obviously could run the ball. So on defense you have to try to find some kind of balance to counteract both measures.
On offense you better start off by blocking the front seven. And you need to throw Ellison in there because they'll bring him some, too, involve him in blitz. You'd better be able to block those guys first of all because whether you're running or passing if you don't block those guys, the secondary doesn't become relevant if you can't block those other guys, whether it's a run or a pass. You'd better start off by finding a way how to block those guys.

Q. Tucked in a trunk somewhere do you guys have white jerseys with green numbers?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: We do probably. No, that will not be the way we go.

Q. Because the week is different, is Monday the same? Is Monday still a day off?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Monday is players' day off. I keep that consistent. One of the reasons why I do that is so when the guys set up their schedules academically, they can set it up where they know if they have labs or a late class they want to take, they know that they have no conflict with football, just like in the spring I don't have football -- I don't have spring ball on Tuesdays and Thursdays so they can do the same thing on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Q. So then this week, what is Friday and even to some degree early on Saturday like?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, Friday morning will be the end of Thursday, so we'll meet and everything, do the end of Thursday on Friday morning, and then we'll go do a little jog around over at the coliseum on Friday afternoon.

Q. Since the Michigan State game you've talked about Lambert with his gain of confidence since playing in that game. Is there a similar sort of effect you can expect from Richardson after his game yesterday?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, Mike has been pretty solid most of the year to tell you the truth. He's probably been one of the most steady players we have. I think it was really good for him with those two interceptions, and I think that he's been -- out of all the players on defense, I'd have to say he's been probably one of the steadiest from the start to the end. He hasn't been one of those ones that's been up and down; he's been pretty steady all year long.

Q. And just quickly, looking at the safeties the last couple teams you've played, they do a lot of running early in the game. Is it going to be tough for them to adjust to a team with a lot more of a passing game?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I don't know if they're going to come out and pass the ball. They might come out and try to ram it down our throat. I don't know what their game plan is.
If you tell me what their game plan is, I can answer that question a little bit better. I don't know what they're going to do. I just know they rushed for about 150 and they threw it for 250, so obviously they can do both. So I think that they'll try to figure out how they can exploit us, and they'll try to do that.

Q. You talked a little bit earlier about the speed of this game. Are you confident with your guys if this turns into a track meet?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: It's not going to turn into a track meet.

Q. And why not?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, you ever hear of four corners?

Q. North Carolina, huh?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: The four corners, we try to slow down the pace of the game. You don't want to try to get into a track meet with USC. Everyone who does ends up losing. That's not how you want to play the game. You don't want to play the game 50 to 49. That's not what you want to try to do.

Q. You talked about pick your poison with the receivers and the running backs. Talking specifically about the receivers, is it kind of like, hey, we want to shut down one or the other, or how do you go about that approach when it comes to Jarrett or Smith?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: Well, I think the first thing you have to decide is how many defensive players you're going to give attention to the receivers because once you determine how many you're going to try to help out with the receivers, that also says how many you have left to play the run game. I mean, you can give all sorts of attention to the receivers, but then you sit and leave yourself very vulnerable in the running game.
When you talked about pick your poison, that's one that I'm talking about. You have to find that combination or that mix where you're not giving away what you're doing and just begging them -- you can put all sorts of guys involved in the coverage, and then they'll be ramming it down your throat. You have to find that balance, that blend that kind of keeps them guessing.

Q. You talked about Landri a little bit earlier and talked about how excited he is for this game, of course, going back to California. What about Frome? Where do you think he stands right now?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: All those California guys are pretty fired up. Chris got hurt in the USC game last year if you recall. That was the end of his season. So I think he's really excited not only about going home, but I think they realize that that's the game where he got hurt last year. I think it even brings a little bit more excitement to them. We've got a bunch of California guys. Lambert is pretty excited about going back there, too.

Q. How do you think Frome is playing right now? Where do you think he's at right now?
COACH CHARLIE WEIS: I think he played very, very well yesterday. I thought the whole defense played well, but I thought he played very well.

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