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April 21, 2007

Charlie Weis

Q. Charlie, you told us that you were encouraged by Junior Jabbie a couple of weeks ago; I guess you weren't lying.
COACH WEIS: Still basically how he's been all spring. Everybody wants to talk about just Travis and James, and obviously Armando is the new blood. That's what we've seen out of Junior the whole spring. He's definitely you know played himself into, you know, deserving to be in contention.

Q. Charlie, John Sullivan, what's his status right now?
COACH WEIS: I expected that from you, Michael. (Laughter).

Q. Sorry, you know.
COACH WEIS: I expected that from you. Would anyone have been disappointed if it wasn't coming from Michael? (Laughter).
But because you asked, the X-rays were negative. He's day-to-day. But in reality, he'll probably be out -- he has a high ankle sprain and he probably would be, if we were playing a game, he probably would be out two to four weeks; two weeks on the plus side and four weeks on the negative side.
But I'm listing him as probable for Georgia Tech. (Laughter)

Q. Can you evaluate what you saw in the passing game with the quarterbacks today?
COACH WEIS: Well, not really because we kept it down to -- I gave them a limited number of passes except for anything that Coach Holtz or Coach Parseghian decided to put in, which they obviously did as you noted.
I kept the number of passes to a minimum because I wanted them to come out there and run the football. I think the one thing, one of the main things I wanted to come out here in the spring was establish a toughness on the offense that I think we've started to get away from a little bit. That's why I want to see a heavy dose of running.

Q. What could you tell about your defense in this game today?
COACH WEIS: Well, I think that -- I think that there are very few guys that were out of position. And I think that's one of my pet peeves is when people mentally look like they are out of position. There were very few guys that were out of position in the game. A lot of the runs that were made were cut-back runs, so obviously we have to work on the whole back side.
But on the front side plays, I think that maybe they are pursuing pretty hard from the back side, you could see that the guys showed that they knew what they were doing out there.

Q. I was wondering if you could talk about the game Brewton had and has he done enough this spring to pencil himself as a 1 at this point?
COACH WEIS: Well, what he's done is he's grown into his body. I don't know if it's 20 or 25 pounds that, you know, he's put on since the day he's gotten here. But you look at him now, he's not that little skinny little kid that he was when he got here. Now he's about 210 and he still runs the way he ran when he first got here.
So any time you're that big and now all of a sudden you put on some bulk and you run like you can, which is very good range, that puts -- you put yourself in position to get yourself on the field.

Q. I know you're not ready to name a quarterback or even the top two, but can you just throw out a positive statement about each of the four upon conclusion here?
COACH WEIS: Well, I don't want to individualize things, but I can tell you this: None of the four I would say ever played themselves out of contention, and that's as strong a statement as I can make there. Normally it has to be somebody separates where they play themselves better. Sometimes it happens because somebody actually plays worse and none of them have played themselves out of the mix.
I just think when we get a chance to -- we have had every pass in the air recorded for the whole camp. So the only thing we have left to apply to what we have already for objective analysis is the game today. And we only threw it a handful of times.

Q. Now you're going to leave town; so you're not going to make a decision for a few weeks.
COACH WEIS: Yeah, when I come back in May, get off the road, come back in the office on May 21 and probably won't be that week; it will probably be the next week or the week after Memorial Day when we'll iron this out.

Q. But you always talk about these kind of decisions being pretty cut and dried in terms of analyzing, so in some respects, has a decision already been made?
COACH WEIS: No. All of the analysis through 14 games, all of the objective analysis has been tabulated. I think that the number of reps that each one of these guys had with the first group is within five. It's that close. So none of them, when I do decide whatever -- whatever the staff decides, none of them will be able to say, hey, I never got a shot.

Q. So just objective --
COACH WEIS: No, just see where we are after we add this up. Looking at the numbers, I think that the numbers will support a separation of a few of the guys.

Q. How and when will you tell the top two guys that they are the top two guys?
COACH WEIS: I'll call them up when we make the decision. I'll call them up one by one and tell them, here is where they are and why. I won't just tell them, you know, where they are. I'll tell them why they are where they are. And probably at the same time, have to tell you, because I don't -- somebody is going to find out within 30 minutes anyway. So probably go ahead and get it out at that time.

Q. Just in general, the fact that you'll have an inexperienced quarterback calling plays this year no matter who it is, how much does that affect your offensive plan?
COACH WEIS: Well, I think if you saw the spring game today, you saw what I'm trying to establish. You see, you always have to be thinking along the line of inexperience at several positions. It isn't just there it's inexperience at offensive line, inexperience at wide receiver, but we are not inexperienced at tight end and we're not inexperienced at running back. You say, well, what inexperience? You have guys that didn't play a whole lot.
But these are guys that were -- these are good football players at that position. So if we can establish a mentality where we can run the ball with power, the whole offense opens up. Now you have play-action, now you can throw a drop-back.
But the first thing is first, you have to be able to run the ball with power, and I think that we've gotten away from that a little bit and we're trying to get back to that.

Q. I realize this question is subjective, but in coming from the pros, talking about the quarterbacks, you probably would never do, this but could the quarterback derby race as you get close to September 1 be so close that you could see yourself using both in the game? And I don't mean one as a mop-up or something like that; that you have two different types of quarterbacks in two different types of situations?
COACH WEIS: Well, I can't say completely no to that. I can't say no -- I can't see myself playing one guy half the game and the other guy half the game, if that's what you're saying.
If you're asking me would I ever rule out playing more than one in a game, I wouldn't rule that out. That's too far away for me right now but I wouldn't rule that out.

Q. Not just today, but special teams throughout the whole spring, what are your thoughts on where they are at?
COACH WEIS: Well, I think that the competition has really stepped up as they have given -- as the players have been gotten on by the staffs a lot more. Part of the mentality of the spring is to assign the entire coaching staff to be involved in special teams, and you'd be very surprised at how many more people play hard when there's that many more coaches that are involved in the coaching and the evaluating on special teams. It's just a logical, positive effect it will have.
You know what it does, it calls for the coaches to spend more time, but you know, that's something that we need to do if we're going to improve on special teams. Because I think that, you know, I think that right now, we've had a flat stage, not spring, but going into this spring, I think that we need to get over the hump because this team is going to have to learn how to play complementary football. In the last two years I think too many games we counted on No. 10 winning the game for us.
Well, guess what? No. 10 is not here anymore. So we are going to have to learn how to play complementary football, and that means that the offense, defense and special teams are going to have to learn better how to play off of each other to win football games. Not just, okay, Brady has got the ball; we have a chance of winning. So the mentality has to change.

Q. The defense has been rumored to be suspect the last couple of years. How is that coming together and specifically, the safety position with so many people competing back there?
COACH WEIS: Well, first part of the question, rumored to be?

Q. I'm from Ohio State so they like to --
COACH WEIS: Why don't you answer the question anyway. (Laughter).

Q. I'm from Ohio State country.
COACH WEIS: Okay. Then ask it again and -- I'll give you a Notre Dame shirt and then I'll answer the question.

Q. They have been suspect the last couple of years, giving up the big play, how does a new person know coming together specifically at the safety position with so many people competing at that position --
COACH WEIS: Okay. There's two parts to that answer. One part of the answer is personnel-related and the other part is schematics. Let me start with the latter and not the former.
When you're talking about schematics, I think that the one thing you can do, is that even though teams can X-and-O can cause a mismatch for you; you can simplify your coverages to the point where there's never a question that everyone knows what to do. So I think we have to start there. And I think that walking out of the spring, I think that's where we are, okay. I think we're at the point where we haven't put a whole lot in, but they know what to do, okay.
With that being said, now what you have is you have a bunch of people in competition for jobs where, you know, first year here, I can't even tell you if we put four corners out there. Now even with Gary being down for the spring, we're repping six corners that all look like they can play, and we're repping seven safeties that all look like they can play.
So any time you have that many people involved in the mix, you have a chance just as long as they know what they are doing.

Q. And the second part of the question, I'm from the Warren Youngtown area, what was it like having Ross Browner back as a coach?
COACH WEIS: Ross was one of my boys when I was in school here now, so my view is a little tainted. We graduated together, we've known each other for a long time. He's always been one of my favorites, and it's just a treat to be able to be around him for the last few days all over again.
And ditto for Tony Rice. Tony Rice has gone out of his way, even though, you know, Ross and I are a tad bit older than Tony. He's going out of his way any time we needed anyone for anything. It seems like Tony is always there. So it's been really great being around those guys.

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