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October 13, 2007

Charlie Weis

Q. Can you talk about the play of the two quarterbacks for you today?
COACH WEIS: Well, I think that we were a little bit hot and cold. We made a few plays out there, made a few in the first half, a couple big ones. The bottom line is we have no touchdowns, no points. I thought Jimmy was banged up pretty good, didn't have great zip. I told him I'd give him the first drive of the second half to see what he had, and he came up and threw that early pick, and I just felt at that time a fresh Evan was the way to go. He gave us a spark and came out and made some plays, especially in that first drive, and he made some nice throws in the second half, but the bottom line is I think we're hot and cold.

Q. And following up on that, do you have to kind of weigh this and make a decision?
COACH WEIS: Yeah, I'll have to wait and see how it goes. When we can't do -- I'm never big on blaming a quarterback for the lack of production of the offense, but obviously he's part of it, but I'll have to go wait until I take a look at this stuff.

Q. A couple of injuries, Aldridge and --
COACH WEIS: I don't know what James is, but he came out and tried to go back in and was in for a play or so, and he just couldn't go anymore. I haven't had a chance to get in there yet.

Q. What's Mo's condition?
COACH WEIS: Mo has been hobbled since the second quarter of last week, and he went out and just practiced a little bit this week, and we figured we'd go out there and he would try to go, and I told him that I would not do anything to endanger him to make it any worse than where it is right there. And there came a point where he got out there early, we were going to play him at nickel defense and not playing him at regular, and after a little while it was pretty obvious that he just didn't have enough juice to go. So we pulled the plug on that.

Q. You said that Clausen is more accurate in practice, and certainly Sharpley, his numbers don't show great accuracy today. But does he sometimes perform better in a game situation than he does in a practice situation?
COACH WEIS: That's a pretty fair statement because one of the reasons why you judge the whole big picture is accuracy on every day, and I think that Evan in the game is usually pretty accurate, and I think if he's going to end up wanting to -- he wants to be the guy, which I know he does, if he wants to move past Jimmy, which I know he does, it's got to be an everyday thing, it can't just be a game day thing.

Q. And coaches being coaches, you can't ignore what you see on a daily basis?
COACH WEIS: No, no, the game counts, trust me, but so does every day in practice, especially when they're very close competitively.

Q. Last week you won obviously, but are you as encouraged after this loss more than any of the previous ones?
COACH WEIS: Well, the thing that really got me the most -- yeah, there are some -- I mean, we just lost to a good football team. You've got to take things into proper perspective. Boston College is a good football team, they're well-coached, they're sound fundamentally, they've got a top-line quarterback, they've got a tough defense and they play pretty stout on special teams. That's very matter of fact.
That being said, I'd say the two most disappointing things for me were us turning the ball over quickly in the third quarter and giving them the ball on the 10-yard line for a quick score. Then after we bounce back and score one -- by the way, Kentucky just won, just figured I'd let you know that. I don't know what happened, but I see them all jumping around like crazy.
Getting back to the tangent that I just went off on, where was I?
Okay, turned the ball over right off the bat and giving them the quick score and then not having the maturity as a football team, not having the discipline as a football team after Brian's interception to just put all the gas back in your tank and all the momentum had just gone your way, you're going 20-14. And I'll blame me for that because the bottom line is I'm responsible for the discipline of our football team, and if we can't be disciplined enough and we're not mature enough, sure, we could sit there and say about these guys going out there and being fired up, but the bottom line is it's my team and we got that penalty and now we kick off and they get the ball in plus territory, and that's their other score. That's their two scores for the second half, and that's sad.

Q. Brian Smith, the first freshman to return an interception for a touchdown in 31 years. Do you see him getting better and better every week?
COACH WEIS: Brian Smith is going to be a very, very good football player. There's no doubt that he's on the rise and that arrow is pointing straight up for him.

Q. Is there some advantage of a quarterback -- a shot of energy for -- is there something to be said about a quarterback coming in when the chips are down a little bit, that shot of energy? Did you sense that when Evan comes in in that spot down 20-0?
COACH WEIS: When you come in and you make a couple plays right off the bat and you have a five-, six-, seven-play drive, whatever it was, and go down there and score, I think that now there was gas in the tank of not just the offense but the defense, too, because when the defense keeps on fighting their butts off and you're not getting any points for them, then what happens is the defense starts trying to do more than doing their job. They try to make plays that they're really not supposed to be making.
You know, I never can fault the defense when we turn the ball over on the plus 10-yard line for giving up points. You'd like to hold them to three, but you can't fault them for giving up points. But I think that Evan's quick drive put gas in the tank of the whole team, and I think that that put it into a very competitive game the rest of the way.

Q. You commented about the penalty after Brian Smith's touchdown. Equally as deflating would you say the penalty that brought the touchdown off the board with Robby's touchdown, just in general, some deflating penalties?
COACH WEIS: Yeah, but the thing is as much as I would have liked them not to have made that call, I didn't see whether or not we held him or not. I'd like to sit there and say I was standing to see whether he was holding or not, but to be honest with you when you make a gutsy call like that on 4th and 1 and everyone thinks you're calling for a 1st down and you're calling a play action pass to try to throw a touchdown pass because you're trying to do something to get your team in a position to win the game, I was just counting -- I was watching Robby Parris to tell you the truth because on that play that's who we were throwing the ball to, so when we faked the action, as soon as I saw the ball snapped and saw what was happening, my eyes went to see whether or not they were going to take the cheese on the fake or not with the safety, which they did, so he's standing there wide open.
So I went from feeling pretty good about myself and about the call and feeling pretty good about our chances to, you know, seeing the flag. And without seeing the call, hey, I can watch the officials all I want but that still puts us 27-21 and we still end up losing. I would have liked to see what would happen, but I didn't see the call enough to sit there and say anything about it.

Q. Speaking about players on the rise and then speaking about Robby Parris, he had quite an afternoon. Can you talk about how he's been playing for you?
COACH WEIS: Yeah, he's a smooth receiver that runs good routes, not a burner, but he runs good routes and he has good hands, and you can see that he'll be playing here for the next few years and just keeps on getting better and better. But he's a big target with good hand and runs good routes. He's the type of player that will always find a role on this team.

Q. It looked like he was pretty close to making a few amazing grabs. Does he do that a lot during the week?
COACH WEIS: You don't get medals for trying, though. Either you make them or you don't make them. He makes them every day. There isn't a day that goes by that he doesn't make a very good play because he's smooth and he has really good hands. And like I said before, not to be redundant, but he's also a big target so he's easy to find.

Q. Was the decision to take Jimmy out based on injury? Was it based on ineffectiveness?
COACH WEIS: It was probably a combination of the two. The question is is the ineffectiveness caused by being banged up. Part of the ineffectiveness, you could see he just wasn't -- I'm not making excuses, I'm just saying I didn't see a fresh -- at that point I felt going with a fresh Evan was just the way to go.

Q. Jansen's bad snap to Jeff, the knee comes down, they get the ball, they score, they go up 13-0. How big was that, just fundamentals?
COACH WEIS: Yeah, that was a huge play because a lot of times people want to blame the punter, but the ball is down and he's going to pick it up. What are you going to do, just bend over and make sure you don't touch your knee on the ground? I think it's almost a natural instinct what Jeff did. He's going down to get the ball.
That's uncharacteristic of J.J. because I'd say he's easily bull's-eyed when it comes to snapping. I felt that that was the correct call. I thought his knee was on the ground. Just from the naked eye, that's what I thought. I didn't want to do much about that one. I had some other ones I was whining about, but that wasn't one of them.

Q. When Jimmy was sliding and he was hit, was that the point where you saw him get hurt? It seemed like you were pretty incensed that there wasn't a call there.
COACH WEIS: I thought it was a shot at the head. And any time there's a shot at the head, I believe the quarterback at any level should be protected. Even if they're out of the pocket and they're running, the kid is already down, and I thought it was a shot at the head. Not a malicious shot at the head; I don't think the kid with a Boston College was trying to hurt him, I just thought it was a shot at the head, and I thought that it should have been called a personal foul. But that's -- maybe it was a shoulder to shoulder, I don't know, but just from where I was, that's what it looked like.

Q. And Jimmy's injury, was that a reaggravation from a few weeks ago?
COACH WEIS: No, I didn't say anything about Jimmy's injury. I said he just didn't look full speed, so I made a switch. I mean, these guys are all sore. It's the seventh game of the season. There's a lot of guys that are hurt at this stage of the year. Mo Crum tried to go, David Grimes didn't go. That's part of football; people get hurt.

Q. Between the penalties you talked about and the snap, with the exception of a couple of big plays, do you feel like this is a game that was really there for you?
COACH WEIS: I think that we had a chance in this game. We had a chance in this game. But you know what, the bottom line is they won 27-14, and if I sit there and say, God, if we just would have been better on that snap or if we would have hit this one pass or we didn't get a penalty, but the thing is we did. All those things count, all those plays count the same. So rather than sitting here and making excuses, which is never my deal, I think that I have to figure out a way of getting it done better, not celebrate, not throw the interception, get a better snap in that situation, tie those things together because we are not the type of team at this point that's just going to go up and down the field against somebody, so we have to play a more error-free game.

Q. How much more can you stress to these guys that you have to play 60 minutes and not 30?
COACH WEIS: I think I do that. I think I try to stress that. I think if we were to go in, just like you talked about the play with J.J., if you go in at halftime 6-0 it's a different game. If you don't celebrate it's a different game. The thing is the plays all count the same, and that's just the way it is.

Q. After the excessive celebration penalty, do you think about kicking the ball out of bounds or giving it to them on the 35?
COACH WEIS: Well, that's why we mortar kicked it. We sky kicked it thinking we were going to kick it to their up back, which is who we kicked it to, and then we'd be able to get the ball on about the 40-yard line. I said, look, just sky kick it over to the up back, go and tackle him, we'll get him on the minus 40. But now the kid catches the ball, makes a couple guys miss, gets an extra, whatever, 15, 20 yards, whatever he got. If he catches the ball we're now on the minus 40, you would have considered it a successful play.

Q. I realize 459 is probably not what you're looking to give up defensively, but do you feel like that side of the ball is starting to get better?
COACH WEIS: Yeah, a lot of that 459 the first half, too, especially the one long run where they bust up the sideline, I don't know, was it 50 yards? I don't know, it was a big chunk right there. But remember now, with that team, that team, as long as they keep that quarterback healthy, that team is going to be competitive against anyone they play, as long as that quarterback has got an opportunity.
Going back to our defense, I think that there's definitely some bright spots. You never can be jumping up and down about giving up 450 yards of offense, okay, but I think there was definitely some bright spots, and the one thing different than any game we played this year is right until the five-minute mark in the game, right until -- after the penalty on the play action pass where we score and it's now 27-21, no one really knew who was going to win the game yet, not until after we come up short and now it's 4th down and they get the ball back. That's probably the first time in the game we say, okay, this game is over.

Q. And Sharpley's completion to Carlson got reviewed and moved back, but just that play, Sharpley's escapability moving around in the pocket, is that a veteran, or is that something that's unique to him, his skill set?
COACH WEIS: He had a couple of those in the game, too. They were bringing a lot more pressure in this game, more than they normally do, but we kind of planned on that coming in, but he did a nice job of getting away from pressure a few times and was able to make a few plays on that.

Q. A similar question, you've talked about sustaining momentum offensively, and I wonder since halftime at Purdue do you feel like defensively that team is playing better and to a different standard?
COACH WEIS: I think they're definitely playing better, but still, over 250 yards of offense in the first half. I think that that's not what we're looking for. We still gave up a big play on the run, and that's not what we're looking for. We still had them pinned down a few times and had them change field position, and that's not what we're looking for, either. That being said, I think that the defense has definitely upped their speed of the game and they're playing tough and they're playing hard, just I think we have to do a better job across the board.
I'm encouraged by plenty of the things I see on defense. I'm encouraged by a whole bunch of them. But obviously we can't make enough plays to win the game.

Q. Just a follow-up on an earlier question. This is the seventh game that you've played. In four of the seven games you have not scored a point in the first half. Can you talk about the first half? Is there a different philosophy at the start of the game than there is when you're behind coming out in the second half?
COACH WEIS: I guess not because we went no-huddle right from the start of the game, so you're talking about changing the tempo of the game and trying to jump start them and get them going. You come up, get a quick 1st down. I think that the one thing we haven't been able to do is sustain the long drives. Usually when we've scored this year it's been with a big play in there. It's either a long run or a long pass that changes field position and then we go in to score. What we haven't been able to do is tie together a 10-, 12-, 15-play drive for a score because we haven't played consistent enough ball. Like even the first drive we're talking about, there's a big play. The last one where we didn't get the touchdown there's a big play. I mean, there's big plays that change field position that put us in position to score.

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