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UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME MEDIA CONFERENCE
November 3, 2007
Q. Can you talk about your decision not to kick what could have been a winning field goal at the end of regulation, 41 yards?
COACH WEIS: It was going against the wind and in practice, he couldn't make it from there. That's why we didn't kick it from there. That was a pretty simple one. We had a position on the field that we had to get to going into the wind. And we hadn't gotten there yet.
Q. How close did you need to be?
COACH WEIS: About four more yards. We go by what we see, and the wind factors in. When you get to that, we weren't at that spot. That's what we did.
Q. Fourth and 15, first quarter, the fake field goal. Do you want to talk about that?
COACH WEIS: We had put that in situationally on that same spot. Once again, you know, we were having trouble kicking that way in pregame. We really had trouble kicking into the wind in pregame. We felt that if we got the ball the first time on left hashish, we had the one way. We were trying to get it in there. If we couldn't, at least we could pin them back and not give them field position.
We figured maybe we could get ten yards if we didn't make it and get them down to the 10 yard line and actually got the ball to the 15.
I'd rather, the way Navy plays, to have them play on a long field than play on a short field.
Q. What did you see when you went in the locker room today?
COACH WEIS: Obviously, they are very disappointed. It has been an emotional week. We've had this emotional roller coaster you know with Robert's brother and everything. Getting them ready to play, I thought that they were ready to play.
Obviously, Navy made one more play than we did. They were really down because I really think more than anything else in a game sometimes you like to -- even though you don't dedicate a game to somebody, I think you would like to sit there and win the game, you know, for Robert as much as anyone else.
Q. What do you do now? How do you keep them going, keep them up?
COACH WEIS: Well, I think that the first thing we talked about was, you know, we're going to go ahead and watch each guy individually and how each guy individually played so we can make a critical evaluation of how they played. I don't mean just as the team, but offense or defense or as special teams. And sit there and keep on pushing each guy to do -- be the best you can.
Hey, there is a lot of good things that came out of the game. Losing is never a good thing but there are a lot of good things that came out of the game. We haven't been running the football. We ran the football. There's -- I thought James and Armando both had good days at the office. Just wasn't enough.
Q. Your guys rallied around Robert yesterday. They rallied around him after he scored a touchdown. What did they show you, I guess, as men, not just football players, in that situation?
COACH WEIS: Well, I had told them -- and, you know, Coach Haywood had gone to Travis to talk to him about it. I told him the first time we went down the goal line, I wanted to give the ball to Robert. I said I was going to give it to him every play whether we scored or not. He was going to get it every play until he got it in the end zone. Fortunately, he got it in on the first one. I think that was a pretty emotional time for both Robert and for the team.
When I got back a couple minutes later, I saw him on the sideline. He had that far away -- those far-away eyes. You could see at the time he had just scored a touchdown, but he really wasn't too much thinking about anything other than his brother.
Q. You talked about handling situations as a father would earlier in the year. Was that the situation you were thrust into with Robert all week and today and just monitoring what he has been through?
COACH WEIS: I think that it has been a tough week for Robert's whole family. Obviously, Robert and his whole family -- because our team is a very close-knit team, I think that they feel his pain and I think that they really feel bad about the outcome of this game and not just for Notre Dame, not just for the team but I think they feel bad personally for Robert.
Q. You're playing another option-type team next week. How would you evaluate how your defense did against this one?
COACH WEIS: First of all, Air Force, I haven't studied them a whole bunch but they are a different type of team than Navy is now.
You know, I think that obviously Navy is a grind-them-out team, two, two, two, two seven. It is just go, go, go and everything ends up changing.
Now, I think we made some plays. We made enough plays to put us in position to win the game, okay? But I think that at the end of the day when the game's played in the 40s, we just didn't make enough plays to win the game.
Q. There was a point it looked like Jimmy was warming up on the sidelines. How close were you to going with him, and do you have another evaluation to make this week?
COACH WEIS: Well, the intent in this game was to go ahead and -- was to play both quarterbacks in the game, but there never was an ebb and flow and it was not to play him as a replacement. It was, like, to substitute almost like the running back position. That was the intent in the game.
But there was never an ebb and flow in the game where making the situation was very practical. You know, so I think that there had to be a natural time to do that. Like, if we would have ever got in the situation where we were up two scores -- what I didn't want to do was replace Evan. Evan understood this, and Jimmy understood this, that this was a possibility that we were going to do that.
But it never -- the right situation to go ahead and make a switch never came about.
Q. Following up on that, as you go into this week, do you still give Evan most of the reps? Do you look at it first before you commit to that?
COACH WEIS: We're going to continue like we did this week, and I will have to wait and see the tape. I imagine Evan will still get more. Jimmy is getting healthier. I'm not saying he was -- once again, he wasn't injured but he has been hurting. And he's getting better and better and closer and closer. And I think that Jimmy will continue to get more reps as well.
Q. I have to ask a little bit of a big picture question. People in New England who have seen your offenses obviously with the Patriots and what you did here in the first two years are puzzled, shall we say, as to why you're in the situation you're in. What could we say to them as to why you're in this position?
COACH WEIS: Jim, not to be evasive, it is too broad a question at this time right now because there's a whole litany of things I could talk about.
The bottom line is we've tried to do a number of different things this year either by scheme, personnel group, formation, motion and have basically been inconsistent on offense. That's probably the best word I could say.
And I can sit there and make excuses for all -- for lack of production. But today there's at least -- for example, in the running game, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Today was a day where you can sit there and say, okay, we can take and run the football.
I think the sooner we start resolving problems, the better off we're going to be in the big picture.
Q. Delaware put up a lot of yards on these guys.
COACH WEIS: It was a different game. You look at the first half, we had the ball four times and scored three touchdowns. So, I mean, in the second half they got the ball first and used eight minutes. It was more than eight minutes. We got the ball back with six and change.
You have got guys sitting on the bench what felt like an eternity before you get out there. And we go down and drive the ball down the field and end up dropping a touchdown pass and missing a field goal.
But that's the whole third quarter, the way I remember it. Did we only have one possession in the third quarter?
Q. Clearly, offensively that's a very good football team. But defensively, I think they only had five sacks all year.
COACH WEIS: That's the number that's on the sheet right here. I will have to go back and look at it. Sacks happen for a different reason. One time we just blew it. I don't know if people got run out. I will have to wait and go see it right there.
The bottom line is you put yourself in the position -- there is only a couple plays that I was really dissatisfied on offense for the day to tell you truth. You can talk about the two-point play, but the strip sack fumble for the touchdown, obviously, was one play that sticks out for me.
You know, we dropped a touchdown pass. That's another play that sticks out for me. But for most of the day, moving the ball was not the issue today.
Q. You've been to three or four Super Bowls before he came here. Two straight BCS bowls. This is so different for you. How hard is this for you to deal with on a personal level?
COACH WEIS: Personal doesn't really make a difference. I think that my job is to keep moving the team forward and talk about the future of Notre Dame football. That's my job.
My job is to prepare the team on a weekly basis to try to win that game and develop the team and develop the individuals so that the program can move in the right direction. I think that's where we're going to head.
Q. Talk about the third overtime there, the wheel route there that they got and then their two points and your decision.
COACH WEIS: My decision? What decision are we talking about?
Q. (No microphone.)
COACH WEIS: We have been practicing that play for six weeks. That's the play we were going to call -- we have plays that you run from the three versus plays you run from the 1 1/2. So after the pass interference, you now went to a goal line play versus a two-point -- designed two-point play you have been running for quite some time.
So I mean, it is one of those wins, they don't hit them, we probably catch the ball and it is a two-point play. If they do hit him, we get another shot and we go to a play with a little different look at it but the same play. We have been running the ball effectively all day from a different look, and they end up stopping us.
To Navy's credit, they made one more play than we did.
Q. Did any of Robert's family make it in today?
COACH WEIS: As a matter of fact, they did. From what I understand, his mother and his sister and his uncle -- there was a fourth person. They get four. I am pretty sure they came down. They were here for the game. I know that's who was down there and talking to -- I don't know if it was Robert or his uncle, but I knew they were coming down here today. He had gotten back late last night.
Q. The significance of losing the streak being a part of it --
COACH WEIS: Time out, time out, time out. Streak doesn't mean anything to me. I mean, this is -- we lost to Navy. That's who we lost to. Next year we will play Navy again.
I mean, the only streak is in your eyes. It is really not in the player's eye. The streak they are worrying about is how many games -- how many games they lost on the road, at home. That's what they are worrying about. How many games we played since UCLA when last we won. That's what they are worrying about. They are worrying about the here and now.
These kids are 17. Do you think they're worrying about 43 years? They are worrying about right now. They would like to beat Air Force. I think that's the streak they would like to beat on.
Q. Robert's scope, do you think it has an impact that you couldn't control?
COACH WEIS: Enlighten me on what you are really getting at. Maybe I am just dumb here.
Q. The broader impact of being a part of Notre Dame history rewritten.
COACH WEIS: To me that was a loss. That's the part of history we just had. We just lost to Navy. That's who we lost to. I mean, you can write whatever you want. I'm not a big excuse maker. To me, we lost by two points to a team in triple overtime. It was an hell of a game, and Navy had one more play than we did.
You want to know something? It is really that simple for me.
Q. In terms of because it was a tough game and a tough loss, does this game approach sort of the low point of the season, given obviously that you were favorites going in?
COACH WEIS: Low point is when you get beat 38-0. That's a low point. A low point is when the game is going okay and one team is pulling away from you and they're making plays and you're not making plays.
This was a -- the low point for me is the fact that we didn't win the game and I wanted Robert Hughes to be standing up on that chair singing the fight song in the locker room. You want to know what's really important to me? That's what's really important to me. What you look at as important is different than me.
I wanted that Number 33 to be standing on that stool in the locker room singing a fight song so all of his teammates could be sitting there hugging him. That was really the most important thing to me today and that didn't -- that wasn't able to happen.
And to me that's what's really important. So it is a little different for me because I look at it personally as well as professionally.
Q. I think a lot of Notre Dame nation was kind of looking -- I think the team somewhat, too. This was kind of a four-game sort of second season, so to speak. Do you reevaluate the goals now through the last three? Does anything change for you?
COACH WEIS: Now it is three games. One's gone. Now you evaluate each person individually like we had talked about and then you move on the Air Force. That's what you do.
Hey, no one wants to lose and no one wants to worry about as a coach being the guy that's got to figure out a way to get them up for the next game. Okay, no one wants to do that, but that's what we do. We do that for a living. That's what we do.
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