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UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME MEDIA CONFERENCE
September 30, 2008
COACH WEIS: We are going to see Sherman and/or Whalen and the X and Whalen (ph) will be at Z, saw a lot of time last year as a true freshman and the think I notice about him is he looks to have developed as a solid player and has good speed and he can run. He can accelerate.
On the offensive line, Menke will be the left tackle. He's a returning starter and Bentler (ph) at left guard, transferred him from Oklahoma, so this is the first year he's been eligible at Stanford. Philips will be the right guard. He won the starting job in the spring, and Marinelli will be the right tackle, he's a third year lineman and he's got 22 starts.
It's a fairly veteran group even though they have a couple of guys that are new to the action right there for them.
At defense a little different. They brought Ronald in who they have known for a long time. They brought him in as a could defensive coordinator after Schaeffer went to Michigan and both winning coaches handle the defense now. It was very good against the run. They are only giving up 3.4 per carry and also after five games had 15 sacks so that will be a big area of concern.
Starting with the defensive line, they played two deep across the line -- inaudible, really McAndrew is kind of their swing end as far as that goes. I've seen four guys really playing inside and they really have confidence in all of them. Udofia and Fua look to me like the nose and three technique, but Buicke and Masifilo will both be in there, as well.
At linebacker, you know, I think that they have a couple of big time linebackers. Snyder is considered one of the best linebackers in the Pac 10, and he's their active career leader in tackles and sacks and forced fumbles and he's physical and will hit you. Maynor is the other, he's the fifth year senior. So he's Bucket Award candidate and you have those two guys and Macaluso and Maynor (ph) on the Mike, they split it up some. They have each started games, played a little more nickel, but they both show up in there.
On the secondary, Osaisai and Evans will handle the corners. Osaisai is the Pac 10 100-meter champ, so he obviously can run. You know, Michael Thomas is the only other corner on the list but we usually see him in there on the nickel package and he's a good athlete that can run.
Lizer (ph) right now is down as their starting, pre-safety, Jimmy's high school teammate but Skaufel started last week, not really sure why. McNally starts as strong safety, and he's really the leader of the secondary and he likes to come up and strike you. You know, last week he led the team in tackles and he's a very -- and he forced a fumble -- no, he had a fumble recovery, so he's the type of guy who wants to get in there and get into the mix.
Last but not least, special teams, D.J. Derkin would have been a graduate assistant years ago, also coaching the defensive end, he handles the special teams, so the one unit that stood out to me the most is the punt return unit, they are averaging over 15 yard of punt return while they are only giving up a little over six yards of punt return. Green will handle the punting a little different because he's a lefty so we'll have to -- Brandon Walker will have to do a little punting for us and we'll have to get the jugs spinning the other way this week when we are catching punts from a lefty.
Zagory handles the place kicking and -- inaudible -- only missed one field goal with a long and 52. Deliliah (ph), he's a freshman walk-on handling the kickoff duties, and Nolan is a long snapper, Baldwin is a punt returner and they have both Stewart and Howell back there.
Q. How well do you know Jim Harbaugh?
COACH WEIS: Not -- we're old acquaintances. I wouldn't say I know him very well.
Q. Just wondering, what impact, what areas in that program do you think that he has impacted the most since he arrived?
COACH WEIS: I think first, well, two in particular. I think mentality one and recruiting, two. I think that he's been fairly aggressive. Stanford is very similar to Notre Dame in the fact that you have to make sure that you're going after guys that are high academically-oriented, but still can play football. I think he's done a nice job in recruiting and I think he has that mentality where he gets the players to come from those classes and come to football and now they are football players. I think that sometimes people don't understand the complexity of going ahead and getting that done.
I think he's doing a nice job on both ends.
Q. The fact that they are running the football so much, they are terrible but they are running the football so well now, I would have -- you said mentality, he's created a tough physical mentality.
COACH WEIS: Yes, it's interesting, because a lot of schools, especially from the West Coast, you see are more spread out, spread out, sling it all over the yard, run read option and things like that; whereas he's more of a 21-12 type of guy, which is a regular Detroit, whatever, vernacular you use, and only two wide receivers on the field, a whole bunch of the game and just play more conventional, try to run it down your throat and play-action pass and I think that the players obviously have bought in and you're seeing production to go along with it.
Q. Changing gears, of course all of your special team guys are vying for a starting spot and Trevor Robinson has played a little bit more. Is he making a legitimate run at that starting spot?
COACH WEIS: Oh, I wouldn't say that he's taking over for Crist, but what we are doing is playing him a little bit more. So he's a guy that will not sit on the bench the whole game waiting for something to happen to Crist. He's earned some extra playing time.
We're not trying to unseat somebody that doesn't deserve to be unseated but at the same time, Trevor is playing well enough to make sure that we get him on the field.
Q. How has Evan handled his role on this team?
COACH WEIS: Actually Evan has done a very, very good job for us. As a matter of fact, Monday is a very significant day for Evan, because he gets more throws on Monday than he does any other day of the week.
So Monday is a day where I think that he probably had 20 passes, not including one-on-one. He probably had 20 throws yesterday in a 7-on-7 setting.
Q. If he were called into action, what area of his game do you think he has improved since last year?
COACH WEIS: Oh, I think that the one thing that Evan -- let's start with what he does the best, first of all.
He does a very good job of running the operation, of managing the team, and I think that if somebody came in as the backup quarterback, I think your No. 1 concern would always be, can he run the D.
And I still think that that is his greatest strength, and I think the players would have total confidence within him and him being able to run the team.
Q. Last thing from me. In terms of when you guys signal from the sideline, who are the people that are involved in this, and what are some of the variables involved in getting that executed properly?
COACH WEIS: Well, the way we do it, you're talking about if we were in a huddle situation. Okay, I was -- if it's not -- first of all, there's two different things. There's no huddle, where you just are calling plays at the line of scrimmage where the clock is not a sense of urgency, and then there's two-minute, where the clock is a sense of urgency.
So they are two separate and distinct operations. Sometimes people will leave because you're not in a huddle and they are the same but they are not the same. The operation we are running last week, basically I would give a formation, and then once I would give a formation, coach hey wood would then go to that formation and from the list of plays from that formation, give a play to Ron, the number of the play, who would then give it to the quarterback who would again give it to everybody else.
Q. Pardon my ignorance but what exactly is he signaling?
COACH WEIS: Alls he's doing is giving the -- we have a number for every play.
Q. So he's providing a number --
COACH WEIS: That's right. So you can study your signals all you want, unless you know number 32, it's not going to do you a whole hell of a lot of good. So that's what he's doing. Mike will look down, give a formation, he'll look down there's a group of plays from that formation, and he'll pick one, he says it's 32, Ron signals 32 and Jimmy looks down there and he tells everyone else and tells the outside guys it's 32 and they look at their wristband and they would know what play it is and he tells the interior guys what it is, and we're set and ready to go.
Q. And Evan's involvement in all of that?
COACH WEIS: Well, in that procedure? In that procedure, there's no one else talking, as far as that procedure.
Okay, what he really does is communicates to the receiver that's closest to our sideline. So the receiver closest to our sideline, Coach Arnello is telling him that number so he can communicate the play from outside in.
So now the quarterback can sit there and not have to worry about our sideline communications and he can make sure he's telling the receivers on the other side of the field. So that would be his involvement. So let's say that, you know, Golden -- we are on the left and Golden is on the left, and he would then -- if it's 32, he would go over to Golden and say 32. I would probably just say, go block the safety, but he's telling him the number of the play and then he'll look down.
Q. In general, how many routes are pre planned before the play begins and how often do they have to improvise based on coverages and other factors?
COACH WEIS: Well, it depends on -- there are several routes -- there are several routes that coverage does not dictate you changing your route.
But there are a handful of routes, you know, handful of routes that based off of what they do, you know, tells you what you do.
So for example, if we are running a hitch outside, for example, so we are going to run a six-yard hitch and all of a sudden the guy is in your face, well, in all likelihood we are going to run by him. And the quarterback needs to know that and the receiver needs to know that so that they are on the same page.
So all of a sudden -- how many times have you watched a game where the quarterback makes a throw and the receiver is still running down the field; you won't know whether the quarterback messed it up or the receiver messed it up based on what the team is doing in that situation right there.
Q. How hard is it for the quarterback to process? Does he need the receiver to know where they are going to be seconds after he throws the ball?
COACH WEIS: But the more you are working with the same receivers and apply it to the team you're playing against and the coverages they use, the easier that becomes.
Eventually, the more you work together, you know, you can usually nod at somebody and you're on the same page, and he's starting to do that a little bit. Now you don't even have to say everything all the time and it happened the other day in the game. We knew David Grimes was going to either run the corner route or take the post, okay, depending on what the coverage was. As a slot receiver, and he goes up there and he sees it blitz zero and David sees it blitz zero and knows the middle of the field is going to be wide open and both their eyes get wide open because they know what's going to happen on the play and he laid it up there to him.
Q. How do they make coverages --
COACH WEIS: A lot of times they do but in that case they had everyone one and that's what they were going to go ahead and do. Disguising coverages is one of the mainstays of what people do, but really at the end of the day, okay, you know, depending on your operation and how you do it, they usually have to get to where they have to be when the ball is being snapped. So usually you get a pretty good idea where they are.
Q. We understand why Golden had trouble picking this up because he's a running back. How long should it take the average kid to come in and pick up routes and running and the complexities of the college game, if they play the position?
COACH WEIS: Well, I'll use Michael, for example. He's been picking it up pretty quick, quicker than most people would. Normally you would say a season, you know, but some people just pick it up a lot faster and he happens to be one of them.
I think in his case the fact that they threw the ball so often with a fairly complicated passing game, that helps.
Q. And recruiting does that matter?
COACH WEIS: If they have the God given ability and they have intelligence. Just as long as they have intelligence, you can usually teach that stuff. That's just a question of how quick they end up picking it up.
Q. With so many stories on when a freshman class comes in with so much fanfare, especially when they are regarded as the saviors of the program, do you have to address any of that?
COACH WEIS: Well, we do something a little different than most other people do. What we do is we assign older kids to younger kids when they come in here in the summertime. You know, we talk about some places, freshman hazing and things like that, but really the older kids take the younger kid under the wing. Whoever ends up playing, it's part of their -- part of the reason why they develop is because they are helping them develop.
For example, one of he van sharply's main jobs in practice is to main sure Dayne Crist knows what to do. So he's not worrying about making sure Jimmy knows what to do. That's what Ron and I are doing. That's what Coach Haywood is doing. One of Evan's jobs is to make sure Dayne knows what he's doing even though Dayne is to the getting any reps.
Just to finish that off a little, so if your older guys are working hand and hand with the younger guys and the younger guys end up moving by him, they feel partially responsible for the success of those younger guys, and even though they want to be the guys out there, they are not trying to get beat out but it's sort of like a coach grooming a younger coach. You can't worry about the other guy taking your job. Alls you have to try to do is try to make them better.
Q. Sometimes there might be jealousy, even in the pros --
COACH WEIS: It's a little different than the pros. Here the one thing that sometimes is a negative residual effect is if you have a fairly young -- we have a few guys that have left here, and what usually is the case, when a fairly young guy gets passed by a younger guy, they see no light at the end of the tunnel whereas an older guy, senior, that ends up happening, they understand it. They understand it from a totally different perspective.
Q. You mentioned before with RJ --
COACH WEIS: Yeah, it's enjoyable.
Q. Any examples?
COACH WEIS: Well, here's one. He had an interception yesterday, and you know, I don't know if it was one-on-one -- was it one-on-one? He had an interception and a one-on-one yesterday, so he intercepts the ball and he runs about ten yards to where the offensive guys are and then he just dives over the line like I was diving into the end zone, okay, and spikes the ball.
Now, you don't think that aggravates the offensive guys, it does but I tell you what I thought was hilarious, sitting there watching that, because he's simulating scoring and he's simulating interception and simulating the scoring.
Q. Having to squelch such a personality --
COACH WEIS: In RJ's case, that also has happened, and I can say more examples on that side in case you're wondering. Like I've had an incident, players have had incidents, because sometimes you have to pull them aside and say, okay, you're a freshman and if you want to do this, this is what's going to come with the territory. We have had that side of the story as well.
Q. Last week, USC, Florida, Georgia -- the preseason expectations, are for this Notre Dame team right now, is it in a good place as far as it has the ability to build momentum?
COACH WEIS: Well, I think one of the best things is because we had not been winning last year, this is not a team that's set up for a letdown. Some teams like that sometimes have trap games, you know, where you just -- they just figure they can show up and win.
But we are not at that stage yet for us. So for us, every game is a new game. So you know, that's why when we go to play against Stanford, you don't have to say, well, they are going to feel pretty good about beating Purdue and not show up for Stanford.
We already know that we are not good enough to do that. We could lose to anybody on the schedule if we just show up; whereas, there's teams, the upper echelon teams, I'm not going to say any of them in particular, but there's a lot of upper echelon teams that because they already have that mentality where they expect to win every week, okay, when they show up for a game, they figure, well, we'll still end up winning at the end of the day, and guess what, it doesn't always work out that way.
Q. Can you talk about when you are in a two-severe set, is there something you're looking for for the receiver on the tight end side?
COACH WEIS: Well, they are definitely different positions. We have guys that can interchange. We have guys that can play X or Z, but in a two-wide receiver set, unless you run a slot set, but if you're in a pro formation where you have a Z in a tight end side and X on the other side, normally in everyone's offense, there's a different set of routes and components that go with it. And different expectations and just run force where you end up going to.
Q. What are you looking for for the guy on the non-tight end side?
COACH WEIS: Well, the guy who can get off the line of scrimmage without having to move to get off the line of scrimmage, because if you think about it, the X is usually stationary. So he's a guy that's going to have to be able to get off the line of scrimmage, where the Z, he's off the line of scrimmage, so already he has a little bit of a cushion; and, because he's off the line of scrimmage, he also can move.
So usually that's the two biggest things that come into play right off the bat.
Q. You watched film yesterday, curious, there was a small thing but seemed kind of important. In the first quarter, there was keystone cops on the sidelines --
COACH WEIS: Yeah, that was not a small thing. They ended up with no points on that. That's 7-0. So they are going down the sideline, he knocks them out-of-bounds and they end up missing a field goal in that drive right there. That was a critical play.
There's a lot of plays that people, you know, when you go back and rehash it, you look at it and you remember, but there are a lot of plays that happen in the game where you don't know -- like I said to them after Michigan State, you don't know which one play might have been a difference in the game. He doesn't come over and touch him, that guy is walking in for a touchdown and that's 14-0. That was a perfect example, John, of plays that could have made a difference in the game that you barely remember until you go back and watch the game again.
Q. Saying before that your team is a team that just got its driver's license, and now it seems like they got a Porsche and they are excited about driving that car.
COACH WEIS: Well, going back before, because there's still young and starting to finally have some fun out there for a change, it's been a while since we've had some fun around here.
You know, really, it's been a while, and it was kind of fun being at practice yesterday and watching the guys not turning it into a football session, but actually go out there and practice really hard on a Monday, really hard and compete, because Mondays really are our biggest ones against one day, that's probably the biggest, us against us, so it was a very competitive day, and they probably competed as hard yesterday as I've seen, and that's usually a good sign.
Q. Did you get to watch the final inning at Shea?
COACH WEIS: No, but I'm a Yankee fan, no disrespect to that fan but that was very enjoyable, okay, because I had to listen to all of my Met fan friends tell me how the Yanks were not going to make the playoffs and the Mets were, but on that day the Mets got knocked out of the playoffs, unfortunately.
Q. Such a wide variety of different styles you play given the landscape of the schedule, what sort of special challenges does that present?
COACH WEIS: I think that you have to first of all, every June or so, you have to see where there's changes in coaching staffs; therefore, potential changes in the mentality of what they do.
Secondly, I think that you have to really spend some time in training camp and/or the bye week addressing those special issues that come into play. I.e., okay, you play Navy, not the week after the bye, but you have Navy coming up in the not-too-distant future. So you know after the bye, you have Washington and now they have a change in quarterback, so it's going to have a change of mentality, okay.
But then you play Pitt, but then in the not-too-distant future, you're going to play Navy and out of all of the teams left on the schedule, the one that is the most unorthodox. So what you go against is actually that one, just like in preseason, we're practicing to get ready for San Diego State. Well, before you get to those two weeks for San Diego State, you had to practice the Michigan stuff. You had to practice the -- you had to practice the spread offense, because the spread offense that San Diego State runs is not the one that Michigan runs.
So you have to go down the front end, not the back end so that when you start getting ready for game week, you're putting all of your intentions just in the opponent you're playing.
Q. Is that something that you do or is somebody assigned --
COACH WEIS: No, our whole staff does this. We study staffs and we study -- in some cases, you have to wait and see what they are going to do. Like in some cases, a team is going to bring in coaches that you can study the coach a little bit but if you don't play them until week eight, you have to let them evolve and see what ends up happening and put all your due diligence in it during the season.
Q. Within the conference it seems like there's a certain amount of familiarity year-to-year, is there any disadvantage in that your schedule turns over? Is that a challenge?
COACH WEIS: There's still a group of schools that you play every year. There's still a group. Even though we are not in a conference, there's a group of schools and we're playing Purdue and we're playing Michigan State and we are playing Navy and USC. There's still a group of schools that that's like your conference because you're playing them every year.
So it's those schools, and then the other schools that sometimes they are on and sometimes they are off; they are the ones that you have to spend a little bit more time making sure that you are familiar with what they do.
Q. What do you do now to bottle the production of Armando Allen?
COACH WEIS: You just keep on trying to put them in position where you get the ball in his hands and see where he can be productive and make big plays, made a whole bunch of big plays, a lot of confidence in them, and I think that he has a chance to make us a lot better.
Q. Something going on there --
COACH WEIS: Well, I think that first of all, he spends -- he's probably one of the harder-working freshmen I've ever been around, and it's important to him. You know, so he knows his strengths and he knows his liabilities, and as he's gotten bigger in a hurry, his body is catching up with him and I think that he spends a lot of time with Bernie on fundamentals and techniques and doing the little things the right way.
Also, he knew that the team was counting on him. Not only had he been starting all year but the team was counting on him and he knew that he didn't have a security blanket going into this game where he wanted to go to the next guy. We wanted it to be him, and I think that he stepped up pretty big for us in that game.
Q. Playing quarterback -- where do you seem him right now?
COACH WEIS: Well, I think that would be a better question to ask next week because we are going to get a lot of 21 and 12 this week. We are going to get a lot two of wide receiver normal sets, and that plays back into, you know, what he does the best. So I think that that would be a better one for us to reevaluate next week.
Q. Seems very energetic, very organized, do you find yourself running into this more -- (inaudible).
COACH WEIS: Yeah, a little bit more. Not a ton more, but I would say there's a little bit more of the -- I think that we're very similar in our approach. We're all over the place and we're aggressive and we're going after a similar pool of players.
So I'd say the answer to that would probably be yes, you see a little bit more.
Q. We're seeing a lot of confident with this group the way that they play and the way that they talk after games; at what point did you start seeing that?
COACH WEIS: Well, I think confidence comes with having some mild success, moderate success and I think that we have been working on this since December now. This has been a reclamation project we have been working on. Whether it be emotion and whether it be confidence, we've spent a lot of time as a team, coaches and players, working on these intangibles, and emotion and confidence usually play off -- hopefully equal success.
And when you have some moderate success, usually your confidence grows more and more, especially with young guys and their confidence with grow in a hurry as long as you keep them level headed, and we're talking as long as they understand that we are not good enough to just show up, we've got to show up every week.
Q. Where they are right now, is it fair to say that they have transformed from a group that's hoping to win to expecting to win?
COACH WEIS: Yeah, I think that that's a fair statement at this time. That was back to that dive-right-in mantra that everyone thought was kind of corny. All of those toe-in-the-water guys, there's a lot less of them around now, and most of them have already taken a dip, and I think that that's a good thing because it kind of goes hand-in-hand with having some success.
Q. What does that do to you as a staff?
COACH WEIS: I didn't have to worry about whether or not Bruton was in, I didn't have to worry about whether Grimes (ph) were in, they were already in but now you're getting more and more, and the more that you have in, the easier it ends up being.
Q. Can you talk about some of the overaggressiveness with the younger guys, where is that line between confidence and overconfidence?
COACH WEIS: I think the coaching staff does a pretty good job on that one. I think that really starts today at 2:30 when we start going over our team Top-10s and offense and defense and special teams, and just from watching the tape yesterday morning, okay, they see all of the mistakes that we made in the game; it's tough to be overconfident when you see a whole bunch of mistakes in the game as well, because we kind of break up the good from the bad. So they see all of the good stuff and they want to coach the good stuff but you also want them to see all of the things that we could have done a heck of a lot better, and I think that's important to go at it that way.
Q. If I remember right, Stanford was pretty blitz-heavy last year, are they still that way?
COACH WEIS: Probably not as heavy percentage-wise as they were last year, because Coach Schaeffer, he likes to really dial them up.
But really, we kind of expect more pressure every time we go out there. So we'll practice against higher blitz percentages than show up in a scouting report. We won't practice at the percentage we see, because it seems like last week, we practice at a higher percentage, going against Purdue and they dialed up a lot more blitzes than they had done all year long.
So I don't know really know the reason for that, but just they do, so we'll practice at a higher percentage.
Q. How much of practice --
COACH WEIS: Yeah, that really helps with the speed of the game, okay, but it doesn't help with the schemes. So if you're going against a team that plays a specific scheme the whole time, which is different than let's say the offense is going, one of the packages that Stanford has is this big odd package, what they did last year was the same thing they did last year, they had this odd package. Well if you're defense isn't doing exactly the same thing, there's not much carry over when you are running plays against them.
So X's- and O's-wise, you don't help, but as far as getting ready for the speed of the game, it definitely helps, significantly.
Q. From a play calling standpoint, there's been stuff made about you guys only having one sack, but with so many blitzes, what are the residuals?
COACH WEIS: Go look at the completion percentages. Go look at the completion percentage last week, I think it was 52 percent, and I think in the second half, he was 9-for-21. Well, that goes hand in hand, and you go back the week before, usually completion percentages tell you a lot of the story when the team is pressured a whole bunch. And I think that that's one stat that people don't spend enough time researching when they are going against blitz teams.
I know when I'm going against a team that's blitzing a whole bunch, okay, you have to decide, well, am I willing to complete 50 percent of my passes to take a whole bunch of shots, or, do I want to have safe, short, quick passes so I get a higher completion percentage and nickel and dime then, and that's the Catch 22 you're in.
You'll see when we're going against somebody, you'll see a whole bunch of those quick throws, because they know it's coming and it's not like, well, I wonder if Notre Dame is going to blitz this week.
Q. Lining up four and five wide receivers, are those recruiting goals --
COACH WEIS: Depends what position they play. It's certainly a recruiting tool with skill players. It really helps with skill players. Skill players see that and they know that you're not just an old-fashioned, smash-mouthed offense, smash-mouthed defense. You need to get a lot of athleticism on the field and that usually helps you.
Q. For Armando Allen last week, breakout game, do you stick with him as starter or is your starting running back dictated by the kind of defense you go up against week-to-week?
COACH WEIS: Armando has been our No. 1 guy for most of the year but both Robert and James are involved in the game plan and in our game plan all three of these guys are involved.
Armando is usually dialing is up first unless we get into a pounded formation to start off with. And then it won't be him; it will be Robert or James in that situation, depending on what the situation; because certain guys do certain things better than others.
Q. You've shown a lot of confidence even at times when he has struggled a little bit and up until last week, he had not made a run longer than 15 yards; what was it about him that made you stick with him?
COACH WEIS: Well, we watched him in practice every single day, and alls he's done from the day he's got here until now is continue to get better and better, so it's just a matter of time and it's just that the time finally came.
Being a matter of time is one thing, so now that he's got there and as we talked the other day, you have a new bar to set, and, okay, this is what we've seen you do, so let's get going and see this on a more regular basis.
Q. Where do things stand on the --
COACH WEIS: I'm in a holding pattern. I'll let you know when it's resolved. When it's resolved you'll be the first to know.
Q. When Brady was here, you guys had a really good relationship and again there was some edge to it that I think you pushed -- in terms of Jimmy, do you find the relationship is similar?
COACH WEIS: It's actually getting closer to that relationship now, where you're starting to push him more and more. You have to get it to a point where he understands what you're pushing.
Really that's the problem, you see some times and they look at you like when are you talking about but he's starting to get to that point where now he goes and practices, and he's starting to get to the point like Brady where if he throws an incomplete pass in practice that he feels is his fault, he gets mad, and that's a good thing.
Where if he doesn't throw it to the right guy, and if you look at him like you don't have to say anything to him, you've got that non-verbal, I get it, I get it; I think that he's moving along nicely.
Q. How do you feel like he's held up playing?
COACH WEIS: He looked great yesterday. He wasn't on the injury list. Wasn't sore. Running around really well. That's a good thing.
Q. Eventually wanting to see Tyler and Jonas playing their natural positions, can you describe what you've seen, what kind of a runner?
COACH WEIS: First of all, let's start with special teams. We've gotten production out of Steven since we started playing him on special teams and Jonas for his first rattle out of the box played pretty well himself on special teams the other day. First thing you have to decide, when you decide to go ahead and start playing a guy on special teams before he's playing his position is to make sure that you have confidence that he's good enough to help you win, and both of those guys are good enough to help us win on special teams.
Now because of that, you know you're playing them and now you put yourself in a position where it would be nice for them to grow up the depth chart -- do we give weekly depth charts out, Brian? Okay you'll notice this week you have him slated over there at Sam linebacker, because now instead of him being on a show team, he's now working with the big boys getting ready to play in the game.
I think it all depends on every situation you need both of those guys, they are already helping us on special teams and that would be good for us and good for them if they get more and more in the mix on defense in Steven's case and offense in Jonas's case.
Q. You have a bunch of freshmen not in a position to help you this year, as a group -- that we haven't seen -- inaudible?
COACH WEIS: Well, one of the things we do at the end of practice on Thursday, we practice a little earlier on Thursday and we have a practice with all of those guys -- for the end of the practice.
So all of the guys that are playing in the game, that are playing in the game, are done with practice, and now all of a sudden it's Dayne Crist at the quarterback and all of those young offensive linemen in there, Fauria at the tight end and Goodman and Walker at wide receiver, Jonas at running back and you've got Capran (ph) and Newman and Chouinard (ph) and McDonald and McCarthy and Slaughter, all of a sudden all of these guys now at the end of practice on Thursday -- you have to get the team ready to play the game. But we make sure all of the guys don't get sale just being on show team all the time, because these are guys you have to make sure that they don't fall behind when they get to the show team.
Q. With your Grimes, they seem to open up for each other, Duval (ph) looks like he's laboring still; where is he in regards to your confidence and is Robby pushing to get in that rotation?
COACH WEIS: I think that Duval is right there and I think that George is real close, right now we practice six guys interchangeable and really don't think about it too much. You'll notice Robby Davis didn't play. The other week Robby went into the slot receiver in the three-wide receiver sets and he was almost a starter by three wide receiver sets in that game.
We would have confidence and Duval is obviously just a nudge behind right now but Duval and Robby and George, I think they are all -- we have confidence putting any of those guys in the game.
Q. You mentioned the sacks, are you happy overall with where the defense is and giving up a little more yardage this year than they were last year?
COACH WEIS: I'm more concerned with points, points allowed. I think every game we've played this year, they have kept a score where we could have won every game. At the end of the day, that's the most significant one. These are all game-changing plays and the answer is unequivocally yes, and I think that even in the Michigan State game, I thought the defense played well enough for us to win the game. So at the end of the game, how many points did they give up to put you in a position to win the game.
Q. Is it just a matter of time or a process of learning this?
COACH WEIS: I think that would be the case but let's answer that question first of all -- I think the ants so that question is yes. Because going to the right spot all the time and knowing the fundamentals of what you're doing and making sure you're always hitting right gap which they have done a nice job of, all of those things will just keep on getting better and better when you know what you're doing.
Just the one add-on to that, I think that you have to understand that not every team -- there will be teams we play this year that don't feel that they just have to throw a three-step drop. There will be teams that we play this year that just feel that they can just do their normal stuff and that you won't get there because there will be a little block.
I think that's when they take their time to throw the ball, that's one you'd better get there because if not, you're going to give up big plays. Sooner or later that's going to come to the surface.
Q. Going back to RJ, what is it that you like about that?
COACH WEIS: I like when somebody makes a play and they enjoy doing it. That's 15 yards in the game. If you didn't do it then -- if they can't do it in practice, you have to let them have some fun. The guy just made a big play. Practice doesn't have to be all drudgery. It's nice to see when a player makes a play.
I'll give you another example, the last play of one-on-one and Lambert was covering, I don't know if it was Golden or somebody else, and he made a play and the time was running out in the period, and all of a sudden you saw all the DBs run to the corner and short chest-bumping and everything like that. It's good to be able to let them do something like that. I enjoyed it.
Q. You mentioned the other day that the win the other day, didn't celebrate as much as Michigan, is that a good thing or is it good that there didn't quite --
COACH WEIS: I think it's a good thing, because it wasn't like they weren't excited. If they weren't excited over a win, that would be one thing, so they were excited.
When you're starting to think that that's what you're supposed to do, that you're supposed to win a game, that you're supposed to make some plays, that is a good thing. If they weren't excited I would answer yes, but they were excited so, hey, this is great, let's go get ready to beat Stanford, that's a good thing.
Q. Playing a little music -- I understand after Michigan State you put a little more music in.
COACH WEIS: That's right. That really caught them off guard. Instead of putting up some little blurbs, I put up some songs in there that pained me, so I think that surprised them a little bit.
Q. The reason?
COACH WEIS: Because I think that you can't change what you're trying -- what you're trying to do. I think that you have to have a plan and you've got to stick to it and you can't all of a sudden turn everything into, turn everything into a negative thing when you're trying to turn everything when you want everything to go in a positive direction.
BRIAN HARDIN: Thanks everyone.
End of FastScripts