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November 22, 2008

Charlie Weis

COACH WEIS: All right. Fire away.

Q. Charlie, talk a little bit about the last drive there with the field goal that came up short.
COACH WEIS: Well, you know, you get the ball back with 40 seconds, 42 seconds, whatever it was, when they were kicking off. We took a couple shots down the middle of the field because we knew the middle of the field would end up being open. We came up short. We were fortunate enough now, I kind of drew one up in the dirt there at the end where we were going to punt to the left, throw one to the right to Golden, which we did. We were fortunate enough to get down to the 35 yard line. I toyed back and forth with the ball being at the 35 yard line with five seconds to go, whether I should try to run a quick pass, you know, to try to get a little bit closer or just try the field goal. But I expected they would probably be in cover-two and roll up and defend the boundary right there. I figured that you had two choices: you either try a long field goal, just hope you get it there, 'cause it was right on the cusp of his distance, or try a quick pass to the outside. With five seconds left, I just felt we had run out of time.

Q. The running game, it's been up and down all season. Down today against a team that really wasn't very good against the run.
COACH WEIS: We hurt ourselves with some penalties, too. We did have a couple runs that went for some yardage. It seems like every time we made a play, we'd hurt ourselves. I think we did have a little action there to the weak side, a couple of draws. But I think we couldn't really get into a consistent flow.
I know that I kept track in the first half the first 16 plays. It was about eight runs and eight passes. Most of the passes were in the short variety, which correlate to me sort of like a run. But we never could establish in the running game itself, the true running game, the line of scrimmage.

Q. Charlie, did the Mike Haywood situation kind of in and out the last couple weeks, has that been a distraction to the team? Did it hurt the team?
COACH WEIS: No, it hasn't been a distraction to the team. He had personal issues. There's two different personal issues. I think as the head coach you always have to work with people with personal issues, whether it be a player or a coach, and we did.
What was a bigger distraction was us having field position in the second half. You're up 23-10, you're getting great field position a good portion of the second half, and not putting them away, that really was the distraction. You get down on the goal line and hit a receiver in the chest in the end zone, that's a distraction, okay?
I don't think that had anything to do with the outcome of the game, and I wouldn't put any blame on anyone on that one.

Q. Do you look at the good field position, three drives inside the 25, three points, is that where the game was won or lost?
COACH WEIS: Not where the game was lost, because they still have to go down and score a couple touchdowns now. This is a team deal. It's not just like the offense not capitalizing.
But I think that's where we didn't put 'em away. If you would have put 'em away right there with that field position, then we wouldn't be having this conversation. But still at the end of the day they had to go down and score two touchdowns. Give credit to Syracuse. They did, too. Wasn't like they had the ball at their 10 yard line going in. They had to go down there and score twice, and they did.

Q. What do you say to the guys after something like this?
COACH WEIS: Well, first of all I feel miserable, absolutely miserable for the seniors. You know, I just feel miserable. I feel sick to my stomach. Everyone that's a Notre Dame fan takes these losses personally, just like they feel good when you win. But right now I feel just absolutely miserable for the seniors.
I said there's two ways you can do it. You got USC coming up next weekend. You can wallow around and sit there and feel sorry for yourself. If you do, you'll go out to L.A. and they'll humiliate you. So that's your choice. Your choice is, What are you going to do about it? We'll find out on Monday morning when we come back to work.

Q. What happened with the timeout situations?
COACH WEIS: Well, in the first one, Jimmy was confused 'cause I put a three-by-one set into the boundary. Normally when we put a three-by-one set, normally we put the three-by-one set into the field, okay? But we were trying to run into the boundary to try to get an extra man right there. He just figured that we had just messed up the formation, so he called timeout.
We challenged the one play. We don't have replays here. But I was fairly confident that he had his toe inbounds. I don't know 'cause I haven't seen it. But I'm sitting there watching it. He came, and I asked him, Did you have your foot inbounds? And he thought he did. We lose one on that one.
Then the last one, I'm not really sure, when the defense had to call the timeout, you know, I was making some adjustments on offense. So I know the defense called it. I know Pat called a timeout in the second half. I'm not exactly sure why yet at this point. I just know we had a problem on defense. Whether we had 10 on the field or 11 or the field, it was a substitution error, I was making a couple adjustments at that time.

Q. Can you talk about Brandon Walker's day.
COACH WEIS: I mean, he misses two field goals. Really the muffed, mishandled snap situation, it goes as a missed field goal, but it's kind of tough to put that one on the kicker. He made his other field goals. Then he had two where he's going down, a 48-yarder, and a 52- or 53-yarder. Both of them have a chance to ice the game. We're up by 6. You can put it up by 9, or you're down by 1, end up winning the game. I thought he hit the ball well both of them, just the ball came up short.

Q. How about Michael Floyd, Smith, Lambert, how much did you miss those guys today?
COACH WEIS: You mean three of our starters (laughter)?
I thought our receivers kind of stepped up. I thought Golden showed up today. I thought David Grimes showed up today and made a few plays for us. But you're always going to miss guys like Michael Floyd and Brian Smith in a game like that, Terrail. These guys have been starters for us for a long time. You're always going to miss 'em.

Q. I think you had double-digit leads in three losses. Does this team lack a killer instinct or is that a lack of a running game that looks like a lack of a killer instinct?
COACH WEIS: I think when you get to a score where it's 23-10, okay, I think the team -- it's the team's responsibility to close out the game. I include coach in with teams. So before you think that I'm passing that off on the players, I'm not doing that.
But you think about it. What's got to happen for them to win the game? First of all, we got to score no more points, which we did. Second of all, the special teams have to make no plays, which they didn't. And third of all, the defense has to give up two touchdowns the length of the field, which they did. So all three of those things have to happen in a game like that.
So regardless of how anyone's playing in the game, at the end of the day, you know, you have to feel that all three components of the team, all three had an opportunity to put the game away. The offense had good field position. But even so, just run out the clock or get us in field goal range where we kick a field goal. I think all three facets of the team had an opportunity to put the game away.

Q. You talked about the team's psyche the last time we were in here after Pitt. How is your psyche? Have you lost any confidence in yourself as a head coach?
COACH WEIS: No. Right now my psyche's miserable because I feel bad for those seniors. You know, I truly separate myself from feeling bad for me or worrying about my psyche because I only worry about them. I really only worry about them. I worry about those kids and their families. I worry about my coaches and their families. I worry about my wife and kid. But I don't worry about my psyche and I don't worry about my mentality because I don't think there's enough time.

Q. Is it difficult not to worry about yourself or is that just your personality?
COACH WEIS: Fortunately or unfortunately, whichever way you look at it, that's just my makeup. Do I feel miserable? Yeah, but I don't feel miserable for me, I feel miserable for all those people I just told you about.

Q. Offensively, some big plays to Golden Tate. Other than that, seems like you haven't been able to really get anything established. How frustrating is that?
COACH WEIS: You know, Armando had a couple of runs. David Grimes got back into the action, made some plays. I think there were a couple guys. Jimmy did not make the big mistake like we've had the last couple weeks. He was a lot more efficient in what he was doing. There's a couple plays you'd like to have back. But I'm saying he was much more efficient at what he's doing.
At the end of the day, okay, you can't play enough of a balanced game, which is what we're talking about in the running game before, you put yourself in a disadvantage, which is what I think we did today.

Q. Do you feel since the bye week this team has overall gotten better, there's been improvement, the kind you'd expect?
COACH WEIS: Right now, not to avoid that question, that is too much of an abstract for me to give an analysis of that because with an answer like, that I always like to spend some time doing due diligence reflecting rather than just come up with an answer like that. I'm going to pass on that one, okay?

Q. A little earlier you talked about you find out Monday what they have left. Is it a legitimate concern of yours that they might not have anything left in the tank?
COACH WEIS: There will be plenty of people who do. You're looking for how many people who do and how many people don't. I mean, there's plenty of people. I can give you a list of people where I don't even have to worry about how they're going to show up. I'm not worrying about Mo Crum? Are you worrying about Mo Crum? I'm being rhetorical when I'm saying that. There's plenty of guys like that.
In the team, it's not just the Mo Crums of the world that make the difference. How many guys go into a game expecting to win every time you play out there? You have a formidable opponent coming up after a tough loss. I mean, it's going to be challenging. It's a challenge on the coaching staff and players to go out and step up and make sure they're ready to go. That's exactly what I intend to do.

Q. Do you think it's reasonable to get this team in a mindset where they expect to go out to USC and win?
COACH WEIS: Let me tell you something, if you don't go with that mindset, then you're just asking for a massacre.

Q. The miracle or curse of BlackBerry's, standing here with people emailing mere, people out there who view this game as a calamity. What would you say to say there is an up here, to turn it around, not just next week, but down the line?
COACH WEIS: Once again, I'm not passing on questions. I never pass on tough questions. I think it's really important for me not to be making big-picture analyses after a tough loss. I think big-picture analysis questions are things you better sit back and reflect on rather than just come up and give an answer off the spur of the moment. I don't do things that way.
Let me do some thinking on that one, okay?

Q. What's the first thing you do to get them turned around just for this week, just for USC, considering how formidable USC is?
COACH WEIS: Well, I think there's plenty of evidence on tape on elements of different games. The first half of the Oregon State game, for example. The first half of the Stanford game, for example. There's plenty of evidence on tape of how teams played them for a portion of the game. You know, in Oregon State's case, for example, they're hanging on for dear life at the end. In Stanford's case, they pulled away in the second half. I think you have to show them the elements of how different teams have played the game to put themselves in a position to win.

Q. I don't know if I'm breaking the big-picture rule, but as you look at this year, it being your fourth year, what do you have confidence in that you're the guy to lead them forward next week and into next year, that it's going to be different?
COACH WEIS: Well, I think that's the same question that he just asked. Like I said, I'm not being adversarial. I think that Neil's question and Brian's question and your question are all fair questions, but I don't like answering big-picture questions like that without doing serious reflecting on what I think is the appropriate answer.

Q. Charlie, on your psyche, do you worry at all about your job status right now?
COACH WEIS: Do I? No. You know what, indirectly that's the same question (laughter). Indirectly it's the same question. But the answer to that question is no, okay?

Q. I'm not sure if "shocked" is the right word. Were you shocked of the lack of emotion it appeared this team on senior day, last home game, they appeared to come out with at the start of the game and throughout the first half?
COACH WEIS: See, I've seen this same look before. This isn't the first time I've seen that look. But, see, it's a different type of emotion. A lot of these guys are emotional before they go. So the rah-rah stuff you see a lot of times there during the game, people jumping around, I think it's a tough game for a lot of people to handle, especially the guys who are playing for the last time.
That being said, at halftime when we came in there, I told them we were fortunate to be sitting there with a 13-10 lead. I thought we were very lucky even to be sitting there with that. I addressed the same issue. I said, Okay, fellas, whatever jitters or everything you got, you should get out of your system. I expect to see a lot more intensity.
Now, the defense comes out early and gets a three-and-out right off the bat. So they were heading in the right direction. But at the end of the day, the offense didn't capitalize on field position when they had it, great field position there in the third quarter. In the defense we ended up letting them score a couple touchdowns, where they ended up winning the game.

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