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UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME MEDIA CONFERENCE
October 20, 2009
Q. Robby Parris, how did he come out of that?
COACH WEIS: Remarkably well. He actually had an ankle, a knee and a hip that all got x-rayed and all came up negative. Then we had an MRI on his knee yesterday which came back as just bruised. So he went from out to doubtful. As a matter of fact, he was in this trainer room this morning jogging around trying to politic to get out there a little bit earlier. There's a chance he might be able to be used even as early as the game this week. He won't practice today or tomorrow, you know, because he's very sore. You know, I mean, it he was beaten up puppy. But it came out remarkably well.
Q. You mentioned that you thought Everson Griffen accidently stepped on his foot a couple of times?
COACH WEIS: Well Jimmy's like a mash unit after every game. He walked into the training room, I don't know if there's enough ice left, but when I finished with press, as a matter of fact, the first person I saw was him. He had this big old ice bag on his toe.
But you know he's grown so much, you know, as a person and a player where things like that, that he would be whining about, you know, he just has learned to live with. So he's really looking forward to getting out there on the practice field today.
Q. I asked you after the game in the heat of the moment sometimes maybe I didn't make myself real clear but there was a lot of seconds that clicked off after Robby Parris' injury; was that intentional, did you want there to be no time left?
COACH WEIS: Well the one thing we were kind of torn in between whether or not to go ahead and burn the time-out or not. But I knew, I had a good feeling for the number of plays that we were going to have at our disposal, we almost cut it little too close . You know, because they had to put the one second back on the clock. But we knew how much time -- we were well aware of the time and the time-out situation.
Robby got up, considering how beat up he was, he got up a little too fast. Normally the old Patriot way is they would have been on the field a little bit longer than we were right there. But we were well aware what the time was, and we knew the number of plays that we anticipated getting if we needed them.
Like I said, we cut it a little close, but I think it worked out. Didn't work out score wise, the way we planned, but time-wise it worked out fine.
Q. And Armando, Golden Tate, you went to them in the second half of kickoffs; just your thinking there and will you continue that?
COACH WEIS: Well we'll go back to Theo and Barry as the starting kickoff returners in this game, but we were trying to put us in a position, you know, put us in a position to make a game changing play.
We felt that we had to make at least a game changing play, on special teams and then play even the rest of the way to have a chance. And we did have the one game change of play on the fake field goal, but we felt we were going to have to win in that aspect of the game to have a chance of winning.
Q. How were you able to pull off the fake field goal without them seeing Parris?
COACH WEIS: Well the fact that it was Robby not Golden was the critical factor. You know, when we first went to put it in, you know, I said, the last person we want to do it with is Golden because, you know, usually people will track him and see where he goes. But what we planned on and you even notice by the play call on third down, by running a run in that situation, we sent in, on the third down call that were we doing it on the fourth down. So now you run the ball and they go off the field like they're just going off the field and Robby never left the field, just stood there a couple yards from the sideline.
And, to be honest with you, it felt like an eternity until the ball was snapped. Because he's standing there right in front of me face and I'm saying, Snap it; Snap it; Snap it. Because you figure sooner or later somebody's going to look out there and take a peek and see them there.
But Golden went off at a different spot. So when he came off the field he didn't come off where Robby was coming off. He went off in another direction to make sure we didn't bring any attention to what Robby was doing.
Q. The decision on go with Ruffer on kickoffs, was that something that you had been thinking about, or did that just come up in the last week?
COACH WEIS: In practice David's been kicking the ball the furthest, you know, for quite sometime. It's just that he's been very inconsistent. You know, one time he'll kick it out of this end zone, the next time he'll kick it about 40 yards. So we gave them some opportunities. We wanted to take some of the pressure off of Tausch and let him just have to concentrate on one of thing and not have to handle all the kicking in the game.
And, you know, he did okay. You know, he did okay in the game. You know, I don't think he did any better than Nick would have done, but I thought it was pretty comparable. But he's really been doing a nice job in practice on kickoffs when he hits them, you know, he usually hits them pretty darn good.
Q. There appeared to be a few times when Jimmy was upset that he wasn't getting the plays in fast enough; what are some of the issues that you are dealing with in those situations?
COACH WEIS: No, it wasn't how quick the play is. We had some, some check with me slash audible situations, you know, that you need everyone to get in the huddle and get out of the huddle fast enough so you have enough time to run the whole operation.
If you are playing at home, you don't have to worry about crowd noise, you can do some of those things. So those cases that we're talking about, which were twice in the game, were really situations where we had check-with-me's or audible potential that we really didn't have enough time to do the whole operation.
Q. What did they do to hold Rudolph down? He only had three receptions for nine yards.
COACH WEIS: I think it was more what we did than what they did. Because of the duress we were under the first half, I had to do an adjustment and turn him for most of the day he was in protection. So if you noticed most of the rest of the day it was, you know, he wasn't even releasing into patterns.
So when you take one of your best guys -- you have to pick your poison, Tim. The quarterback is under duress in the first half, only thrown for about 50 yards, I figured we were going to have to throw the ball in the second half to win, especially when we got down 20 we knew me were definitely going to have to throw the ball. So I had to use him in protection a whole bunch which you know cuts down his, the volume of opportunities that he would have in the passing game.
Q. When they would bunch the three receivers, when they scored to Williams on the 41-yarder and they bunched three receivers and Sergio came off the edge, does he have the option there to pull out of that when he sees there's going to be a three on two?
COACH WEIS: You know, we got hit with that stack look three times in the game. You know, and it depends on the call. If you are the pressure guy, you know, sometimes you have pressure where you have peel involved. You know, where you are peeling off. There's other times with pressure where your job is to go ahead and create the pressure and somebody's else's job is to make the play out there. So all three things were different situations.
But that stack look ended up getting three big plays in the game.
Q. Coach, it seemed like that John Goodman got involved a lot more, and what was the package that you had for him to be involved with and how is that going to carry over into that week?
COACH WEIS: Well he'll continue to play more because as things have gone on he's become, you know, he's become very dependable. You know, he's not the fastest guy in the world, but he's smooth and he can catch the ball. And he also gives us an opportunity to do a couple of wrinkles, you know, by putting him in quarterback, like the second play of the game, he's at quarterback even though we didn't change the personnel, it was the same personnel but, you know, he is at quarterback and now all of a sudden you can pull a run-read option. As I've mentioned before we know he can throw it too. So we had a couple of those things in there we didn't get to. He just gives us another weapon that utilized properly besides just as a receiver we can do a couple things with.
Q. Coach, I'm bit confused. On the final drive you said a couple times that you knew how many plays you wanted to run and so the time-lapsing off the clock wasn't an issue. But, if you knew in your mind that you wanted to run six plays, wouldn't eight plays be better?
COACH WEIS: Well you are trying to score on each one of them. I mean, it wasn't about how many plays. You know, we tried to score on the pass to Rudolph. We tried to score on the pass to Golden. I mean, it wasn't like you are not trying to score on those plays either. You just have to know how much time each one of them is going to take.
For example, in the next to last play when we threw the slant to Golden at the corner, drove in and made the play, we knew that with four seconds left to go in the game, that we were going to throw a slant. It was either going to be complete for a touchdown or incomplete and still have an opportunity for another play.
Whereas, if we would have thrown on the very same play, if we would have thrown a fade ball to Rudolph over on the right who was over on the right, either he catches it to tie slash win the game or the clock's over. Because a fade ball takes more time to throw. So you really have to do your due diligence and know not only what you are calling but, you know, what it's going to take, how much time it's going to take.
Q. Seemed especially early that Jimmy for the first time reverted to kind of bailing to the right when the would get pressure; was the just the fact he had four athletes coming at him, or did they take away his stuff up the middle?
COACH WEIS: With the exception of one play, bailing to the right was the right answer based off where the pressure came from. Because, you know, when you can't step up, then, you know, when you can't step up in the pocket, you know, you have two choices. Only one time, you know, he looked the wrong way, and that forced him to bail when, you know -- if he would have looked the other way, he wouldn't have had the same problem. For the most part that was just dictated by where the pressure was coming from.
Q. Is it just a matter of him getting in a rhythm, how much better he played as the game went on?
COACH WEIS: I had to keep on changing packages till after I found something that settled down their defense. You know, they're very good on defense now. So you had -- I went through a whole, I mean, I was canning stuff left and right -- That's not working, that's not working, that's not working, okay, we got something here. So finally when I found something we would settle down in, you know, we went to that well for the rest of the game.
That's sort of going back to Tim's question about Rudy. I mean, Rudy was supposed to be a big portion in this game of us throwing the ball to him, but the way the game went, I had to adjust and put him in protection to give us a little bit more time so we could throw the ball vertically down the field.
So, I mean, that's what you do's play caller. You have to adjust to give your guys an opportunity to find something that will work, which is when we got it in the second half, you really look at it, you know, Jimmy in the second half goes 17 for 29 for over 200 yards, a couple touchdowns, and run for one. Against that defense, that's pretty good.
Q. (No microphone.)
COACH WEIS: That is what settled their defense down. You know, because when you play a team with such good team speed, especially in the front seven, the more condensed you play, the more you're picking your poison to letting them just tee off on you. If you spread them out some, they can still tee off on you, but you got to cover everybody, so it takes more people out of the box for you.
Q. Charlie, is it fair to say that Jimmy's toe, it's just difficult for him to roll left and why we saw him roll right?
COACH WEIS: That would be true for any right quarterback. It's not just the toe, it's not about rolling, it's about rolling to where you feel comfortable throwing the ball.
You know, there's very few right-handed quarterbacks that roll to the left and throw the ball with any accuracy. So, in reality, for me what we've been stress on more trying to slide in the pocket, ala Tommy, you know, try to slide in the pocket and step up and find that little throwing lane.
Because he's not a 4-5 type of guy. It's difficult for any right-handed quarterback to be rolling to the left and throw as accurately as either stepping up in the pocket and/or rolling to the right.
Q. Was there any consideration given at all in the last three plays to put the wild cat in at all?
COACH WEIS: We had one play, you know, we had one play. But if I called it, you know, at that time you guys would have thought I was just absolutely nuts. The one we have called, you would have--
Q. Can you elaborate on it?
COACH WEIS: No because you might see it this week. (Laughter.)
BRIAN HARDIN: We'll move on to BC preview.
COACH WEIS: Coach Spaziani, one of the good guys, took over for the program. I'm really happy that he got that job. He's a really good guy. You know, brings Coach Tranquill in there. Coach Tenuta's torn because these are two of his boys, both Spaziani and Tranquill.
You know on offense last week they rushed for just under 300. Just under 7 yards a carry. They actually ran wild cat themselves last week. Had 187 yards passing, 480 for the day, 7.1 per play, scored all 5 times they were in the red zone. For the year, they're scoring about 31 points a game and rushing for 155 and had a 4.2 average, and they've scored in the red zone touchdowns 76 percent of the time. So they've been down there 25 times and scored 19.
One thing that -- and I'll say this about the whole team before I start going to the players. They really came off a tough loss against Virginia Tech. And they really showed great resolve on how they bounced back against NC State by laying a whoopin' on them after taking a whoopin', which was pretty obvious.
Shinskie's taken over at quarterback, former minor league baseball player, started the last month or so, but he had his best game this past weekend. He was 13 for 25 for 187 yards and 2 touchdowns, and he had a great bounce back game from the Virginia Tech game.
You know, want to talk about having a good day, Montel Harris, he had a good day. You know, he ran their wild cat. He had 27 carries for 264 yards and 5 touchdowns, and along the 70 averaging just under 10-yards a carry. That gives him 10 touchdowns for the year, 756 yards and averaging over 5.5 yards a carry.
They play Haden also; he shows up a lot. He started 13 times in his career.
At fullback, the guy that gives them a lot of versatility is Lars Anderson because they use him both as a fullback and as a move tight end.
They play McCluskey as well at fullback.
Tight end, you know, Pentale, he's their starting tight end. He started every game for them this year. He is third on the team in catches. They also have Jordon McMichael. He's been injured past couple weeks with a leg injury. I'm not sure what his status will be.
At wide receiver you know Gunnell is a returning leader in receptions and touchdowns from a year ago. He is a good route runner. He's got good hands. You know, he'll -- Larmond will play a little bit there as well and show up as their third wide receiver where Jarvis is the starting X. He is 6'5", 196. So they'll bring some size to their group.
Offensive line: They return four starters from this group. A solid group. They play hard. You know, their center, Tennant, truly is the center. The true Boston College, you know, the way it's always evolved they always seem to have a good center. Every time you turn around they have a good center and he is no exception.
Castonzo at left tackle. Richmond at left guard. Claiborne, I think, is at right guard. And Lapham, he is the right tackle. Four starters returning. Everyone but the left guard.
Billy McGovern took over as the defensive coordinator. Billy and Spaz are real close.
Last week they gave up 79 yards rushing under three yards a carry. For the year, they're only giving up under 21 points a game. You know, getting off the field on third down, they've only given up 30 percent conversions on third down. In the red zone, only giving 39 touchdowns, so they're doing a lot of good things.
You know, typical Boston College defense. Sound, fundamentally, you know, play hard. You know, Albright at weak end. Ramella at strong end. Giles and Scafe, you know, inside, and he's been hurt some. Newman might end up playing there. By the way, Newman, I believe, is from Manasquan High School in New Jersey. Figured I'd throw a little shout out for Manasquan, being I bet my wife at Manasquan figured I better say something.
Linebackers: McLaughlin, you know, he's their defensive captain and he plays that way. He's coming off an Achilles but he is a nice solid player. Kuechly has been a little bit of a surprise to me, how well he's really played as a true freshman at will. And either LeGrande or Morrissey will play their SAM.
Defensive secondary, they really play two deep. They play six guys. You know, the starters are Rollins at boundary corner and Gause is at field corner and Bowman at strong safety and Davis at weak safety. But, you know, you are going to see Johnson in there and Fletcher in there and Noel in there. You know, they play a whole bunch of guys in there in the secondary and they're not afraid to just roll them in.
They really play sound fundamentally. Coach Dawson's got the special teams. Aponavicius is still the field goal kicker. Quigley is handling both their punting and kickoffs. Billy Flutie is their holder. Geiser is their long snapper and short snapper. Returners are Jeff Smith and Chris fox at kickoff return. And, Gunnell, he handles their punt returns.
Q. Charlie, their wild cat was really productive against North Carolina State. Is there anything particularly different or better than other people?
COACH WEIS: Well they ran two different versions of it. You know, one the true contemporary wild cat similar to what we do. Then they had two-back version of it as well. But, you know, both forms that we've seen several times before, so they just had a big day.
I think that they caught NC State a little bit by surprise. This isn't coach Tranquill, after coaching for 40 years, you know, this isn't something that you would think that would have been a foundation. But, you know, he hopped on board just like some other stubborn offensive coordinator that you know hopped on board. But he hopped on board and they had a big day.
Q. They have a lot of interceptions every year it seems like. I think last year way were maybe tops in the country or close. What do they do so well that gets them the position?
COACH WEIS: Just like last year when they kicked or butt on offense, you know, they play zone defense and they say, You're going to have to be patient and throw the ball underneath, because if you throw it down the field, it's going be our ball. And they make you play that game. And for the teams that don't play that game, they end up having a long, hard day against this defense. So you have to be patient. Because, if you are not patient, you know, it's going to happen, you are going to end up throwing it to them.
Q. Jack Evans, didn't see him out there Saturday; was he hurt just not part of the pack?
COACH WEIS: He was in the two-deep just didn't, you know, just didn't get involved in the game.
Q. Bryant Young, how is that going with him, his coaching, how is he enjoying it, what kind of impact has he had on this team?
COACH WEIS: Well I think that one thing you've probably noticed over the last few weeks is at the defensive line that earlier in the year that was one of the big question marks is starting to really play better.
You know, you look at the USC run game from last week, with the exception of a couple 20-yard runs, they held McKnight in check most of the day. And that group, you know, with Randy Hart and Bryant Young, but the work together with those two guys, that group of defensive line, they're playing better. And, you know, I have to give the credit to both those guys because they've been pushing and pushing and pushing and now all of a sudden Kapron's making plays, now Ethan's making plays, now Ian's making plays, Kerry Neal and John Ryan and Cwynar pops in there. They're starting to get some production at that position.
Q. Charlie, obviously halfway point, 4-2. Could you give us kind of a state of the team address on what you like and where you think this group is this season?
COACH WEIS: Well the thing that I definitely like the most about their team is their heart. You know, it's pretty evident this is a fighting group of guys. They're a bunch of guys that have shown intestinal fortitude. They're tough.
On the negative side we've put ourselves in some precarious positions by being in these games, you know, five games in a row. And when you do that, you know Brian asked a question the other day and it was really a fair question. When you are living like that where you are coming down to the last minute of the game every game, you know, odds are that sooner or later it's going even out and you are not going to win all five. So had the opportunity to win all five but had an opportunity to lose all five.
So I think that, you know, I know there's not a question in my mind they'll come out fighting again like they've been. People worry about being flat. How can be you flat when you are playing a team that just beat you six times in a row? That would be tough to do.
So they'll come out fighting again, and we're trying get it so that, you know, at the end of the game we're not in that situation.
Q. Also, four-and-a-half years in, could you kind of offer your state of the program; is it moving in the direction, is it where you wanted it to be at this point?
COACH WEIS: Well I mean if you want to look just at sort of what I just said but let's just take a small microcosm of that and just take the last game. 34-14, 13:30 to go in the fourth quarter, what did you think was going to happen? Really, what did you think was going to happen? You know, so that's what most people thought. But they didn't think that way, you know, and that is where this team has now changed, and that is a significant, significant point that's now changed.
Because there wasn't anyone on the sideline that didn't think they were going to win down 20 against SC at all. All of a sudden now we have the ball with 4:19 or whatever it was to go, what did you think now? Well, saying now you got the ball in Clausen's hand they're going to go down and score again. That alone, might sound a bit rhetorical because that is how the program has now changed. Because you haven't been able to say that for the last four years. You can say it now.
Q. Sam Young, obviously you haven't talked a lot about him this season maybe there's a good thing; could you just talk about his development that you've seen from his freshman year to where he is now?
COACH WEIS: With the exception of a couple plays in that game early, you know, because there were a couple of plays in that game early where they got some edge pressure, what Sam's been able to do even in a game like that is quickly adjust. Where when he was younger he couldn't adjust. You know, how he quickly adjusts and gets it figured out and then you don't end up noticing, you know, for the rest of the day.
And that is what good players do, You know, they adjust -- they get the feel for who they're going against and what they can do and what they can't do, then it becomes less of an issue.
Q. You talk about the relationship that you've started with Mark Herzlich through everything he's gone through?
COACH WEIS: My boy. I tell you what, you want to talk about a winner, that kid's a winner. And you know what I found out, I heard about him having cancer, I got a hold of Barry Gallup, Sr., you know, who is at Boston College and asked him if I could -- if it would be okay if I spoke with the kid. So Barry Gallup, Sr., then asked his family . You know, because it comes quite a shock, you know, hearing that news, and his family said yes. Then they gave me his cell phone number. Then I texted him, then we traded phone calls, and it has really, really grown from there. Where, you know, we communicate regularly.
I mean, even something little. I just push him, you know. I don't let him feel sorry for himself. So just the way you would expect me to. But, at the same time, we do -- there's some cool things we do. Like when I was gonna surprise the team with going to the lake, he knew about it. My team didn't know about it, but he knew bit. I said, What do you think of this idea? Because I was asking a player's perspective. I'm thinking about canceling the second practice and taking them up to the lake. He said, Oh I think that would be awesome.
And, as a matter of fact, when we were on the bus -- he's also friends with Golden Tate. So we're on the bus on the way up to the lake and he texted Golden Tate saying, Hey have a good time at the lake. So Golden texted him back and said, How the hell did you know we were going to the lake? He goes, I was in on this the whole time.
So I think probably the funniest thing he said he was asked a question, and he goes, If the people from Boston College knew that the head coach from Notre Dame and I are friends, he goes, They would probably disown me.
I have a lot of respect -- I already had respect for him as a player, I have much more respect for him as a person.
Q. Charlie, what is the connection with Coach Spaziani?
COACH WEIS: Well he is a Jersey guy starting off with. You know, that's part of the family. You know, we've known each other for awhile, and I just really like the guy.
You know, when the job came open, you know, hey, I'm trying to beat Boston College now, you know, I'm trying to -- it doesn't make a difference who the head coach is, but he's truly one of the good guys. He is another guy we talked about Herzlich as a player, he is just a fine man. I really like him.
Q. What has Golden done differently this year? Last year he struggled without Michael Foyt. What's been the key to him being productive this year?
COACH WEIS: I'll give credit to Golden's production due on to what we've been able to challenge with him mentally. Because we've had to do a lot of things so that we couldn't just settle in with him at one spot. We've had to do a lot of things formation wise to -- I mean, significant wrinkles. But for a guy who didn't have the mental capacity to deal with the different motions and the different alignments and different assignments based in those different spots, you know, you would be pigeon holed, and he wouldn't be able to do them. So I give credit to how he's prepared himself mentally to be able to do those jobs.
Because we all know his physical attributes. It's putting him in positions where he can make plays. You know, that's the one thing we've done. And most of that credit goes him being able to mentally handle that.
Q. It's not just different positions, in just the receiving position alone he's been doing a better job of finding a way to get open.
COACH WEIS: Well he's always been able to make plays on the ball. Okay, that's never been the issue. But he's become better at just about everything -- route running, you know, route running, you know, understanding coverages. Those things come with natural progression though, Tom. You would expect him to get -- a younger receiver to evolve and develop and get better at those things, especially from as raw as he was freshman year to now you've seen a significant jump because he wasn't a receiver.
But I think that the thing that's allowed us the flexibility is how he's prepared himself mentally to be able in a whole bunch of different spots.
Q. We all know his personality. Have you thought about reeling him in a little bit? I think after one play two games ago he made a Superman pose. At the last game I think the BC guard got penalized for doing this and he didn't. He pointed his arm like that. Do you have to warn him at all or do you let him go until he is in trouble?
COACH WEIS: My biggest concern is he would dive into the wrong band, you know. (Laughter.) So he didn't do that this week, so that was a good thing. Maybe it's because his touchdown was at the other end and he didn't have that option. I wonder if that touchdown were at the left side going the other way if we would have -- what he would have done. So I guess I'm kind of glad.
Q. He did push the drummer, one of the SC drummers.
COACH WEIS: Did he?
COACH WEIS: Good. (Laughter).
Q. Talk about living on the edge, a lot of that seems to be from the (inaudible) giving. What does the defense have to do to get better especially against a team that is averaging 31 points a game?
COACH WEIS: I think we're getting better against the run. I think that in this past game we just gave up way too many chunks in the pass game. You know, it wasn't just yardage. I mean, the kid only completed 19 passes. So he completes 19 passes for 380 yards.
I mean we just gave up way too many chunks. And if you give up ten explosives in that game, which is what the number was, you know, only two of them were runs. You know, there's only two explosives that were runs. That means there were eight big plays in the passing game.
When you are giving up that number of plays, i think the thing you got to do is make sure you don't give up big plays in the passing game.
I think we've made significant progress in the running game. Seems like it's come at the right time because, you know, after a running back rush, one of the team rushed for 300 last week I think they better be ready to go.
Q. Couple of years ago you mentioned that you had to evolve from just being more than just a play caller to a head coach, have a role in all three capacities -- special teams, defense and offense. Obviously, the offense is back on track here; you are 12th in the country overall. Defensively you are 104th. Are you comfortable with your role where you are mainly on offense when the defense is having issues?
COACH WEIS: I been spending a lot of time meeting with the defensive coaches now. I mean, it isn't like -- my emphasis or my involvement is really from Sunday night through Monday night. Because come Tuesday, once they've, you know, put the game plan in, at least first and second down of, I think at that time -- and now it becomes into installing the game plan, I'm well aware what they're doing. I think the most important thing is we have to do it better.
I mean, cut way down to the number of packages they're using. I mean, there aren't very many mental mistakes now it's just going ahead and going out and executing. And we have to do a better job coaching. We have to do a better job playing. That's what we have to do.
Q. The issues with the past defense from what you have been able to ascertain, has it been more physical or mental?
COACH WEIS: Well, I mean, they're both coming into play now. Because when you turn a guy completely free, what you saw more than once in that game right there, they're all mental, okay. And it's just not one person. Where some people might say well that's the safety's play. It might have been the linebacker's play. Usually unless you know what the call is and who is responsible for what, but when a guy's wide open, that's mental.
But I think that, you know, our cushion's been an issue. And that is -- how much of a cushion you give the wide receivers has been an issue and that's one thing we continue to address.
Q. Cornerback situation. You had mentioned that I guess especially under your regime that's been an area that Notre Dame use to really have trouble recruiting. That hasn't been the case as much anymore. You even mentioned Jamoris Slaughter as the fifth guy that could be in the rotation. Has it been hard settling in even with Raeshon McNeil? I don't know if he played at all against USC.
COACH WEIS: I don't think he got time. I think only three corners ended up playing.
Q. Seems that there's just been a difficulty settling in with just who is in there?
COACH WEIS: I think Gary played more because he was the one guy that recently that as he started to get some time has been really competing for the ball. I think that that one of the areas that, you know, I've been saying we need to be competing for the ball and Gary's been competing for it.
You know, he gave up a couple of plays early in the game, but Gary is a prime example. I think as this game went on he played better, you know. And I think that that's what we need to do. We need to find more guys that are going to compete for the ball.
And, the secondary, if you don't compete for the ball, it's going to be a long, long hard day.
Q. Coach, kind of following up on Lou's question in the secondary, do you look to get more guys involved, that corner and that safety?
COACH WEIS: I think it's interesting Lou just mentioned like Jamoris. Jamoris is a guy that we're going to cross train and cross train at both corner and safety this week. We're going to look at him in both positions, you know, because he's been such a sound tackler. He is having a tough time getting on the field. So we're going to take a good look at seeing if we can't get him on the field some. Not as a starter but we're going to see if we can't work him there.
Then there are a couple guys we weren't really pleased with how it went so we're going to give them competition in practice and depending how it goes would not be afraid to move one guy ahead of another guy.
Q. How does the week change with them being on break? Do you still have the 20-hour limit?
COACH WEIS: No limit this week. When school's not in session there is no time frame, so this is a good time. This is a good time for being a football coach because the players are around a lot more now. We still need our preparation time like a normal week as a coaching staff, you know, but there's much more of an effort to be around the office more.
And, to be honest with you, Christian, the other thing that's happening is the students not being here and the guys being able to get some peace and quiet and, you know, get some extra sleep and get over here and get an early workout in and, you know, getting more film study in, actually been a good thing for these guys.
Q. Charlie, before the season we talked a lot about Jimmy's stepping up in the pocket and also leadership. Now that I think we've seen all those things being accomplished by him, what is next for him, what's the next step in his game?
COACH WEIS: Well let's start with Boston College. Probably the worst game he played last year was Boston College. As we talked about coverages before, we're trying to throw the ball down the field, you know, trying to make things happen that, you know, and, what, we threw three interceptions in the game last year. I don't remember exactly what it was but it was something like that.
I think now the next stage, as he continues to lead our team-- because he's already ready for Boston College. The one of reason why I have confidence that we're ready to go because he's been ready to go -- we were already talking Saturday night. The game was over Saturday night we were already talking. Sunday we're trading texts all day.
You know, the thing with that, he now has grown as a quarterback where if they're going to end up making him dump the ball off then he's going to dump the ball off. If they come up on him, he'll go by them. So I have confidence now that he won't try to be Superman and try to make something that's not there.
Q. Kind of leads me into the next question. Four years ago after the USC game you kind of came out with it's the second season we're not talking about USC. You almost had to kind of like drag everyone out of that game. Do you feel like the mentality of this team has changed to the point where they're better suited to discard Saturday than maybe last time?
COACH WEIS: I think that the only major difference the last time was there was a bye week in there, too. I don't remember if the bye, I think the bye was it after the USC game that year. I don't remember. But I think there was a bye week afterwards. So it kind of split the season logistically as well. But we don't have a bye week, you know, this time. But, you know, we are starting round two.
I mean, we're halfway home with six to go, and, you know, we got six opportunities to make a statement, and, you know, the first step is Boston college.
Q. On the defense, you talked about cutting down some of the packages. Do you get the sense that you guys are almost doing too much, that that leads to some mental mistakes?
COACH WEIS: No. Just the least amount that you do, you don't open yourself up for, you know, any unforced errors/mental assignment blows. So I think that, you know, you do as much as you can do without, you know, putting yourself at risk on that end, too.
Q. Put this in a big picture since I didn't ask it 40 minutes ago, but do you feel like big picture you are closer to USC in talent?
COACH WEIS: I don't know. You can ask all those recruits that were at the game. You know, I know you talked to them a whole bunch, ask them what they think. I think that you are going to get a resounding yes across the board. I don't think one of them would say no. And I know that that's one of the things that a lot of the guys do but I think that sometimes they're more objective than I am because I am living in my own little world. But I think that, you know, with all the guys you talked to I think if you talked to 20 of them, 20 of them would say yes.
Q. Sergio Brown seems like the classic tweener, but whenever there's a big play he seems to be on the field for you guys; what's his role?
COACH WEIS: That's a good question. He obviously plays for us in nickel, plays are us in special teams and he is one of those guys I was talking about that will be contending to get on the field on a regular basis at safety as well.
Q. This week can you talk to us a little bit about times of practice; has it changed? Do you still go out on the field at the same time every day?
COACH WEIS: Yep, we don't change the routine as far as practice times go, you know, because we still, you know, we still have guys that are doing home work, you know. They're actually doing work while school's closed and going over academic support. I mean, school's closed but a bunch of guys are still going to academic support during this week. You know, some even come a little late to practice because they're continuing to work on academic support. So even though school's not in session we keep business as usual.
Q. I've got to imagine you are looking at the season as a whole and seems like you guys faced a lot of good passers in the first half of the season and now it's almost like the running defense part of the season comes up with Gerhardt and Lewis. Is this something that you sort of shift the focus of the defense a little bit?
COACH WEIS: Well as I said before, John, I think I am encouraged by the fact that our run defense has been improving steadily over the last few weeks. It's good thing because, you know, we're going to get dialed up as the year goes on you know starting this week.
Q. Got a question about going back to the talk on the fielding on the sidelines against USC. What does that say about the mental character of the guys you been bringing in. Is that something you look for specifically when you recruit?
COACH WEIS: I think that it's important ingredient that I've been striving for with my staff is to really continue to build mental toughness, and I think that this team gets it. This team gets it. And I think that, you know, when you get to the point when the team gets the thing about mental toughness, you have a chance every week.
Q. Just generally how if at all has your recruiting approach changed since you got here? Are you looking in different areas of the country, different type of schools than maybe you did before?
COACH WEIS: No, we actually scour the country. We recruit nationally. Now we do like everyone else have some schools that we've become the most familiar with. You know, like there's the one school down in Fort Lauderdale that, you know, we have four players on their team and we have four players more than we're interested in and four more that are underclassmen that we're interested in them too. There are certain schools.
Like B.C. is big in Cincinnati area and some of those schools. Before we weren't that hard in Cincinnati but we're in Cincinnati pretty hard now, too. So I think the fact that we kind of scour the country kind of puts us in a position where we have to look for guys can fit the prototype for what's okay by Notre Dame and then try to go get them.
BRIAN HARDIN: Thanks everyone.
End of FastScripts