|Browse by Sport
|Find us on
UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME MEDIA CONFERENCE
November 3, 2009
COACH WEIS: Navy rolls into town. First in the country. Committing the fewest penalties per game. Plus 31 yards per game. Going into last week's game, the only team in the country to rank in the Top 10 in third down in offense and in defense. And after the game last week. Their offense is now 12. But they're very good on third down.
Coach Niumatalolo took over last year. And he hired Coach Jasper, who, although he's been at Navy for ten years, he hired him -- this is his second year as the offensive coordinator. They score just under 30 points per game, and they rush for 280 a game, which is third in the country and 4.6 per carry. They're very good on third down, and just about 50 percent. The other thing is they go for it on fourth down a lot.
Because of the way they play the game, it's always 3rd and short, or 4th and short. They're a team that goes for it. They're actually converting at a higher percentage on fourth down than they are on third down at 61 percent.
Dobbs, who only saw a few snaps last week coming off an injury to the right knee, I expect him to be back in there. He's number one in the country in scoring per game. And the other thing he does bring to the table, which we witnessed some last year, is he has no problem throwing the ball. And normally against Navy, you don't have to worry about anyone throwing the ball. They've actually played a couple of games this year where they haven't thrown a pass.
But this kid does have a fairly strong arm, and can throw it. You know, Kriss Proctor is the lefty who started at quarterback the last couple of weeks.
Now at fullback, we'll see either Murray who started the last four weeks, or Teich, who was in the season as a starter, but he got injured. He'll show up in a game.
You know, it's slot back, they obviously play the one back with double slots. You know, Doyle's considered one of the better blocking backs, and Finnerty will show up a bunch on his side. Then on the other side, Curry, he hasn't played in the last couple of weeks because of a leg injury. I think it was a quad. But I expect to see him back this week. He's a pretty good runner.
You know, they want him to get him the ball. He's not afraid to be physical. He breaks tackles. He catches the ball well. You know, green, his back-up, was a true freshman who has played in every game this year.
At wide receiver, Greg Jones is a former slot back, moved out to wide receiver. He started every game. Mario Washington's a bigger guy who catches the ball well. Plays a whole bunch. And the other wide receiver they do use, okay, is Mike Schupp. He's started in eight games this year.
Along the offensive line they consistently have the same guys each week. The only position which has been any shuffling at all the entire year has been at right guard. And this is your typical Navy offensive line. Battipaglia is at left tackle. Started 22 straight games. Asante, at left guard, their captain. Bass is their center, he started 22 straight games. Last year he was the offensive guard and moved to center. I mentioned right guard where it's the only position where they've played Hong to start the last four weeks. But they also played Lark who started earlier in the year. And Molloy, he started 15 straight games at right tackle.
So they're very consistent. They're very good at what they do, okay. And they haven't had much movement on who is playing where.
Buddy Green, you know, he coordinates their defense, and also coaches the secondary. They're only giving up 21 points a game. 137 yards rushing. 178 yards passing. 315 total yards. And getting off the field, converting. They're converting only 29 percent on third down.
By far -- in the five years I've been here, by far the best Navy defense that they've had in my time here. I don't think it's even been close. You know, both their ends have started every game and returned starters from a year ago.
Their nose tackle, Burge, he's a fighter at the point of attack. He uses his hand and plays with leverage. I mentioned the ends, Tuani and Nechak, and they've started all their games at linebacker.
You know, Sovie, he used to play inside linebacker, now he's a captain and returning starter who has started 27 games for Navy. He also is a guy they put his hand on the ground when they go from their odd to even packages without substituting.
Vela, the other outside linebacker, usually plays to the field. The two inside linebackers, Pospisil and Haberer are strong, physical, stout guys. You know, Pospisil is a captain, and a good tackler and he's physical. Haberer has started every game and leads the team in tackles for a loss.
You know, at corner on our right, Carter plays, he's a senior, he's played 21 career games. On our left, Edwards on our left who is really good in run support. I wanted to give a shout out to David Wright at Penn High School in Granger, Indiana. He's a back-up corner for them. We have to make sure we always mention the local boys.
Strong safety is Middleton who has also played down some as a free safety.
On special teams, Coach Johns, also coaches the inside linebackers, he leads that group. Teague's handling the kickoffs. Buckley's handling the field goals. Delahooke is their punter, who is another very, very good punter. Ackerman's their long snapper. Greene's their kick returner along with Snelson and Washington is back there at punt return.
Before I turn this over. I know the first question is going to be about our injury report, so I figured I'd get this out of the way so we could move on to other questions.
Dayne does have a torn ACL. He's going to get operated on Friday. Just talked to his mom about 11:00 o'clock beforehand to go over plans. He'll be out about four to six months. That's how long the recovery is. Fortunately there's not a lot of other things wrong, but that needs to be done, and it's going to be done and we'll have it done this Friday.
For depth chart purposes, Sharpley moves up to two, and John Goodman will be practicing as a slash guy. As of today he'll be working at both quarterback and wide receiver. Not because you guys are at the first three individuals today, but the first three individuals today he will only be at quarterback to knock off some of the rust. He will be -- it's not just for your doing. Once you guys leave, he's actually flipping back to wide receiver. But we're starting training him as our fourth quarterback. He really won't be getting any reps there, because Sharpley needs to get all the reps we can give him to have him ready to go.
Michael Floyd is back. He's ready to go. Parris is back, he's ready to go. Kapron Lewis, he's probable, Armando is day-to-day. Trevor Robinson is doubtful, which is what I was hoping would be the best I could say. He's making good progress. But he's still doubtful for this week. But I'm not ruling him completely out at this point.
There are two other guys I wanted to mention. Bobby Burger, we're holding him out. He's got to get some more tests done on his neck, so we're going to be cautious on this one, and we're dealing with a doctor out of town and his dad who happens to be a doctor, and a few other people. But until he gets cleared, he will not be playing.
Then, Eifert, just a report on him, because some of you Ft. Wayne guys. He went out to phoenix. The surgery he would have had to have would have been a career-ending surgery. There is a rehab program that the doctors recommended instead. Should have him ready to go easily by the springtime. He's going to have to be on his rehab though pretty much the rest of his life, though. But fortunately he doesn't need to have the surgery, but he has an extensive rehab program that he's already been on and he's on his way back to recovery.
Q. Goodman's playing so well at wide receiver for you. How much is that going to evolve into a quarterback thing as long as everybody stays healthy?
COACH WEIS: He would be a wide receiver. That's what he would be. But the thing is if we don't start training him to be ready to go what we don't want to do is be down another quarterback, regardless whether it was one of the first two guys and now be scrambling to get them ready to go. Even when we tried our gadget plays in practice, and reverse passes with Goodman, which, believe it or not, we do have them. He's not been efficient throwing it because of being rusty.
In training camp when we threw it a lot, he would look pretty good. But because it's been a while. So we have to knock off some of the rust. It's not a question of whether Goody can throw the ball or run the offense. It's the question of you don't want to take away from his competing at the wide receiver position but at the same time get him ready to go. He'll be a marginal rep guy at quarterback, and his reps will come at wide receiver.
Q. Can you talk about what it will be like reintegrating Michael Floyd back into the group at this point?
COACH WEIS: You heard him hooting and hollering down the stairs last night. Our trainers did a good job. And talked to the doctor guru down in Alabama. And he agreed, let's go. And Michael called his mom up to make sure that we were all on the same page. Because I let him, you know -- I let Michael make the call. Once he got cleared to go, you know, still let Michael make the call whether or not this was the week or not.
He talked to his mom. Talked to me. Came back to me and said, I'm ready to go. Wasn't too long before I was getting a text from No. 7. He might have been as happy as No. 3 was. I think No. 7 might have been just as happy.
Q. I'm not sure in the years that I've covered college football I've seen a guy step up -- obviously Jimmy did, too. But to do what Golden did, and evolve into the player that he is, do you think if Michael hadn't gotten hurt he still would have moved in and been that versatile?
COACH WEIS: You know, it's a subjective question. You'd have to -- you'd have to lean towards no of not having as many opportunities as he's had. You know, we've had to do a lot of draw 'em up in the dirt to put him in situations. And we'll continue to do that. It isn't like Michael's back, okay, let's stop doing what we're doing with golden. I think it's important for us as a coaching staff to approach Golden like Michael's not back, so that we continue getting Golden involved in every game plan.
But it certainly will take a lot of pressure off of Golden. Of not only will it take pressure off of Jimmy, it will take it off Kyle, it will take it off Golden. Having a guy like that back there, you know, that puts a totally different -- it balances off your offense.
Q. Early in the year you had a lot of style changes with difference offenses your defense had to face. I think there was some measured moves in terms of bringing Manti along and some of the other young players along until after you made it through that phase. Now you're going through an odd offense. Do you feel like these young players are ready for that kind of assignment football?
COACH WEIS: Well, I think if you even look at last year, until the 900 on-side kicks at the end of the game, the defense would really mauled them. If you think about it. You know, they had really dominated them last year against a pretty good offense that had been running the ball up-and-down the field against everyone.
I feel really good about our -- the confidence of our defensive program. And especially when it comes to a team that intends to try to run the ball for 300 against you. I think that's been one of our strengths over the last six games. And I think that although we'll get challenged with a different scheme, I think it will be up to the task.
Q. How's that on-side kick coverage going?
COACH WEIS: It's the first thing -- the first special teams issue that we discussed.
Q. You talked defensively you said that this is the best Navy defense you've faced. Offensively they can do it with deception and gimmickry or whatever you want to call it. But how can you get away -- how do you do that defensively? How do you have success defensively when you're as small as they are?
COACH WEIS: The first thing is all their linebackers are seniors. And all their DBs are juniors or seniors. So what's happening is these guys have been playing together for a while. You know, except for one defensive lineman. Their juniors or seniors. So all of a sudden you get a junior or senior team that's been playing the same defense for a number of years.
We already know about the effort, you know, of the guys from the Naval Academy. That's never an issue. But now all of a sudden you get guys that are used to playing together for quite some time. You know, like you get a corner out there.
Normally you're talking about a 5'6" corner. Now you're talking about a 6-foot whatever corner. You know, it's different. I mean, they don't try to do too many crazy things on defense. They just try to play sound, fundamentally, run to the football. And trust me, they run to the football.
Q. The comment was made on the broadcast Saturday night that Trevor Robinson had been the best or most consistent offensive lineman this year. Is that an accurate statement?
COACH WEIS: I think Trevor Robinson has a huge upside. But I think that, you know, I'd have to check with Frank exactly for grades. But I would imagine, you know, probably be Sam Young probably played the best or Eric Olsen.
I really don't know statistically gradewise over the year who has played the best. I know in the last game the two tackles played the best. Against Washington State it was Sam Young and Paul Duncan. They're the guys no one has mentioned. You mentioned them for a reason, because they played the best.
But I think it would probably be Sam or Eric. But I think that Trevor's got a huge, huge upside. And we really haven't talked about him very much, which is usually a good thing. You know, the fact that you haven't had to talk about him very much, usually means they're playing pretty solid.
Q. Could you comment on Darius Fleming, his progress as a run stopper? I think everybody felt that he could be an effective pass rusher. But it seems that he's made some significant progress in that area.
COACH WEIS: He's now using his quickness and explosiveness to become a more complete player. I think when he first started going, he was more of a one dimensional, his thought methodology was rush the passer. Now he's using those same skills to be disruptive in a run game.
Q. Your passer has -- what is behind Golden Tate's being conservative back there?
COACH WEIS: I don't think it's him being conservative. I think everyone's in this spread punt right now. It's the big in vogue thing in the country. You spread them out all over the place, and instead of two gunners, you have seven of them. Just about every week you're dealing with the same thing. That forces you everyone's playing one-on-one in space.
You know, you're blocking one-on-one in space. So it's not like you had double teams on this guy or double teams on that guy. There's always one guy besides downside guys that's running completely free on account of running down there. In our case usually our lone snapper. He's running down there and nobody even touches him. So the ball goes down there and it's like having another gunner down there.
So just like we went to the spread punt this year, so many people are in the spread punt, Navy's in the spread punt. So it's another team that spreads you out. It's all one-on-ones. Then usually when the guy catches the ball -- unless the punt outkicks the coverage, usually you get a bunch of fair catches.
Q. So is he making the determination? Is there something that he's using as the key in determining whether he returns it or not?
COACH WEIS: Oh, he's looking at -- you'll notice when the ball's in the area, he always locates the ball. Takes a quick glance to see how close those people are to him.
You know, unless it's the end of the game, and I've told him just fair catch it. Because sometimes at the end of the game, you know, it will just be a fair catch situation. I'd be more inclined to use Goody or use Robbie or use Theo, use one of the younger guys, you know, if you just want to go reckless abandon, so to speak.
But I think that -- I don't think that the one bad choice he made last week was trying to take one for the team with the ball rolling on the ground, and that almost came back to hurt us if it wasn't for a head's up play by Jamoris. He was afraid it would cost us another 20 yards of field position, but almost cost us the football. But I think he's made good decisions when it comes to catching the football.
Q. You worried all about Michael playing tentative with that shoulder?
COACH WEIS: No, we have a plan for what we're going to do with Michael. He won't play every play. You know, we wouldn't put him out there, and he wouldn't go out there if that's how he was going to think. I think that the biggest thing that he's going to have to happen is get tackled once. And he'll get hit in practice some, but, I doubt that we're going to try him out in practice and see how that shoulder feels getting tackled. I think we're going to have to wait to find that out, you know, as that happens in the game.
Q. Will he wear anything special?
COACH WEIS: No, it's healed. I mean, the doctors would not clear without it being healed. It's healed. He did the tests, and you know, they look at you and they kind of pass the torch. Like, okay, it's in your hands now. Instead of in ours. But he's healed and ready to go.
Q. You talked -- Coach talked about how moving Brian Smith to the middle linebacker, and with Te'o coming in, stabilizing the line backing core. Is there anything -- any player kind of led that stability or anything caused them to play a little better?
COACH WEIS: I think the fact that we've had almost -- let me use nickel as an example, Tom, because it's easier for me to say that. I think that last week going to two groups of three-man rotation and nickel, where we had Kapron and Ian and Ethan inside, and we had Darius and Kerry and Steven outside, the fact that we had two three-man rotations going in there with athletic guys that could stay fresh, you know, I think that in the past that's been one of the things that we've all seen get worn down when we haven't been able to do that.
Now when people go to more of a regular just pound them defense, we involve other guys. Like Cwynar gets involved in the game, John Ryan's more involved in the game, there are other guys that are more involved in the game. But I think the fact that they've collectively as a group, I think the whole group has gotten better.
We can isolate Kapron because of his production as of late. But I think the whole group has gotten better.
Q. In particular, he's always had a big game against Navy it seems like?
COACH WEIS: Ian is a very, very explosive guy at the point. And he's got quickness to get up field. I think the fact that there's been times where he's felt like a one-man gang, and I don't think he feels like that anymore. Now he's more just let me do my job, and I'll have an opportunity to make plays.
Q. And is this a game where Toryan Smith maybe gets more action because of he specialized against the run?
COACH WEIS: Well, he certainly played well last year against Navy when he was called upon. But, you know we'll still start with Brian and Mike, and Manti.
Q. You talked a little bit about the bowls the other day with us asking you, do you talk to the team at all about bowls or just keep saying keep winning or do you talk about Navy?
COACH WEIS: Navy. That's the only thing we'll talk about is Navy. It's got to be -- we're actually talking about steps. We've been talking about steps since the USC game. We've been talking about steps. So this happens to be the third step. So we're only dealing with step three this week, and that's Navy.
Q. Seems like all the drama this year has been on the field. And off the field, except for injuries this week. You've had so much harmony, it seems like. Can you talk about the key to keeping like 100 players happy that it seems so quiet?
COACH WEIS: Well first of all, you never keep 100 players happy, you know, because everyone wants to play. But I think that our leadership's been very strong. I think the camaraderie that people talk about in the summertime, a lot of times people think that's coach speak. How close this team is, and we talked about it in the summer. It's really not changed very much.
You know, it's really been kind of fun to watch. Going through all those tight games at the end of the game has bonded the team even more. You know, where now it was nice to be able to play a game last week where it didn't come down to the last 60 seconds. You know, so that we can get some of their buddies in the game. You know, because they'd like to see their buddies in the game, too.
No one was happier for Dayne Crist throwing the touchdown pass to Jimmy Clausen. He was the happiest guy on the sideline. Okay, it was Jimmy Clausen. And no one was more miserable when Dayne Crist went down than Jimmy Clausen. So those guys are rooting for those other guys going in. Of there.
I don't know if you watch those guys when they're out of the game, because we're not in that situation very often. But I think that's part of that camaraderie that we're talking about. And I think that it's kind of fun to watch.
Q. Going back to Tim's question about the spread punt. If only less than 20 percent of punts are being returned, do coaches talk about the idea of just bringing that guy up and making him an extra rusher and letting the punt go where it will?
COACH WEIS: What happens though with the spread punt, you have to have a guy with everybody to start off with. So even if you have an extra guy coming, they have those three big guys that everyone has standing back there that kind of after the snap goes through kind of builds a little bit of a wall. Like Navy has a rush. They'll bring a whole bunch of guys. But the problem is you're going to have to come around that. You're going to have to come around those three guys to even have a chance at getting there.
You know, hey, we bring them. We bring them like everyone else. We have all-out rushes. But from the spread punt, the way it's designed, you still have to have people on those guys at least initially. So, you know, it's kind of what everyone's doing.
Q. How do you talk to your defense about being patient this week? Because you talked about how often Navy goes for a fourth down, and there is an emotional letdown so often that you see when you play Navy?
COACH WEIS: I think the whole team needs to understand that they have to be patient. Because sometimes it gets frustrating playing a against a team like Navy who does a nice job when they're getting into that ball possession mode. You know, you can't be frustrated. The third downs aren't usually 3rd and 10s.
If you get them in the 3rd and 10, you're usually in an advantageous situation for you. But they're usually at 3rd and mediums, 3rd and shorts. They're not afraid to go for it at fourth down as the situation presents itself. And then the offense has to work together with them on this, because they have to understand that usually there is less possessions in a game. And you have to really maximize your possessions, because you're going to have less of them.
Q. At the start of the season in the preseason, one of the things you talked about was how Dan Wenger was going to adjust to playing with the twos. You wanted to see how that was going to play out. Now he has to take the step. What's his progress been this season? How did he handle that, and how is he handling this?
COACH WEIS: Well, where he's gotten his most reps this year has really been at left guard. You know, he's repped some in there with Stewy at left guard on a fairly weekly basis. I think that first of all I have to judge by how he played. You know, he went in the game relatively early and played the rest of the game at right guard last week, and actually played pretty well.
I think he's excited about the opportunity of being able to get in there and play on every down. I think that that's one of the reasons why Trevor's ankle is getting better in a hurry, you know. Because when Danny went in there he was more than respectable. I think that he's really looking forward to the opportunity to play him.
Q. Did you get Evan out of that last class of his?
COACH WEIS: I expect to see him on time today. I don't know the answer to that. He had to negotiate on that one. You know, hopefully his negotiations went well.
Q. I think last year you kind of challenged and seemed to outrush Navy. I imagine you would probably do that again. What do you think, I guess, the appeal of that is to try to go out and outrush a team that runs the ball as effectively as Navy does?
COACH WEIS: Well, things like that are more team goals than they are offensive goals. Because to outrush Navy, that means that your defense has to stop Navy's running game. It just doesn't mean that you're going to go rush for 300. It means that both sides of the ball are going to have to do their jobs as far as running the football.
So I think that, you know, the number one thing that you have to do for our defense is to stop their run game. I think that for our offense -- as Tim pointed out, I think that you have to make sure that just like they're patient, you're patient, and you don't try to do things that they don't present you.
Early in the game last year we turned the ball over three times. That's not been our M.O. this year. Turning the ball over has not been our cup of tea. So that's not what we're looking to do this week either.
So I think you have to show some patience. But that goal that you're discussing, you have to look at it as a team goal because everyone's involved. You know, the offense is involved, the defense is involved in that one, too.
Q. Is winning the Game No. 2 on the Top 10?
COACH WEIS: Winning the game is always number one.
Q. Yeah, is number two outrushing Navy?
COACH WEIS: How about playing with equal passion because where Navy beats people a lot of times is by playing with more passion than you do. So I think it might be a good one. But I'm not telling you what number it is.
Q. I know John Ryan was getting some practice a week ago in practice. Is he available and ready to go?
COACH WEIS: He's ready to go. He could have played last week, too. But in a speed game which last week was more of a speed game. You know, I think that Filer's kind of worked his way up to being that guy in a speed game where we want to get him involved. It wasn't where John can't play. John's made a bunch of plays for us this year.
Q. As far as Dayne goes, you mentioned the four to six months which puts you right in the middle of spring ball. What is your expectation or do you just not know if he'll be available?
COACH WEIS: I don't think he'll be taking -- I really don't know the answer on the low end versus the back end. I know one thing that we will definitely be conservative, because the whole deal, you know, is having him full go for August. That is really the bottom line. Whatever we have to do to have him full go for August, that's what we'll do.
Q. Talk about being patient maybe along the same lines. When you have skill guys like Golden or Rudolph or Floyd that in theory are just faster and stronger than Navy's guys. Do you have to resist the temptation to go with those guys all the time? Do you have to feel like the need to grind them down a little bit as opposed to going for home runs?
COACH WEIS: They'll be involved in the game plan. It's not where we're just going to come out and run it on every down. You have those guys in there, you know. You have guys that can make plays and put you in a position to score a touchdown. They'll definitely be involved in the game plan, too.
Q. How close is the offensive line to what you had hoped it would be as a group?
COACH WEIS: I think that I would have been very pleased with our offensive line play if we could minimize unforced errors.
As far as our physical play, as far as our trying to go toe to toe, as far as not knowing what to do and not committing mental errors, I've been pleased with all those things. Even early in the game against USC where it started off slow, we got better and better as the game went on. My biggest -- my biggest gripe were unforced errors.
Q. You bring in Frank. There is obviously a desire to have some change occur there. You say you're pleased. What do you think you'd be most pleased with?
COACH WEIS: Just the fact that, you know, we're now not just a passing team. You know. I think that one of the reasons why you pass the ball more than you run the ball is the fact that you have more confidence in your pass protection than your run blocking. But I can't say that any longer that that's the case.
You know, I have plenty of confidence in our run blocking, so I think that's made us a more well-rounded offense than we've been. You know, we might have run the same number of plays and runs and passes, but not with the same efficiency. I think we've become much more efficient in the running game. I think the big element of that is those guys up front.
Q. We haven't talked about Bernie Parmalee. What does he bring? What do you like about him?
COACH WEIS: I like that his players play well. You know, besides the fact that I like him personally and I've known him for a long time. Even when I coached him when we were with the Jets. We have a long track record. You know, personally. But, you know, when the guy comes along and the first guy he's dealing with is Fasano, and he gets drafted in the second round. Next guy he's dealing with is Carlson, and he gets drafted in the second round. And you've got this Rudolph guy who will probably go in the first round. And Ragone's playing better. When players play well, you know, it's usually a reflection of the coach.
Q. What are his game day responsibilities?
COACH WEIS: He's up spares. He's our blitz guy. You know, his area of expertise is identifying blitzes, you know. During the week every time we talk about blitzes, today he presents the first and second down blitzes to the team. That's his area.
So when he's upstairs or alone with rob, you know, he's identifying any blitz problems that are occurring during the game.
Q. Talking to the guys over the years, always find it interesting that as they move through the system and mature, they talk about how it's helped them to understand why a play is calling, instead of just understanding how the play works, why a play is calling. I've never followed that?
COACH WEIS: Yeah, some players don't care why a play is called though. Some players just want to know what the play is. Other players want to know why.
You know, quarterbacks need to know why. But there are some other guys that really don't want to know why it's called. They just want to tell me what to do. So it all depends on the player.
Q. Why does the quarterback need to have the broader --
COACH WEIS: Because he really needs to know what everyone is supposed to do. He needs to know not only the identification of Franz (phonetic), who is what's called the (indiscernible) linebacker, are we in a bad play here, can we get into another play? And what is the presnap read coverage-wise, and what is the rotation. And oh, no, that's something different that we haven't seen. Or we don't have this picked up. Or let me throw this one away because we don't have a good answer for this.
There is a lot of thought methodology that comes with a guy that thinks on an upper level of a quarterback.
Q. Obviously that goes to maturity, and mature guys, veteran guys have always excelled in your system. I'm wondering is it possible to discuss what the greater benefit is? Is it just raw field time or learning the system and the finer points of the system? Is one greater than the other?
COACH WEIS: I think that the latter is greater than the former. I think learning the system. But there are some guys that learn the system in the classroom, and there are some guys that only learn the system on the field. There are some guys that can't carry over from the classroom to the field. It's like starting over every week. But there are guys that are on the field once they get it on the field they got it.
Q. Are you surprised with the level of production your offense was able to sustain when Michael was out?
COACH WEIS: I was surprised at the production we got out of Golden. I thought that it would have been tougher to really get the type of production we got out of Golden because just like they've spent so much time game planning, trying to stop them, you know, we've been spending that much time game planning, trying to get them the ball. And advantage has been to Golden.
I give a lot of the credit to Golden for mentally being able to handle all of the nuisances, all of the nuisances that we've asked him to do while Michael's gone.
Q. Would you say that the offense is better at this point now having played so long without Michael?
COACH WEIS: I'm very happy to have Michael back to integrate into the system. Let me just tell you that. I'd rather be dealing with this problem than be dealing with losing him at this time. I think that I'm very happy to be able to go into those meetings yesterday and say, okay, we've got Floyd back. What do we want to do? You're game planning on Monday becomes a little different element when you're adding a top flight player like Michael to the mix.
Q. Last week Rudolph had a nice game. But the previous two weeks it was evident that your opponents were trying to take them out. Is getting Floyd back getting a numbers advantage that somebody's got to be free?
COACH WEIS: Let me backtrack. USC wasn't trying to take them out. They were just bringing too much, not pressure but they're creating too much pressure without me bringing them into help. And game planning, Rudy, that was me deciding to keep Rudy in to give the quarterback more time in the second half. The numbers would validate that that was a good decision.
Against B.C., he was involved plenty in the plan, but it wasn't clicking. So we've spent a lot of time last week of trying to fix that problem. And I think that there was evidence in that game that we moved in the right direction.
That being said, the fact that Michael and Rudy are usually on the same side of the field, I think that it would only warrant the obvious response that it's going to help Rudy because there's going to have to be more attention spent towards Michael.
Q. This is not an attempt to get to the Top 10. But you talked about how Navy plays with passion. But would you just kind of characterize their grit and how they've turned into a tougher opponent than people would assume because of the way they played?
COACH WEIS: Well, it's like this every year you play them where the one thing that you know, okay, about Navy is that the easiest part of their day is football practice. That's the easiest part of their day.
So when they get to play the games on Saturday it's kind of a reward for all the time they've spent in practice. So for them it's a different mentality. Our guys are challenged academically every day on campus. But the grueling schedule that those guys lead, okay, while they're at the Naval Academy and knowing the commitment they have past the time they graduate makes football as a pleasure for them. They don't ever look at it as a task or a job.
So, therefore, you know that what you're going to get from them is 24/7. You're going to get 100 percent effort all the time. I think that's a credit to all our academies, but especially this one, because they're pretty darn good.
Q. Couple things about Sergio Brown. He's a high-energy guy. We've seen him do the back flips after the game. Can you just talk about what he means as an emotional leader on your defense?
COACH WEIS: Sergio's a guy who has always played with passion. You know he's a passionate kid. He's fun to be around. He's a goof ball, you know. But I really like being around Sergio and so do his teammates. And I think that he's not selfish. He wants to be around the fellas, and he's just one of those hearts and soul type of players that people like being around.
Q. Where do you think he's made the most strides this year in terms of being able to get more playing time as a safety?
COACH WEIS: I think he's spent a good portion of his career being a special teams player and part-time guy on defense. And I think he's earned his way in to being a full-time player on defense as well. So just the fact that it's taken some time for him to get there, but he's there now. He's playing on every down. So I think that's where he's made the most significant progress.
Q. We saw Matt Romine and Andrew Nuss, some offensive guys get some play on the back line the other night. How do you feel about those guys getting some playing time this year? With losing three starters next year, getting some guys some time?
COACH WEIS: I think without getting into that infamous, you know fifth-year conversation, I think that there's some of our ancestors are already taken care of. I think that Matt's the guy who really has gotten the most time of those guys as far as getting ready to play tackle. You know, we have some answers. We don't have answers for some of these situations. So some of them might be guys that are down on the other field. Some of them might be guys that are playing in one position that we're going to move to another position.
So it isn't like we don't have a plan for this. That's one thing you can count on with us with the offensive line especially. We always have a plan for what's going to happen when Sam Young's not here and Eric Olsen's not here, and Paul Duncan's not here.
You know, when those guys aren't here, how are you going to replace those guys and what are you going to do.
End of FastScripts