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November 7, 2009

Charlie Weis

Q. Their head coach just said that they used what happened last year to their advantage this year, that they felt that you would play the same, take the same defensive approach that you did last year. Did you go in with the same defensive approach against their running game and just weren't able to adjust?
COACH WEIS: Well, I think the first thing you have to do is stop the fullback. That's where the whole defense starts, with stopping the fullback. He had too many yards, some of them easy yards, and he had a couple of big runs.
But one of the plays that stood out for me is we pin them back, we're pinning them back deep into their own end, and I'm over there talking to Clausen who had just fumbled the ball on the 1 yard line, next thing I know I see the fullback running for 40 yards and changing field position.
I think when you're playing against Navy, who plays so fundamentally sound offensively, everyone has to do their jobs, and think that it starts inside out. And inside out means the first thing you'd better do is take care of that fullback and not let him get some easy yards, and I thought he had a nice day for them.

Q. Their coach also mentioned that there was a lot of BCS talk going on with Notre Dame, not necessarily from the team, but did you at any point sense that your team was not focused on this game?
COACH WEIS: No, I think it came down to red zone production for us. I think that's really what it came down to. We missed a couple of field goals, we turned the ball over, we missed a couple of field goals. I think in the first half -- not I think, we had the ball four times in the first half. Getting the ball down into position to score was not the issue; it was scoring that was the issue. And I played it safe there, played it safe there a couple times and went for the field goal, and that didn't pan out.
And then we had the one 4th and 3 where we had a play we had been practicing for that situation, and they hit us with a blitz where we just didn't have time to get the ball off. I think that other than that, I think they played the game the right way. Navy played the game the right way, and we kind of spit the bit in the red zone when it came down to red zone production.

Q. Any news on Rudolph, what happened to him, and also what happened to Jimmy?
COACH WEIS: Well, at first, the first word back to me was collarbone, and I thought, oh, here we go again. But then the medical people came back -- I don't know for sure what the complete diagnosis is, but the medical people came back and said he'll be gone for the day, but we should have him back. All I'm thinking is Michael Floyd revisited. That's what I'm feeling. But I really don't know other than the fact that during the game they came back to me, he's out for the game, but he's not out. I'll have to wait and see what they say tomorrow.

Q. And what was Jimmy's injury and how close was he to not coming back into the game?
COACH WEIS: Well, at first when he's laying on the ground, my first concern was his head. That's what I'm concerned with the most. But once he got up, he was sore all over, but the only thing that was really hurt was his left hand. We weren't going to be underneath the center with the way the game was going, we were going to be in shotgun, so after he regained his composure -- I told him that if I was looking at him and I didn't think he could do it, he's not going whether he wanted to or not.
After he gained his composure and took a couple shotgun snaps and there was a little timing lapse, like we didn't have to go right back out there because they had a little drive going. But the time that happened he had recovered and he was pretty much ready to go.

Q. This is the kind of loss that is going to put focus on you and your future. How do you handle that and how do you address your team?
COACH WEIS: But that comes with the territory. It comes with the territory. You know, the sad part about it is that's this job every week. It's a week-to-week deal. You lose a game against Navy -- now, let's not diminish or slight Navy in any way because they deserve a lot of credit for how they played and winning this game. But I think that as I just told the team, I coach the team exactly the same way every week regardless of the situation, whether it's a win or lose. One thing they know from me is I never change, never, ever change.
Those type of things affect the people around you more than it affects you personally because I never change. I'm going to roll in tomorrow morning exactly the same way, whether we had won or lost. Does it feel bad? Yeah. Does it hurt? Yeah. But it's not going to change my approach of how I coach.

Q. What's out there for this team now? Obviously you talk to them about Pittsburgh, but what are you guys chasing at this point?
COACH WEIS: Right now that's the only thing you are chasing. You can't be worrying about two or three games down the line, you've got to worry about Pittsburgh 8:00 Saturday night. Pittsburgh just ended up beating Syracuse soundly today, and they're ready for their dog-and-pony show. It'll be the largest crowd in Heinz Field history. They're all ready for their major celebration when Notre Dame rolls into town, and we're going to go there with the intent of spoiling it.

Q. On Navy's touchdown pass, it looked like some of the players were saying the player might not have been eligible. What did you see there?
COACH WEIS: They thought it was an illegal formation. One of the things that happened in the game, Navy plays a lot of unbalanced line, and guys get on and off the line of scrimmage, so sometimes a guy who looks like he's legal is illegal and vice versa. From what I gathered from looking at it, I thought the receiver was legal, not illegal. I'll have to wait and see it, but from what I gathered, he looked to me to be legal based on me asking some questions to make sure whether or not they had seven on the line of scrimmage or not.

Q. Could you talk about the play where the ball hit him in the back?
COACH WEIS: He thought it was a screen. We're throwing the ball to him. We're throwing the ball to him, and he just missed a signal on the play. So I mean, we're isolating him, we're throwing it to him one-on-one, so Jimmy is throwing it out there, and he was throwing a block because he thought it was a screen, so he thought he was just going to block the force out there. He missed that one.
But you can't say enough about Michael's effort for the first rattle out of the box after being gone for a month and a half. I thought his effort was very, very good.

Q. And you mentioned red zone. That's been something that's been plaguing you for a few weeks now. What do you think the issue is there? Is there a lack of identity what to do to in that situation, or how do you see that?
COACH WEIS: Well, there were different problems in different situations. For example, we get the ball down close, and we've got a 2nd and 2 or 3rd and 2, and we get an illegal formation because both receivers were off the ball on the play. You know, so we've got both receivers off the ball and it's an illegal formation.
Now all of a sudden you lose some yardage, now you're trying a fade or a quick out or a scheme play where you're spinning over the top right there instead of just being able to run the ball again. We were intending on just trying to run it in at that time, and it just didn't work out on that play.

Q. Were they doing anything differently offensively this year compared to what they've done earlier in the year?
COACH WEIS: No, they're a game plan team, so they have certain packages that show up in certain games, like unbalanced or bringing in a third tackle. They have some things -- it's not where they haven't showed up during the year, it's just what you go against and what you practice, and I think they had a bunch of runs where they went back into the boundary and either tossed the ball or ran a little option right there and gave them a couple plays right that were big plays.

Q. Have you ever been involved in a game where you didn't punt and you lost?
COACH WEIS: To be honest with you, I wouldn't have even known that we didn't punt, but you're right now that I think about it. I don't know that. Not off the top of my head.

Q. And also in the beginning, Dobbs was following the fullback in on the dive a lot in the first quarter. It seemed like that didn't work for them the rest of the game, especially in the second half. Did you guys do something differently?
COACH WEIS: That was one of the things we had practiced against, the follow, because when he plays that's one of the things he likes to do. We call it a follow or a trail, and he likes to fade to the back, and before he even gets to an edge just pull it up and pull it in there. So we've practiced that a lot, we just got better as it as the game went on.

Q. I wondered before the game about the young -- some of the young players up front, assignment football as opposed to just chasing the ball. I know you haven't watched film yet, but do you think that was maybe a problem on some of those gashing plays?
COACH WEIS: I'd have to wait. I don't know if it's the middle linebacker's fault or the defensive lineman's fault until after I see it. Right now I'd really be guessing, and I don't like guessing.

Q. You've obviously bounced back from the first two losses. It seems to me this would be the toughest one to get the guys going. What will you tell them?
COACH WEIS: What will I tell them or what did I tell them? It's one and the same. Well, you're going into Pittsburgh Saturday night, national TV. Pittsburgh is riding high and they've only lost one time and in contention for the Big East Championship and an outside hunt of playing themselves into a major, major Bowl. Start off the game a little bit today, start off a little bit today just maybe thinking about Notre Dame. They're all ready to go. Sell-out crowd, standing room only is already old out, they're all ready to go. It's like the sacrificial lambs are rolling into town, and we don't intend to be that.

Q. How important is this game for the program?
COACH WEIS: Every game is the same. They're all important. Navy was important today, and we lost. It's just as important this week going against Pittsburgh, just like the next week it'll be just as important going against UConn.
But I think it's important to be short-sighted, especially after a disheartening loss. I think it's important to be short-sighted and put all your focus in on one thing, and that one thing is beating Pittsburgh. You can't look down the road; you just have to put all your energy into beating Pittsburgh.

Q. What was your thinking in not going for a field goal on the 3 yard line?
COACH WEIS: Well, I had missed a couple field goals in the game, and sometimes that taints you. It taints you a little bit. But more importantly, what was really on my mind at the time was I thought that the possessions in the game, especially they were up two scores, but the two scores were touchdowns, I think the possessions in the game and the time of possession as the game was going was going to warrant that we were going to need some points.
Like I said, we have a play that was dialed up; if we get a 4th down inside the 5 yard line, this is the play we're calling, and we ran the play, and they won.

Q. Leading up to this game you talked about passion. How do you evaluate the team's passion, and was that a problem?
COACH WEIS: Well, I think that my biggest concern when you're playing against Navy, it's not how hard our guys are going to play, it's that in the game, the way they play the game, the game is -- the clock seems like it's eternally running. Like I said, in the first half, we got the kickoff and we only had four possessions. That's getting the kickoff, we only had four possessions in the first half. You come out of it scoreless, having missed a couple of field goals, turned the ball over, I mean, you can't play the game like that.
We were fortunate to be honest with you that they missed a field goal right at the end of the half because that put you in a position where it was still a two-score game because if it was a three-score game and they're getting the ball to start the third quarter, I mean, it was only 14 to 0. It wasn't like it was 100 to nothing, it was 14 to 0.
But the way the game played out, it really came down to not being able to stop the run in critical situations, a play action shot that they end up hitting and a lack of production in the red zone. That's a simple analysis of the problems from the game.

End of FastScripts

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