News and Notes 8-11-2005

*The Irish football team was forced inside this afternoon because of a persistent rain that made conditions a little too wet for head coach Charlie Weis. He said the coaching staff checks the weather everyday and knew there was no lighting in the forecast. But Weis did not want to risk injuries that could occur on a slick surface.

"The field was very sloppy," Weis said. "I just felt as this time, when you get to day four, going three hour practices, when you get to day four you are very vulnerable to pulls and tightness of muscles right there. I just felt I didn't want to put a sloppy field as the reason we end up pulling up lame. It was as much as preventative for that reason as anything else. I didn't want to cut down the length of practice. I wanted to get a full three hours in."

Weis also said logistical things, like the height of the camera taping practice, were the only aspects affected.

*With Weis being a first-year head coach, there will be challenges that he will face from time to time. Lucky for him and Irish fans, his Rolodex is jammed packed with the best the coaching business has to offer.

"The reason why I don't feel like an inexperienced first year guy is because of the resources that I have to talk," Weis said. "This morning, 5:30 in the morning, me and Coach Belichick talked for a half hour. I have guys like that. We can bounce back ideas back and forth. I'll give a couple for him. Most of the time, it's him giving them to me. I think that having resources with guys that have been doing this at a high level for a long time really fills that void where ‘What am I suppose to do now.' Instead of guessing, I just call somebody that's done it."

Others on that list include head coach of the Carolina Panthers John Fox, new head coach of the Cleveland Browns Romeo Crennel, and head coach of the Dallas Cowboys Bill Parcells.

Interesting enough, Eagles head coach Andy Reid is on that list and Weis made a phone call to him earlier today.

"I left him a message and asked if he threw anyone out of camp today," Weis said.

*One thing is clear: Brady Quinn is the starting quarterback of the Irish. Weis praised him on Media Day earlier this week but also said he needs to work on reading coverages a little better. The big question is: who is number two? Weis says the battle for the number two spot and getting Quinn ready to play are two different issues altogether.

"Right now, the more important factor is we have two different issues to deal with in the quarterback situation," Weis said. "One, you take the first guy, the guy, the guy who is going to be playing and get him ready to go. That's one separate issue from getting a backup ready to go. First of all you got to get the guy whose playing ready to go. Really you have to do double coaching. On one hand, you have to push one guy to a level that's a lot higher than he's played at. That's the main priority.

"As a whole separate issue, not insignificant in any way, you have to get your replacement ready to go. There's a little contest going on over there. We're not really sure where that's going to go. But we do know we'll come to an answer in a week or so. Whether its Wolke or Sharpley or Gorski or Mooney, regardless of what guy it is, we'll just have to zero in from just three guys to two guys so you get Quinn all he needs and then get the backup ready to go."

*The wide receiving core has impressed Weis so far these first four days. It is a deep and battle-tested group. One facet of the game Irish fans will be monitoring closely is how this group will be utilized on Saturdays in the new offense. Weis likes the cards he has been dealt.

"The first four guys, with Matt, that's a pretty veteran group," Weis said. "It's encouraging watching those guys. Those guys can play. It's a different group of guys than I've ever had. That type of size when you put them in multiple wide receiver sets. All of a sudden, you're looking at one side, you see Stovall. On another side you see Samardzija. I mean that's two big men. There aren't many teams playing with receivers with that type of size."

Not only does Weis like the physical gifts of the wide receiving group, he has more to pick from. During his days as offensive coordinator with the New England Patriots, he had only four to work with. At Notre Dame, the possibilities are endless.

"I'm used to only playing with four," Weis said. "I'm use to playing a whole game with four because when you go to a game you have 45 guys total. On offense, you'll have 22, 21, 20. That's when you guys ask questions about depth, this is easier for me because I'm use to being dealt a lot less guys. "All right, I have all these extra guys." This is actually a little easier for me. You have your front four, your front six. You like to build your depth from underneath."

*Much has been made of the experience this coaching staff possesses. Counting the college game, the NFL, NFL Europe, and the CFL as either the head or assistant coach, that experience amounts to 214 years. The only team on the Notre Dame schedule with more coaching experience than this staff: the Purdue Boilermakers with 225 years.


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