News and Notes 8-12-2005

*Defensive coordinator Rick Minter and offensive coordinator Michael Haywood gave head coach Charlie Weis a day off from the media on Friday. Competition is raging at several key areas for the Irish with the younger guys starting to grasp the systems in place. Minter said the competition in the secondary, as at other positions, is still unsettled.

"The competition is still pretty keen, maybe more so in the secondary," Minter said. "It hasn't totally solved itself right now. Obviously we have a little experience with the upper class safeties. And then we have these youngsters coming along. We are a little unsettled at corner. There's some good competition out there. There's five or six guys competing out there everyday for that spot. At some point, whenever we name a starting lineup, it'll be revealed."

The battle is at the corner positions and time will only tell who solidifies their stake at those spots. A concern last year was the corners getting beat on the deep route and that has been one area which Minter has addressed during practice drills.

"It is drill work, technique, work, confidence. What goes along with deep balls being thrown and caught, many of them have been balls thrown maybe 30, 40, 50 yards down the field, the receiver comes back for the ball. There's not a whole lot of pressure on that quarterback either (in practice). We don't hit our quarterbacks (in practice). If the true bullets were flying everyday, it might be a little different."

*As Weis was a day before, Haywood was complimentative of the wide receiving core. With maybe the deepest pool of talent on the team, the group has impressed Haywood not only with their talent but learning to play the system as well.

"The wide receivers are a strong group right now," Haywood said. "Guys are getting a lot better. One of the previous things I've said is that today we didn't really add any new runs other than the goal line stuff. The last two days, we've thrown 12, 14 different concepts at them. They are doing a good job of grasping and understanding what their roles and responsibilities are. This play maybe called not for you to get open but there are certain things to do to get your friend open."

Overall on offense, the concepts appear to be handled better day by day. The first few days, a lot of information was thrown their way. As camp progresses, Haywood said this information is starting to get through.

"I think the guys are grasping the offense because we've thrown a lot of offense at them," Haywood said. "At the same time, whether they start to make advances now is that they are starting to work on their technique and fundamentals. Working on the little things in the game to make them better. One of things we are making strides at is from a psychological point. Guys are starting to believe in themselves and in the system."

*Today's practice was the first in full pads. The casual reader would assume the first day of real contact. Minter says this isn't true.

"It's the first full day in pads," Minter said. "We had full contact today for the most part. It's actually gotten rowdy the past two days because we had uppers on. The game is played above your waist and on your feet. So you've really been hitting pretty good the past couple of days. It was a good solid first day in pads. We look to a couple more tomorrow."

*At last Monday's press conference during Media Day, Weis made it clear in no uncertain terms that he would be calling the plays. That doesn't mean Haywood won't have any input. The offensive coordinator said all the coaches on that side of the ball meet and come up with the game plan. Weis has the final say on all matters but everyone lends a hand.

"I meet with Charlie and then we (offensive coaches) all put it up together with everything on the board and then we make a final decision as to what we are going to run and not going to run," Haywood said. Top Stories