News and Notes 9-8-2005

*The Notre Dame football team practiced inside today at the Loftus Center. The team will travel to Ann Arbor to face the third-ranked Michigan Wolverines on Saturday. The players will go through their normal classes on Friday and depart for the game tomorrow afternoon.

One of the aspects worked on during the two-hour session was dealing with crowd noise. Around 107,000 fans are expected at the Big House and the noise at times can be a problem. To help, head coach Charlie Weis pumped in some music to simulate Saturday's conditions. Weis, an alum of Notre Dame, did not resort to playing his opponents classic fight song.

"I can't stand the Michigan fight song," Weis said. "We started with some NFL Films that you've guys have heard. If it goes to music, you can take a good guess what the next two groups I come up with. Just use a little deductive reasoning."

For anyone still left in the dark, Weis is a Jersey guy. Those two bands would be Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen.

Weis seemed pleased with the week of practice the Irish put in preparing for the talented Wolverines. The efforts got better as the week went on but Weis, who strives for no mistakes, changes his mood as game time approaches.

"I'm always ornery as the week goes on," Weis said. "I'm a perfectionist and unless everything is just perfect, which it never is, I'm never happy. The players, in the last two days, have really started to focus in on what we're trying to do. They know they are going to have to give their best effort across the board in all three phases for us to have a chance to win it."

*The win last Saturday versus Pittsburgh was a nice first step for the Weis era at Notre Dame. Already a rock star around town for his no-nonsense style and winning resume, that star has seemed to grow this week. A head coach on a college campus would be expected to get mobbed everywhere he went. Not Weis, though, who limited this week's activities on campus to one thing: football.

"I have not been around campus this week," Weis said. "I've been here at the office, been around this facility (Guglielmino Athletics Complex) and on the practice field. Then I get in my car and go home. I have not been around campus this week."

*The opening drive last week produced a crucial touchdown to tie the game at 7. Darius Walker, who touched the ball five of the six plays in the scoring drive, caught a screen pass and rumbled 51 yards for the score. Weis scripts the first 15 plays of the game to feel out the opposing defense and put points on the board. His routine of drawing up these openers stays the same throughout the season.

"I do that every week," Weis said about his preparation of crafting the opening plays. "I do it exactly the same every week. I'll start them tonight and then finish them tomorrow morning. Then the other guys will come in and put them on the call sheet and they'll be ready to go. I have to sleep on them, too. Sometimes there's a list of plays I know are going to be there and then I'm not really sure what order we're going to put them in sometime."

*As the game nears, a lot of the national media has been heralding the way Notre Dame opened the season. This credit is due in large part to how hyped the game was and the great overall effort the Irish produced. Weis won't say his team will win every game but expect a top-notch effort.

"They are good enough to compete to win every week," Weis said. "That's what they should be shooting for each week is to win. That doesn't guarantee you a win every week but they are good enough to compete to win every week."


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