News and Notes: 11/8/2005

*Head coach Charlie Weis made it clear that his Notre Dame team will not take Saturday's opponent, the Navy Midshipmen, lightly. Weis told the media at his Tuesday press conference that he respects the Navy players and coaches maybe more than any other group because of the obvious reasons. But he'll pound through to his players this week that this team is a formidable opponent for the 7th ranked Irish.

"Navy has put themselves in position to go to a bowl game for the third consecutive year," Weis said. "A win this week would help them attain that goal. In the last four times they've come into South Bend, three of the times they had an opportunity to win the game, ‘97, ‘99 and 2003; all those games they lost by four, four and three in those games."

Navy comes into the game with a 5-3 mark, including a 49-21 pasting of Tulane last weekend. The three losses have come at the hands of Maryland (23-20), Stanford (41-38) and Rutgers (31-21). None of these three teams have losing records.

This is the 79th consecutive year the two teams have met. Notre Dame holds a 68-9-1 (.878) advantage over Navy. The Midshipmen are searching for their first win in over four decades against their rival. Notre Dame has beat Navy an astounding 41 times in a row, which is the longest against one opponent in NCAA history. It was in 1963 when the Midshipmen last beat the Irish by a margin of 35-14. Navy has gone through 12 head coaches during this time period. Weis wants his players in the mindset of not being the team that let the streak die.

"They better think that way," Weis said. "I think that way, so let's hope they're thinking that way. But, you know, I'm not looking at what happened the previous 41 games. I'm only looking at this game. That's all I'm looking at. I don't look in the past.

"Once again, just like the question you asked about the future, I only worry about this week. I'm not that smart; I can't foresee what's going to end up happening down the line. All our focus has to be on going against the team that's got similar goals as we do. They have similar goals."

*The Notre Dame offense is rewriting the record books. Already through eight games, the Irish have broken or tied 17 offensive records this season and a few more could be smashed by year's end. Quarterback Brady Quinn has personally set 10 of these new marks while wide receivers Jeff Samardzija and Maurice Stovall have three apiece.

Collectively, the current scoring pace of the Irish attack could be the new standard for future teams. Through eight games, Notre Dame is averaging 38.25 points per game. With no opposing team ranked in the top 45 in scoring defense left on the schedule, this mark is well within sight. It would break the 37.6 PPG that the 1968 Irish team racked up under Ara Parseghian. The 306 points scored in Weis's offense is already the most piled up in a debut season for a non-interim head coach at Notre Dame.

*The Navy offense is not into the habit of getting off to blazing starts. In eight games this season, the Midshipmen have scored two touchdowns on their opening possession but have also thrown four interceptions. These four pickoffs are half of quarterback Lamar Owens season total of eight.

The Navy offense is not built on coming back from double-digit deficits. An explosive Notre Dame attack could apply a lot of pressure upon the Midshipmen early with some quick scoring strikes. However, if Navy does score first, they have an impressive stat in their favor: the Midshipmen have won ten games in a row where they have put points up on the scoreboard first.

"That tells you you'd better not get behind because the odds are against you," Weis said. "But just as importantly, you have to understand that this game is probably going to be won with the old (Bill) Parcells analogy where the game is going to be shortened. That means there will be less possessions because there's a lot of time the clock will be running, so you have to make the most of your own possessions to go along with what you're saying. You have to make the most of your own possessions because you probably won't have as many."

That rushing attack was chugging last weekend in Navy's 49-21 romp over Tulane. The Midshipmen rushed the ball 71 times for 418 yards. Navy only threw the ball twice in that win, completing one for 29 yards. The nation's second best rushing offense is averaging 281 yards per game and only trail Minnesota's 291 yards.

*The Gatorade-gate drama continues. After Saturday's 41-21 win over Tennessee, two unidentified players poured a bucket full of Gatorade over their unsuspecting head coach. Weis said after the game he'll find out who the culprits were.

Apparently, the magic of video allowed for this to occur. Weis, after looking at the tape of the Volunteer game, found out it was defensive linemen Trevor Laws and Justin Brown. On Tuesday, Weis, in addition to whatever punishment awaits them this week at practice, took a shot at the two, criticizing their efforts and marksmanship.

"It was unexpected," Weis said. "I told them that I was a little disappointed that if you're going to get me mad, at least hit me in the head. I mean, to hit me in the back I said, ‘You even screwed that up.' If you're going to put yourself at risk like they did, it would be nice if they at least did it the right way. I give them a D minus for that effort."


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