News and Notes: 11/10/2005

*Notre Dame football head coach Charlie Weis gets the lion's share of the credit for the turnaround of the Irish offense, especially the play of quarterback Brady Quinn. The junior from Dublin, Ohio went from a solid to spectacular in the matter of one year. Quinn's 23 touchdowns to only four interceptions best illustrates the strides he has made in Weis's new offense.

Make no mistake about it: Weis has made a lot of difference in Quinn's progression into a big-time college football quarterback. But at the Wednesday post practice interview session with the media, Weis bristled at the notion that he has resurrected Quinn's play or that he's the sole reason for the success of the offense.

"He was a good quarterback who is playing a whole heck of a lot better than he was playing," Weis said. "That's all I've done. I'm only one small part of that. He's a big part of it. The players are a big part of it. Coach Vaas is a big part of it. Coach Latina is a big part of it because he's the one coaching the line. Then you could go to Coach Haywood, Coach Parmalee, Coach Ianello…you could go through all of them as part of it. We're all part of this deal. I'm only one small part. Resurrection is somewhat of a strong word."

Quinn still has a year of eligibility left at Notre Dame and said after the BYU game that he'll be back for his senior season. He would be a hot NFL prospect whenever he chooses to go into the draft. The recent history of Notre Dame quarterbacks in the NFL is not what it used to be. Joe Montana and Joe Theismann have been replaced by Rick Mirer and Jarious Jackson (both are not currently in the league). Weis does not see Quinn continuing this trend.

"I don't think so," Weis said about Quinn having something to prove as a Notre Dame quarterback in the NFL. "As a matter of fact, I think they should be standing in line to get here. It's a different age. It's a different offense and a different mentality. He just had a coach come from the NFL where he spent the last 15 years and dealt with closely a quarterback who's going to go down as one of the best of all-time. It shouldn't be that tough."

*One of Weis's "resources" and friends in the business is Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid. Reid was in South Bend for Notre Dame's game against USC. The Eagles coach is currently embroiled in the Terrell Owens fiasco. Reid and the organization made the decision to cut their ties with the star receiver for the rest of the season.

Weis said he talked with Reid about the situation and glad that it's his buddy's problem and not his. During Weis's career, there have been some controversial figures that he's coached to great success. The perception that some of these guys were locker room cancers was off the mark, according to Weis.

"We had some guys who were stereotyped as bad apples that were pleasures to be around," Weis said. "Keyshawn Johnson was a pleasure to be around. Corey Dillon was a pleasure to be around. I guess it depends on where they are. Some of these guys who have been labeled malcontents…fortunately I was under a coach who didn't let malcontents thrive."

*Notre Dame has three teams left on the schedule and the Irish should be double-digit favorites in all of them. This weekend, they are currently a 24-point favorite against Navy and many expect Notre Dame to win easily.

Many fans have turned their attention towards possible bowl scenarios. If the Irish win out, it's almost a certainty that a BCA bowl berth will await them. The Fiesta and Orange Bowl seem to two likely destinations. Weis has tried to keep the focus for the team on the upcoming opponent and letting the chips fall into place by continually keeping to win.

"My philosophy has always been one game at a time," Weis said. "So if you look at it, these games give you a chance to extend your season. Right now, they need to understand you can't even worry about two months from now if you don't take care of business this week because the ramifications of not winning this week are too big. You have to take it one week at it time. I was brought up under that mentality. Every week is a new week whether you win or lose. You can't be worrying about two weeks from now or three weeks from now."

*Notre Dame punt return man Tom Zbikowski will have his work cut out for him this weekend if he expects to see the end zone again on special teams. Navy is allowing only 4.22 yards per return. That is seventh best in the nation. Notre Dame is fourth in the country in punt returns with a 19.69 average. Zbikowski has 16 punt returns on the year for 315 yards (19.7 average) and two touchdowns.

*Whenever Notre Dame plays Navy, people always hear the Irish players talking about the discipline of the Midshipmen. The numbers back it up. Navy is eighth in the nation in fewest penalties (5) and penalty yards (37.75) per game. This is in stark contrast to Notre Dame, who rank 81st in the country with an average of 7.75 penalties a contest.


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