News and Notes: 1/1/2006

*As offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots, Charlie Weis was in similar types of situations as he is now. The trips to the Super Bowl, with the media crush and increased fan interest nationwide, are comparable to the Fiesta Bowl week but on a much larger scale.

The difference this time? Weis is the head coach, not an assistant. He is the face and voice of the Notre Dame football program and this entails functions to attend and public appearances to please sponsors, the surrounding cities and a fan base that can't get enough of the new head coach. The bowl week schedule now is a little more hectic than it was in his days with the Patriots.

"I would say very likely, to be honest with you, all the things we had to do at nighttime, I went to none of those things," Weis said of his Super Bowl week experiences. "I would just stay back at the hotel. My wife wanted to do all those things, but I didn't do them. That's why it's so good to have so much confidence with your assistant coaches."

The actual football preparations for the game itself between the two events are almost identical.

"Football is football," Weis said. "I definitely don't separate the two. I do not draw any comparisons. I just say this is exactly the way we do it, and to be honest with you, this last two week stretch is almost a copycat experience to the one we ran two years ago."

*Ohio State just cannot get away from Maurice Clarett. The one-time stud running back for the Buckeyes keeps popping up at the wrong time for the wrong reasons.

Police in Columbus, Ohio are looking for Clarett, who is wanted for aggravated robbery after being accused of using a gun to rob two people behind a bar. Just three years ago, Clarett seemed poised for a bright and prosperous future after helping the Buckeyes win their first national championship in over three decades. Now, after a failed attempt in the NFL with the Denver Broncos, his future could be in an orange jumpsuit. It forced Buckeye head coach Jim Tressel, knee deep in final Fiesta Bowl preparations, to address the issue at Sunday's press conference.

"Obviously, my reactions to that is it's sad because, as I've said the last few times people have brought up the subject, my hope would be that he would have an opportunity to go over to NFL Europe and make a comeback," Tressel said. "I hope it's not true, but beyond that, I don't know much. But my reaction, I was sad."

*The saga of Ohio State linebacker Bobby Carpenter's health might have ended on Sunday. Tressel said that Carpenter did work more in practice yesterday that he thought was possible but it was not in pads with the rest of the team. It seems that if he plays, which judging by Tressel's comments seems unlikely, it'll be in a minor role.

"I've seen miracles before, so I'm not going to say for sure he won't play," Tressel said. "He was running around last night, I thought, interestingly well, but not in the scheme of things. I don't know if he'll dress or not. I don't think that he or we or anyone has made that decision. He can certainly dress if he would like to."

*The Fiesta Bowl marks the end of the line for some of the graduating Irish players. To end their up and down careers in a BCS bowl surely has to be vindication for the roller coaster ride they endured during their college careers.

For Brandon Hoyte, it'll be the last time the senior linebacker takes the field as a captain of the team. Hoyte's inspired play and leadership skills have frequently been pointed out by the coaching staff and fellow teammates. He's well aware that Monday will be the last time in an Irish uniform.

"A lot of times I get excited during the week," Hoyte said. "But this week especially and during the Syracuse game, I feel a lot of calm. You just sit back and notice the little things. Even this media conference, when else are people going to care about what you say? Let's be honest. You have to soak it in and appreciate it."

The emotions of a college player's final game also will be felt on the opposing sidelines.

"It's tough," Ohio State center Nick Mangold said. "I'm a little choked up about it. I don't want to leave these guys. I don't want to leave this team or coaches. It'll be rough. But it won't affect me until I realize that I don't have what I have now. It's tough."


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