Read Between the Lines

When Charlie Weis addresses the media, you can tell every statement is calculated by the pace of his voice. Thought goes into every word Notre Dame's head coach spits out. It feels like you always learn something.

In the short time Weis has been in South Bend, he has never blown anything out of proportion, maybe even understating things at times. So it's easy to get excited about the upcoming season when Weis dishes out compliments about Brady Quinn's development, or that Rhema McKnight is better than he was before the injury.

With that being said, if you read between the lines of some of Weis' other comments, that's when you tend to believe this season could be something very special.

"A lot of times in your first year, you are just putting it in, and you don't have a chance to tweak it," Weis said talking about the defensive scheme. "I think that we've had some time to research, evaluate, (use) other outside resources to take it to a different level than we were at last year."

Reading between the lines: We weren't able to execute on defense the way we would've liked last season. We've figured out why that is, and we've started addressing the problems. Things are coming along very well, and we should be much much better on this side of the ball.

Moving Maurice Crum Jr. from strongside linebacker to the middle was one of the tweaks to the defense. Travis Thomas coming over to play weakside linebacker from running back added a lot of athleticism to the defense.

"I'd be surprised turning back at this point," Weis said about the experiment with Travis Thomas at linebacker. He later said, "So far so good."

Reading between the lines: This is working out as well as I could've imagined. We really addressed a need for speed and athleticism at this position. This makes our defense better.

Moving Thomas to linebacker speaks volumes when all that leaves is rookie running backs behind incumbent Darius Walker.

Reading between the lines: The incoming freshmen are ready to make an instant impact. With their ability to play at a high level right away, it allowed us to make this move and be a better football team.

Quinn, who carved up Notre Dame's record book like opposing defenses last season, is being given more leeway within the offense.

"You do this slow now," Weis explained. "You don't all of a sudden say you can audible at the line of scrimmage. What I've done, like today, I gave him on one play that we've called a lot, an opportunity for him to signal to a receiver to change an individual route by that receiver based off the leverage of the DB. Now that is not something you just give to anybody here now. I mean, that's somebody you have to trust."

Reading between the lines: You guys thought Brady was good last season. You haven't seen anything yet.

Weis certainly hasn't given us reason to believe everything is perfect. No one has solidified the right tackle position. He has mentioned that Sam Young is in the mix (Should I be reading between the lines again?). David Grimes has established himself as an accountable receiver, now two more need to emerge. Nobody has stood out at the right defensive end position. Ryan Harris could play if needed, but no reason to rush him into things.

Those concerns appear to be more in the short term. A healthy Brian Mattes could man the right tackle position until Sam Young is comfortable with the nuances of the college game. Four talented freshman receivers are in the mix to play. With defensive line coach Jappy Oliver's philosophy of sometimes just turn em loose, Chris Frome or Ronald Talley should have more of a presence at right defensive end. Harris will be ready to go for the opener against Georgia Tech.

The team has completed just three days of camp and it's easy to tell Weis is pleased with what's going on. Just read between the lines Top Stories