How many of the 28 freshmen do you expect to contribute this year."Are you talking about the whole collective group, all 28 of them? The important thing is when you are bringing in new resources, whether it be the draft or recruiting, you're looking for guys to supplement what you have, and you are also looking for guys to supplant what you have. So you have to look at it in both terms, both as supplement and supplant. I think in this case, you're going to have guys who in most cases are going to supplement the roster and fill in some glaring holes that we had. And in other cases, people will take it to another level and supplant some guys; whether it be supplant them on the second team or supplant them on the first team. I'm going to give you the depth chart. I have to give it to Georgia Tech sometime tomorrow, so I'm giving to you guys today. Excuse me when I say, you guys, it's a Jersey thing. In this depth chart, I'm not completely held to it because there is still some juggling that's going to go on in the next week or so. But I wanted to make sure I had something in your hands before I got it into their hands."
Do you have an update on Mike Turkovich?"Yes, as a matter of fact, he started to practice yesterday, which was probably a little earlier than I thought he would be able to go. First of all you have to be cautious when you're coming off a banged up head, you know. You have to be cautious, but they have cleared him to go ahead and start working. We eased him in yesterday and today and we'll go again tomorrow. By Sunday's practice and Tuesday's practice, we will have a pretty good idea if he's ready to play or not. Because if he's not ready to play after Tuesday's practice, now that's only a few days away and now we have to go in another direction for some additional depth. We're going to give him the benefit of the doubt and give him the opportunity to get there first because he's earned the right to be in that position."
What's your thought on the situation of the Arizona State coach announcing his starting quarterback on Saturday and then changing to another quarterback on Sunday?"I don't think you'll find me doing anything like that in any position. For example at right defensive end, I've got (Ronald) Talley playing; I've got (Chris) Frome playing; they're both on the depth chart and just because I don't go to a third guy, I don't even put Justin Brown down, really I have three guys who can play there at defensive end, so whether I'm listing Talley first, Frome second, I can see both those guys playing an equal number of reps in the game because I have a lot of confidence in them. You won't see me vacillating a lot, there might be some juggling on second and third or which guy gets more time between two guys, but the guys I'm listing in situations like that, they're playing."
Does that hold true for right tackle?"What I did is I put Sam Young and (Paul) Duncan; I put Sam Young first and Duncan second. That's another one that is too close to call. No matter what way I go, there are still evaluations going on at that position. Offensive line play has to be one of cohesion and I don't think you can not try to put in guys that you expect to play together. What we've been able to do this week, because there is an extra week, we've been able to utilize Brian Mattes at several different positions – he's played left guard, he's played left tackle, he's played right guard and right tackle – the only position he hasn't played is center and I'm talking with the first group. So what that has allowed us to do, say if Sully is out, Mattes goes to right guard and Bob Morton bumps into center. In reality, Morton who is our right guard is our backup center. This week you can practice that position flexibility but next week you don't have the luxury to do that because now you have to start giving the majority of the reps to the guys who are going to get the majority of the snaps."
Have you decided on the kickers?"That one is kind of close to call right now, but if I were kicking in a game today, (Carl) Gioia would kick field goals and (Bobby) Renkes would kickoff and (Ryan) Burkhart is competing with both guys for both the kickoff and field goals jobs. If I was kicking today, Renkes would kickoff and Gioia would kick field goals. And that's strictly based on statistical information that we've drawn through the whole camp. Carl's kicked quicker and more accurate than anybody else."
Do you put up on the bulletin board things that opposing coaches and players say as motivation for the team?"You use it every chance you get and you try your best not to give them any. I think that anytime you can get literature that you can put up there that gives a mind set of an opponent, not that it always works now; you always make them aware of it. I think it's good and I'm big with the highlighters and I like to put things in people's lockers too. Like if somebody says our corners aren't worth a darn; trust me, all our corners will have that hanging in their lockers."
It's been reported that Joe Paterno has said some unkind things about Notre Dame. How do you feel about that?"Who cares, I'm the head coach at Notre Dame, not the head coach at Penn State. I don't care what he has to say. Right now I'm not worrying about Penn State, I'm worrying about Georgia Tech. Penn State is the furthest thing from my mind right now. Who cares what they say?"
What did (Chase) Anastasio show to move up on the depth chart?"Well, the fact that he got back there healthy and showed an experience level; you know Chase is really fast. I don't know if you know much about Chase, he's very fast and that's why he has been very productive on special teams. He has been waiting his turn to play wide receiver but, as I told you the first day, he'll be one of those guys that will be out a week or two, but once he started practicing his level of experience ended up knocking him up above those other guys."
Charlie, last year it seemed you limited your national interviews, but this year you have appeared on national TV shows and seem to have given more interviews. Do you feel more comfortable with it this year?"I believe there are different times you can do different things. Basically my feeling is, whoever is doing the national broadcast – in our case for all of our home games is NBC – deserves to be informed of what is going on. Unlike you guys that are here every day, and have a good lay of the land, I want them to make sure that they are informed going into a game. I think with different TV sites and different radio shows, you try to accommodate as many as you can without hindering your job. And that's what I try to do. I try to do as many as I can. Most days when John or Brian brings me the list, the number of things I say no to is 10 percent. He may give me 10 things and I might say yes to nine of them. You just don't hear of them all, but that's probably pretty close. And it might be a paper in Forth Worth that wants to do a story on Brady Quinn; well, I just don't have the time for that, no disrespect. I try to do as many as I possibly can, just as long as it does not deter from being the head coach."
How far ahead do you schedule national radio and TV shows?"That works weeks in advance. They don't call and say, hey okay I'll be on today. They request and say we'll try to do it the third week in September. It's not like they call and you do it the next day. They call through John and through Brian. We try to work out what we can. I can't make everyone happy, but I try to accommodate as many people as I possibly can."
Unintelligible question."My major vision was the last fifteen years before I got here, when we would lose, having to listen to all that garbage and trash talking from all the pro football players about Notre Dame losing. And when we would win, going in and trash talking ourselves. That's about as much as it went because when you're coaching in the pros, you're not really worrying too much about it. You're watching your alma mater, but that Saturday you are actually focusing in mentally on calling the game the next day. And really, that's where all your attention is. To be honest with you, I did not think about it one way or another. I always rooted for Notre Dame, but if they lost, I didn't lose any sleep."
When you came in to observe the team when Ty (Willingham) was here, did you have any advice for Brady?"I think I gave him a general overview; I did not give him specifics. I watched him and I gave him the broad spectrum. The broad spectrum was to get him to understand how much responsibility the quarterback really has. The quarterback is usually the glamour boy but they don't realize how much responsibility goes with that position. Your name is going to be in the paper every week one way or another. You're either doing something good or doing something bad. But it's going to be in there. You can't just walk around like the big man on campus. You have to understand the responsibility that comes with that."
Would you talk about Evan Sharpley listed as the number two quarterback."Evan is mentally, not intelligence-wise but mentally in the system, ahead of the other two guys. Now the other two guys - and I'm not just saying this to pacify anyone - intrigue me. As the season goes, I'd like to see how this all plays out, but I'd say they are far from being done this year. I'm bringing all four of those guys to the game. I can tell you that right now. And we talk about getting on the bus; all four of those guys will be on the bus."
Have you talked to Darius about going home to play and is this a motivator for him?"I'll talk about it, but not yet. It's too early. I think you have to address it, but address it as a positive, not a negative. You want him to be excited to play because you can use that to your advantage. You can use that going home as a pro, but it can also be turned into a con. So I think it's really important to know exactly how to play that. But it's a little premature at this time. I'll probably do it about the middle of next week. I may talk to him individually, but sometimes I like to do things when everyone's around. It might have more of an effect that way. I'll just have to wait and see."
You seem to be smiling more at practice this season. Is that a true statement?"People only see the bark; that's what they see. They don't see the little hidden shots; busting chops type of things which I like to do. You need to know when to really ride them and when to loosen them up too. There's a fine line sometimes. Sometimes a team will go through warm-ups and they are really chirpy. And I'll be saying I hope you guys are playing as good as you are talking right now because if you're not, we're going to have a problem. You have to play to the maturity of your team and let them prove one way or another, what they can handle and what they can't handle."
Do you feel more confident now than you did this time last year?"A lot of questions have been answered a lot earlier this year than last year and we're better on both sides of the ball. The flip side of that is, last year no one we were playing against thought we were going to be any good. They said, aw, it's Notre Dame. Now, it's ah, it's Notre Dame. There's a big difference. So because you're better on both sides of the ball doesn't necessarily correlate automatically with being better in the win and loss column. We're going to have to produce at a much higher level for that to happen."
Would you talk about John Ryan and Justin Brown and their place on the depth chart?"They've been playing good. That's why they're there. I've always told you, it doesn't make any difference if a guy is a freshman or a senior. All of a sudden someone is playing good and does it consistently time-in and time-out; that's why their names are down there. And those two guys have been playing good and we're not going to be afraid to play them in a game. Obviously, you see John is behind Victor (Abiamiri); I'm hoping Victor is going to be playing a whole bunch of the game. But between John and Justin, I'll have a backup for him."
If something would happen to Victor in the game, would you consider (Ronald) Talley or (Chris) Frome as his replacement?"John Ryan or Justin Brown would be the next guy in the short term. In the long term, you could make a move like that but, first of all in the short term, you have to finish the game playing with the guys who know what they're doing and not trying to ad lib. You have to finish it out."
We've asked you a lot about Travis Thomas as a linebacker. What is your evaluation of him as a running back in camp?"He's had a nice camp at running back. I'll give you a heads-up in advance, for example, on Sunday he's going to be a running back the whole day. So that I don't have to go back and forth with him on offense and defense every day, because I have this extra time, on that one day instead of me taking him for a period here and a period there, he's going to be running back for a day. He's had a nice camp for us as running back. He hasn't missed a beat."