Question: What was done today in practice? A wrap up or what was done to prepare for the game on Saturday?
Weis: What we were trying to do, it was a combination of a normal Thursday and a normal Friday. See on a Friday you go because you only have an hour of that 20 hour work week that we talk about so often. Only an hour of it is dedicated to Friday so you mostly do special teams call outs to make sure you have substitutions in line and you do walkthroughs. And because it's Thursday and more than 24 hours before kickoff, instead of doing it at a walkthrough tempo you actually go through the plays. I was able to take the shoulder pads off of them and just go in protective shells. Take the knee braces off so that what you are trying to do is make sure they are the freshest they have been in a long time come Saturday night. That's the whole intent.
Q: What about the music played at practice?
W: That was meant to be a pre-game distraction and I also used the sound when offense had the ball. One thing that people don't notice a lot of the time because they are getting ready for the game is how much of a circus pre-game really is. There are all sorts of things going on, even watch at our place, there are people who get pre-game passes, and there are alumni that end up being around there, and there are hundreds of people around and a lot of the time if you are not focused. You get more caught up in the atmosphere and all the things that are going on than what exactly is the matter at hand. So the whole purpose slash rationale for the music during stretching and the first warm up period was to provide a distraction for them. Obviously the more practical time to use the noise is when the offense has the ball because that's usually on the road when that is going to come into play.
Q: Is Chris Frome past Ronald Talley at the end spot?
W: No, they are both in the mix, they are both playing, sometimes one will play more than they other, but they are both like starters at that position. It's like a "1" and "1A" situation. Whereas at other positions there is the starter and there is the backup. There are different packages and different times that one player will be on the field versus the other guy on the field. They are both like starters at that position.
Q: Any hidden meaning or rationale in the songs chosen?
W: No, no hidden meaning. It wasn't as if I chose Glory Days to sit there and talk about t glory days, it just happened to be the next song dialed up on the track there. All I made sure to do was make sure Bon Jovi got equal billing so that he doesn't get mad at me. If I went strictly with Bruce that would not be a good thing, so I alternated, just like we alternated offense and defense in practice, we alternated Bruce and Bon Jovi to make sure they both got equal billing here today.
Q: Do you notice if the guys are getting ancy to go play?
W: Oh they are definitely ancy, and that is probably one of the few advantageous things about playing exhibition games in the NFL is at least you got to hit somebody other than yourselves. I think they are at that point where they have been going against each other since the first week in August and the excitement is building and the anticipation and the unknown. There are a lot of different things that factor in right now, but they are definitely ancy.
Q: Do you take them thru a walkthrough when you get down to the stadium?
W: No, that is a distraction. The only time I use the time, if we go out a day early, like when we got out to USC, after we feed them thanksgiving dinner, we will fly out on Thursday and we will run around on Friday because that is a whole day of sitting around without doing anything. But when we go on Friday, I don't like them missing class, so we don't. We stay here until we are done with class and then we get on the bus and we drive there, and as soon as we get there we eat dinner, and as soon as dinner is over we have a meeting, and when the meeting is over we have a chapel service. Then it is bed check and then it is the next morning and it is breakfast and it is whole team meetings and position meetings. Then it is lunch, which is optional because most have eaten breakfast not that long ago. And then a little bit later on we have a team meeting, a pre-game meal, mass, and then get on the bus and head over. So, there is time in there, but everything is pretty well laid out where everyone knows what they are doing. The best thing is that it's 7 o'clock or a little before right now and they have more than 48 hours before they go out for pre-game warm-ups, so the most rested they are going to be is going to be then.
Q: Without a preseason game, can they be too amped?
W: I don't think so. I think the biggest thing you have to be focused on is handling going on the road. I think going on the road is a different mentality than staying at home because when you go on the road it is just you. It's not like everyone in the free world is around South Bend on game day, it's just you. It's just the guys making the trip and the coaches, and the handful of trainers and managers making the trip. Not everyone comes. Not every weight coach comes, not everyone in the program comes. So, when you get into that room, a room smaller than [this auditorium], that's who you have. And you kind of play that; this is where we win that game, right here. It's not going to be in the stands, it's not across the field. It's going to come from in this room between everyone in here. And once you establish that mentality, usually you can establish a good mental toughness on the road when you have that mentality.
Q: Did you make any additions to the travel roster?
W: I added one.
Q: Who was it?
W: I just added one. I'm not trying to play a guessing game with you guys to tell you the truth. At the same time, I don't want them to know who is going and who is not going. There is no reason for them to have the list of 67 guys I'm taking on the trip. I still have room for 3 more, but 3 more didn't warrant going. So I'm not taking them.
Q: Any word on Turkovich?
W: He's still iffy. We will make a decision on him tomorrow right before we go. He's practicing now. He's still out there. A couple of guys, we have the two hour window right there. I wrapped up at 6:30 with all the frontline guys so they only had an hour and a half and all the guys who aren't starting are with the coaches and getting some additional work. So they are still out there right now with John Latina and the trainers, but he would be a decision tomorrow. That decision wouldn't be made today. When you go out there and bang him around a bit, then you want to see what his reaction is going to be and how sore he will be the next day. So we will have to wait on that one.
Q: Is Leo Ferrine in the same boat?
W: Yes, like when you asked yesterday, he is in that full speed or not full speed, if he's not full speed, why bring him? Let him stay and receive treatment. Get him ready to play the next week if they can't help you this week. There is no reason for them to travel just to be a part of the show. When we bring them it is to play them. It is not a courtesy visit.
Q: The players get off tonight, but is this a long night for you?
W: I'll get home tonight. My wife is already mad at me as it is. We moved this week and I haven't touched a box. I'm already not in very good graces as it is. I'll try to get home a little later than usual so I won't get hit up with as much. I think we still have to watch the offense and defense tape and the special teams tape, and then I write openers, that's what I do on Thursday night slash Friday mornings. So when we meet with the players over the weekend they know what plays they are going to run before we get out there.
Q: How far into the game do you do that? How many series?
W: It's not how many series. I write anywhere between 15 to 21 plays. Sometimes I run them right down the list. Sometimes after 9 I say this isn't going to work, they are doing something completely different than I expected. I just throw it away and go to something else. One of the biggest problems that some play callers have is they stay on something even if it doesn't work. They just keep on calling it. Sooner or later you have to make an adjustment. Halftime adjustments are great, but what is wrong with first quarter adjustments? There is no reason to have to wait till halftime to make adjustments.
Q: Can you talk about evaluating HS juniors?
W: Let me address two things. Tomorrow is the first day we can start making phone calls once a week. I am dialed up to start cranking them out. I think that because of time zones the first one they have me penciled in for is 7 or 7:15. I'll be making them every 15 minutes for quite some time tomorrow. So I have to make sure all my football stuff is done before 7. You can talk to some of these kids before hand as long as they call you. But I think it is important with a junior to make sure that you have more evidence than you have even on a senior because if you are going to go on a junior you have to be willing to have them say yes. So if you make a mistake on a guy 2 years early, that is a major mistake. There are always contingencies, them doing everything right academically and all those other things, but you are very slow on ‘08s. You don't go jump all over those because you better have a lot of evidence. Sometimes having only tape is not enough. Sometimes it will be a combination of watching tape and having them in camp for a week. Now you have them in camp for a week and you watch tape, sometimes you feel good enough about flipping the switch on that one.
Q: Is there a peer pressure for programs to be the first to offer?
W: I think that is in vogue. I think there are a number of programs that will offer 50 of them. Tomorrow is the first day you can send paperwork to a junior. So if you are going to offer a junior, tomorrow is the date you could send them the paperwork. I think that is an in vogue thing right now but, not that there aren't any juniors that we are in on, because there are, I'm not going to rush to judgment on someone until we have enough evidence that they are one of the guys we would like to say yes. See, what some programs do is they offer a whole bunch and whatever guys they get to say yes are the guys they take. I'd rather be under the philosophy that you should be a little slower and ask guys that you want to say yes rather than guys you are hoping wait until the guys better than them say no before you go in on them. So when we offer a guy it is because we want them to say yes.
Weis Thursday Transcript
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