Question: Can you talk about the progress and health of Aldridge?
Weis: He's pretty close. I would think, depending on how things go, my plan is to try to use him full go by about the Purdue game. That's my plan. Right now I could get him part-time, but the problem I have is, with Travis playing on the defense, if something happened to Darius I'd like to think a combination of James and Munir could handle the position without having to flip Travis over there fulltime.
Q: Can you talk about Asaph and how he's doing this week?
W: He is coming off some soreness. Yesterday he was a lot worse than today. Yesterday I just had him run, I held him out of practice. Today I had him practice.
Q: Even with guys back, is it hard to get the chemistry going with the team? Does it take a few weeks to get in rhythm with each other?
W: Fortunately slash unfortunately it is like that every single year. Even with the carryover with experience, to get into a flow or a groove, takes a little bit to get going. You may have spurts where everything seems to go well, and I'm talking about the combination of inside run, outside run, protection, quick passes, intermediate passes, long passes, and tying all that stuff together with timing and cohesion, it takes a little time because even when you have everyone it is a new cast of characters that you are going against and there are the little idiosyncrasies that go with that.
Q: Is the learning curve faster this year?
W: Yes, the learning curve has been greatly pushed along. It shouldn't take as long to hit that groove. We are not there yet, but it shouldn't take as long.
Q: Brady said the Purdue game is when things really clicked last year, would you agree?
W: I'm hoping it doesn't take that long. That was game 5 last year. It was about half way thru the year. I'd like to think we might push that up a little bit this year. It's easy to call plays when they play like they did on a night like that.
Q: Did you have much contact with the Michigan linebackers coach when you were at New England with him?
W: He was doing special projects for Bill, doing research projects. He was around some, and I know coach Szabo. He's a good coach. Back when we were with Jacksonville and all that, but I didn't have too many dealing with him.
Q: Are HS defense too elementary that players don't come in with all the fundamentals?
W: Usually it is cover 2 and cover 3. Every once in a while you get some man to man coverage, but you go to about any game, although I don't get to go, they don't let me, but you watch any game and it's cover 2, cover 3, and you are not really exposed to people playing against you who can run as fast as you can. It's one thing when you have catch-up speed but when you are running a 4.4 and the guy you are covering runs a 4.8 you don't get exposed as much. Now if you, for example, go to jam a guy that is fast and miss, you have a problem. There's that catch 22. The players you are going against are better and it is more complicated with the different assignments that you have.
Q: Are your freshman more ready because of their high school systems or camps or anything?
W: No, first of all they are pretty good. Second of all, unlike the past we have been able to get more people involved in training camp. Last year we were trying to find out who the first guys were. Once you've settled in on who the first guys are you don't have to take every rep to find out who the first guys are. Now you can take some more time to get the second guys ready to play. That is where they have benefited by the volume of reps they were able to get in training camp.
Q: What is the value of Chris Frome to this team.
W: I consider him and Ronald co-starters over there. They are back and forth depending on packages and things like that. Chris looks like he has lost no quickness from being out a good portion and he is a very consistent player. You can talk to a lot of our players about the big emphasis on fundamentals and one thing about Chris is he is one of those sound fundamental players.
Q: What else does he bring?
W: He has a high motor. It's something major to bring to the table. Some don't go full speed on every play no matter how much you ride them. You usually don't have to worry about how hard he is going on every play.
Q: Is that more conditioning or desire?
W: Conditioning comes into play, but I think it is more of a mentality. That is the only way he knows is to go hard on every play, which is a very big compliment.
Q: Can you change the work ethic of a player?
W: You can influence their work ethic. And I don't mean by negative riding them all the time. By showing them the value and importance of progress. They need to see evidence that what they're doing is going to pay dividends. There are a lot of players I've been around who haven't been very good practice players that could still play well in the games, but as a rule there are very few players who can "flip the switch on" and go from not playing very well to playing well to all of a sudden playing great in a game. There are very few guys capable of doing that.
Q: Can you justify playing a guy who doesn't have a commitment to practice?
W: I just don't play them. That's what happens, they just don't play. So I can justify it real good when he's standing there next to me on the sidelines. I'm not just being a smart guy when I say that. We only know one way and you have to buy in or you don't play.
Q: Have you seen a change in Carlson at all?
W: There's another side of John. For example, he might drop pass in practice and he's not saying "oh darn." He does have a fiery side to him. I don't think you can force your personality on somebody. They have to get used to yours because you're the coach, but you can't force a personality. He learned a bunch of things from Anthony that he adapted to his game that is helping him.
Q: What were your first impressions of Talley?
W: He's a big, strong kid who you're really not sure when you get him whether or not to play him on the edge or play him inside because he is capable of playing both outside and inside. When Chris got hurt last year and we put him in there he showed up as a very dependable player.
Q: Was there any decision about where to play him, outside or inside?
W: No, that's where he was. Last year he was backing up Chris, and Chris got hurt and he got his opportunity and he made the most of it.
Q: How important is your personality being compatible with players in recruiting?
W: Well, first of all you watch on tape how they play, because you can't go on just talking to somebody on how they are like as a player because a lot of the time there are contradictions. I would imagine what would have stood out about John was his athleticism. And it is pretty obvious with his hoops background on top of it he is a very good athlete. We always said in the NFL that that was where a lot of tight ends were playing, were playing power forward. You look in the NBA and see those guys and say how nice it would be to have that guy playing tight end. And every once in a while one of them shows up over there.
Q: Can you talk about Crum and his play and leadership?
W: He was another unknown for me when I first got here. We put him in as an outside backer, the apache out there, our strong side backer, he was in space a lot. To be honest with you, out of all 3 of the starters last year they guy who was the most fundamentally sound was probably Maurice. Now you go and put him in the middle and people say he's only 225 pounds. Well, 14 tackles later which is what he had in the game, he's still 225 pounds. He has a knack for making plays. And when you are in the middle you have more opportunities to make those plays.
Q: Tommy Z said in two games Maurice hasn't missed any calls. What kind of player from a mental aspect do you have to be at middle line?
W: The middle linebacker is always the one who has to be the passer of information from the sideline to the field. I think we have had minimal communication errors in the first two games so obviously he is doing something right.
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