Question: What improvements have you seen in Purdue game to game this year?
Weis: The quarterback continues to get better. He played the last 5 games or so of the year, but he's starting to get into a groove. The tightend obviously has become a fairly big weapon for them. Bryant is still Bryant, and now that they are pretty diversified. Even though they are statistically throwing for a lot more yards than they are running, they are running for about 160 yards and passing for almost 300. You could pick your poison and they have a couple different ways to attack you.
Q: They seem not to worry about down and distance with play selection…
W: You will see them spread the field right off the bat. What happens is that when you have a veteran offensive line like they do, you basically have 5 starters back. It gives you a bit more confidence to do anything anywhere.
Q: (inaudible question about practice)
W: I think that practice usually gives you an idea, obviously it doesn't always pay off the last couple weeks, because I've come out of practice the last few weeks feeling pretty good. The only day I didn't like was the Thursday before the Michigan game. Maybe that was foreshadowing, maybe I wasn't insightful enough at the time. But keeping the pads on them even though it was just shoulder pads today had increased the tempo and given us the opportunity to do things at a higher tempo than we have been doing and hopefully that will help with timing on both offense and defense.
Q: As [Purdue's] offense has evolved have they developed a comfort zone?
W: The personality of the team has changed some because the play caller is still a different guy but they have always been able to be in this spread offense, some years they have been more option oriented others not so much, but they do a nice job now of using the different players that they have. It isn't just we are going to throw it to Bryant or just hand it off. They do a nice job of utilizing the talent that they have.
Q: How is Asaph looking?
W: I'd say still marginal. I'm not fired up about what I'm seeing. I told him that once again, I'm not playing him until I can see him do it better than Ashley. Until then Ashley plays. That's just they way it is. We'll see how it goes this weekend, he may or may not play. Then we will go to next week and do it again. If it is not any better by that time we will sit back and see what direction we are heading as we head into the bye.
Q: How about Ambrose?
W: Well, he is well ahead of Asaph, but until Ambrose can run full speed, which he is pretty close, do you want an unhealthy Ambrose or a healthy Darrin? I think that is rhetorical on my part. So we will just have to see how close he is by gameday.
Q: Did Laws go on the Ndukwe/Stovall program for losing weight in the offseason?
W: No, he was on the Reuben program. And that was your body weight doesn't need to drop drastically as much as your body fat and how lean you get. I don't know how much difference his actual weight is, but he looks a lot more lean.
Q: How do you define an "opener"?
W: Openers are about the first 15 to 20 plays not including 3rd down, red-zone, goal line, basically they are 1st and 2nd down plays. You could put a 3rd down play in there based on what you think is going to happen on first and second down. For example, last week if my play was designed to get 4 yards and after the first two plays it is 3rd and eight, you then go over to your 3rd and 8 box and pick your lead call on 3rd and 8. So your openers are more related to 1st and 2nd down more that you would like to call in order. But you also have boxes for 3rd down, red-zone, goal line, short yardage, play action, runs, they are all in there. Depending on who you are playing against there are even times where you will write a box for second and long because there are teams that play different defenses on second down based off of the distance, so even if you scripted a play for 2nd down based on what you thought would happen on 1st down you might go off the script and go to your lead call for second and long there. It all depends on the tendencies of your opponent.
Q: Do you keep files for each past game and go back and review them?
W: When we walk in on Monday to start game planning at about 7 o'clock or so all the plays from last years game are already on the board. Even though those are not the ones you are going to use, it is a reference of what we did against them last year. Now if the defensive coordinator and the defense changed you don't even waste your time putting that stuff up there, but usually you want a reference even though you might not call exactly the same play, or let me rephrase that, you might call the same play but from a different look. Because a play that looked good against what they do is probably still good but we are giving them enough credit that they are going to practice what worked and try to shut that down.
Q: Do you ever see something that reminds you of another team and pull out old files?
W: I do that all the time. It might be what the Bills were doing in '94 when we played against them. I'm not real smart, but I have a good memory. I do have a good memory and you remember what happens in games when something worked really well or when it didn't work so well. You say we got killed by that because we tried to do this against them. You definitely use those as references if you have them accessible. You have the books accessible because you keep 20 years worth of books. It is the question of whether you have the tape accessible or not.
Q: Do you need camaraderie with other college coaches at all?
W: I talk to college coaches I just don't talk to them about X's and O's. I talk to two head coaches at lunchtime today. I talk to other guys I just don't talk to them about what you are doing against them. I might ask about their field. Is it slippery, what is the surface? I talked to head coaches in the Big 10 last week before MSU. Not about MSU's offense or defense but about their field, how much noise there is, the locker room, because a lot of these places it is the first time I've gone in there. You know, where is the 25 second clock, little things that might not seem significant but they are. I even asked Ron Powlus in our own stadium, because I haven't been here that long, when the wind really blows where does it blow from? When we were at the Meadowlands it would blow one way, New England another way. You would know which way the wind would blow. Not experiencing 40 mph winds here yet you don't know where it's kicking from when it is kicking.
Q: Is that one reason why weather didn't matter in New England?
W: We game plan the weather. There would be a lot of times we would be going against the wind, we always believed in a phrase called "shorten the game." Let's use as much clock as we can to get through this quarter. You are always trying to score, but when you are going against a strong wind is not when you really try to attack them. You attack them when you have the wind behind you.
Q: Is strong wind worse than rain?
W: Not even close, wind is much bigger factor than rain. That rain last week would not have been as big a factor minus some mishandled snaps but there was wind kicking with it. Unfortunately we seemed to be against it both the 3rd and 4th quarters in my great foresight that I had.
Q: Will coaches answer questions?
W: They will answer specifics of a team too but then you'll owe them. I don't believe in asking someone something that I wouldn't be willing to return the favor and answer the same thing. I don't want to owe them.
Q: Brady said the rain my actual have helped the offense last week. Kind of if your hand hurts hit your foot. Is it possible that it did?
W: Somebody needs to slap him. (much laughter) I can't answer that, that is over my head. That is why he is a double major, that is over my head.
Charlie Weis Transcript
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