News and Notes: 10/20/2006

*Here is the best from head coach Charlie Weis this past week.

*On Ronald Talley's departure from the team: "We had talked, I'd say about three times during the year, at different times. We had had some private conversations about his future. We had our last one on Thursday. We went over multiple options about where we were heading. He really felt that it would be in his best interest if he left the team at this time. After we talked for a while, I felt that his best interest and the team's best interest were one in the same. Therefore, we're leaving amicably with him going. He's not thrown off the team. He just doesn't want to be part of this team anymore.

"I wish him well. I told him that as far as we're going to go is what I said in the statement the other day. I said that we've mutually agreed that he's left the team. We've mutually agreed for him to leave the team. We really don't have to go any more in depth than that, because I won't say anything more about it, nor will he."

*On the players having no classes this week because of fall break: "The 20-hour workweek doesn't apply. It will be more like a 9-to-5 day. We have to feed them because the dining halls are closed, too. They'll come in and have breakfast. Tomorrow's morning schedule will be either meeting on offense or defense while the other side lifts.

"There will be a couple of hours of meeting and an hour to run and lift. Then we feed them lunch. Then we come back in and we meet on special teams. We get ready, go out there and practice. After practice, we have time to come back in, take a shower and go watch the practice. After we watch the practice, then we go and feed them and then they're done. That allows us, the next day when they come in, not to have that tape hanging over us to have to watch the next day. It's similar to an NFL schedule now because now there's no school."

*On trying to impress the voters with blowout wins: "I think that if we play well, everyone will know we played well. I think that's it. I think you have to play well. There's different ways of winning a game. I was watching one game this week where one of the top 10 teams won but they won by 6. Team is throwing it into the end zone from the 15 yard line at the end of the game. People know that that's happening. It's different than when you're up -- there was a couple of those games, as a matter of fact, like that where people throwing in the end zone at the end of the game, and some of them where you're really surprised.

"I think the most important thing is as you're coming down the stretch, we have to play well. We have not played well that often. I think what we have to do is we have to play well because everyone's going to criticize the outcome of the game. Well, you can't criticize when a team plays well, regardless of what the final score was. If you win by 7 and you played well, then you should be happy. If you win by 30 and you played well, then you should be happy. I think if you win by 7 and you lucked out, that's a little different. Really, it's a little different."

*On what surprised Weis the most about UCLA-Oregon last weekend: "I think they got down big early. There was a big first quarter by Oregon's offense. I think they were fighting an uphill battle the rest of that game. You're playing on the road. You get down big early. That's usually tough sledding.

"After the first quarter, it wasn't like anyone had a big advantage after the first quarter. I think it was the first quarter that Oregon took it to them."

*On what impressed him the most from the same contest: "That game, it's 20-3. That could have gotten ugly if you think about it. It's 30-20. It's still the same team playing for the next three quarters.

"They took what could have been a very big negative and turned it into something to build off of going into this game. Their quarterback, first game starting on the road. I'm not making excuses for him, but it is. It is what it is. So he comes in at home, plays, comes on the road for the first time as a starting quarterback. I think he'll be a lot calmer going into this one. I don't think it's going to scare him that he's going to Notre Dame."

*On UCLA quarterback Patrick Cowan having a limited voice on Saturday because of a hit to the throat last weekend vs. Oregon: "I think at the line of scrimmage if you have a center that is sharp, you can get by at the line of scrimmage with the center handling those things. He's the only person you could get by doing it though. The center could identify the fronts. The center could handle silent snap count or actually call a count. A center is capable of doing it. We've done it before. We've done it with a silent snap count when you go when the center is ready, not the quarterback.

"I think the biggest problem would be just calling the play in the huddle. I would be interested to see how that pans out more than calling it at the line of scrimmage. You would have to do like in the olden days, run a play in and that person would have to come in and call what the play is. So I'll be interested to watch how that happens. But at the line of scrimmage you can do that without the quarterback calling it."

*On how healthy his team is after the bye week: "We look like we are the healthiest we have been in a long time. Even Paul Duncan, who was sick, is back now. It looks to me like we are ready to go. This is probably the healthiest we are going to be the rest of the way because now it is six weeks in a row with no byes. Its go, go, go, go. We look right now that we are as physically ready as we are going to be. Everyone's ready to go. I would tell you if there was a question mark, but I don't think there is anyone not ready to go."

*On NFL teams contacting him about returning to the pros: "Well, I think the fact that you guys know me so well and at this point most everyone here really knows what the deal is. There will continue to be feelers and feelers and everyone knows that I'm staying here until they fire me or I die. I'm here for life and that is what I said I'm going to do. So why would I not be a man of my word despite all the things that people can sit there and say with different character flaws that people have. One of my greatest strengths, which can also be perceived as a negative, is telling the truth. I've told you and everyone else that those things don't mean anything."

***Prediction: Notre Dame 31 UCLA 21: We've heard it all week long about how fast this Bruins defense is on the field. The two defensive ends, Justin Hickman and Bruce Davis, especially stand out with their 12 combined sacks. These two really are the key to the game. If they can disrupt the timing of the Irish offense, UCLA can stay in the game. If Hickman and Davis can rattle Brady Quinn, maybe the Notre Dame quarterback starts to shuffle his feet in the pocket. Do I think this will happen? For awhile, yes, but not the entire contest. With Bruins quarterback Patrick Cowan not able to use his voice effectively and this being the second start of his career, I expect the Irish defense, rested from the bye week, to assert themselves against the redshirt sophomore signal caller. This will result in the Notre Dame offense chewing up clock and wearing down the speedy UCLA defense. Another big day for Brady Quinn as the Irish move to 6-1 on the season.


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