News and Notes: 10/27/2006

*Here's the best from head coach Charlie Weis this past week:

*On Navy's option offense vs. the Notre Dame defense: "This is not a tricky type of situation here but you really have to play physical, fundamental, sound football when you're playing a team like Navy because they study the run game just the way I might study the passing game. They're so good at what they do that if you don't play sound, physical, fundamental, smart football, you're going to put yourself in a bind.

"The one thing your suspect to is by being overaggressive on the run, you leave yourself open for some play action shots. Now, they hit one last year and they had a couple more of them open. I think that's another thing that comes into play is making sure you don't let guys run right by you on the times they are going to throw their play action passes."

*On whose fault it is that the run game is having troubles: "It's a combination. It's everyone. It's Darius (Walker), it's the offensive line and it's the tight ends. Everyone is involved in the run game; it's not just the runner. It's scheme, it's the coach. There's a lot of things involved there.

"We've spent an exorbitant number of hours here in the last few days seeing if we couldn't get the running game headed in the right direction, and we'll see how it goes. I'm expecting some positive residual effects."

*On why freshman running back James Aldridge saw no carries last week: "Because in the game last week there was too many things we were having to do to try to generate some things - when you go from one thing to another mode to another mode, that's not tailor made for an inexperienced guy. When you're trying to find something that's going to work because what you thought was going to work is not working, you need some experience there until you can find a niche to create something happening."

*On why the Navy game is different than other rivalries: "They're different in the fact that Navy is a national school, and to me a national school means this is - Navy has a connotation of representing our country, not just an opponent. I mean, these are kids that a year from now could be in Iraq. This isn't your normal opponent right now that's getting ready - how many of these guys are going to end up playing in the NFL? After they put in their service, maybe one, two, five years from now, these are guys that are going to go represent our country. Therefore what they stand for is different than any other opponent that we play other than another armed service."

*On if he thinks that Notre Dame is a top-10 team right now: "I think we'll know that in about five weeks. We might be a top five team in five weeks. If you're basing off of one game, I'd say our defense played a top ten game and our offense didn't in the last game. But ask me that at the end of November because right now I couldn't answer that question."

*On being aware of where Notre Dame ranks nationally in statistical categories: "I know what we are. I'm worrying about wins, that's what I worry about. That's the stat I worry about. I'm worrying about how many wins we have. That's my stat. You ask me my stat, I'm worrying about wins.

"I'm cognizant of all the stats. I do self-scout. I look at them every Sunday. I get a computer printout of everything that happened and I compare it to where we were the previous week. I compare three games at a time versus the three games previous to that. I do a season analysis. I'm cognizant of what they are. But usually subjectively I've already gotten that feel because I just went through the game in my head anyway, and I've watched - I usually have a pretty good idea of what's gotten better or what's gotten worse. But that changes week to week. Every week that changes. I'm worrying about putting the team in a position to win. That's my number one responsibility."

*On Notre Dame dropping in the polls after beating UCLA: "One of the teams that jumped us had the same game that we had (Tennessee). They're playing at home, they're down and they win by a field goal. Another team that jumped us wasn't even playing (Florida). They're sitting at home eating cheeseburgers and they ended up jumping us. So that befuddles me.

"We go into a game with 27 seconds to go, come from behind, win a thrilling game and because we win a thrilling game, let's move us down because one team is not playing and the other team had the exact same game, exactly the same. Tell me how that works. Maybe I'm just stupid."

*On Navy playing with nothing to lose this week: "Unfortunately every week we play, it's a statement game for the other team. Beating Notre Dame is a statement game. So I look at it - UCLA, that would have been a big statement game, Navy would be a big statement game, week after that would be North Carolina, then it will be Air Force, then Army, then USC. Sometimes people think that we act arrogant, but really beating Notre Dame is national. It's not like local news. It's national news.

"I look at them all the same. I think that Navy is not going into this game talking about losing 100 times in a row. That's the last thing that they're worried about. They're trying to win one in a row. That's what they're trying to do. They're coming off a disheartening loss because they lost their starting quarterback and they have every intention of going out there and doing everything they can to win the game."

*On Ambrose Wooden being moved to the nickel back spot: "He knows that he is right there in the mix. It isn't like he's a second teamer. This isn't a demotion there. It's I and IA. He's that close. You can only put two guys out there at a time unless it's nickel and he's out there in nickel so he's not looking at it like it's a demotion."

*On how the run game has been looking through Wednesday's practice: "We are emphasizing trying to be better in the run game especially after our performance last week. I think we were better yesterday and better today and I expect to be better tomorrow. We'll see how that plays out on Saturday. I've seen improvement from the game. It didn't take much to get better the first day after how we finished on Saturday. Hopefully we get better everyday, better by Saturday. I'm hoping it's a slow uptake there."

***Prediction: Notre Dame 28 Navy 17. Weis has repeatedly stated that he wants to get the running game back on track. If that's the case, expect a lot of Darius Walker early in the contest. If the improvement isn't there from the UCLA game, Brady Quinn will once again have to take over the offense. I think that the senior signal caller will have another highly efficient game no matter how the rush attack performs. This will be the best passing game Navy will see all season and Jeff Samardzija, Rhema McKnight and John Carlson should be more than enough to overpower the Navy secondary. I'm predicting a quick, crisp game. The Midshipmen will get their yards on the ground but not the 316 they average per contest. A tough, feisty Navy bunch doesn't have enough explosive playmakers to keep up with the Irish. They won't be able to get to Quinn as effectively as UCLA did last weekend. Navy ranks just 84th nationally in sacks and the key to disrupting the Notre Dame offense is applying pressure to Quinn. Top Stories