Weis Answers Everything But BCS Questions

Charlie Weis wasn't going to be duped into answering any questions about the polls, Sunday, after last week's response was blown out of proportion. "Don't go there, don't go there," Weis said with a chuckle.

In what seemed like a harmless question and a funny reply the Notre Dame head coach gave last week when asked about the Bowl Championship Series and the Irish's standing, was then turned into a portrayal of a coach whining about the system by several media outlets not present at the press conference. What was to be expected, of course Weis was going to promote his team.

So when the possibility was asked of Notre Dame making a move up from No. 9 in the BCS this week, following the Irish's 38-14 defeat over Navy and the several close games played by higher-ranked teams, Saturday, Weis shied away.

"That's enough of this," he said. "I'm not going there. We have a little fun with your question, and next thing you know I'm the nationwide whiner. We'll stay away from that. Let's see if we can stay away from it for one week."

*No. 3 USC's 33-31 loss to Oregon State was a bit of bad news to the Irish on Saturday. Notre Dame could have benefited greatly from playing an undefeated Trojans' team in the season finale Nov. 25 for style points regarding the BCS. Now the Irish will have to get a lot of outside help when it comes to the National Title picture.

"The thing that if you are just watching the scoreboards, you'd like for them to win," Weis said. "But just like they're not rooting for Notre Dame to win, it's tough for me to sit there and say I'm rooting for them. Out of the mouth a teenager, (son) Charlie said Dad that's not all bad.

"It might be prophetic," Weis continued. "Obviously when you look at the grand pictures, it would have been more advantageous to be the other way.

*Quarterback Brady Quinn did what he normally does against the Midshipmen, completing 18-of-25 passes for 295 yards three touchdowns, and again, zero interceptions. The Irish signal-caller now has 2,223 yards passing, 21 touchdowns and only four interceptions, and is still firmly in the Heisman Trophy hunt. Like his team, he needs outside help. For example, Ohio State's Troy Smith slipping up, but Quinn is in position.

"I think he's someone that will be sorely missed around here when he's gone," Weis said. "I think he's a special player. I think they don't come around like him very often. I think that he'll be more appreciated once he's gone than while he's here because I think he's special."

*Like Quinn, Darius Walker had a solid afternoon against Navy, rushing for 103 yards and gaining another 32 yards by air. Also like Quinn, Weis thinks Walker is a guy that will be missed significantly when he is gone.

The junior now has 2,664 yards rushing in his career, and should pass Jerome Heavens (2,682) on Saturday against North Carolina for fifth place on ND's all-time rushing list.

Not bad for a guy that takes heat every week for not being fast enough. On top of that, Walker does the little things, picking up the blitz and catching the ball out of the backfield.

"When he goes and rushes it 20 times for over 100 yards, nice day at the office, sometimes it goes unnoticed," Weis said. "I think that conversation, that same conversation we're having now (about Quinn) is the same conversation that we can have a year from now."

*The Irish gained a season-high 471 yards, effectively running and passing the ball. Quinn was himself, and the running game rolled up 176 yards on the ground, including an impressive 16-yard touchdown run by Travis Thomas on a third-and-one play.

As usual, the team focused on the running game during the week, and this time it showed.

"I think that the first thing we did was we put in, as an offensive coaching staff, we put in a bunch more hardball, as we call them, plays, which meant we're just going to try to run it right at you," Weis explained. "A lot of times we're a draw outside-run team, but you noticed in this game, most of the runs started inside or were misdirections that were bounced outside. But what I wanted to do was give the offensive linemen a chance to just tee off on the guys in front of them.

Softball plays, Weis explained are draws and delays. There was much more hardball played on Saturday.

"I thought with the physical size we had over Navy, that we should give them a chance to just tee off at them and just come right at them."

*The Notre Dame defense pitched a second-half shutout, holding the Middies to just 74 yards of total offense the final two quarters.

Navy was moving the ball at will in the first half, rushing for over 200 yards and scoring both its touchdowns. The big stat Weis pointed out, in the first half, Navy gained 144 yards on nine first-down snaps. In the second half, they gained 10 yards on nine more first-down snaps.

"I thought we were really late in the alley a lot in the first half," Weis said. "On almost all the outside runs, with the exception of one run, whether it was the option or whether it was that quick pitch outside, we were just late in the alley.

The Irish made some halftime adjustments.

"In the second half we blew up a lot of those plays."

Whatever it is, the Irish have been a much better second-half team on defense.

"It's funny you say that because I brought the same thing up at our staff meeting today," Weis said.

"It's obviously a good thing that you can rally the troops at halftime and fix whatever problems there are. That's a good thing. So now the next thing is we have to see if we can't do that earlier. So that's going to be one of the areas that we're going to talk about."

*Weis was asked to assess the play of his team after eight games.

Offense: "I think we've been fairly inconsistent on the offensive side of the ball. We've been hot and cold, throwing it sometimes, running it sometimes, but what we haven't done is we haven't strung games together. We've just played that one, I'd like to see us come out against North Carolina and have another game like that.

Defense: "I'd like to get 60 minutes of consistency within the same game. So it's a different thing, for the offense it's game to game, for the defense it's half to half.

"I think that those two areas, when we get the the offense playing from game to game better, and if we get the defense playing better in the first half as well as the second half, I think we'll be onto something good.

Special Teams: I think we're starting to gain more confidence in our kickers. Carl (Gioia) is making his kicks. Ryan (Burkhart) is settled in as the kicoff guy. Geoff (Price) has had a pretty good year.

"I think the return game is still my biggest area of concern."

*Weis singled out two special-teams players during his opening statement.

"Nick Borseti had two tackles yesterday, and there's a guy that I haven't mentioned much, and he's playing hard on special teams and he definitely got noticed.

"Another guy I want to mention to the team today is Junior Jabbie. Here's a guy who often you ask me how the guys on the show team can work their way into getting some reps, there's a guy. All he was doing is running show team on the opposite side and did so well in what he did that we ended up putting him in there, and there's the first kickoff and he ended up making a tackle."

*Linebacker Travis Thomas had a 15-play package on offense he was responsible for against Navy.


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