Weis Loves the Effort

One could imagine the Notre Dame football team taking this week lightly. With 1-7 North Carolina making a visit to South Bend this weekend and their head coach John Bunting in lame duck status, maybe the Irish players let up a little bit in practice.

Not the case. Head coach Charlie Weis was impressed by the week of practice that his team put out. Kickoff between Notre Dame and the Tar Heels is set for 2:43 p.m. on Saturday and NBC will have the national television coverage. Weis mentioned the example of his offense running 18 plays in a certain period of time. The tempo in and out of the huddle was so high that there were a few minutes left on the clock after the plays had been completed. It was an all-around high level of intensity this week in game preparation for North Carolina.

"Effort wise, I'm not saying every play was perfect, but effort wise was the best since I've been here," Weis said on Thursday after practice. "Effort wise, it was the best since I've been here. Of course, as a coaching staff we addressed this before the week started that was the way it was going to be. I think if you ask any player on the team, we were flying around out there. This is the best we've been since I've been here. Of course, I told them at the end that they still have to make plays. There are other things that go with it but it's the best week of effort we've had."

Weis has been preaching consistency with his team all season long. Notre Dame is 7-1 on the year. But at times, especially during the UCLA contest and the first half of the Michigan State game, there hasn't been a consistent, dominating carry over from week to week. Against Navy in Baltimore, the defense played poor in the first half but stifled the Midshipmen option attack in the second half. The Irish offense was on point for the entire game. Can Notre Dame carryover the performance to this week versus the Tar Heels?

"The big word I've used with you guys is consistency," Weis said. "Well part of consistency is playing well from the start of the game to the end of the game. It's not just week to week but in the game. That's what they've worked on this week and hopefully it shows in the fruits of their labor."

The excellent week of practice doesn't always translate into great efforts on the weekend.

"I have been on other teams where we had a great week of practice and ended up getting our butts kicked," Weis said. "That has happened before. Hopefully, that's not the case here. I would like to think that the way they practiced would pay off on Saturday."

Now, the game on Saturday is all that awaits Notre Dame from taking their record to 8-1 on the season and one step closer to a possible BCS bowl appearance. Tonight, Weis and his players can watch two teams above them in the rankings. West Virginia, No. 3 in the BCS, travels west to face No. 5 Louisville. The winner has a great shot at reaching the national title game, possibly against the winner of the Ohio State-Michigan contest. Weis will be watching but he prefers a different visual view.

"I like to watch coaching tape," Weis said. "I hate watching games with a critical eye because all I do is second guess everyone just like they second guess me. I like to watch the game and the way it unfolds. I like to watch the ebb and flow of the game and the strategy on both sides. I'm not really worrying about their offenses and defenses. I'm watching it just like everyone else. I'll have my son tell me everything I don't know."

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