News and Notes: 11/17/2006

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

*On the schedule for Senior Week: "First thing we are going to do, every senior, fourth or fifth year guy here, will all go to the hotel regardless if they played. I think it's something special for them to be a part of because not everyone goes to the hotel the night before the game.

"So we have extra hotel rooms to make sure they are all there and of course all their parents have been invited for the pep rally on Friday night. We've gotten responses from everyone and close to everyone's parents will be there, too. So I think it will be a special.

"I like the way it was done before I even got here; that they bring them on Friday night. Because on game day, it gets to be kind of a distraction. It's already an emotional day as is, to realize this is last home game of your career. But I like the fact that they get to be recognized on Friday night at the pep rally."

*On tight end John Carlson's injury: "He won't play this week. I could lie and say he's day-to-day and just try to throw a smoke screen out there. But he won't play this week and he won't play next week. And he'll be at the hotel and he'll travel with us the next week and he'll be ready to go for the bowl game, whatever bowl game that would be."

*On how big Carlson's injury is to the offense: "I think it would be more threatening if we didn't have that type of confidence in Marcus (Freeman). It would be one thing if you were saying, well, now all of the sudden your two freshman tight ends are now your starter. If you have a senior who has been playing a whole bunch the last couple of years, even though he's been anonymous because the front line guy has been getting the notoriety, a guy with Marcus stepping in, I think that everyone on the team has total confidence that Marcus can perform.

"So therefore, it alleviates a lot of the concerns you would have, game planning and everything else, because you're not changing anything with him in there."

*On how this senior class will be remembered: "I think their legacy will be determined in the next three weeks. You're always remembered by how it ended. That's out you're remembered."

*On freshman running back James Aldridge: "Our plan with James was to try to get them involved in more meaningful reps. The short number of reps we've given him at end of games, we know he can run the ball hard, but at end of the game when there's no other threat than just running the ball. So it was good to get him into the mix with all of the starters in there where he got a little taste of what it's like when there's a lot of versatility. It's not just hand the ball to you to the right and happen the ball to you to the left."

*On senior quarterback Brady Quinn: "I can't imagine any player in this country being more important to his team than Brady Quinn is to ours. I can't imagine it. Maybe that exists. I just can't imagine it. Therefore, he's meant it to our team, he's meant it to our coaching staff and to our entire university. He'll be dearly missed."

*On all the one-loss teams in the BCS race: "Everyone will make their case. There isn't one team out there that doesn't believe that they are the team. Everyone thinks that way. And after this Saturday, there's going to be another team with one loss and they will be making their case, too.

"There's a bunch of teams out there that are just making their case. I think it's just really important for our team to just go out there and really play our best game against Army. That's what I think. That's all we can do. We can't control any other factors. That's the only game that we can have something to say about and we respect our opponent."

*On Army being a trap game: "On the surface, yes. That's why I gave that analogy. On the surface, it would be.

But, I only answer that with a somewhat rhetorical question. And you're going to play for the last time, ever, at your home stadium in front of your home fans, in front of your students that you've been buddies with for four years with your family and friends here. How could you want to do anything but play your best? I know that's rhetorical, but I'd like to think that should be the fact we're playing Army.

"One thing you do know about any of the service academies. They talk about physical matchups and all that stuff. The one thing you do know is you're always going to get their best. That's what you're going to get. You're all going to get their best. You're never going to get anything but their best.

*On Saturday's Ohio State-Michigan game: "Obviously you have one versus two. The two undefeated teams have got it rolling. It should be an interesting. It should be an interesting matchup. We obviously played one of the teams this year and played one of the teams last year and we lost to both of them.

"It will just be interesting. Obviously Ohio State is playing at home. I think turnovers will decide the game. I think the critical factor in the game is whoever turns it over. I think that on Sunday morning, you look down and say, they turned it over this many times versus that many times, that team probably won the game."

*On the ordeals the fifth-year seniors have gone through: "You have to give them a lot of credit. In their time span from being recruited to now, they've gone through three guys and a whole bunch of assistants on the way. It's not just the head man. We're talking about all those systems and all those coaches they've been through. You have to give them medals for perseverance."

*On the kicking competition this week: "I think that (Carl) Gioia is still the resounding leader in the clubhouse. After a two day kick-a-thon, it's not even close."

*On finishing the season on a high note: "Last year, we went 9-3 and everyone was happy and I was miserable. And why? Because we lost the Fiesta Bowl to Ohio State. You can say whatever you want about last year but that was it. Everyone remembers the bowl loss in the Fiesta. I don't think anyone on the team wants to be remembered that way. They want to beat Army. They want to win their last regular season game and they want to win their bowl game. Wherever that puts you, it puts you."

***Prediction: Notre Dame 45 Army 10. Let's face it: the Black Knights are not a very good football team. Army lost 43-0 to Air Force at home. Notre Dame whipped the Falcons on the road 39-17 despite holding the ball for just 21 minutes. This contest could get real, real ugly but Weis refuses to run the score up on opponents, especially one the character and integrity of the Black Knights. Quinn will not disappoint the home fans in his last game at Notre Dame Stadium. The senior quarterback is statistically the best Irish signal caller ever. It'll be hard for future quarterbacks to break his lofty records. His two targets playing their final home contest, Jeff Samardzija and Rhema McKnight, should have no problems against an Army secondary with an inflated pass defense ranking. Defensively, last home game I challenged the defense to get a shutout versus North Carolina only to have the Tar Heels put 26 up on the scoreboard. If Army scores in the 20's, the Irish defense should not be a happy bunch. The final tune-up before the biggie next week at USC will be a cakewalk. Notre Dame fans can start thinking of the Trojans by halftime and the senior players will be able to soak in the home atmosphere one last time with the blowout victory.


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