Question: Was the focus good?
Weis: I thought it was pretty good. I spent a little extra time here at the end reiterating what has to take place between now and Saturday at 2:44. I think that I've been very pleased with how practice went on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Now my major focus is to make sure they stay focused between now and kickoff. If they play the way they practiced we'll be in pretty good shape.
Q: Do you think they have the whole senior day implications in order?
W: They have it in its correct perspective, but the one thing I want to make sure that I do is to embrace this senior week slash senior night. You know the pep rally and senior day and I think we've tried to use that as a rallying cry for this week. I think it's been a very big positive.
Q: Did you not feel you did that last year?
W: Last year it was Syracuse. We played well on defense but the offense came out a little bit flat and I always have to look for a reason why you come out a little bit flat. It's subjective and I don't know the answer to that for sure but in hindsight maybe senior night slash senior day was part of the reason. I'm not expecting that this Saturday.
Q: You have confidence in Freeman, but how did Konrad and Will look in practice this week?
W: It's a new thing for them to be involved in Marcus's role. A lot of times, just how you didn't notice Marcus out there because he was just doing a nice, solid job, that's basically what happened with these two guys this week. You really didn't notice them much and that's a positive because they weren't doing anything negative to get themselves noticed.
Q: What's Justin Brown's status?
W: He's hobbling a little bit. We'll see. We held him today.
Q: Some other bowls already assume you have locked up a BCS bowl. How does that affect the team or focus at all?
W: That's based on the premise of us beating Army. I don't have to guard against it because they are already assuming something I'm not assuming. We haven't even played the game yet. Once we've beaten Army maybe I'll listen to those things, but let's beat Army first. They already have a W next to it, I'd like to wait till we play the game.
Q: What please you the most about the seniors?
W: First of all, I respect and admire their perseverance, especially the 5th year guys having to go through 3 guys instead of 2 guys. You can see there are a lot of very close relationships on this team. This is a good group of guys now. Forget about them as football players for a second. They are just a good group of guys, the type of guys that when I went to school here I'd like to say I surrounded myself with people like this and they are going to be great representatives of Notre Dame.
Q: Do you agree there is an unusual amount of good stories from this class?
W: There are a whole wide range. Let's look at Ndu or Ryan Harris. There are other countries, other religions. There is a lot of things. This is a cultural smorgasbord here. There is a little bit of everything and I think it is one of the things that makes this special. They are all on the same page and have a lot of camaraderie. A house divided is easy to see, but you walk into the locker room and you see no signs of that.
Q: Was there ever a moment with Brady when you knew "he's got it?"
W: When he started taking, let's not say my personality because that wouldn't be fair, but when he started taking over the team…what happens is when you have a relatively inexperienced guy running the offense the leader ends up being the play caller. Eventually it turns into the quarterback. Before that first spring was over he had grasped enough that I could step back and let him within his own personality take over the offense. At this point I still teach but we give him plays and he's the architect. He's got to go ahead and deliver the product. It happened in the first spring where you could see he started taking over and I didn't have to say something every play. If a guy ran a wrong route or the energy level in the huddle was down he would say it instead of me. Once that starts happening, you know you have a leader on your hands. One of the biggest problems in football is when you have to fabricate leadership. It is not a good thing. People can see through it and in this case it is certainly not fabricated, he is the real deal.
Q: Did anybody have a double eagle today?
W: No, I'd say he already finished the back nine. He pulled away. He must have done fine.
Q: It was somewhat of a house divided when you came here. How did the players come together?
W: I think it is really hard in sports to get people to suppress their egos. What I've seen this team do is exactly that. And the only way you get to that oneness you talk about is the players make it about the team and not themselves. How many times do you watch a game where people are mugging for the camera? I don't mean celebrating with their teammates; I mean they want it to be about them. These guys want it to be celebrating with their teammates, the fans, the student body. I think once you get guys who know how to do that, you have the right group of guys.
Q: Is it self-perpetuating from here on out?
W: I think it helps. It is easier to maintain it once people have been a part of it. Now the guys that are back next year have already been a part of that program. It is a little bit easier each year because everyone knows that's the way it's going to be. Freshmen come in and they've been glamorized and they are the best thing since sliced bread and all of a sudden they are just part of the package and they go through a short transition period, but you fall in line and move forward.
Q: Quarterback's included in the ego treatment?
W: Every position. I don't treat the QB different than any other. I'm unilateral, across the board. Everyone is open game. The offensive linemen like it when I get on Brady because I'm not yelling at them. Too many times the QB's are considered off limits but I think Brady would acknowledge the fact that he is not off limits.
Q: The players all wear the same shirt for the interviews. How did that come about?
W: When I was talking about the presentation of the player, I think part of the way you handle yourself is presenting yourself in a professional manner with your attire. Now this is coming from a guy walking off the practice field in a hooded sweatshirt. I think also wearing one thing doesn't allow one guy to be any different than the next guy. Every guy is the same. It's getting back to that oneness we were talking about before.
Q: Why no freshman interviews?
W: With myself personally, even thinking carefully about what I say, look how it can be distorted or taken. Now think about those guys not going through that thought methodology. They are trying to get thru 5 classes, getting thru exams, the pressure of the games, we are winning, and there is a lot of pressure on these guys. What I am doing is protecting them from pressures they don't need to have.
Q: Do you want them to see how the older guys handle it?
W: They all have mentors. Ryan Harris has Sam Young. Part of his legacy will be how he helped groom Sam Young. And Sam will be much better prepared. Next year he will be the guy who played all year as a freshman and people are going to come looking for him. And he's got to see how Ryan's handled himself all year which makes him better prepared for when he's that focal point guy.
Q: When are they no longer freshman?
W: As soon as the bowl game is over they are no longer freshman. But I will also have a day at the bowl game where I make them available. By that point their exams are done and I will make some ability for those guys.
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