News and Notes: 11/23/2006

*Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis comes from the school of Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick. Not only are these two men coaching giants in the National Football League, they are experts at playing mind games with their teams. Weis must have learned a trick or two. Sunday is usually meant for review of the day's previous game. Weis pulled a fast on the Irish players.

"Usually you're a little tired and sore when you walk in Sunday," Tommy Zbikowski said on Wednesday. "When you have the opposing team's fight song blaring when you walk in, you start laughing. Saw Coach (Weis) with a USC hat on. It was pretty funny when you walk in."

"If you know Coach Weis, you know he's always up to something," Brady Quinn said. "I think when we first came in, we kind of heard the song playing and everything and as we walked in the team meeting, everyone understood he had something planned. He showed a couple clips of some things that were said on TV and everything.

And what Notre Dame hater did Weis show his players?

"Mark May is a huge Notre Dame fan, not sure if you knew that," Quinn joked. "He was apparently trying to get Coach (Lou) Holtz to jump on the bandwagon, offered him a ticket. Lou, understanding Notre Dame, the mystique, the tradition, I think may have some sort of intuition about what may happen."

*It's been mentioned time and time again this week. The Notre Dame seniors have yet to beat USC. The Trojans have beat the Irish four straight times. Three of those contests were 31-point blowouts but Weis seems to have narrowed the gap as his team only lost by three points last season. There would be a hole in the career accomplishments of Quinn if USC won on Saturday night.

"That's pretty big as far as where it comes in to motivate me," Quinn said. "I think since I've been here, there's a lot of things I wanted to accomplish. When I first got here, that was something I never thought would really come to my mind at this point in my career.

"Going into this game, that's definitely one of the things that's on my mind, that's been helping me kind of stay motivated and focused really what we have in front of us."

*USC wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett sustained a concussion last week in the win over California. He did it the hard way. With the contest tied at nine in the fourth quarter, the junior wideout caught a post pattern between two Golden Bear defenders for a touchdown. Jarrett paid the price as he was leveled by the California safety. He was taken out of the game but it appears as if he'll play on Saturday.

Jarrett needs no introduction to Notre Dame fans. He was the recipient of the 4th-and-9 pass from Matt Leinart in last year's classic contest. This season, Jarrett has played in nine games, catching 48 balls for 610 yards and seven touchdowns. His 6'5" frame allows a height advantage over smaller defenders. Jarrett has also perfected shielding his body on defensive backs on receptions.

"I think just the combination of his size and his speed," Zbikowski said about what impresses him about Jarrett. "He's got some strength, too. I remember watching the national championship game last year when he caught the ball over the middle. I think there was like two or three Texas guys that had a chance to hit him. They hit him and he powered his way into the end zone. He's got pretty much all the strengths for a wide receiver."

*Quinn currently holds 35 school records. No. 36 is in reach with a win on Saturday. Currently, the senior quarterback has 29 victories in his Notre Dame career. This is tied with Tom Clements (1972-74) and Ron Powlus (1994-97). A win at USC would make him the record holder.

*Once again, USC does not want to be referred to as Southern Cal. In the media notes handed out by the Sports Information Department, the Trojans would rather be called USC, Southern California, So. California, Troy, Trojans and Women of Troy (only for women's teams).

*More impressive numbers on USC's current run: they've been ranked in the Associated Press Top-10 for the past 56 games and been in the Top-Five 61 of the past 65 contests. Also, they've scored 20-plus points a national record 62 straight times.


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