Is everything in order with the pre-game procedures?"You would think that would be a little thing. But even for the guys that have been through it before - their spots that they go through for pre-game and all the new guys you have going through it - going through the whole procedure for the first time you would be surprised that if you don't practice it, how disorganized it has the potential to be. So just being able to explain to them the whole thing - we went in and afterwards we went back out for about 15 minutes. We went in like you do before the game; so we stayed in the same amount of time we normally do; and Father Doyle (Paul) said the prayer like he normally does. At least everyone kind of got the gist of how everything goes leading up to the game. After practice we talked to them about - especially the freshmen - going over after shaking hands and going over to the student body. At least now on Saturday you are not worrying about coaching the players on what to do unrelated to actually playing in the game."
Do the players have the words to the alma mater down now?"They've got it down, I feel confident."
Coach Brown said yesterday he wasn't sure if he would be in the booth or on the field. Has that been decided?"He'll be on the field; he's just not telling you. Maybe he thought I would get mad if he did tell. He'll be on the field. I need his enthusiasm, and I think our defensive players feed off his enthusiasm. Although you can always see the game better from the press box; you can never cut down the importance of the enthusiasm of the person in that position, which he definitely has."
Have you noticed the jitters getting stronger; especially with the younger players?"No, because they put up a pretty good façade at this point; but I know they're there. The jitters are even getting stronger for some of the older guys; just to get to the first kickoff. One of the most important things when you are starting off, especially with a team like Georgia Tech that doesn't give up very many points in the first quarter, is to make sure that you sustain the early blows that happen in the first quarter of the first game and make sure nothing bad happens. I think that is critical to be in that situation right out of the box. Once you start smacking each other in the mouth a few times, those jitters go away in a hurry. You just have to make sure nothing bad happens when you first get going."
You're the favorite team. Should you be?"Favored by whom (laughing)? I don't know about those things. All I know is that they have 17 returning starters and they are a very good football team, and we have a lot of respect for them. We have far fewer guys back and we are playing at home. When you look at games, you always have to look at the home team and give them the positive of playing at home, but in reality, I think it is going to be a tough match-up."
Defending your turf, is that sort of a catch phrase for this team?"We haven't had a home-opener since I've been here; we've been away. So this is a new one right here and I think that starting off 1-0 is really the most important thing. I try to make sure whether the games are at home or away, the games are of equal importance and we are just trying to start off 1-0. That's very, very important."
It was reported that Demetrius Jones' high school coach said Demetrius will be the starter Saturday."Demetrius' high school coach? I haven't spoken to Demetrius' high school coach. I have not talked to him, and I'm the one who decides how many snaps everyone plays. So, therefore, I have no comment. Tell him I said hello when you talk to him though."
Is it frustrating to you when coaches or others make these claims?"No, whether it was Demetrius' coach or any of the other guys' coach. They want their guys to be on the field and make plays, and I would want them to want their guys to be the guy. I would want that. I have no disrespect for any of the high school coaches that coached those guys right there, but they don't decide who plays and they don't decide how much. I think I'm the only one who does that."
Could this week's starter actually play himself out of that position?"There's two parts to the answer of that question. First of all, you don't want to create a situation where quarterbacks are fragile; where you are always looking over your shoulder for a quick hook. That's important that you instill confidence in your quarterback. The flip side of that is; I believe we have more than one quarterback that we could win with and I've been saying it all along. There wouldn't be a three-man competition if I didn't think there were three guys capable of winning for you. So if you're asking if one guy is going to be there forever, maybe. Are you asking if two guys could play this week? The answer to that is also maybe. The thing is I don't know the answers to all of the questions so far because you have to wait and let the chips fall where they may. So we'll just have to see how it goes."
Was it your plan to keep the pressure off the guy who is going to be the starting quarterback by not announcing it sooner?"That might be the best question I've been asked this whole time, Tom. It might be the best question I've been asked because it was by far the number one reason that you do this. Why would you want to take somebody after you've had a guy like Brady Quinn, who has been starting here for four years, why would you want to anoint someone a few weeks ago and have them living under the microscope of being the Notre Dame quarterback before they ever even played a down. So when everyone sits there and says Weis is an idiot …ta dah ta dah ta dah... in the meantime, it's not on them and it's allowed them to be a lot looser in their preparation which to me was very, very important."
Will the number one guy take the snaps in warm-ups or will you disguise it right up to the start?"I haven't really thought about how devious I'm going to be yet (laughing). I really haven't gone there yet. That's a good question though. I'll have to go think about that one this evening. But I haven't really thought about that one yet. I really haven't thought about the answer to that question at that point. The thing is, at the point where we are right now, what's happening is we are getting closer to actually playing the game. You can only be equal opportunity for so long. Then there's a lot for just the camaraderie and we're going through the battle together fellows …dah da dah da dah. I can tell you, when we are doing the team period where we're running about a half dozen plays, I know all three of them will get reps in those half dozen plays because they all need to be in the huddle with the linemen to call the operation. So if they end up being in the game, they'll be ready to do that."
Last year you used to have a date night with Brady on Fridays where you would go over the next day's game. Will you do that with all three quarterbacks?"We'll be pow-wowing as a group tomorrow about 8:30. We'll be pow-wowing while the rest of the team will be going over special team scouting reports. I'll be in a mini group with Ron (Powlus) and the quarterbacks."
So it will be all three of them?"Uh huh."
Are you bringing somebody in to talk to the team tomorrow night?"Les Steckel is the head of the FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes). He is the President and CEO of the FCA. We go back a few years, and he'll be speaking to our team at chapel tomorrow night."