Did you work out again today?"Yeah, it's a running day for the team and I run with them."
How close is Jimmy (Clausen) to being able to run a more opened-up game plan?"I think Jimmy is doing a fine job with what we are asking him to do. Week-to-week game plans are dictated by what you think he can do and what you think is best to win against an opponent. He's doing what we are asking him to do and that's what's most important."
Do you think if he was asked to make throws downfield, he would be capable of doing that?"So far he's done a good job practicing and going out and trying to execute the game plan we have given him. Where we go from here is that we are worried about one opponent right now and trying to game plan to beat that opponent."
Do you think it would build his confidence if he would make some long throws?"The most important thing for his confidence and the team's confidence and everybody's confidence is to try and best execute the game plan that is handed out to win that week. Whatever it calls on the quarterback to do, that's what he is going to try and do. That's what we try to coach him to do, just like everybody on the team. If we hand the ball off every down and win, then the quarterback had a great day."
Coach Weis said today that he wasn't breaking any confidence by saying he knows he has to open up the game against BC. I imagine Jimmy will like that aspect of the game plan this week."I think Jimmy has shown, as well as Evan (Sharpley), to be willing to do whatever is asked of them. They have been very excited about the chance to execute the game plan, whatever it calls for. We'll see how the game plan evolves this week and what the quarterbacks are asked to do. They are certainly willing to do whatever it takes to get a win."
Is it tough mentally for a quarterback to go into a game with three tight ends and know it's going to be a short passing game?"No, not at all, the quarterback takes the snap every play but he's a teammate of everybody else and you do whatever you are asked. When you're running the game plan that we had last week, you feel like it's good and you go in willing to do whatever that game plan asks you to do because, ultimately, you are going to do whatever you can to help the team win."
Ron, what are your memories of this series as a player?"It's been a gritty series over the years. I was here for five of the games. My first year '93, obviously I wasn't playing but on the team. They certainly came in and left a mark on us that year. We went up there the next year and they beat us. Then I think we won three in a row. It was a back and forth kind of rivalry there for a few years. It's enjoyable, you know, the two Catholic universities going at it. You can see why fans and the football world in general like this rivalry and like this game. And we do too; it's a fun rivalry to be a part of."
Do you think this series should continue?"I don't know, we play them next week and that's all I know for now."
What is your recollection of the '93 game?"Remembering some pieces of it, they were up with a big lead and we fought and came back and I think we took the lead. Then they came back and kicked a field goal. If I remember correctly, that's the way it went. It was an exciting game as a teammate and to be watching more from a spectator's view. It was an exciting game to be a part of, to be at, and to watch. Especially after the week we had before, beating Florida State, and leading up to that last home game and feeling like that was going to cap off the season. A lot of memories from that game, and it was a fun game to be a part of and a difficult one to lose, of course."
It had to be particularly agonizing for the older guys. Do you have any memories of that?"Not really vividly. Sorry. You always think about the seniors as a player and as a fan, I hope people do, and as a coach now. I remember being a senior and when you're a younger guy on the team, you always want to do as much as you can for the seniors and help them go out the right way. But I know that was a particularly hard year for them."
Do you remember the kicker's name?"That year, it was Kevin Pendergast (laughing). No, I've erased him from my memory."
Have you had a chance to look at any Boston College tape, especially their quarterback?"I have not. I know he's a heck of a player and you hear a lot about him. We have enough defense to watch without watching their offense (laughing). I don't have much to say about him."
How would you assess the play of the offensive line to this point?"I think we've done better, and I think we're beginning to develop some chemistry on the field and stuff. We're starting to see things a lot better, and I think that comes with experience, and I think we have improved. We've hit some rough spots, like last week. UCLA wasn't such a good run defense. But we're going to have to have a good run defense against Boston College. We know we need to improve and that's what we are trying to do."
What's it going to take to get over the hump and run the football against BC better than what you did last week?"Hard work, playing physical and knowing what you have to do, studying and getting in the classroom, looking at their film, taking DVD's home and watching those, and know their defense and try to get an idea of what they're doing before they do it."
Coach Weis mentioned about opening things up this week. Will that help to run the football without that many people in the box?"………This week, if it's open it up, we open it up; and we're going to try and run the ball the best we can."
How much of a concern is it when Coach talks about opening it up; because in the past when it was open it up, the blocking wasn't always there?"Well, to be honest with you, I think when we open it up, there have been times when we haven't blocked when we needed to, but I think we've gotten better at that as weeks have gone by we've gotten better at blocking and opening the offense, and I think we can this week."
Does this week feel different coming off a win?"Anytime you win, we were 0-5; to win our first game is exciting. I think everyone has a little more confidence than we had before. I think there is extra energy and we're working hard to get better this week."
Looking back, was that 0-5 weighing on you guys?"I don't know about the other players but for me it was. I didn't realize how heavy that monkey was on our backs. After you win, you say, ‘Hey, it was pretty heavy.'"
How did it feel when that clock ran down against UCLA?"It felt really good, really good."
Was today's practice as physical as last Tuesdays?"Yes, today was physical and that's good. We need to be physical and go out there and hit people going against your one defense, and having the scout team run the Boston College defense is important. That's really important because you see things full speed, game speed, and it gets you ready."
Coach Weis had talked about developing continuity on the offensive line. How do you go about doing that?"You have to talk to each other on the field. When you watch film of the practice the day before, you realize, ‘Hey, what's the guy next to me going to be doing on this play? What's the guy on my left have to do? What's the guy on my right have to do?' That builds continuity because everybody is thinking and everybody is working toward the same goal. Each play has a goal and when you know what the guy next to you is doing by watching film and studying and getting more reps, you learn by actual experience of playing in the game. You learn what the guy is actually doing and that builds continuity."
Do you think, because you had to learn two different offenses in practice, that hurt the continuity?"I don't think so. The offenses aren't too difficult as far as two offenses because there are a lot of similarities, like zone-blocking and stuff."
When it comes to run-blocking, is it predominantly physical or are there mental improvements that you can make there?"It's both; it's definitely physical but mental too. If you and a guy next to you are responsible for two different guys, you have to be prepared to know in this defense what can they do. Then you have to make your call and work with the other guy to get it done."