Best of Weis

Here's the best this past week from Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis, plus a prediction.

***On making the move to Evan Sharpley at quarterback: "Just like I said the other day when we were talking, I said that I was going to talk to the medical people and talk to the coaching staff about where we were. I think there's a lot of people with bumps and bruises. That's not the sole reason why we're doing this. But I think Evan this week gives us the best chance of winning. And it's the exact same thing I told both quarterbacks, just so you know. I met with them yesterday and I told them exactly what I just said to you."

***On the multiple transfers being worrisome: "Usually the guys that transfer got beaten out. That's why they leave. It would be one thing if it was -- if you're telling me that John Carlson is transferring tomorrow, I'm going to start worrying, okay? But I really can't worry too much about guys that leave that aren't starting. I've got to worry about the guys that are playing."

***On Jimmy Clausen's reaction to being replaced: "He's great. The one thing good with the players, not that they like everything I say, but they know that I'm always going to tell them the truth and I don't have any tainted views, and I just explained to him very clearly that this gives us the best chance of winning this week, and that's what we're doing."

***On getting offers out to the current junior class in high school slowly: "Because we don't have very many numbers to be able to give out. That has a lot to do with it. When you have 70 guys on scholarship and you're going to have a full 25, you can be more aggressive. But next year that number might be 15.

"So you've got to be very cautious because all of a sudden -- let's say this year we're taking four or five offensive linemen. Let's say next year we're taking two. It's different when the numbers change. You can't just start -- if you're trying to get five, you have to think about 10. Well, if you're trying to get two, you have to think about four. There's a big difference in numbers. When you start to get the numbers right, which we're about ready to be, now it's like one guy leaves, you replace that guy, and it hasn't been like that to this point. That's why you have to be a little slow when your number is going to be low as far as how many guys you're going to be able to take."

***On wide receiver Robby Parris: "He's not acted like a sophomore. He's playing with more savvy and somebody who's got more real experience than he has. This is his first time really playing. He runs good routes. He's dependable for the quarterbacks. They know where he's going to be. He's fairly smooth for a guy as big, and he's got good hands."

***On whether or not Weis talked to a sports psychologist after the UCLA win: "I did. People always talk about the psychology of sports when you're losing. Well, there's also a psychology of sports when you've won. It became knowledge to me that there's a syndrome called the relief syndrome, where when you've been losing for a while and then all of a sudden you win, a lot of times there's a big letdown because you won. You would think there would be a big letdown when you've lost after you've been winning for a while, but I guess that works both ways, and that was something I was not really familiar with. I was made aware of it, and that gave us a chance to address it right off the bat."

***On the running back rotation with James Aldridge being doubtful this weekend: "I think what we would not do this week, since this is USC, is just throw Robert (Hughes) in and Armando (Allen) in there right off the bat. I think that we would go a little heavier with Travis (Thomas) being involved in this mix, too, more than he has this year. I think that that would be part of that combination. I'm not saying by committee, but I think that he would probably take off some of the pressure of James, and obviously Robert and Armando would be much more involved."

***On the issue of the grass being long back in the 2005 contest vs. USC: "No, I don't have any comment. The only thing, and I will comment on one thing. I knew that in that game, and I remember Desmond Reed got hurt in that game, okay, and no way do you ever want a player getting hurt from another team for any reason.

"But this is the Midwest, and we're going to play five games in a row at home. That's where we are right now. Now, fortunately this is only game two. But it isn't like our grass grows like we're living in the south. It is what it is. It's patchy and it's not the same as playing on Bermuda grass in the south. It isn't like we were playing on field turf; I don't think that would go over too well in Notre Dame tradition. It's grass, it's mid October, it's not as perfect as it would be earlier in the year. That's just the way it is."

***On the green jerseys that'll be worn on Saturday to commemorate the 1977 national championship team: "I think they think it's cool. I think they're ugly, they think they're cool. I think that any throwback jersey definitely is unique, and it's something that I'm sure it'll be a hot commodity in a bookstore relatively quickly because I think that any time you have a throwback thing, it's something that just hasn't been around. When I showed it to them, I figured it was going to be an emphatic no. I brought them in here, `here's this, do you want to wear it?' `Yeah, yeah.' I said, `you've got to be kidding me.' It was unanimous. The captains, they couldn't have been any more fired up about it.

"I told them at the time that we're going to say it now, get it out of the way now, let everyone know that we're doing it, and I think there will be a lot of people that like it. I like the new green jerseys that we wore last year. I like the color of those. But I got outvoted on this one."

***On the status of David Grimes and Maurice Crum after Wednesday's practice: "Grimes looked better today than he did yesterday. I didn't see Mo today, but Mo was going to try and go as much as he could today to see what he had. He went limited yesterday, but I told him let's see what you've got today. If he looked okay, I would probably hold back on him a little bit tomorrow so I can have him full-go on Saturday. To be honest with you, I don't know about Mo yet because I didn't see enough of the defensive practice, the last half of practice."

***On what the rivalry means to Weis as an alum and opponent: "I always know that Notre Dame has been very big making sure that they show due respect to every opponent. But when you have a cross-country, not an intersectional, rival, when you have a cross-country rival that you play on an annual basis, I understand Pete (Carroll) yesterday or whenever he was talking, talked like Notre Dame is almost a conference game for them because we play each other every year and we have a lot of familiarity; that and the fact that it has been a heated up-and-down type of thing and right now they have hit it for five in a row. It gives a lot of importance to the game."

***On whether or not the 2005 game, which is the biggest moment since Weis took over, bothers him since it ended in a loss: "That's a fair question and does it bother me that people remember the high point being a loss? Absolutely, who wants to be remembered for a loss? Taking that aside, I think it was a great football game and you don't get a chance very often in your career to be in a game that was a great football game and it was that. But I would like to have been on the other side of that."

***On Sharpley this week at practice: "When you're not the regular guy in the huddle and you're getting a third of the reps, so to speak, the huddle kind of not belongs to you. It's almost like you are taking time in there. This week the one thing I have seen from Evan is him becoming more authoritative in the huddle because he knows he's the guy. He's getting the reps so I think, as much as anything, you can see the confidence and the guys getting used to him calling the plays and him calling the snap-count. I think he definitely has shown more command this week."

***Prediction: USC 27 Notre Dame 10. This will be the Irish's final chance in 2007 to get a high-profile victory. Notre Dame has been showing a few signs here and there of improvement but will it be enough to beat the 14th-ranked Trojans?

The one factor that could aid an Irish upset is that USC comes into the contest with a litany on injuries. The Trojans have been decimated along the offensive line while big-name stars such as linebacker Rey Maualuga and leading rusher Stafon Johnson are also dealing with bumps and bruises. It'll be wait and see to find out exactly who'll play. But at the very least, USC will be less than 100 percent.

The other big factor is the move to Evan Sharpley. Can the junior quarterback make the offensive productive? Sharpley led the team to three scoring chances last week but converted just one, a touchdown pass to Robby Parris. Injuries or not, the Irish will have to score a season-high in points to pull the upset. But that's only more than 20, put up against UCLA and seven of those came on Maurice Crum's fumble return for a touchdown.

This game is a tough spot for Sharpley. The Trojans are fifth in the nation against the run. Notre Dame is dead last in the nation in rushing and leading rusher James Aldridge is doubtful for the game. The stats say the Irish will have to beat USC through the air. Parris is emerging as a threat in the passing game and John Carlson is starting to see more passes thrown in his direction. But I don't believe Notre Dame has enough weapons to win this way against a stingy USC defense. If the Trojans break the 20-point barrier, it should be enough for them to win for the sixth straight time in the series. Top Stories