Best of Weis

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

***On Navy shortening the game: "Like I said to the team yesterday, you're going to get fewer possessions. You're going to have to make the most of them. For example, last year we scored 38, and usually most games this year, 30s or 40s are regularity with them. And because the most touchdowns we've scored in a game offensively, let's be bottom line, we've only scored three touchdowns in a game offensively. This is a team that's scoring five, six touchdowns a game; it's definitely a concern about the production per possession because you're going to have fewer of them in the game."

***On when to find out what the young players can do: "You do that more in practice than the game, put them in those situations right there. Because when you get in the game, I can't be calling a play to figure out who's out there on this play. I don't even know when I'm calling a play whether Armando is going to be out there unless I say, ‘Regular Armando."

"So I think that the important thing is once you get to the game, you can game plan a specific person to do a specific thing, but normally you're getting into calling plays as the game management takes place. Those are things I do more in practice than I would in a game."

***On the contest on Saturday: "I think that Navy scores points against everybody. It doesn't make a difference who they're playing. And we haven't been scoring very many. So if you just look at it -- just factually, you'd have to say that this is not the greatest match up challenge wise when it comes to the points scored. Now, I expect us to play well this week. If (Monday) was any indication of how we're going to play, I would think we'd play pretty well."

***On running back James Aldridge, who sat out the USC contest with a high ankle sprain: "He's back and ready to go. It was encouraging watching him run around. I also let him know last week that it was going to be important for him Monday to be able to run around so we could see we could count on him. Judging him yesterday, he's ready to go."

***On playing more than the 11 freshmen that have already seen action: "I don't know how many more will join the mix, but I know that there's more than 11 that can play. That was pretty obvious. There's a couple of those guys -- we talked about those linemen, for example. There's a couple of those guys that can play. You know, those offensive linemen can play. Emeka (Nwankwo) hasn't played yet. Emeka can play. There's some guys that can definitely play. It's just when you decide to pull the trigger and go ahead and do that."

***On how the recruiting trips by the coaches went during the bye: "We blanketed the country pretty well. I think that we utilized all 10 of us. You only can have seven guys on the road at a time, so like I was on the road two of the days. Like I said, three guys have to be off and seven guys can be on with the nine assistants and myself. So we went to different parts of the country, and we think that at this mark we've utilized our six days that you can use during the season.

"We wrapped it up on Friday, and we basically got to see everyone we needed to see. One way or another, we got to see them all. Now we're into just a few official visits a week and see if we can wrap this recruiting up."

***On the benefit of the bye with regards to injuries: "There were a lot of guys -- you brought up James before. I don't know if we would have played last week whether he would have been able to play. He can play this week, but I don't know if he would have been able to play at a high level last week. You get a lot of guys with bumps and bruises. Bumps and bruises physically, and then there's the bumps and bruises psychologically, as well. I think when things aren't going too well I think one of the good things that happens is when you have time to pull away and get around your family and friends, I think that's always a good thing."

***On fixing the problems in the final four games of the year: "I think the most important thing that we understand a lot of our problems are related to internal things, not external things, and I think that the first thing we have to deal with, it wouldn't make a difference who the opponent was, is take care of our internal problems as far as growing and becoming a better team. Now as you apply it to Navy, okay, I think that if you -- anyone who takes Navy lightly, especially with the firepower they show on offense, could find themselves on the short end of the stick very easily."

***On the 43-game win streak in the series against Navy: "When you're 1-7, you're trying to beat whoever you're playing, and I think that the streak isn't nearly as important as winning a game at home. I think it's been since the last regular season game last year since we've won a game at home. I think that's the streak that they're most concerned with, winning a game at home."

***On the recruiting change from the past few years to now: "I think that what they've done, what their players you're talking about have done, is they've bought into the ‘we.‘ We've involved them more into our everyday -- anyone who's jumped on board and said yes, we involve them to everything that's going on. In other words, they're not like outsiders. Once they say yes and the commitment is a two way deal, we treat them like they're here, so they know everything that's happening just the way everyone else does. I think the fact that they feel ownership, they feel part of it. They obviously have to withstand the ribbing from the people in the towns they're living in or the kids they're going to school with. But I think they view themselves as part of the future."

***On Robert Hughes, whose brother was shot to death in Chicago on Tuesday morning: "He's back. He got back right before practice. He'll go to class and practice tomorrow and then I'm going to take him back tomorrow after practice to go spend some time with Robert and his family. We have worked it out through compliance, the NCAA, and our faculty board. We're going to take at least one bus, if not two buses, up there for the services on Friday morning. So we're going to split the staff, some of the staff will be going up then, and like I said, I'll be going up on Thursday – like I said, I'll be taking him home tomorrow after practice."

***On Weis driving Hughes home after practice on Thursday: "I just don't think a kid right now in an emotional state should be driving behind a car. We all have kids and all of a sudden they're going back at 90 mile an hour and not paying attention or things like that. I think there are a couple of things precautionary I think as any father/dad would be concerned with. I think that is just a precautionary measure; plus it gives me an opportunity to spend a little one-on-one time with the family."

***On Trevor Laws at the next level: "He's a very disruptive inside player. He's not overly short, but he's powerful and quick off the ball. The teams that we were coaching had a lot more of the two-gap players. He's more of a typical pro 4-3 inside defensive lineman. So it's more guys we went against than we actually had on our team. There's a whole bunch of them that he reminds me of; those pains in the butt that are in the backfield all day. When he's in a one-gap system, he's pretty tough."

***On being ready defensively for the option: "The things we are going to do, we have been practicing for two weeks. So what you do against this team is you don't put in too many things. So you do less and you practice it more. So there aren't a hundred calls going into this game. I think, going into it you just mix up those things, so who's got the dive, who's got the pitch, who's got the speed sweep, who's got the load option, who's got the wheel route, you'd better know and each of those defenses who's got who or you end up like last week you saw them run an inside run. The fullback goes 70 yards for a touchdown because everyone is worrying about running to the edge."

***On the health of freshman quarterback Jimmy Clausen: "He looks better; he's not perfect but he's better."

***Prediction: Notre Dame 31 Navy 30. My reasoning for this game is simple. The Midshipmen are going to score. Navy is first in the nation in rushing offense while the Irish are 93rd against the run. Do the math. But the big question: can Notre Dame score enough to keep up? The season stats would say no. The Irish have topped out at 20 this year in the win over UCLA. But the Midshipmen have as bad a defense as the Irish have offense. If Notre Dame loses this contest, this will be the game everyone remembers 20 years down the road because of the 43-game win streak. But I'll take the Irish, who had two weeks to devise a way to put points up on the scoreboard against a porous defense, in a squeaker over game Naval Academy. Top Stories