News and Notes: 11/6/2007

Head coach Charlie Weis said after he addressed the media concluding the 46-44 triple overtime loss to Navy, there were players still in their uniforms in a depressed state of mind. Weis said this was a positive sign because it showed the Irish head coach that the team still cared about the current season and that they haven't thrown in the towel. Weis got another encouraging sign on Monday.

Monday is the day Weis and the coaching staff gives off to the players. As mandated by the NCAA, teams must give their players one day off per week. But this doesn't mean the players can't come into the Guglielmino Athletics Complex to watch film, work out or hang around. That's what happened on Monday and Weis thinks it's a good thing.

"On Sunday the spirits were lifted up the way they always are," Weis said on Sunday. "(Monday) was amazing about the number of guys on the players' day off that came over to this building because we don't request them to come over here on their day off. But I must have seen 90 percent of the team over here yesterday looking to do more, to do their part, trying to find a way to get things right.

***Junior Kyle McCarthy started in place of David Bruton, who injured his hamstring a few games back. McCarthy recorded seven tackles on the afternoon. Bruton did play as well and totaled four stops. Weis said for Saturday's contest against Air Force, Bruton is a go.

It'll probably be wait-and-see on Pat Kuntz. The junior nose tackle got kneed in the back in the first half loss to Navy. Kuntz did not play the rest of the contest and was seen at the end of the game on the sidelines in street clothes. Kuntz, who is sixth on the team in tackles with 38 and first in pass breakups with nine, will practice today but a final decision won't be made until later in the week.

"He's considerably better than we thought he was going to be," Weis said of Kuntz. "He's going to practice some today, and then we'll just kind of see how it goes. Saturday I wouldn't have known if that would be the case or not, but he is going to practice some today."

After Kuntz was injured, freshman Ian Williams got a chance to play the remaining three quarters of action, plus three overtimes sessions. Williams totaled a career-high 11 tackles in the contest and the freshman is tied with Dwight Stephenson, Jr. for seventh on the team in tackles with 30.

"What was more pleasing than surprising was his production while he was in there," Weis said. "I think it might have been more surprising to him because you never count on playing as much as when you're a backup as he played in that game."

***It was an emotional week for Robert Hughes. The freshman running back's brother, Earl, was gunned down in Chicago a week ago today. Hughes went back home that afternoon but returned to practice on Wednesday. Weis then drove the freshman back to Chicago after practice on Thursday and a busload of players and coaches made the trip on Friday for the funeral service.

In the game against, Notre Dame got inside the five-yard line on their first offensive possession. The goal line running back has been Travis Thomas but Weis wanted to give Hughes the chance to score. The freshman didn't disappoint as Hughes bulled his way for a three-yard touchdown to give the Irish a 7-0 advantage. As Hughes and the Irish head into Air Force week, Weis will monitor how the freshman is responding on and off the field.

"I'd like to try to get him more involved, but you have to wait and see if he's in a fog," Weis said. "If he's out there physically, you've got to see if he's going to be out there mentally. So I think that you just have to read it and you have to manage that one. It isn't like you can push it.

"I've been able to start pushing him a little bit more. Like yesterday I told him to get your butt to study hall. Last week I would have never said that obviously. You're trying to get things to a more normal routine."

***Notre Dame had won 15 straight games over the service academies before last week's triple overtime stunner.

***Weis pointed out that Air Force is 7-0 when a Falcons player rushes for over 100 yards. In Weis' career at Notre Dame, the Irish are 3-10 when that situation occurs and 0-5 this year.

***The Notre Dame offensive line, on average, outweighs the Air Force defensive line 305 pounds to 263 pounds. The Falcons offensive line, on average, weighs 277 pounds compared to the Irish's 284 pounds along the defensive line.

***Weis on sophomore offensive lineman Sam Young: "I think he's played much better on the left side than he has played on the right side. He looks natural both in the run game and the pass game. I think that what he's going to continue doing is as he continues getting stronger -- he's already grown into this big old body now, and as he continues getting stronger, he's going to become more dominant as time goes on. But he looks like he's settled into the position that he looks most natural at." Top Stories