Best of Weis

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

***On the team's mood after the Navy loss: "On Sunday, the spirits were lifted up the way they always are. Yesterday 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, you know, looking to do more, to do their part, trying to find a way to get things right."

***On what Weis will look for in making the quarterback decision: "Whoever plays the best. That's what you look for. It really is not that difficult. Sometimes you make it more difficult than it is, just whoever plays the best."

***On the performance of Ian Williams in the Navy game, where the freshman totaled 11 tackles: "I was very pleased with Ian Williams' performance. I can't say I was surprised, but going into the game we thought that we were going to have to play him some more because of all the chop blocks that go on. We thought he was going to have to get more action and rest Pat (Kuntz) some. We didn't realize that Pat was going to get banged up and he was going to have to play so much, but I thought he handled it and played pretty well."

***On the difference from last year to this year in Air Force's Chad Hall: "They're finding more ways to get the ball in his hands. Last year, he was primarily just a running back that would get the ball. Now they're using him there, sometimes he's -- a lot of times he's at wide receiver. For example, to run the option, they have three different formations with the same -- with one personnel group, for example, they have three different formations to run an option, and in all of them, when it's all said and done, they want the ball in his hands."

On whose responsibility it is to set the edge on defense: "It's a combination of outside linebackers and/or the force. Now, the force could either be a safety or corner based off of what the coverage is. For example, if you're playing cover two, the corners are the guys that are responsible for run force, where if you're playing cover four, the safeties are responsible for run force. So it's the outside linebackers and the Air Force guy."

On what Weis does with freshman Robert Hughes, a week after his brother was killed in Chicago: "I'd like to try to get him more involved, but you have to do the same thing you talked about in the question earlier, you have to wait and see if he's in a fog. 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."

***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 more 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."

***On the possibility of recruiting a kicker in the next class: "It all depends on whether or not I think we have the answer in house or not. I think that's something that we would not address until well past the season because we're involved with some people right now that that's an area we would address when we do evaluations of us. If we didn't think we were good enough, that's what we'd have to do. If we thought the potential were good enough, then we wouldn't go in that direction. I'm obviously going to have to replace Geoff (Price) right off the bat, and do we have a candidate in house at that position? It's just a question of whether you want to go that route, that direction or not. So far as the kicker now, you have to decide whether or not you're content with the future of the people you have right now. I'm not ready -- I'm not there at this point."

***On how Notre Dame finishes this season will have any impact on next year: "I really don't know for sure what the answer is to the question. But you'd like to think that the chances of things moving in the right direction in the spring would be greatly aided by a strong rally down the stretch. You'd have to think that that would be the most logical answer you could get.

"Now, that being said, there's no rule that says that how you play in the last three games is going to have anything to do with San Diego State, but I think the better you play down the stretch, the more information you have going into the spring."

***Prediction: Air Force 31 Notre Dame 24. Last week's loss to Navy was a crushing one for the Irish. Now, can two service academies beat Notre Dame for the first time in a single season since 1944? This game is more about the Irish than the Falcons. Everyone knows Air Force will come into South Bend fired up and ready to win. Can Weis get Notre Dame emotionally ready after the Midshipmen defeat?

Even if the Irish head coach does, Notre Dame will need to score points. The Falcons are fourth in the nation in rushing offense. The Irish are 95th against the run. Translation: Air Force is going to score points. Can Notre Dame keep up, especially with freshman quarterback Jimmy Clausen taking over again? The Falcons have a better defense than Navy and have scored 30 or more points in four of the past five games. The bottom keeps falling out for the Irish as Air Force, who is the betting favorite, comes into South Bend and wins. Top Stories