Weis Respects Navy

Charlie Weis had his final meeting with the press before Notre Dame's game against Navy. All week, the Notre Dame players talked about their feelings after last year's Navy game while trying not to disrespect their opponent. On Thursday, Weis did the same.

It was a difficult balancing act, but somehow this week Notre Dame managed to talk about the embarrassment that it suffered in last year's loss to Navy while not offering much bulletin board material for the Midshipmen.

Charlie Weis summed it up best on Thursday by giving Navy credit for how they do it while holding his team to a higher standard.

"You always have to respect the academies and what they do and what they stand for. They win a whole bunch of football games because of their heart and their passion and their discipline," he said. "So really if you look at it in the big picture if you have heart, you have passion and you have discipline and – across the board - you're supposed to be bigger, faster, stronger – not in every position, but I'm saying across the board – then that shouldn't happen."

Weis said that the Irish have too much admiration for Navy to say anything disrespectful and does not think it would possible for the Midshipmen to be more fired up by any words.

"Navy is going to show up the same way every time they play. I think that they show up every game. There's not one game that they don't show up. You'll never have to worry about Navy coming out flat. They show up the same way every day," he said. "That's what I expect, them to show up on Saturday. I don't know how you can show up any better than what they do because I think they bring their ‘A' game every week. I have a lot of respect for Navy."

Weis had a hard time deciding if the Navy loss hurt more than any of the others last year.

"Was that as hard to swallow as USC going up and down the field on you and laying a goose egg?" he said. "If you want to go back to last year, there's a lot of games that are hard to swallow, that was a tough one."

Weis spoke to Mike Haywood on Thursday and the offensive coordinator will be at the hotel in Baltimore on Friday before the team arrives. Weis, who will be on the sidelines on Saturday calling plays, said that his time was stretched thin in Haywood's absence.

"It took a lot more time this week because now I've added extra things that I do and you couldn't just nix those things. There's other things that I do in the day that when I had some voids that I never used to have before," he said. "So I had to continue to do those things, I just had to rearrange my time schedule. But I think it went all right, it went OK."

After the Boston College loss, Weis talked about how the team would look to see how quarterback Jimmy Clausen responded. Weis has been impressed with the way the sophomore has responded, not just this week, but in the two years that he has been in South Bend.

"I think Jimmy's handled this very well. He came in here a marked man, went through a rookie year, a freshman year, took a beating," said Weis. "He was questioned by everyone whether he was going to be any good. All of a sudden things are going pretty well and he's looking pretty good and then we go the last game and a half without much production.

"There are highs and lows, but eventually because you've seen the highs, eventually it's going to settle in and that's what it's going to end up being. But even, as we said earlier this week, the best of the best have days they'd like to forget."

After the loss to Pitt, Weis said that it was important for him to work on the team's psyche, but two factors made this week's circumstances different.

"The defense had played well, so they, really other than losing the game, they weren't in the tank," he said. "The offense now has the head coach in all of their meetings, so that creates an obvious, additional sense of urgency. It doesn't mean that the offensive coaches don't create a sense of urgency, but now the head coach is running the meetings."

The head coach has not paid much attention to the negative media coverage this week.

"I'm not dumb, I can do the math and kind of figure what's being said without me having to pick up the paper," he said. "You don't think I'm annoyed enough about how the football game went on my own? I don't need somebody else to tell me. No one's more annoyed than me. No one."

IrishIllustrated.com Top Stories