Weis Will Be Thinking About Seniors

Charlie Weis met with the media on Thursday for the last time before the Syracuse game. Weis was asked about Mike Haywood reportedly interviewing for the Washington job, how he feels about the senior class playing its last home and Jimmy Clausen's mindset heading into the game.

Charlie Weis would not comment on reports that offensive coordinator Mike Haywood has been absent from practice the last two days because he was interviewing in Seattle for the vacant University of Washington head coaching job.

"I'm not even going to go there," Weis said. "I had a conversation with Michael which I started at the beginning of the week where I said that he's got some personal things that he wants to do, which I support. The same personal things I still support."

On the surface Haywood seems like a longshot candidate to replace Tyrone Willingham, but Haywood has connections to the Washington administrators.

Haywood was coaching at LSU at the same time as current Washington president Mark Emmert, who was LSU Chancellor, and current Washington Athletic Director Scott Woodward, who was a liaison between the university administration and the athletic department. Leading up to the Notre Dame-Washington matchup last month, Haywood described Woodward as, "one of my best friends."

Haywood was reportedly interviewing for the position on Wednesday or Thursday evening, but Weis said that he would be back in South Bend by Friday morning.

"He'll be back for tomorrow morning," Weis said. "He'll be back late (Thursday night)."

Weis directed further questioning to Haywood, who did not meet with the media this week, but is expected to be available on Tuesday.

This year's senior class will be playing its final game in Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday and it will also be special for Weis as it is his first recruiting class.

"It's a different experience," Weis said. "To remember when you first made the phone call when you were involved in recruiting and then seeing them walking out the door, I think that will be a different experience for me."

Weis would love to get the opportunity to play a bunch of the seniors like backup quarterback Evan Sharpley, but he will not force the issue.

"I think that right now that isn't first on my mind because the first thing I'd like to be able to do is go out here and play well against Syracuse," he said. "There's a lot of guys, Evan being one of them, that I'm always looking for opportunities to get more in the mix. If they present themselves fine, but the last thing that I'm going to be doing is to be disrespectful to Syracuse and sit there and assume that somebody like Evan is going to be getting time."

Weis said that fifth-year senior cornerback Terrail Lambert looked better than he expected this week in practice, but is still considered doubtful for Saturday.

"He's actually running around pretty well, I just don't think he'd be well enough to play," Weis said. "I would think that we'd do all we can to not play him this week and get him back here for the beginning of next week. I think that the extra three days will make a world of difference to him."

Jimmy Clausen has had a couple of subpar outings, but Weis expects the sophomore quarterback to play well against the Orange.

"This was a pretty good week. I think that he has a very clear understanding of what we're going to do," Weis said. "He's never a guy that's a in-the-tank guy. A lot of players don't have the mental toughness to bounce back from a bad game and I'm not saying that they don't feel bad psychologically. But he's been pretty good on a pretty steady basis of not letting a negative residual hang around too long."

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