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    Charlie Weis Press Conference Transcript (November 9)

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    FIGHTING IRISH

    FIGHTING IRISH

    Nov. 10, 2008

    Q. Yesterday after the game you talked about taking a bigger role in the offense this week. Do you know what that role will be?
    COACH WEIS: Well I'm going to meet with the offensive coaches this evening about 6:30 after I get done with this thing and then a TV deal after this. After those two things we'll get together and we're going to go back and we will have time to watch the tapes and analyze the tape. I just told them at this point at our staff meeting earlier today, I just told them that I was going to be taking a more active role and I'll define that more for them today. Whatever I'm going to do, I will lead off the press conference on Tuesday so that there's no misnomer with what I'm doing. That will be the first thing I say on Tuesday, whatever that role is.

    Q. Last week you looked to shake things up. Anything planned for this week?
    COACH WEIS: Well, the problem I have is, and I talked about it in the press conference last night, is that different components of the team have different issues. For example, defensively, they actually played as well as they've been playing. That was a pretty gutty performance by the defense. Just for example, with them five times BC starts the ball in plus territory five times and they give up points once.

    I have to look at the team as an entirety and kind of separate special teams from offense from defense because we have different issues for the different aspects.

    Q. How much of Jimmy's problem is that maybe he's beat up a little bit right now?
    COACH WEIS: I think that his problems more yesterday physically were more flu related than they were beat up related. I know Tim had asked about, I don't know, his leg or whatever that was yesterday. He had asked about it. Of course he's got bumps and bruises. He's had a toe, he's had ribs, he's had a finger, he's had a bunch of different things that he's had to deal with physically, and he's fought through all those.

     

     

    But I think that more than anything this weekend it was just not feeling good. I sent him to bed early on Friday night because he definitely looked like he needed it. He wasn't feeling very good on the plane coming down and felt better yesterday before the game. I think as the game went on he probably wasn't feeling too well, both physically and how the game was going.

    But I think yesterday was more - and he's not an excuse maker -- I think it was more of the flu than it was physically.

    Q. Do you know what you want to do right now as far as offense is concerned?
    COACH WEIS: No, I'll know after I talk to the staff. It won't take me until Tuesday to figure out what I'm going to do is what I'm saying. I don't have etched in stone what I'm going to do at this point. If I'm going to be more involved with game planning and play calling, those type of things, I have to be involved tomorrow. That's not something I can decide on Tuesday because you'd have to be in all the meetings and you have to be in all the meetings and the installation and implementation and all those other things. But I'm saying right now it would be a bit premature. I think that we have a ways to go.

    We got in late and everything is pushed back, so normally I'd be well ahead of schedule by this time. Not that I'm not ready to go, but just ready to go personally -- it's just that we haven't even had a chance to visit with the rest of the staff at this point.

    Q. Does the fact that the defense has played so well over the past three games allow you to be freed up to spend more time this week with the offense as opposed to overseeing the whole team?
    COACH WEIS: That's a fair statement because that's exactly what's on my mind. You know, I think that really we've gone the last two games you know go and revisit the Pittsburgh game, for sure the second half of the Pittsburgh game, but we've gone the last game and a half without production on offense, and I think that I feel very confident with where we are on defense right now, and this allows me at this time - look it, I'm trying to do this head coach thing where you kind of delegate. But I think that when there's a problem and it's an area where you believe that you can be part of the answer, I think you'd better go help.

    Q. Jimmy worked pretty hard last week. The fact that he's responded to what you did on Saturday, what have you heard from that?
    COACH WEIS: Well, I think that three of the four were him trying to make a play. I think one was a bad throw. I think three of the four was him trying to make a play, and I think that, as I said yesterday, I think that there were people pressing and he was right along with everyone else. They were pressing, especially as the game went further and deeper into the game.

    Q. Just following up on that, you had a tough conversation with Jimmy last week. Does the conversation become more about leadership now than say specific Xs and Os, and is it too much to expect from a guy 17 starts into it, not even halfway?
    COACH WEIS: Let me address the first question first. We actually talked about that in the last two minutes of the game, so I pulled him over and the other quarterbacks came over. I started talking about what was going to have to happen with the team as the week goes on, you know, starting right after the game is over, because when that game is over, you know, everyone is going to be in the tank for a while.

    But the bottom line is when you come back and go back to work, people are always looking for the so called leaders of the team and how they're going to react, and I think that that was really regardless of where you are in age and years in school, okay, when you're the quarterback of the team, especially a quarterback whose status has risen as the years go on, I think it's important for them to see how you respond. People always look and see how these guys respond.

    That was really the point that I was making with him, which tied into your second question. I think that it's never too early for a quarterback to show that he's going to respond in a favorable manner.

    Q. The approach you took with the offensive line during the off season, focusing more on bulk and power as opposed to different things prior to that, both instances the offensive line hasn't been consistent. I realize that's a big picture thing right now; you're trying to win the next game. But as you look at the big picture of the offensive line, where do you go with the philosophy?
    COACH WEIS: Well, we've kind of handled one of the two problems. Actually the pass protection as far as the volume of times when the quarterback is in the pocket getting hit has gone down drastically, as have the sacks. But that's only half of the puzzle. I think that we obviously are not satisfied with the run production as a whole, but I think that at this time right now if you had to say are you ahead on one aspect or the other aspect, you'd have to say you're ahead of the game on pass protection than you are on run blocking.

    Q. When your team struggles people love to bring up things that you've said in the past, like the day that you came here and talked about a schematic advantage.
    COACH WEIS: Yeah, that was four years ago.

    Q. I understand, but
    COACH WEIS: From here to eternity (laughter).

    Q. Do you regret saying that? Do you feel like you still have a schematic advance? Are you just not putting it together yet?
    COACH WEIS: I think that as you evolve into the world of college football, there's many learning experiences you go through. Many. And I'd be remiss to not say that.

    That being said, as the pieces of the puzzle keep on coming together, there comes a time when all those pieces of the puzzle seem to fit and mesh just right, and when that happens, I'll let you know.

    Q. When you said you're going to apply yourself more to the offense, do you think that there are problems still yet to be identified or is this a matter of fixing what you know is wrong?
    COACH WEIS: When you have five penalties and four turnovers, really it's pretty telling. Almost all the penalties were in the first half. I think we had one penalty in the second half, but I think the other four were all in the first half. It killed the first drive, it killed the third drive and it killed the fifth drive. So three out of the five drives that you talk about in the first half were all killed by penalties.

    So that and the fact that you throw in four picks in a game, and it was pretty easy to see where you squandered you could sit there and take out turnovers and look at the game like it was a pretty even game but that's something that comes with the game.

    Q. Do you feel that this was a game where you beat yourself more than they beat you?
    COACH WEIS: I think that our defense played well enough for us to win the game. Our offense and special teams didn't.

    Q. Is it more frustrating to have that be the situation where there's just one-third of the three aspects that's struggling for you?
    COACH WEIS: Well, two-thirds were struggling yesterday, because really, on special teams, it really came down to three things: number one, we didn't punt the ball very well; number two, we had two penalties on kickoff return which pinned us back and we lost about 40 yards of return yardage in the process; and number three, we had two turnovers technically on special teams, one with a punt blocked and the other one by a fumble on the punt return. Okay, that's not a winning performance.

    Take that one in combination to what I just talked about with the offense, and that's two-thirds of the team who really didn't play very well yesterday.

    Q. Just lastly, the defense, keeping their morale up and everything like that, is that a game where you just praise them for their performance?
    COACH WEIS: Well, I actually did that with the starting defense. I did that before the game was over. I called them over on the sideline because they're feeling really bad because they're not selfish and they're not blaming the offense, they're not blaming the special teams. They're feeling bad, and I let them know that I thought that they should definitely keep their heads up because they were the reason why we were even in the game.

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