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FOOTBALL: Big plays not just a small problem for Irish against UW

Mike Gilloon | Tuesday, September 27, 2005

After Chinedum Ndukwe recovered a fumble on the Notre Dame 1-yard line to halt Washington’s game-opening drive, the Irish seemed to be in control of the contest from that point on.

But Irish head coach Charlie Weis was not necessarily pleased with his defense’s tendency to surrender big plays Saturday against the Huskies. The Irish gave up 449 yards of total offense with 419 coming on only 18 plays.

Weis was worried this could hurt the Irish when in a game closer than the 36-17 Notre Dame win Saturday.

“We were giving up way too many big plays,” Weis said at his Sunday press conference. “That’s obviously an area of concern.”

He also had issues with the ability of Washington to sustain long drives. The Huskies had five drives of more than 70 yards Saturday.

“They didn’t always come up with points,” Weis said. “But when you change field position that drastically … that’s not a good thing.”

The other main concern of Weis’ dealt with penalties, as all three Washington scoring drives were aided by Notre Dame infractions.

Pleased it’s over

With so much attention paid to the matchup between Washington coach Tyrone Willingham and Notre Dame, where he coached for three years prior to his firing last November, Weis was relieved the game was over.

“We got through that,” Weis said. “We can go on our way. They can go on their way.”

He thanked the media and his players at the beginning of his Sunday press conference for their participation and behavior in the week leading up to the Washington game.

“I think both the way [the media] handled it and the players handled it kept it from being more of a distraction than it could have been,” Weis said.

Anastasio honored

With an effort Saturday that included a blocked punt and two tackles, Weis named Chase Anastasio special teams captain for this week.