Charlie Jr. convinces dad on kelly green
Kyle Cassily | Monday, November 20, 2006
The Irish walked out of the tunnel Saturday clad in their green uniforms – a move precipitated by Charlie Weis, Jr. – and broke the four-game curse the jerseys had.
Charlie Jr. told his father Thursday night that the team should wear the green jerseys against Army and Weis was easily able to overcome his hesitation to use them only against top-ranked teams.
“He goes, ‘Well, Dad, you tell me how special this senior class is. It just doesn’t seem right that they don’t get an opportunity to be honored as seniors going out,'” Weis said. “I thought for a 13-year old kid to make a statement like that, I thought it made a lot of sense.”
Weis brought up the ideas to captains Brady Quinn, Tom Zbikowski and Travis Thomas, who at first were skeptical. But Weis said he only had to call Quinn ‘a wimp’ and they were on board.
It is the first time that the Irish have won while wearing the jerseys since a 37-3 victory over USC in 1985 when the team played the first half in blue and came out after halftime in green. The Irish have lost four times in the green uniforms since that game, including losses to No. 1 USC in 2005, Boston College in 2002, Georgia Tech in the 1999 Gator Bowl and Colorado in the 1995 Fiesta Bowl.
Irish tailback Darius Walker became only the fifth player in school history to eclipse the 1,000-yard rushing mark in back-to-back seasons. He set the mark with his 13-yard run up the middle on the fist offensive play of the second half.
Walker joined the ranks of Autry Denson, Allen Pinkett, Vagas Ferguson and Julius Jones with consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. Walker ran for a season-high 162 yards against the Black Knights, his second-most yards in a game behind his 186-yard performance last season against Stanford.
Walker also moved into fourth place all-time in career rushing yards, gaining 3,065 and passing Jones.
No prima donna
After Quinn jumped into the stands to lead the stadium in chants of ‘Beat SC,’ Weis said he thought Quinn had been watching his brother-in-law – Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk – and Green Bay’s famous Lambeau Leap.
“For a guy that’s of his stature, [Quinn] could very easily, very easily act like a prima donna, and he doesn’t have one ounce of that in his body,” Weis said. “I think he wanted to share that moment with the fans, especially the student body at the end. He’s a really special person.”
Weis and the Irish continued their tradition of honoring the service academies by joining Army on its side of the field for the playing of the United States Military Academy’s ‘Alma Mater.’
The Irish began the tradition last season at home against Navy, and have now done it this season for all three service academies. The Black Knights then joined the Irish in front of the student section for the playing of ‘Notre Dame Our Mother.’
As Army walked off the field, Weis stood to one side of the team and shook hands with every Black Knights player that passed in front of him, thanking them and congratulating them on their play.
The Irish lost the coin toss and the Black Knights chose to receive the ball – the first time this season that Notre Dame has not had the opening possession of the game. The Irish chose to defend the south end of Notre Dame Stadium.