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Football: Altitude preparation not high on Weis’ priority list

Ken Fowler | Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Don’t ask Charlie Weis about the altitude. Experience tells him it’s only a distraction.

Notre Dame’s second-year coach referenced his days as an offensive coordinator in the NFL when his teams would travel to Denver to face the Broncos, saying adjusting for the mile-high altitude in Colorado is just “taboo.”

“It is taboo,” said Weis during his weekly press conference Tuesday. “It’ll be the first thing I talk about today, and it’ll be the last time that the word will be addressed.”

Weis used to focus on adjusting to the thin air too much, even though scientific evidence, he said, proves the altitude doesn’t have an effect on players in the first 48 hours.

“What we found years ago going out to Denver is that at first we made a big deal out of it,” Weis said. “We used to go out there two days early. We’d go out there, make a big deal out of it and then we’d get our butt kicked.

“We started treating it like every other game, and then we started winning. I’m just going off of experience, and that’s how we’re treating it.”

Notre Dame will not alter its offensive and defensive strategies much because of the altitude, Weis said. But adjusting to Air Force’s efficient and time-consuming option offense is a priority of Weis’.

“I think the most important thing is scoring when you have the ball,” Weis said. “That sounds like just a coaching phrase, but that’s really – when you’re playing – when you might have less than ten possessions, I think every possession becomes so critical.”

Air Force has averaged a 5:56 time of possession edge in eight games this season.

And the Falcons usually convert on their long drives. Air Force has scored touchdowns on 21 of 29 red zone drives and has field goals in five others. By comparison, Notre Dame has 26 touchdowns and six field goals on 35 red zone opportunities.

Air Force has outscored its opponents in every quarter on the season, with its most scoring – 70 points – coming in the second quarter.


uNotre Dame and Air Force will honor the son of Irish defensive backs coach Bill Lewis, who graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1992 and died in a helicopter crash in 1998, with a decal replication of his unit’s patch.

Gregg Lewis was a walk-on on the 1988 Falcons’ football team and was killed in a helicopter training mission for the 66th Rescue Squadron based at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.

“About a month or two ago, Geoff [Lewis, Gregg’s brother], who lives down in Georgia, e-mailed me and asked me if there’s any way that a combination of Notre Dame and Air Force could do anything to kind of honor his brother but really for the sake of his parents,” Weis said. “So we first went through Notre Dame to make sure it was okay with everyone from Notre Dame, and then we got a hold of Air Force, and after going back and forth, Air Force jumped on board.”