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Hailed by the Chief

Ken Fowler | Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Charlie Weis met with President Bush, whom he called “the Big Boss,” on Nov. 29 to discuss a possible appointment to a White House commission for Americans with disabilities.

Weis revealed the meeting during his season wrap-up news conference Monday morning in the recruiting lounge of the Guglielmino Athletics Complex.

“About six months ago the White House had sent a representative out to meet with me,” Weis said. “They have a commission for people with disabilities in the country that has 21 people on it. They had sent a guy out to ask my wife and I – they wanted to ask me, but on behalf of what we do – whether I’d be interested in being on that commission.

“They had asked us if we would be interested in having a little visit with the Big Boss on Thursday. We thought that would probably be a good thing to do, so we did that.”

After Notre Dame’s 21-14 win over Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif., on Nov. 24, Weis methodically traveled back to South Bend, moving intermittently from west to east, making recruiting visits along the way. Weis flew from Arizona to Washington for the meeting.

Asked if there was a final decision about his membership on the commission Weis said: “It’s moving in that direction.”

Haywood up for Houston job

Notre Dame offensive coordinator Mike Haywood, who is from Houston, has interviewed for the vacant University of Houston head coaching job and is waiting to hear back from the school.

“I think that sometimes in the coaching carousel, there’s times that guys get into a mix for a reason,” Weis said of Haywood. “And any time a job comes open in your hometown where you know all the high school coaches, and you know, have relationships with them, and you played high school football there, I think that that always bodes well for your chance for success.”

Weis said he is under the impression Haywood could find out if he got the job as early as this weekend.

Recruits coming to town

Weis, who stressed that he will not analyze the season as a whole until he finishes a round of recruiting duties on Dec. 17, said he will host more than a dozen recruits this weekend. Weis and the recruits will attend the men’s basketball game against Northern Illinois Saturday, at which Mike Brey’s squad will try for a school-record 25th consecutive home victory.

“We’re going to go break this record on Saturday night, so we’re going to be a part of that,” Weis said. “We’re rooting for Coach Brey and the basketball team.”

Hear no evil…

When asked about David Grimes’ touchdown catch against Stanford that Big East officials ruled a completion on the field but the Pac-10 replay official overturned, Weis was vague and declined to mention the Pac-10 by name.

“I think that we’ve had a very good relationship with the Big East officials this year since we’ve gone to the Big East, and I think that they do a very good job of keeping us informed on things that happen,” Weis said. “And we’ll just kind of leave it at that.”

Notre Dame used Big East officials as the field referees for all its games this year. Previously, the Irish played road games with Big Ten officiating crews.

More on coaches

If Weis initiates any changes to his coaching staff, it will not be until February – after recruits sign their national letters of intent.

But Weis did say he would change the team’s current special teams coaching paradigm, under which all coaches contribute to different parts of the operation. Notre Dame’s kicking game struggled mightily, along with its kickoff return blocking. Its punt coverage, however, was a bright spot.

“It has to be changed,” Weis said. “I was not pleased with the way it went.”

Before including the entire staff in the special teams operations, Brian Polian was the team’s special teams coach. Although Polian officially became the inside linebackers coach this year, he often directed special teams assignments on the sidelines.

Weis did not rule out maintaining a multiple-coach special teams setup, but said he could envision a scenario with a single special teams coach “if it were the right person.”

Musings on next season

Notre Dame begins the 2008 season a week later than the NCAA’s official opening day and has only one, instead of the possible two, idle weeks. But Weis said he was not concerned with that.

“I mean, it’s just when you’re starting,” Weis said. “It’s just like anything else, the schedule is the way it is. We still have a bye week during the year. Would you rather have two bye weeks during the year? I think having one bye week, and … to have a bye week right at the midpoint of the year I think is almost an ideal situation or the proper time to heal some bumps and bruises and give you a midseason evaluation point.”

Notre Dame has a week off after its sixth of 12 games next season – between road contests with North Carolina and Washington.

Weis sticks to BCS opinions

Weis once again argued that teams should not jump in the polls over teams who do not play on a given weekend.

Asked about Louisiana State’s vault up the Bowl Championship Series standings and into the national title game, Weis said he thought Georgia should have gotten one of the two spots in the game after No. 1 Missouri and No. 2 West Virginia lost Saturday.

“I ended up voting Ohio State [No.] 1 and Georgia [No.] 2 because that’s where they were on the line,” Weis said. “They were 3 and 4. Not that I’m a big fan of Ohio State or Georgia or anyone else, but if you’re next in line and you don’t play, and the two teams ahead of you lose, I think that you move up. I just don’t know how you get penalized for not playing.”