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Football: Weis addresses drought against Michigan State

Joe Meixell | Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The stigma of Michigan State cannot be ignored. The Spartans have won six straight games against Notre Dame in South Bend.

“That’s one stat that I’m certainly well aware of,” Irish coach Charlie Weis said.

Weis said he will address the issue with the team as well.

“The best point I can make is if you think this team is going to come in here after losing this week thinking they have no chance to beat you, well, the last six times they’ve done it,” Weis said.

The Spartans fell in a close game to Central Michigan Saturday.

A Spartan invasion certainly weighs on Weis’ mind – he is 1-3 against Michigan State. But another invasion, of the H1N1 flu variety, also has Weis worried.

“Because it’s running round all the high schools and colleges around the country, that’s always a concern of mine, kids coming down at the last minute and getting sick,” Weis said. “Knock on wood we continue to be relatively healthy.”

There were no cases as of yet, he said, but if anyone shows symptoms the team will take precautions.

“First thing we do is if a guy gets any symptoms of being sick at all we, A, get him tested but B, keep him away from everybody else,” Weis said. “I’m concerned because at any university when you get thousands and thousands of students in close proximity.”

Not everyone is healthy, however. Fullback James Aldridge is doubtful for Saturday’s game, Weis said.

“He’s gonna run around some today. We’ll have to test the shoulder out,” Weis said.

Running back Armando Allen is fine, Weis said, suffering nothing more than a “bruised ego.”

Wide receiver Michael Floyd had his knee stitched at the end of the Michigan game and is ready to go this week. Weis said he’ll keep Floyd off the ground and try to keep the cut from opening up, but he joked that Floyd’s background ensures he’ll be okay.

“He’s from Minnesota. We gave him a hockey analogy. If you get 15 stitches in a hockey game usually you’re out about five minutes and then you’re back in there,” Weis said.

To improve the run defense, Weis said the offense and defense would practice full speed against each other Tuesday with an emphasis on the play of the defensive line. Weis wouldn’t elaborate on what, if any, changes were made.

He did elaborate on how freshman linebacker Manti Te’o was progressing. He said Te’o doesn’t yet have the mental grasp that senior linebacker Toryan Smith does.

“Toryan knows the game, really understands the game,” Weis said. “That means that Toryan can let loose and not be inhibited to go run through somebody to finish the play because he knows he’s in the right spot.

“I think that Manti is just a matter of time. The more confidence he has that he knows what to do all the time, then he’ll be able to play a little bit less inhibited.”

Note:

uWeis said the team had responded well to Saturday’s 38-34 loss to Michigan. They came in Sunday ready to move on to Michigan State, he said, and players came in Monday, their day off, for film study.

“I thought they did a very, very good job Sunday,” Weis said. “Obviously they had gotten the message across: quit feeling sorry for yourself and let’s go to work.”