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Football: Weis remains confident after beating by Michigan

Ken Fowler | Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis had to play to the middle of the field Tuesday.

Weis denied a nagging rumor that he boasted to a group of alumni that he would never again lose to Michigan State while also insisting that Notre Dame’s 26-point loss to Michigan did not shake his confidence in the team and his own coaching abilities.

On Monday, the South Bend Tribune reported that Michigan State coach John L. Smith reacted to comments Weis allegedly made about the two teams’ rivalry. The Tribune reported that Smith said the comments would motivate his coaching staff in the week leading up to the game.

Weis said the rumor was false and that he rarely makes public comments during the summer, when he allegedly made the statement to which Smith and the Tribune alluded.

“It’s funny because in the summertime I don’t talk to anybody,” Weis said. “Somebody told me this summer I talked to somebody. Unless they were talking about my wife, I don’t talk to anybody in the summertime. I go on vacation with my family.”

While Weis downplayed his confidence in that manner, he also said he remained convinced his squad could perform well this week under his leadership.

“After you lose like that, your confidence is always in question, [but] not mine personally,” Weis said. “The best thing that happens after a game like that is practicing.”

Weis also said he would not use last year’s flag-planting incident as a motivational tool this week. After Michigan State’s 44-41 overtime victory at Notre Dame Stadium a year ago, Spartan players stuck their school flag in the turf at Notre Dame’s 50-yard line.

“I think we have to put the flag incident … behind us,” Weis said. “When you use something like the flag incident, try to use that as your motivation for the game, that lasts for about five minutes once the game starts. Once you start hitting each other in the mouth a few times in the game, that stuff is over with.”

Weis said he will once again focus solely on the opponent Notre Dame is about to face and little of the media attention surrounding the game – much like his game plan before the Michigan contest.

“I’m not going to talk about flags, I’m not going to talk about beating Michigan State, I’m not going to talk about megaphones,” Weis said. “I’m not talking about any of that stuff.”

The winner of the Notre Dame-Michigan State game receives a megaphone trophy.

To keep himself isolated from the outside noise, Weis said he has limited contact with media outlets. He said the few Web sites he plans on visiting this week are weather.com, accuweather.com and HannahAndFriends.org, the official site of Weis’ charity for developmentally disabled children.

“I make sure that I don’t get info by outside sources when things go too well or when they go too poorly,” Weis said. “The only thing I need to do is I need to be aware of some things that come up, like [the alumni rumor]. … This has been a very poor week for me on the Web.”