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Football Insider: Weis says team not good, but ‘decent’

Matt Gamber | Monday, November 24, 2008

Charlie Weis is not worried about his job status, Notre Dame’s head coach announced at his press conference Sunday.

“I think that the team has a chance of being pretty darn good next year,” Weis said. “I can’t worry about my job status. I’m the head football coach. And that’s what I intend to be.”

After declining to comment on questions regarding his job security on Saturday, Weis said he had “given some thought” to some of the big-picture questions he is now facing.

“I’ve kind of reflected off of last year to this year to next year,” Weis said. “So last year I think we were a pretty crummy football team … There were multiple games last year where we just didn’t lose but I felt we were basically noncompetitive as the game went on.”

Weis said that while the Irish have lost five games this season, they led three by double-digits – a sign the team is improving.

“As a matter of fact, in none of the games were you noncompetitive. There wasn’t one game where you didn’t have a chance to win the game, unlike last year where there were multiple games where the games were over early and just put away,” Weis said. “So what you’ve really done is you have taken these guys who were a bunch of pups, now have a year under their belt.

“Going from a crummy team to what I think is a decent team. I wouldn’t say we’re anywhere near good but I would say we’re decent.”

The team’s progression should be “at least as good, if not better” heading into next season, Weis said.

“With a good portion of these guys now with two years under their belt coming back for next year, you’d have to say you have a chance of being pretty darned good,” Weis said.

Still going bowling?

Expected to beat Syracuse, the Irish were projected by most to receive an invite to the Gator Bowl – the Bowl game’s information sheets were even circulating around the press box during Saturday’s game.

After losing to the Orange, however, ESPN analysts project the Irish to head to the Sun Bowl.

Asked Sunday whether Notre Dame would consider declining a Bowl invitation if it loses at USC Saturday to finish at 6-6, Weis said the opportunity develop young players with extra practice time would be one advantage a Bowl game would provide.

“No one’s jumping up and down to go to a Bowl, if you were to lose the [USC] game and end up 6-6, no one is jumping up and down to do that,” Weis said. “But at the same time that’s multiple practices and development that could be going on that you end up losing out on. And I think, in your program’s sake, I think it ends up hurting you in the long run.”

Last chance, career days

Several Notre Dame seniors saved their best for last, posting big days in their final chance to play in Notre Dame Stadium.

With freshman Michael Floyd unavailable, wide receiver David Grimes posted a career-high 83 receiving yards on a season-best seven catches. His 31-yard reception was also his longest of the season.

Linebacker Scott Smith, who has seen increased playing time with the injury to sophomore linebacker Brian Smith, forced the first fumble of his career. It set up an Irish field goal.

Defensive tackle Pat Kuntz’s seven tackles were a season high, and he added 1 1/2 for loss.

Defensive back Ray Herring posted a season-high six tackles, including the first sack of his career.

And special teamer Mike Anello continued to justify his cult hero status by forcing a fumble on Notre Dame’s first punt and later deflecting a Syracuse punt.