The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Football: Weis says ‘complexion’ of games affects team’s strategy

Jay Fitzpatrick | Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis said that the offensive game plan isn’t rigidly set before a game, but rather has to adapt throughout it, at his weekly press conference on Tuesday.

“Well, I think that when you’re running things on offense, it isn’t just grinding it out and the running game,” he said. “I think the complexion of how a game goes has a lot to do with how you call a game.”

Weis was responding to comments about his team’s inability to close out games in the second half. The Irish had two-score leads in two of their three losses on the season – at North Carolina on Oct. 11 and Saturday against Pittsburgh.

After the loss to the Panthers, sophomore wide receiver Golden Tate said that he felt the team has the tendency to get complacent. Weis was not pleased with Tate’s comments, and said as much during his press conference on Sunday.

“Let’s just say that I’ll have a talk with Golden and he won’t be saying that any more. He seems to be the team spokesman for two weeks in a row now, just like Michael Floyd was trying to lateral the ball in the North Carolina game,” Weis said of Floyd’s fumble on the final play of the North Carolina loss, which Tate also commented on.

Although Weis said his team is not complacent, he did say that shifts in a game’s tempo can sometimes change the entire dynamic of the game.

“I mean, sometimes as you’re grinding it out and getting first downs or not getting first downs, you’re content with playing a field position game … But the complexion of games sometimes changes as all of a sudden – let’s say you’re shutting the team’s offense down and all of a sudden they start kicking it into gear,” he said. “The complexion of the game, there’s ebbs and flows that happen in a game. So I think each game has its own set of circumstances that come with that.”

Weis commented specifically on the performance of his defense against Pittsburgh. The Panther offense could only muster 71 yards of total offense in the first half Saturday, but an early Harrison Smith personal foul jumpstarted the Pittsburgh offense, rejuvenating the team for the second half.

“You’re feeling pretty good about your chances, just as long as you keep on doing what you’re doing,” he said. “And all of a sudden the momentum starts to go the other way, then you have to go ahead and react accordingly.”


u Irish right guard Chris Stewart injured his knee running onto the field Saturday against Pittsburgh and had an MRI on Monday to determine the extent of the injury.

“Just from looking at him, I would imagine he’d be gone for a little while. And based off of MRI [results], it could be when they come back he might have to get it scoped,” Weis said. “But I don’t want to be premature in what I’m saying, but just looking at him it didn’t look like he’d be ready for a while. So that just means we move [freshman] Trevor [Robinson] up and let’s go.”

The Irish will lose depth at guard, but not too much experience. Robinson has been rotating into the lineup with Stewart in every game this season and has played tight end in the Notre Dame jumbo packages.

u Weis said he talked with former Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn Monday night about Quinn’s promotion to starter for the Cleveland Browns this week

“He said, ‘Well, it’s the same as every week. I prepare the same every week.’ I said, ‘Hey, Brady that’s a bunch of garbage; you can tell it to someone else who wants to hear that stuff.’ I go, ‘You can say you’re preparing the same every week, but it’s the one thing when you’re the back-up, the other thing is when you’re the starter,’ which is exactly what I said, ‘you can tell somebody else that wants to hear that,'” Weis said of the conversation.