VIDEO PLUS: Charlie Weis One-on-One

WNDU Sports Director Jeff Jeffers got a chance to sit down with Charlie Weis earlier this week to get the coach’s take on his third season at Notre Dame.

This interview as well as a complete preview of the 2007 season can be seen on a very special edition of NewsCenter16's Countdown to Kickoff. The pre-season special will air Friday night, August 24th at 7PM on WNDU-TV.

Jeff Jeffers:

“You've got a lot of youth on this team. Has that changed the way you teach and do you think it will change the way, or maybe just alter a bit the way you call a game?”

Charlie Weis:

”Well it will do both. You know teaching is teaching and you really haven't slowed down the pace of the teaching but what I’ve found you have to do is be much more patient in the classroom -- not just take for granted that people would get it because of the lack of experience. As far as calling the game, yes I think that you're going to have to be a lot more diligent in your preparation as a coach to make sure that you're not asking an inexperienced group to do things that they haven't had to do before.”

Jeff Jeffers:

”You talked on Monday about having to bite your lip a little bit. Given that have some of the fifth year guys and seniors maybe picked up the slack and done a little bit of their own coaching as it were or teaching in absence of you not doing it?”

Charlie Weis:

”Well yeah... they've told me I’ve gotten soft but I think that's been across the board. I think we've gotten much more vocal leadership out of the guys... the same group of guys were already leaders by nature. I'll say John Carlson as an example. You know John's not a very talkative guy by nature, but you know on the practice field this year he's just been awesome as far as how vocal he's been.”

Jeff Jeffers:

”I know you're not going to tell me... but do you know the names of the people who are going to start at quarterback and tailback against Georgia Tech?”

Charlie Weis:

”Oh, absolutely that's... this is no big secret in my mind... people think that you vacillate... you never vacillate... you know what you're doing it's just that as I said all along I'm not trying to sandbag anyone but I think that going into your first game I think it's important that any additional ammo that you could have to help you win that one game you should use.”

Jeff Jeffers:

”In terms of time of possession is there a number that you want or at least a feeling that you want throughout four quarters, or does the game dictate that number in times of possession”

Charlie Weis:

”Well time of possession is a team stat -- it's not an offensive stat you know because time of possession can sometimes be a bad thing -- because if they're scoring against you quickly you don't want that time of possession. But I think playing a complimentary game is important and understanding each game is its own separate entity and you have to realize that the pace of the game might be different based on who you're playing against.”

Jeff Jeffers:

”Are there other stats you look at as keys to victory, within the context of that team stat?”

Charlie Weis:

”Well I think especially this year on both sides of the ball I think turnovers are going to be very critical with an inexperienced team on offense ball possession is critical. On defense I think one of the things we're going to this year trying to create more turnovers because they're big game changing plays. Whether they stop a drive, whether they lead to a score, whether they change field position you know any time there's a turnover something big usually follows.”

Jeff Jeffers:

”You've said that you have more players ready to play -- you have depth in positions now that you did not have before. How has it helped you in camp to start the season?”

Charlie Weis:

”You've been at practice everyday -- you've noticed there's not many people off to the side. One of the reasons for that is they know that there's someone breathing down their neck and they know that if they're on the sideline the next guy is going in and that ship is sailing. You know we're not waiting and I think that when you have a wide drop off in the competition people don't feel as threatened but when people know that if they're out of there for a day or two you know somebody else is going by them and you may never be able to catch them -- I think it's kept our camp much much more competitive.”

Jeff Jeffers:

”Flip it over to the other side of the ball- the 3-4 concept... explain as you've done before the 3-4 front, 3-4 defense, 3-4 personnel and what Corwin brings.”

Charlie Weis:

”Well we'll start with what a 3-4 defense is. In the olden days, like the New York Giants started playing a 34 defense you had a nose tackle in the center, you had two defensive ends on the tackles, two outside linebackers on the tight ends or the space where a tight end would align and two inside linebackers that would be lined up about four or five yards over the guards. That was the old 34 defense... You'd rush one guy, you'd rush the other guy... that's the way it was played. Now everyone's done their spinoff of that defense but now you start reducing people off of one side, so now that end is on the guard instead of the tackle, in reality it really just turns into a regular 4-3 defense. The advantage of playing the 34 personnel grouping is the fact that you can have mirrored things on both sides of the ball where your defensive end slash outside linebacker -- the guy who's on the tight end -- could be a pass rusher or he could be a pass dropper on every play which gives you much more position flexibility. And Corwin -- the thing that he's brought to me more than anything, because the easy thing to do is be disrespectful to Rick or somebody who was here before that and that's really not the case. The case is I now in my third year here have a lot more familiarity with the scheme that we're playing, the terminology that we're playing, and can see eye to eye with Corwin a lot more -- we've been on the same page for a long time -- and it makes it easier for us to talk about good and bad that you see out there.”

Jeff Jeffers:

”How much of an importance is that you both being from the same coaching tree?”

Charlie Weis:

”Oh I think it's been obvious to everyone how easy things have flown -- you know the flow of everything we're doing right there it's just been a smooth flow because I can look down to him with one of those looks that he saw Parcells give me and I can give it to him and he already knows what the answer to the test is and that makes the communication, whether it be verbal or non-verbal, much easier to do.”

Jeff Jeffers:

”You're now in your third year... what do you like about the college game in relation to the NFL?”

Charlie Weis:

”Well in the college game for example this year the turnover on our team was tremendous -- you know in the pro game you'll lose guys to free agency or guys that retire - there's always a bit of turnover every year but really the turnover is not really that big in the guys that are playing the game -- you know the young guys change, but the guys that are playing the game, you might lose a guy or two on offense, a guy or two on defense, you don't have like a mass change like we're having here. But to me that is very challenging and inspiring because it now gives you an opportunity to help those guys prove their worth.”

Jeff Jeffers:

”What would you change about the college game if you became college football czar for a day?”

Charlie Weis:

”Well, I'd certainly have a playoff. I mean I wouldn't even blink twice at that. Not that we've deserved to be in the top 4 teams, but I think that there's just too many potential problems by not having it. I think that I like the fact that they got some synchronization of the instant replay -- I thought that was a move in the right direction. I think that recruiting, I think that an early signing day is going to be, just like it is in basketball and other sports, it's going to be something that's gonna come to fruition. But in reality as long as the rules are the same for everyone what difference does it make? These are just things that I like, not that I really care because whatever the rules are they're the same for everyone, so it really doesn't make a difference.”

Jeff Jeffers:

”Other than watching your opponent's defense and offense and special teams, how much do you pick up -- how much do you watch other college football teams? I know you've spoken about Saturday night when you're able to kick back after the game you watch a little bit -- you and Charlie watch games.”

Charlie Weis:

”We'll sit there and we'll watch but usually we're rooting for somebody or against somebody as it relates to our jockeying for position I have to be honest with you. You know it might be some team that I have actually no interest in them winning or losing normally, but if they lose it might have positive ramifications for us down the line -- I really don't watch the game -- I can't watch a game and enjoy the game itself... because you find yourself being too analytical -- so I try to be much more passive in my viewing of the game.”

Jeff Jeffers:

”Media day you talked about it's pretty good to be Charlie Weis -- expound on that a little bit as the head coach of Notre Dame.”

Charlie Weis:

”Which Charlie Weis are you talking about?”

Jeff Jeffers:

”The Charlie Weis that's in camp now.”

Charlie:

”Well I think that if you look at it -- when you get into a profession and in my case it's coaching there's only a few jobs that you would consider at the top of the profession and really if you had to hand pick a job being an alum of Notre Dame and you had to hand pick a job that you'd want I mean to think that you'd be the head football coach -- you are a football coach -- and you could be a head football coach at the school that you went to college -- it doesn't get much better than that -- that and the fact that my wife loves it here, my son likes it here -- my daughter's adapted here -- we feel like we're part of the community, and I see us retiring here. And it's probably the first time other than the jersey shore -- it's probably the first time that we've settled into a home where we could see ourselves staying for a long, long time.”

Jeff Jeffers:

”The program became a stable program probably a lot sooner than some had anticipated -- but that's not to say that when notre dame is on the move up or getting there you're going to take some shots -- what do you feel when you hear someone unfairly detract from your team, your program, your school?”

Charlie Weis:

”Well I think that there's certain things that I feel that publicly I have to defend our program on because I don't think it's right -- and there's other things that just go with the territory of being Notre Dame. I think that fairly or unfairly, justly or unjustly we're viewed like the New York Yankees -- and if you really give a baseball analogy -- I mean how many people in the country that follow baseball don't have an opinion on the Yankees? They either like the Yankees or they hate the Yankees. And fortunately slash unfortunately that's what the university of Notre Dame is, so I take things with a grain of salt for the most part -- unless I feel it's something that really attacks the character of what we stand for. And then and only then do I have something to say.”

Jeff Jeffers:

”You have a high school freshman in your house now -- your eyes and ears -- your buddy -- how's he doing and I know that in the past when maybe things weren't going so well you were very concerned about Charlie and how he would have to react to the negative, but now he's a freshman in high school he's interested in coaching. You see him with a call sheet a practice call sheet, how's he doing and is he your eyes and ears for things you may not have time to do?”

Charlie Weis:

”Well what he'll never do is be the eyes and ears about giving up the players, I think he feels he has his role and it's not to sit there and tell me anything any of the players said because he doesn't want to be disrespectful and look like he's one of those guys that's tattletaleing to the head coach. But I think that he wants to observe because he does want to coach -- he wants to coach on the college level -- he's love to coach here and I think that one of the reasons that he didn't go out for freshman football is because he wants to be around our program because he feels that he could learn more during the next 8 years -- through high school and college being around the program and putting himself in a position to go ahead and do that. And I think that as my wife said -- it's probably one of most enjoyable experiences that we as a family have had to be able to have him around so much -- because in the pros your kids aren't around you know it's just not that way.”

Jeff Jeffers:

”I want to take you back to a Saturday this summer when the entire Weis family was together to break ground on the farm -- that had to be -- it was emotional for me to be there -- I'd imagine it is a tremendous source of pride for you and also touching with Hannah's involvement she got right out there with everybody.”

Charlie Weis:

”Hannah doesn't like to -- she's not usually gameday but when everyone starts clapping for Hannah all of the sudden her whole attitude changes -- she went from ‘no-no I don't want to be there’ to when everyone started clapping for her she would have dug that shovel as many times as we would have done it. But it was kind of nice to sit there and thing of that the vision of Maura down at our beach house in South Carolina in 2003 could come to fruition this quickly. And if it wasn't for the alum from Notre Dame and the people from Michiana it would never have happened.”

Jeff Jeffers:

”Touch on something you mentioned before -- it seems like you and your family have really taken to this community -- it's not like you're here for a time almost renting space -- you're an integral part of this community -- it seems like you and your family really likes this community.”

Charlie Weis:

”Well we like it so much that the house that we wanted to build when we retired we built here. We've said ten years from now when we retire we'll go build this house somewhere -- well, we built it here, so obviously when we did that you embed yourself in that community because if it all goes well you intend to be here long past when you retire. And I think that that became our intent -- it might not have been our intent when we walked on campus the first time, but once we were around the people from this area -- my wife loves these people and that's always good when you go home because your wife runs your house... When you go home and your wife really likes where she is, and your kids like where they are -- you know I’m a football coach, I spend a lot of hours coaching, so really I just want them to be happy -- and they're happy.”

Jeff Jeffers:

”Final question -- you have a tremendous facility for memory and projection -- I mean you can remember plays you called in the super bowl against the Rams as if it were this morning -- I'm sure you have an idea what you're gonna do...”

Charlie Weis:

”By the way the first play was zero-float-slot-hat-78 right hook toss in case you're wondering the first play of that super bowl.”

Jeff Jeffers:

”How many yards did you gain?”

Charlie Weis:

”Well we are on the 1 yard line -- we were backed up -- we threw the bowl to Troy Brown and he got double digits -- so we got out of the hole.”

Jeff Jeffers:

”I'll continue this... the direct snap to Darius against Stanford was a complimentary play you ran with Kevin Faulk -- what was that one?”

Charlie Weis:

”We actually ran that play with Kevin Faulk in the super bowl against the Carolina Panthers -- they had just taken the lead, we came back and took the lead and the 2 point conversion put us up by -- we needed the 2 points -- same play.”

Jeff Jeffers:

”Along those lines -- everybody might say, ‘what are the best memories of the two years you've had so far?’ and you could say the win in Ann Arbor or anything like that -- coming back against Stanford… What about the smaller memories -- you know the interaction with your players, the students, the people here on campus -- in relation to your family and your program -- what are those little memories?”

Charlie Weis:

Well I think that the things that people -- probably the little memories that I have are the first winter I was here and Maura and the kids weren't here yet and when I went to the dorms and spoke to all the dorms on campus -- you know it was only 45 minutes. It was like from 1015 to 11 o'clock at night. But you know letting the students know that you were just a student here just like them -- you weren't a football player -- you weren't somebody that was looked at and viewed -- you were just one of those people sitting in the stands like everyone else and I think that the student body knowing that I identify with them because that was me gives them a little different relationship than it would for a normal coach at most institutions.”

Jeff Jeffers:

”New album by Bruce is coming out how...”

Charlie Weis:

”That's right in October --well we have a really conflict here now - because you know he goes on tour and Bon Jovi goes on tour at the same time -- I think what we really need to do is get them both to play here at the same time at the stadium -- that would be a heck of a deal.”

Jeff Jeffers:

”I'll be there for that one.”


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