Weis: experience will make Notre Dame betterPublished 3:54pm Friday, August 7, 2009
By SCOTT NOVAK
Niles Daily Star
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Fighting Irish head coach Charlie Weis summed up in one word what it was going to take to make Notre Dame a better football team in 2009.
“Experience,” answered Weis, who is heading into his fifth season as Notre Dame’s coach.
With 18 returning starters and 46 monogram winners on the roster, Weiss has his most experienced team ever.
The Fighting Irish return 10 players on offense, including quarterback Jimmy Clausen, wide receivers Michael Floyd and Golden Tate and a slue of running backs.
But one of the keys to the success of this season’s football team will be how well the offensive line blocks and Notre Dame’s ability to run the football.
Weis alluded to the fact that Armando Allen is the No. 1 tailback on the depth chart, but others are looking to work their way into the mix.
“They’re all gunning for Armando,” he responded. “You’re gonna have to take it away from him.”
If that fails to improve from a season ago, Weis should have no problem generating offense with Clausen, Floyd, Tate and tight end Kyle Rudolph.
Weis said that he expects Clausen to improve on his touchdown to interception ratio, saying that he was “confident that will drastically change.”
Tate and Floyd are being looked at as two of college football’s best wide receiver tandems.
Throw in Rudolph, who was a surprise last season after being inserted into the starting line up, and Clausen has some pretty powerful weapons that can get the job done in the passing game.
Weis also pointed out that all four of them got together for a week in California over the summer and spent eight hours a day playing catch.
Weis returns to calling all the offensive plays after turning those reigns over last season. When asked if he could see himself giving up those duties again, he didn’t hesitate with his answer.
“Probably not anytime soon,” he said.
On the defensive side of the football, the Fighting Irish return six players.
Notre Dame showed great improvement statistically last season on the defensive side of the football and finished 23rd overall. In 2007, the Irish allowed 28.8 points per game, while last season they allowed just 22.2 points a contest for an improvement of 6.6 points per game.
Notre Dame was also one of two schools, along with Mississippi, to be ranked in the top 10 in most improved defenses and in the top 25 in most improved scoring defense.
But numbers do not concern Weis, who made a point of that time after time during the press conference.
If there is a theme for the upcoming season it is going to be “show me.”
“We’re proud to be at the University of Notre Dame. Now it’s time for the product to back that up. Everyone in the program believes that. It’s time for us to back it up on the field. Don’t tell me how good we’re gonna be, show me. We all want the same thing.”
Notre Dame opens up the 2009 season at home against Nevada on Sept. 5.