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Weis using doubters as motivation for Irish

Discussion in 'All Other Sports' started by BoltsFanUK, Aug 7, 2007.

  1. BoltsFanUK
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    BoltsFanUK Well-Known Member

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    SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- By the time media day ended, most Notre Dame players and coaches exited the Loftus Center with sweat dripping down their foreheads.

    Poor ventilation in the indoor practice facility was the likely culprit. Or, perhaps, Charlie Weis' plan had already started to take effect.

    The third-year Fighting Irish coach has wasted no time turning up the heat on his transitioning program.

    After the Irish failed to meet elevated expectations last season, Weis told the players just how far they had fallen, at least in the public view, when they reconvened Sunday night. Calmly and matter-of-factly, Weis outlined the gloomy forecast for a group that returns only nine starters, must replace its quarterback and confronts a schedule featuring USC, Michigan, Penn State and UCLA.

    "Fellas, people perceive you a certain way, and you're going have to be the ones to change that perception," Weis recounted what he told the team Sunday. "Let's be very practical here. We had a large changeover in personnel, a lot of front-line players that moved onto the NFL. Why shouldn't they have their doubts or reservations?"

    In a smaller meeting with the team's leadership committee, Weis got into specifics.

    "He just basically [talked] about the 1-7 comment," safety Tom Zbikowski said, referring to the prediction ESPN analyst Mark May made for the Irish, who begin with four of six on the road. "It's kind of hard for the older guys because we've been hearing it for three years now ... but it still rubs us the wrong way."

    Weis' approach was hardly avant-garde, but he believes in its value, particularly for a team that didn't respond well to the hype a year ago.

    "We've got a little bit of edge back," said fifth-year senior Travis Thomas, who enters preseason camp as the No. 1 running back after starting 10 games at linebacker in 2006. "We had so much potential last year. I really don't think we achieved everything that we could.

    "Looking back at it now, with the talent we had, there's no telling where we could have went. But that's over."

    Last summer, Thomas and Zbikowski, along with quarterback Brady Quinn, appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Notre Dame entered the season ranked No. 2 in the preseason Associated Press poll.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=2963932

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