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Weis happy Irish weren't satisfied


Published: Wed, September 28, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.


His team gave up over 400 passing yards in the win over Washington.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis is happy that his players are unhappy.
He doesn't want the 13th-ranked Fighting Irish (3-1) complacent after racking up 560 yards total offense Saturday against Washington, or with holding the Huskies to 41 yards rushing.
He wants them thinking about the big plays the Irish missed on offense in the 36-17 victory and the big plays the Irish defense gave up, including a season-high 418 yards passing.
"It's good that the players aren't satisfied after winning a game," Weis said. "It's good that they feel, 'We blew this,' or 'We should have done better there.' That's a good thing. Because too many times people say, 'Well, we won the game,' so it hides all those problems."
Too many big plays
The biggest concern for Weis following the win is the Irish are giving up too many big plays. Washington, which rates 61st in the nation in total offense, had 18 plays of 11 yards or more, totaling 388 yards -- or 21.5 yards a play. All but one were passing plays. The Irish had similar problems a week earlier in an overtime loss to Michigan State.
The good news, Weis said, is most of the plays didn't result from mental breakdowns. The bad news: Notre Dame frequently had players in position to make plays and didn't make them.
"So one of two things have to happen: either we've got to change what we're doing to make it a little bit different of a look for them, or we've got to start making some plays," he said.
Weis is hoping both happen.
Purdue next
The Irish coaching staff will try to add some schemes to help the Notre Dame secondary by trying to keep 22nd-ranked Purdue (2-1) a little off balance and keep some pressure off the Irish secondary. He said the coaching staff has spent a lot of time working on that.
Luckily for the Irish, the Boilermakers are no longer as much of a wide-open, "basketball on grass" offense as they used to be. They are averaging 100-plus fewer yards a game passing compared with last season while averaging 92 yards more a game rushing.
"They have evolved that offense into such a more balanced offense than they have been in the past. It causes a whole bunch of problems," Weis said.
Especially if the Irish don't solve their problems of giving up the big plays. Despite the problems, though, Weis believes the Irish defense is gaining confidence because of its ability to come up with big plays and keep opponents from scoring.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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