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Monday, May 2, 2016

Weis avoids questions about big picture, focuses on Stanford

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


AP Sports Writer

SOUTH BEND -- Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis is tired of talking about the big picture.

That's understandable. The big picture at Notre Dame isn't very pleasant.

A victory against Duke last week allowed Notre Dame to avoid going winless at home for the first time in 74 years. But they still finished with a record six home losses. Win or lose at Stanford on Saturday, the Irish (2-9) will finish with more losses than in any of its previous 118 seasons.

The only thing to be decided on Saturday is whether the Irish will lose to Stanford (3-7) and finish with a winning percentage of 18.1 -- the worst since going 0-1 in its inaugural season in 1887. It would be an ugly end to an ugly season.

The Irish head into the final game ranking 109th or worse out of 119 teams in eight statistical categories: total offense (119), sacks allowed (119), scoring offense (117), rushing offense (116), pass efficiency (114), tackles for loss (113th), passing offense (111) and sacks (109).

For Weis, the numbers are just as ugly. A year after becoming the first Notre Dame coach to win 19 games in his first two seasons, Weis could match Bob Davie's school record of 16 losses in his first three seasons.

That's four more losses than Knute Rockne had in 13 seasons, five more than Frank Leahy had in 11 seasons and one fewer than Ara Parseghian had in 11 seasons.

This week, though, Weis doesn't want to talk about any of that. He made it clear from the first question at his press conference Tuesday, a question about defensive coordinator Corwin Brown.

"Let's talk about Stanford this week," Weis said.

When another reporter asked a question about something other than Stanford or the game this week, Weis replied: "If you want to ask me something about this week, I'd be glad to answer it."

There's not a lot to talk about. Neither team has much at stake. The Irish have beaten the Cardinal five straight.

Weis is trying to motivate his team with the theme of "Moving the program forward." Some might argue that whether the Irish finish with two wins or three doesn't make much difference, but Weis believes it does.

"We haven't won the last two games of a season since 1992," he said. "That's a stat I want to attain."

The last time the Irish won the last game of a season was 2001, a 24-18 win over Purdue. Davie was fired the next day. In 1992, the Irish finished the season with a 31-23 victory over USC and a 28-3 win over Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl.

If the Irish do manage to accomplish that, it would be one of the few goals it was able to meet this season.

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