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November 21, 2005

Weis enjoys season's success

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. - His team's final home game over and a Bowl Championship Series berth within reach, coach Charlie Weis took a moment to bask in Notre Dame's success.

He watched the seniors take a victory lap inside Notre Dame Stadium following the 34-10 victory over Syracuse. He watched the Notre Dame fans celebrating, throwing tortillas in anticipation of a possible Fiesta Bowl invitation if the Irish beat Stanford next week.

"I thought it was pretty cool to be able to stand back and stand away from it and just watch and enjoy the moment," said Weis, whose team held its No. 6 ranking Sunday. "I was really looking at it as an alum - that's how I was looking at that moment. ... The only thing is, I have a better seat than most of the rest of the alums."

The other alumni don't mind. Not with the view he's given the Irish.

The talk after the win Saturday was about how the Irish offense had struggled. Struggled? Brady Quinn was 21-of-37 passing for 270 yards and the Irish had 420 yards total offense. That would have been the third-best offensive performance by the Irish last season and the third-most points.

The standards are rising at Notre Dame (8-2), and that makes Weis happy. In fact, he thought the Irish were too hard on themselves after the win over Syracuse (1-9).

"You walk in and everyone looks like the voice of doom, and I said. 'The score was 34-10, right? Do I have the right score on this game?" he said. "First of all, don't ever be unhappy with a win. You always should be happy with a win."

But Weis, using the offense the New England Patriots employed to win three Super Bowls, admitted he was pleased to see that the players - particularly Quinn - weren't satisfied with their performances.

"That's really a good thing because, good or bad, he's starting to be more like me," Weis said. "There's good and bad in that, but he has raised his expectation of his own play, which I personally believe is a good thing."

Weis is hoping now the rest of the team is thinking like he is heading into Saturday's game against Stanford (5-5). He mentioned after the game Saturday how both teams have a lot at stake, with the Irish playing for a slot in the BCS and the Cardinal playing for a bowl game.

Then he sounded like a true Notre Dame alum.

"I hope that we go out and play our best against Stanford," he said. "I hope we win and I hope we have an opportunity to go play in one of those big games on Jan. 2 or Jan. 3 and see how we can make out."

For more coverage of the Notre Dame FIghting Irish, check out IrishIllustrated.com.



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