(UHND.com) – At his weekly Tuesday press conference Charlie Weis talked about the Purdue personnel, areas his team needs to work on, and injuries, but the Notre Dame head coach did not want to hear anything about last week’s game including anything another head coach may have been saying since Sunday.
John L Smith has spoken through the media about his displeasure about how “their (Michigan State) refs” mishandled the sideline situation that happened during Saturday nights game. Weis however, as is his standard procedure, did not want to talk about last week’s opponent.
When the subject was barely broached, Weis’s response was short and to the point. “Is this about Purdue?” “Then don’t ask.”
Weis did however spend a lot of time talking about this week’s opponent, Purdue. “Once again, we face a team that’s on a little bit of a roll. Purdue has won seven games in a row going back to last year. For the fifth consecutive week, we play against a team that hasn’t lost a game.”
Purdue might be the one team on the Notre Dame schedule that Weis is the most familiar with because of his time with the Patriots scouting Boilermaker players like Drew Brees. ”I went and worked out Drew Brees when he was coming out. As a matter of fact, that same year we drafted Matt Light, who was his left tackle. But I went and spent a lot of time with Drew at Purdue when he was coming out, had watched all their games.”
During that time, Weis met with a lot of the Purdue staff about what they were doing on offense. Weis was fairly complimentary of the Purdue offense from his scouting days. “They seemed to be a little bit ahead of the curve on a lot of things they were doing. That’s back when Drew was first coming out. That was one of the first time I really studied a team. The reason why you studied them was because you were thinking about drafting the player.”
In looking at this year’s Purdue’s team, Weis, as always, had a very thorough breakdown of the Boilermakers on both sides of the ball. On the defensive side of the ball, Weis made mention of Purdue’s effectiveness on third down defense. “Their defense is holding teams down on third down greatly this year. It’s 37%. They’ve gotten 12 sacks in four games. It’s well-documented that we’ve had trouble on third down. They’re good on third down. That poses a serious problem.”
The Irish were just 1 of 11 on third downs last week and just 2 of 14 two weeks ago against Michigan. The inability of the offense to covert on third down has hurt the Irish in the field position battle and has put the Irish in the hole early on in both games.
Offensively, Weis pointed out Kory Sheets and Dorein Bryant as the big play makers for the Purdue offense. Sheets, at running back, has scored 10 touchdowns already this year (8 rushing, 2 receiving) and has gained 321 yards on the ground thru four games. Bryant, the team’s leading receiver should be familiar to Notre Dame fans. “I know last year it’s easy to remember him because he had 14 catches for 127 yards and a couple touchdowns last year versus us,” said Weis of the talented Boilermaker receiver.
Weis was also quick to point out on Tuesday that under Joe Tiller, Purdue has historically been strong in the month of September with a record of 28-9 during Tiller’s tenure in West Lafayette. Weis also reminded Irish fans that Purdue has beaten the Irish two of the last three times the two have faced.
Last year, Notre Dame jumped all over Purdue on the road en route to a 49-28 victory. Despite the a 21 point margin of victory, the final score was not really indicative of the game as the Irish had a 42-14 lead in the fourth quarter before reserves started seeing playing time.
The last trip Purdue made to South Bend however, saw the Boilermakers on the other side of a rout in their 41-16 win during Tyrone Willingham’s final season on the Notre Dame sidelines.