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 SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis has a concern this week he hasn't had to worry about since 2006: dealing with success.
He has a simple question for the Fighting Irish (2-0): ``Are you going to spend a week watching TV and reading the newspapers and having everyone tell you that you're halfway decent now, or are you going to go try to grow from this?''
Weis knows the Fighting Irish have reason to feel good about themselves after a 2-0 start. During last year's dismal 3-9 season and following an unimpressive effort in the opening game against San Diego State, the Irish players were met repeatedly with questions from the media, alumni and classmates about what was wrong with the team.
it too much.
``I think this is the next step on the curve where you can sit there and say, 'OK, now what are you going to do?''' Weis said Tuesday. ``You've had some moderate success, what are you going to do with that success?''
The Irish are in a good position. They have played well enough to be happy, but have enough areas that need improvement that players realize they have a lot of work to do.
The Irish are ranked 96th in the country in total offense at 301 yards a game, 70th in total defense giving up 367 yards a game and on special teams they are 85th in kickoff returns.
Weis also is counting on the Irish to play with the same type of emotion they had against the Wolverines. He has been pushing his team to be more emotional, a theme he stressed during the offseason. Weis said he never actively sought to squelch his team's emotion in the past, but in retrospect he thought perhaps players felt he wanted them to emulate his businesslike approach toward games.
He realized to become a better coach he had to tap into their emotion.
h players have encouraged their fellow students to use a ``Crank Me Up'' cheer during games.
``Every time we'd have the interlude of ``Crank Me Up'' they'd sit there and be dancing out on the field,'' said Weis, who joked that it pained him to play the music. ``They were just waiting for my song to get over so they could get to their part.''
Weis said he's already seen the players enjoying themselves more this season at the end of games.
``Hopefully that's a sign of many more enjoyable moments they get out of this year,'' he said.
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