|Notre Dame focuses on sending seniors out with win|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 13 November 2007 13:16|
Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis laughed, Tuesday, when asked if he's had a similar experience.
``I would not say the same statement,'' he said. ``I definitely, definitely would not be in that boat, just so you know.''
Nobody has been having much fun around Notre Dame these days. The Irish (1-9) have their worst record ever and a record six-game home losing streak.
The last time they won at home was a 41-9 victory over Army last Nov. 18. The Irish then lost to USC and to LSU in the Sugar Bowl and lost their first five this season. That seven-game losing streak is the second longest in school history.
A loss Saturday to Duke would give them another five straight losses, which would tie for the school's third worst losing streak.
In short, this could well be end up being the worst team in 119 seasons of Notre Dame football.
It's so bad that Weis, a self-described idealist, finds himself expecting the negative.
When an Irish player called Weis at his office about 5:30 a.m. Monday saying he was outside and wanted to talk, the coach feared the worst.
``I said, 'Oh, no, here we go again,''' Weis said. ``I thought we had another person that was looking to pack his bags and go.''
Instead of looking to become the fifth player to transfer since April, the underclassman, whom Weis declined to identify, said he was sleepless and needed some advice on how he could take on more of a leadership role. Weis described it as one of the more enjoyable parts of his week.
``That's the type of guys you want on your team, guys that aren't sleeping because they're worrying about how they can step up and take on more of a leadership role,'' he said.
Weis was encouraged by the underclassman, but the focus this week is the seniors. They are playing their final game at Notre Dame Stadium and Weis let the team know it owes it to the seniors to send them out with a victory.
``I think it would be a very rewarding experience for them to win their last game ever at the stadium and be able to share that moment with the fans, especially the student body,'' he said.
Weis met with each senior last week.
``I think that they feel that a good portion of that responsibility is on their shoulders to go out swinging here for the last few games,'' he said.
Weis is worried about the game being too emotional, recalling a game two years ago against Syracuse when Notre Dame got off to a sluggish start because players were so emotional.
``It's something that you have to try to keep them grounded,'' he said.
Notes: The Irish will likely be without several key players against Duke. Center John Sullivan, who has started 42 games, has an injured leg, defensive tackle Pat Kuntz, who is sixth on the team with 42 tackles, has a back injury and reserve safety Sergio Brown has a sprained ankle. None of the three is expected to play ... Punter Geoff Price (quad) and reserve tight end Mike Ragone (sprained ankle) are doubtful.