Weis Hopes to End Notre Dame's Misery

Friday, January 7th 2005, 3:04 pm
By: News On 6

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) _ New Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis expects to be miserable until the Fighting Irish are an elite team again. He's hoping the misery will end quickly.

``I think that any truly competitive coach has a passion to win, and until you start winning many, many games, you're going to be miserable. And I don't like being miserable,'' he told reporters Friday. ``I'm hoping not too long.''

Weis, hired last month to replace the fired Tyrone Willingham, hopes to begin the task of turning around Notre Dame's football fortunes this weekend by hosting some recruits on campus while on a break from his duties as offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots.

The new coach said the Irish need to upgrade their talent at the skill positions. Asked about Notre Dame's team speed, Weis indicated the Irish need some help, saying: ``I think the grass needs to be longer.''

Weis, who last recruited high school players as an assistant at South Carolina 17 years ago, said recruiting is going well even though he and his staff got a late start. There are some recruits the Irish missed out on, but Weis said he is getting good responses.

Weis said he has an advantage over previous Notre Dame coaches because the school is opening a new athletic facility in June that includes new weight rooms, locker rooms and offices for coaches.

``I think Notre Dame until June of this year was kind of at a competitive disadvantage as far as facilities went. This new facility, it doesn't get any better than this,'' he said.

Weis said he has had some good talks with Irish defensive end Justin Tuck, who is considering declaring himself eligible for the NFL draft. Weis wouldn't say what decision he expects from Tuck, but said he would try to help him make an informed decision.

Weis also said he hopes to limit media access to players and assistant coaches, saying he wants all interview requests to go through him _ with reporters disclosing the topics of their stories.

``We have too many team spokespeople around here,'' he said.

Weis would be the second straight Irish coach to put tighter restrictions on reporters.

Willingham was not available on Sundays or Mondays, and players _ as well as the offensive and defensive coordinators _ were available just once during the week. Willingham also supervised which players were requested, but did not ask what the topic of interviews would be.

Weis said he will talk to the media on Sunday, but didn't specify exactly which other days he will be available.

Willingham's predecessor, Bob Davie, was available to reporters every day but Friday, as were his assistants, and players were available Monday through Wednesday.