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MARKETPLACE:  Auto | Jobs | People Search | Personals | Travel | Yellow Pages  January 19, 2005
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New Notre Dame coach Weis won�t shrink from straight talk
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- Notre Dame players were taken aback the first time Charlie Weis spoke to the team.

It wasn�t Sunday night, when Weis flew in to sign a six-year contract to coach the Fighting Irish. It was last winter, when then-coach Tyrone Willingham invited the New England Patriots offensive coordinator to speak to the team as a guest.

He didn�t come in and tell them how great Notre Dame was.  Instead, he criticized the team, which the players say was a first for a guest speaker.

�It shocked us. He really spoke his mind,� tight end Anthony Fasano said. �He took it as he was one of our coaches back then.�

Weis told reporters Monday that being plainspoken is his style.

�Unlike a lot of people that are in the profession, folks, what you see is what you get here,� he said. �There�s no hidden agenda. There�s no self-promotion; this is who I am and, fortunately or unfortunately, I wear my colors. ... I�m a pretty straight shooter.�

Weis showed a bit of a brash side Monday in being introduced to the media, showing confidence that he�s ready to turn his alma mater back into an elite program.

�I�ve been groomed under the best, and it gets you in the position to be successful when you�re given your opportunity,� he said. �Well, guess what, folks, I hit pay dirt. The opportunity just struck, so here I am.�

Weis will be dividing his time between two full-time jobs�Notre Dame coach and New England Patriots offensive coordinator� for up to seven weeks. But he wouldn�t say how he�ll do that, except to say he won�t be at the Insight Bowl Dec. 28 when Notre Dame (6-5) plays Oregon State (6-5) in Phoenix.

His next order of business is taking care of the players who are in place. He wants to let them all know he will be open minded and everyone will be given a shot to show they can play.

Then comes the more tricky business: recruiting.

Weis hasn�t recruited high school players in 15 years, when he was an assistant at South Carolina. And he might not be done with the Patriots until four days after high school recruits can sign with colleges.

He isn�t worried. Weis figures he�s been doing recruiting of another sort�trying to convince free agents to join the Patriots.

�It�s not that farfetched to understand that recruiting is recruiting,� Weis said. �It�s people skills and you have to be able to sell both the school and yourself. I have the utmost confidence that I�ll be able to do both of those things.�

Recruiting analyst Tom Lemming said high school players will react positively to Weis.

�Kids are looking for a chance to get to the NFL, and here�s probably the most innovative and popular offensive coordinator in the NFL, and he�s got three Super Bowl rings,� Lemming said.

Weis still has to prove he can be a head coach.

�That�s a big question mark,� said former Irish player Mark Bavaro, who played for the New York Giants while Weis was an assistant. �I mean no one�s really sure. We don�t have any proof of how he�ll react under those circumstances.�

Bavaro, who is a friend of Weis, believes he will do well.

Weis said head coaches are more like chief executive officers these days.

�There�s a lot of hats you have to wear as the head coach. You have to be dealing with administration, you have to be dealing with admissions, you have to be dealing with personal problems, family problems. There�s a lot of things you have to deal with.�

Weis is confident he�s ready to deal with all that now.

�So that�s where I am right now,� he said. �Welcome to my world.�


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