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Weis's New Position: Split End

The Patriots' open date allowed Weis to return to Notre Dame on Thursday to prepare for the program's biggest recruiting weekend. Weis had his first staff meeting and quickly assessed where recruiting stands. Notre Dame lost oral commitments from three high school players after Tyrone Willingham was fired, but managed to keep eight players who had committed. Programs such as Nebraska, Texas A&M, Alabama and Virginia have 24 committed players, and Rivals.com, a Web-based recruiting service, ranks Notre Dame's current class No. 48 in Division I-A.

Weis said Notre Dame's approach in recruiting will be similar to how NFL teams prepare for the draft. He has designed a depth chart with returning players, positions of need and potential recruits. If the Patriots keep winning, and Weis can't be on campus to visit with recruits, he'll meet with them via video conferencing.



_____Charlie Weis's Week_____

• Monday: Participated in Patriots' news conference; visited tackle Brian Roche in Ramsey, N.J.

• Tuesday: Spent entire day planning for Patriots' first playoff game; called Notre Dame recruits for several hours in the evening.

• Wednesday: Spent the morning and afternoon working at Patriots' training complex; flew to South Bend, Ind.

• Thursday: Had first Notre Dame staff meeting; toured the athletic complex that is under construction; finalized recruiting weekend plans.

• Friday: Held a news conference at 8:45 a.m.; attended more staff meetings; began to welcome recruits and returning players.

• Yesterday: Held face-to-face meetings with more than a dozen recruits; attended Notre Dame's basketball game against Villanova; flew back to Massachusetts.

• Today: Will attend Patriots staff meeting at 6 a.m.; plans to watch NFL playoff games in the afternoon.

-- Mark Schlabach

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_____ What's Next? _____
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_____ First-Round Results _____
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_____ Audio _____
Manning says avoiding turnovers is key in the playoffs.
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"I think that things have gone fairly well" in recruiting, Weis said. "I think that sometimes you come in with a kid, and it's just irreparable and it's too late. I do not in any way think that we won't have a successful recruiting class this year. Are there some players that we're too late on? Yes. That's just the way it is. It's the nature of the beast. But in no way do I think that I've been received in anything but a positive manner, even with the kids that aren't going to end up coming here."

In assembling his coaching staff, Weis obviously had recruiting in mind. He hired three former recruiting coordinators -- Michael Haywood (Texas), Rob Ianello (Arizona and Wisconsin) and Brian Polian (Central Florida), son of Indianapolis Colts President Bill Polian. Weis also hired three former college head coaches -- David Cutcliffe (Mississippi), Rick Minter (Cincinnati) and Bill Lewis (Wyoming, Georgia Tech, East Carolina).

"I think a lot of times the reason why coaches don't have those guys who have been head coaches on their staff is because they're intimidated by them," Weis said. "You know, 'Well, this guy's going to take my job.' And that certainly is not one of the things going through my mind."

Those coaches spent this weekend at Notre Dame hosting more than a dozen prospects, who were greeted by about eight more inches of snow that fell earlier in the week. With three weekends left to have recruits on campus, the Fighting Irish don't have much time to make an impression. Weis stayed on campus until Saturday night before taking a late flight back to Foxboro, as Belichick had a staff meeting scheduled for 6 a.m. Sunday.

After juggling two jobs for nearly a month, the days seem to be running together for Weis.

"At Sunday at 1, if you were looking for me, you could find me at my desk," he said. "That's why we're meeting at 6 in the morning, so we have seven hours to work before that game. Is my math right? That's right. Seven hours to work before that game starts because we'll be watching that game at 1."

After that, it will be a few more hours of game planning and then several more telephone calls to recruits. All in a day's work for Charlie Weis.


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