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Irish Insights

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Captains defend Weis

Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis said after the 23-21 loss to Navy, quarterback Jimmy Clausen had one thing on his mind – his fumble on the 1-yard line after a big hit in the third quarter.

Weis said Clausen texted him about the fumble and what he could have done better as the quarterback to keep Notre Dame from losing.

"He's not out there each and every down, playing in the game. I take full responsibility for everything," Clausen said for texting about the fumble. "All the mistakes I make, and things I could have done better to put us in better position to make plays. Down in the red zone I fumble on the 1-yard line, that's not coaching that's playing."

Clausen and fellow offensive captain, center Eric Olsen, spend part of their Wednesday news conference defending their coach and team.

"You feel for him," Clausen said. "You feel for all the guys on the team and their families that have to go back home and listen to people saying stuff. It was a hard loss, and to be honest, we've moved forward as a team and a family that we are in here."

Olsen echoed Clausen's statement about feeling for Weis and how the wins and losses are the players' responsibility.

"He would never admit it, but I got to think that kind of stuff wears down on you as a human being," Olsen said. "Constantly hearing that and having that pressure all the time, especially his family and stuff.

"But Coach Weis is a really strong person. He takes everything in stride, and he is always the first one up in front of the media to put all the blame on him. But as a player, he's not out there. People sometimes criticize his play calls and stuff. Well what do you expect him to call, when I'm letting the guy run free to Jimmy. What is he supposed to call? It's really not him, it's the players. It's on us."

With rumors swirling about Weis' future with the Irish, Olsen said the team has to block that out going into Saturday's game against No. 8 Pittsburgh.

"As a team, we can't be worrying about what if and what's going to happen," Olsen said. "We have to worry about Pittsburgh. This is a huge game for us as a program and a team."

The Journal Gazette's Assistant Sports Editor Tony Krausz covers The University of Notre Dame. Krausz, a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and a native of St. Louis, has been assistant sports editor since October 2005. Prior to joining the JG, he worked at two papers in Mississippi covering high school and college athletics.

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