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The soft side of gruff and tough Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis has been revealed.

Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich was diagnosed with Ewings sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer in May, and Weis, coach of BC's arch rival, was first to reach out.

"We communicate regularly, Weis stated "I mean, even something little. I just push him, you know. I don't let him feel sorry for himself. So, just the way you would expect me to.

"I have a lot of respect. I already had respect for him as a player, I have much more respect for him as a person.''

Herzlich , defensive player of the year at BC last year thought Weis would make just one phone call and that would be it.

"I never had any feelings one way or another about (Weis), because I didn't know him,'' Herzlich recently told the Chicago Tribune. "When he called, it was kind of like, 'OK, well, this is very nice of him.' Kind of thought it would be a one-time thing -- a lot of people had
called me. But the fact that he kept on being supportive the whole time was special and something different. He kind of set himself apart.''

Other Notre Dame supporters have also reached out Sister Barbara Anne, a 75-year-old Franciscan nun, has written countless letters that aided Herzlich along the way.

Sister Anne, and Weis plan to meet with Herzlich before the game, but she is adamant she's still supporting her beloved Fighting Irish
Saturday. Herzlich didn't mind.

"If the people from Boston College knew that the head coach from Notre Dame and I are friends, they would probably disown me.'''Herzlich says.

"But he and Sister Anne have been so supportive."