What needs to be done in the short-term

The following is omahadomer’s post from Rock’s House:

Let’s just assume for the present purposes that Weis’s long term success is neither guaranteed nor doomed but rests in his hands. Clearly this season is going to be an utterly lost cause without some dramatic changes and an utterly lost season will do more than just hurt this year it will probably cost us recruits and hurt future years.

If there’s anything good about what’s happened it is that it has been an object lesson in the different needs of a young college team from an NFL team. In 2005 and 2006 Weis had a fairly veteran team. It wasn’t deep but it had established starters and pretty good and experienced talent at the top of the depth chart in most places. It made sense to work on the mental side of the game with a team like that because that’s what they needed the most and practice injuries could be devastating.

Treating the 2005 and 2006 teams like NFL teams worked darn well. The 2005 team was about 2 TD’s per game better than the 2004 team and the 2006 team was pretty close to the 2005 team which was a mild disappointment but hardly horrendous.

Weis had quite evidently reached the conclusion that he badly miscalculated how to handle the team. Some of it has been bad luck (e.g., Clausen’s elbow) but mostly it has been his fault. The “see what sticks” approach worked well with the 2005 and 2006 teams because that meant that we could have offensive game plans that genuinely kept other teams off balance. But that assumed some minimal level of competence in pass blocking and the like. What this team needed was a lot more physical practices and a lot more reps on the base offense and that’s apparently where he’s headed this week.

While cohesion is an important element in OL play, we’re so far from worrying about that factor that he just needs to find the five who want to play the hardest. Romine and the transfer whose name starts with “B” (center) would earn starts from me next week just because they look like they want to hit someone. In fact, I’m not sure that there’s anyone in the starting OL that I’d start next week. I haven’t had the heart to look at the TIVO of the game to really tell, but at a minimum there need to be some significant personnel changes.

Weis’s biggest recruiting mistake thus far has been Jones. I’m not trying to bust on the kid and I hope he does well at NIU, but Jesus son — do you think of anyone but yourself? If you were out the door couldn’t you have said something before you sucked up QB reps this week? I believe that the team spent so much time fooling around this past spring and this fall trying to install stuff that Jones could run that it has taken away from doing the basic things that got us in the endzone a lot in 2005 and 2006. That spread series to start the game had all the earmarks of something that was supposed to be run by Jones. Now Weis was an idiot for sticking with it when Jones decided to take the bus to DeKalb instead of Ann Arbor but that never would have happened if Jones had been upfront.

I’m glad Jones is gone. There, I said it. I don’t think he was willing to help the team unless he could be the star and I think he resented the hell out of Clausen.

Weis has got to find out who the young leaders are on this team and play them. The guys who have been in it for themselves can take a seat on the bench or get out of town.

I would sit most of the OL. I would sit Carlson and start Yeatman until Carlson decides to block. Parris and Kamara would be my starting WR’s and I’d just start throwing those quick outs like we did against BYU two years ago until they roll the corners up and then I’d run slants. Schwapp can take a seat and Schmidt can start until Schwapp figures out how to block something other than air. Clausen is the QB. He has shown toughness and poise beyond his years. He has a lot to learn (I’m sure Powlus is a decent QB coach, but one thing you don’t want to listen to him on Jimmy is that stuff about holding onto the ball for 5 seconds) but he will.

I’m mostly OK with the defense. Yes they missed a lot of tackles but their effort has generally been there this year. It’s just darn hard to keep your head in the game when the game starts with some screwed up notion about Allen taking the snap and it goes over his head and the offense goes backwards and gives UM the ball almost in FG range on the punt. And then two plays into the next series they fumble and all of the sudden you’re down 10-0 and the offense hasn’t scored a TD all year. You could have the 1985 Bears on defense and it wouldn’t matter.

Weis has done a miserable job thus far this year after having done a very good job for two years. If he keeps doing a miserable job he won’t and shouldn’t survive. But the reason he has a chance is that he is willing to try different things. At least we aren’t getting the “it’s all part of the plan” crap that was all that TW could come up with.

I’m still optimistic. Not irrationally so, I hope — but with some foundation. There is just way too much talent on this team to play like this and we’ve got coaches who know way too much about football to let this continue.

It all starts with finding out who wants to be part of the solution and who wants to be part of the problem. Problems to the bench or better yet off the team. Solutions to the field.

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22 Responses to “What needs to be done in the short-term”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    AMEN

  2. Mike Says:

    We knew this year would come but nobody could have imagined it would be this bad. I agree with your assessment on Jones it is good that he is gone. This is a time for patience on the part of the ND fan base. We are building good things for the future. We must get through this period with class and a positive vision of what is to come. A little love and a few prayers would not be out of place.Go Irish!

  3. DublinIrish Says:

    I’m pretty sure we all know what needs to be done in the short-term. Coach Weis told us in the press conference. I’m getting sick and tired of some bloggers who pretend to know more about football than the Coach. You know why he’s cocky? Because he’s good. Don’t give me this bullcrap about treating the team like a NFL team and blah blah blah. You don’t know a thing about what happens behind closed doors so stop trying to pretend. If Coach wants to start in a spread offense with a direct snap to Allen, so be it. It’s not a dumb call. Sully blew it. Now are you going to suggest that Sully’s having problems at home or the money ran out on his ND food card?
    I won’t rehash the arguments about this being the recruiting valley left by previous coaches, but I will harp on this point: If you want immediate success, buy a USC shirt. They aren’t a school, but a factory. Buy a Nebraska jersey, they banked on JUCOs and it paid off. Charlie is trying to do something that is unthinkable in modern college football: Recruit students, win games, and graduate those players. And if you don’t think Charlie for all of his cockiness doesn’t have the most to lose on this experiment, you are kidding yourself.
    I know most of the bloggers here have to stay busy for an entire week, but again, let’s keep analysis to what we see on the field, please.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Great Post. I believe some changes on the offensive side of the ball, i.e. playing freshman or anyone who hasn’t started the first 3 games, wouldn’t hurt. Plus, and I credit my wife with this, would someone step up as a LEADER and put some fire under their teammates butts? Show us what you are made of CW.

  5. John in KY Says:

    I want to be part of the solution!!! Put ME in coach! im ready to play!

    …lol…sigh…whimper…tear…

  6. Anonymous Says:

    yes sir!!!! my thought after the debacle was to tell the team you have 2 choices 1)start playing with heart, determination, and all out effort or 2)turn in your uniform.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    I keep hearing about “fundamentals” being a real weakness for us. Folks claim this has lead to countless sacks, poor tackling, and so on. However, I started playing football when I was 9. Played for a long time. And the one fundamental that trumps all: physical dominance. Putting foot to a$$. You can have weak schemes, costly turnovers, etc. and still have a chance at winning a football game – at any level – if you are hitting people in the mouth. We clearly aren’t hurting anyone. I don’t care what the depth is right now. We should spend every hour of every practice this week hitting. And hitting some more. Put players on the field who want blood. The rest will come much more easily if your opponent is simply being dominated physically. Just ask GTech, PSU and Michigan…

  8. Anonymous Says:

    That’s a great posting…if this team has 11 guys on offense, 11 guys on defense, and 11 guys on special teams who are willing to give a 100% effort for the entire time they are on the field, there is no question that Notre Dame is competitive. The fact that they are not at all competitive points to the fact that Weis is somewhat clueless about who the right personnel is, most particularly on the OL. The offense is statistically dead last out of 117 Div 1A teams….it would be hard to convince even the biggest ND haters that 117th is where the team is in terms of talent. The offense (with the exception of Clausen) plays scared and without passion.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    I agree with everything, except your comments about Demetrius Jones. To characterize hims s being selfish is unfair. Being a team player is a two way street. What has Weis done to foster that in Jones?

    All last year he got no mop up duty because Weis was so enamored with himself and what a great offensive genius he was that he didn’t think it necessary. Don’t you think some actual game reps last year might have helped this year, even a little, against Georgia Tech?

    This year, in spite of the Weis driven Clausen bandwagon, Jones still wins the starting job through his play in Spring ball and Fall camp and then gets a whopping quarter and a half to prove himself against Georgia Tech with an offensive line that is horrendous, at best.

    Jones then gets to watch Clausen play the entire Penn State game even though we were getting killed.

    It’s obvious that Jones was NEVER going to play again. He didn’t fit King Charlie’s offensive genius vision of a quarterback, ala TomBradyQuinn. You can’t blame Jones on this one.

    It’s clear that King Charlie has “Mike Martz” disease and if he doesn’t find a cure he’s going to be run out of town like Marts was in St. Louis.

  10. jim / Redondo Beach Says:

    Because of the OL problems…Clausen is aquiring “happy feet”. Hate to say it reminds one of Powlus. The defense is not OK. Wooden and Lambert have never been adequate cornerbacks. They should sit. In fact…the majority of playing time should be given to sophomores and freshmen. This year is a loss…we should at least attempt to get some experience out of it for Weis’ excellent recruits vs. Willingham hangers-on.

  11. Jason Stewart Says:

    I think everything you said is right on point. I met Kamara after the GT game and he was a great kid. He was posing for photos but was not happy at all about the loss. Jimmy has showed toughness but it’s time to let him make some plays.

    They need to drop him in the shotgun and run 4 wide and get defenses on theie heels to set up the run. I think Kamara, Parris, and Tate are going to be good we just have to get them the ball. We need to pound it with Aldridge and then let Armando run it home.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    Your comments about Jones and the assumption that Weis schemed his offense for Jones do not match the interview Jones gave. He noted Weis’ comments that Clausen was the choice as #1 QB all along and only Clausen’s elbow kept him from assuming the reins on day 1.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    I think everybody is too quick to jump ship on weis and notre dame. every notre dame website ive been too all ive seen is people saying weis better pick it up or he should be fired. oh quickly you people forget how bad things were three years ago. does anyone remember the royal beatdown purdue put on us at home three years ago, i can think of that game alone that has been worse than the past three, i mean cmon it was purdue and kyle orton. at least now weis has and is getting the best recruits in the nation and he’s proven already that he doesn’t a luck to win ten games a la willingham in 02, people need just need to have faith. by the way michigan is not a bad just because they were 0-2. they were a team playing with no confidence until notre dame, i gurantee if they wouldve beat app state that they would have crushed oregon last week. notre dame is playing with no confidence that is why they look so ugly. nobody seems sure of what they are doing to me, especially the o-line and instead of blaming the coaches or saying that young and duncan are just bad, maybe it sullivan who’s making the incorrect calls pre-snap. i mean to me there must be a reason that he didnt really play the past two years after he was the starting center before weis got there. i dunno i could be wrong about everything, but i dont think so. anyways, im gonna be the first to say that notre dame will beat michigan state this week and you see will a totally different team after it because they will be playing with some confidence.

    kmo-89

  14. lawpanther Says:

    I like the analysis and agree that we need to get rid of some guys who aren’t here to play. I mean, that OL was so pitiful last week, we should have just pulled them all and put in a few extra receivers, then at least the odds would be better for Clausen to get it to someone, and not to worry about the pass rush because no one was blocking anyway.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    why would you have kamara start? he cant catch the ball. carlson blocks a whole lot better than yeatman. on the defensive side of the ball i would yank ambrose, the guy has heart but doesnt have the skills.

    jones made wies look like an idiot and it was selfish of him to not tell anyone his plans, especially charlie. hell his roommate didnt even know.

  16. T Says:

    Thank you Dublinirish

    I was starting to think that I was going nuts in my head.

    I believe that all new coaches deserve 4-5 years; and that’s just so they get to see there guys through.

    It takes time for communication, work ethic, philosophy, etc. And the previous two years groups got it. I just wish that these guys that are playing now would have been paying attention. You can’t hold their hand when their standing on the sideline, but maybe one of the grad assts. could get em in a room and quiz em every once in a while (idea: for coach) so that they do know that they’re paying attention.

    It’s the offensive line and maybe the strength and conditioning factor. Did Young get better? He looks same size; feet-same. You either get better or you get worse. I hope that they make more strides in strength and conditioning next offseason b/c I think that’s what’s led to us not being “nasty”.

  17. Anonymous Says:

    as bad as things were during the Ty era.

    as bad as things were during the Davie era…

    as bad as things were during the Faust era…

    I’ve seen them all. But I’ve never seen an ND team as bad as this one.

    If Charlie ends up with 1-2 wins, or God forbid, no wins. The commitments begin to jump ship.

    He deserves to go. It’s about success. Period. If Faust, Davie and Ty deserved to be canned, Charlie would deserve it even more so.

  18. Anonymous Says:

    It begins and ends w/ the O-Line. I don’t know how many times I need to say it. If you can’t run block or pass block a living soul, it doesn’t matter if Peyton Manning is taking snaps and Knute Rockne is calling the plays. The result will be nill.

  19. Anonymous Says:

    I like what everyone is saying.One thing is missing these kids are playing with fear which results in tentative football.That is what I saw saturday.CW needs to find away to make everyone on the team not fear him but feel comfortable around him.They will start playing with heart and determination not to embarass him or ND. Go Irish

  20. Anonymous Says:

    Simply stop breaking these so frequently!

    THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF NOTRE DAME

    Quoted from the book
    THE GIPPER’S GHOST
    by Robert A. Quakenbush

    1. Thou shalt not tarnish the image of Notre Dame.

    2. Thou shalt always remember the importance of alumni contributions, and score touchdowns accordingly.

    3. Remember to always keep protected thy quarterback.

    4. Honor thy coach.

    5. Thou shalt not fumble.

    6. Thou shalt not get caught in the act of committing a needless penalty.

    7. Thou shalt not sell thy Notre Dame football tickets above their actual face value.

    8. Thou shalt not be a hot dog.

    9. Thou shalt not covet thy opponent’s cheerleaders.

    10. Thou shalt never lose to USC.

    THE GIPPER’S GHOST and THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF NOTRE DAME Copyright 1985 by Robert A. Quakenbush

  21. Anonymous Says:

    I can’t believe we are this bad. Our O-Line collectively is one of the strongest, biggest men we have ever had. There’s 3,4 and 5 star players. They were ALL recruited by big time schools. Our defense is the same.

    Playing freshmen linemen is taking away from your future as you want to have them for 5 years. How many senior OL do we have…NONE and only two juniors.

    We will get better and I don’t see anything changing except for Olsen replacing the injured Wenger.

    This unit will get better and better and next year we will have a solid OL, the years after will be awesome if we just hang in now.

  22. Mike Says:

    To one of the many anonymouses:

    All last year he got no mop up duty because Weis was so enamored with himself and what a great offensive genius he was that he didn’t think it necessary. Don’t you think some actual game reps last year might have helped this year, even a little, against Georgia Tech?
    – When did you expect to see Jones play last year as a 3rd/4th string QB? I don’t recall a whole lot of games being in hand in the first quarter…

    To another anonymous:

    He deserves to go. It’s about success. Period. If Faust, Davie and Ty deserved to be canned, Charlie would deserve it even more so.
    -After 3 games! (now 4) You’re either nuts or just plain ignorant. Yes, this season has been terrible, but not even Knute Rockne can win them all every year…

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