What if Sharpley Had Started the Season?

Before this season began, I had assumed Sharpley would start the year and Clausen would challenge for a starting role by mid to late season. Instead, Charlie went for a spread look against Georgia Tech. Not necessarily a bad choice at the time, if it worked. But it didn’t and now we’re paying a price and playing from behind.

So where would we be without the Jones’ experiment?

My guess is that we’d have another win or two, our offensive line would be far more consistent and that overall we’d have a much more positive vibe around the program. It’s not that I think Sharpley is that much better than Clausen, though he clearly has the stronger arm at this point. It’s that we would have been practicing the same offense consistently.

Weis’s ‘design the offense around the player’ concept sounds great… but it also ensures that if that player doesn’t fit your system, you’re not going to be completely focused on becoming proficient in a specific concept, which is death knell for a team with a young offensive line. Especially facing some very good defenses.

When you add in the fact that the Weis offense isn’t simplicity in motion, it’s not hard to see where we went wrong this season…. (isn’t hindsight a handy tool,) it actually would have taken a remarkable set of circumstances to not fail with the young offensive line, a grab bagging offense and this schedule.

So what would have been helpful?

1 – Rather than start with building a system around a quarterback, start with the understanding that with such a young offensive line, we needed identify what they could do, simplify it and stick with it so that we could have developed some proficiency. My theory has always been the offensive line dictates what’s possible.

2 – Choose a quarterback that can execute the system we can block for at a high level. It’s my belief that Weis screwed this year up by either bending to Jones’ will (he knew Jones was going to transfer) or thinking he was smart enough design a system to make it work. Don’t get me wrong, it could have worked… the problem is that when it didn’t we were back to behind square one. Our offense, which already had a low probability of executing one strategy, now had several to try and implement. Sharpley was the logical choice to start this season if we were thinking about more than one game (easy to say now.)

3 – Call plays that have low execution risk or that at least reward that risk. As I mentioned here before, Charlie calls plays that should work… but nothing can work with so many breakdowns. Part of his magic in the NFL was calling plays you didn’t expect and you can do that and have it work if you’re executing at a high level. Charlie calls plays you don’t expect, but also that don’t work. There’s just not as much value in fooling a defensive coordinator when you’re executing so poorly. It really is better in college to run plays they know are coming and still make them work. That’s demoralizing…. then you out-trick them. BTW, I think the fourth down call was excellent last week.

4 – To establish one thing you can do really well and build a base.

Despite the schedule and the offensive line woes, we shouldn’t be this bad on offense at this point. From where I sit the part of the problem that rests on Charlie’s shoulders is the lack of identify in offense. He either felt beholden to certain players or thought himself smart enough to work around some pretty obvious problems. Speculating now, but I think it was a little of both and he and the team are paying the price for it.

Of course, the good news here is that these are one-time circumstance driven problems that should be very correctable as we gain experience. We’re not going to be in such a pickle again in the future…. but in retrospect, of all the possible options it appears we chose the risky ones that didn’t pan out and left us behind in development. Now hindsight being hindsight it’s also possible that nothing would have worked better to this point.


37 Responses to “What if Sharpley Had Started the Season?”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    I am really tired of just hearing who should start or who should of started. It doesnt matter because were not winning and one of the main reasons is our O-line is not blocking well enough to win games. It starts up front and we dont have a rush offense because we can block and we still cant pick up a blitz. Remember Sharpley getting sacked 7 times in the basically half of the first game. These players need to go home and look in the mirror one time and ask themselves are they playing as well as they can?

    Also, I really am tired of hearing Weis say everytime their is a QB change “He gives us the best chance of winning.” He said the same thing about Clausen when he got the starting nod. Just say it plain and clearly “Sharpley was more effective on Saturday and I think Clausen needs rest because I dont believe he is fully healthy.” He needs to stop sugar coating that statment.

    This is USC and they better want to beat the crap out of them. I dont care if your 1-6, you better play with more incentive when you play your bitter rival. GO IRISH!!!!

  2. Gregory Says:

    I agree with you completely. I am an avid Weis supporter, and I think his learning curve is always very steep. That being said, (and hindsight is always 20/20) given the lack of experience in the team as a whole, Shaprley may have been more suited to start from the begining. Would it have really hurt Jimmy is he sat and watched for a year?

  3. Anonymous Says:

    You give Weis to much credit for being a genius. First he told one kid he was not going to play before they even started practice. Then he starts a kid and goes away from everything thisteam was built around just to say it was his genius that won 1 game. Thats after wasting the whole preseason on a wasted offense and not concentrating on fundamentals with a young team. Corwin Brown has improved the defense when will his offense show up. The disaster of this season is all on Weis.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Have to disagree that if Sharpley started from the start of the year ND would have one or two more wins. If you can not run the ball as a team you are in deep trouble and one dimensional. ES obviously throws a much better ball than JC. You can not tell me he is still not hurting from his elbow surgery. I was at the UCLA and his passes at no real zip to them. UCLA sometimes had 9-10 in the box forcing ND to throw and they still tried to run the ball. This offense in its current form is one of the worst I have ever seen. All the problems can not be attributed to just inexperience. I can put my finger on it but there is something very troubling about this team besides just the W’s and L’s.

  5. doubledomer Says:

    I totally agree that the Jones experiment was a mistake. In fact, I think that Jones should never have been even the third option. Not that he wasn’t talented, surely he was, but his skill set was so different from Clausen/Sharpley/Frazier that you needed to have two different offensive schemes.

    I don’t agree however that we’d be two wins further along. Not an expert, or even knowledgable, but from what I’ve read and observed, the OL looks inept. Not only are they confused, but theeir technique is poor. don’t see how the QB fits into that equation.

    That being said, it’s hard to understand how Clausen got the nod over Sharpley from the get go. they both have their flaws, but Sharpley does seem to have an intangible that JC lacks at this time. He seems fearless, his energy level seems to be higher and he does have the ablitiy to get the ball down field.

  6. D.C. Says:

    Which two games do you think we would have picked up?

  7. Royboy Says:

    All things considered, and everyone makes some valid points, we are forgetting the killer schedule the Irish have played. Not one patsy uutil after the USC game. And who knows after that? I think we need to cut Charlie some slack.

  8. McIrish Says:

    Everyone blames inexperience and the O-Line for the teams woes. Weis knew coming into the season how green his team was going to be. Since he decided to schematically change the offense tailored to a type of quaterback [Jones] instead of sticking with his offense from the past two years, the O’Line’s learning curve suffered. Now, imagine if Charlie stuck with his regular offense the entire offseason, the O’Line would have been coming together much sooner and we would have seen a better offense. This pertains to both running and passing the ball.

    Second, it’s clear Weis has more play calling options with Sharpley than Clausen since Sharpley has been around the offense considerably longer. I still wonder what happened to our quick slant routes. I like the confidence the team seems to have in Sharpley; and there does seem to be more enthusiasm on the field. Sharpley does need to control his nerves a little more the way he overthrows the receivers, but he certainly is more elusive.

    Beat USC!

  9. Anonymous Says:

    I think that the point of this post is that EVERYONE would be better off if we had practiced more of a Notre Dame traditional offense in the spring and preseason, and the guy who held Brady’s clipboard would be best suited to steer that ship. The O-line cannot really be this bad (can they?). If they had been practicing ONE OFFENSE from the get-go, more of what is taken for granted in a blocking player would be happening on every play. They would be comfortable enough to not freak out when blitzed on pass plays and to fire out on running plays. They can’t be this bad, but they are young and if you make them think too much (not that linemen are stupid), you sap the fire out of the offense. That is what is CLEARLY LACKING. The same comments were made about our defense before this year.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    I like Weis, but I would rather have Holtz or Parseghian. He talks correctly about building the game plan around the talent rather than forcing the West Coast Offense on a team. But he is guilty of the same problem by taking a bunch of Freshman and making them run his intricate plays. It took him two losses to get back to basics and dummy down his game plan.

    All in all, I think that most of Weis’ mistakes come down to one thing. He came from working with 28 year-old men who were in the same profession as he was to working with 19 to 20 year-old kids who had to keep their grades up (something that is not a problem at other schools) while they played football. The maturity and ability to focus of these kids who left home a couple of years ago isn’t the same as the men he used to work with. That one difference has affected every game plan and emotional/psychology plan that Weis has tried to pass on to the kids.

    He needs to remember that what he got out of the 100% dedicated, mature men can’t always be delivered from the distracted kids he has now. He can get it now and then, from some or most, but not from all of them every weekend.

  11. Curious James Says:

    Charlie Weis is making some very crucial coaching mistakes that I hope he corrects. I am not quite the believer that everyone else seems to be, and I feel that people are more optimistic about Charlie because they can’t imagine another 3-5 years of rebuilding with another coach.

    The reality is this offense is one of the worst offenses in the country. I have followed ND football for more than thirty years, and I have never seen a team with less enthusiasm and heart. Where are the Chris Zoriches and Frank Stams when you need them!

    The fact that Rocket went nuts w/excitement at the pep rally last week and the team just sat there, watched and smiled made me sad. Where is the leadership on this team, where is the fun?

    Charlie Weis knows how to coach professional atheletes, and has been very successful. But he is having a tough transition to coaching younger kids. They need leadership, enthusiasm and something to play for that Charlie hasn’t seemed to uncover yet. He is playing it too cool and stoic. That might work for Bill B in New England, but I will take a Holtz approach any day of the week.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    The reason Weis has stayed with JC is because Charlie gave his word to JC that he would be the number 1 guy. Stupid move by an inexperienced coach who should have started his head coaching career at a mid level college program. If anybody believes Charlie is still the guy I feel sorry for you and the years to come at ND. Charlie has proven he doesn’t belong (except at alumni gatherings) at ND. My hope is he gets offered an offensive coordinator position in the NFL and takes it. The leash wasn’t long for Ty and it shouldn’t be long for Charlie.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    After watching the highlights of the spring game and the practice video from und.com I thought it was pretty clear that Sharpley should be the starter in game 1. When Jones came out I figured that he must have looked a lot better in practice from what I had seen. Now I’m wondering how can a fan watch 10 minutes of practice video and come to a better conclusion on who the starter should be than the head coach. Go back and watch the spring/summer practice videos for yourself, it seems pretty clear that Sharpley throws the ball with the most zip, looks the most comfortable in the pocket, and goes through his receivers to find the open man most effectively.

    I’m still a Weis supporter but he clearly screwed up the starting QB decision. As far as how much of an impact that has had on wins and losses is hard to say. As has been pointed out the OL has been awful and at times Peyton Manning would have been ineffective at QB behind this line. One last point on the line, if our offensive linemen moved their feet rather than lunging from a flat-footed stance when trying to pick up a blitzer we might have 2 more wins. That to me this is much more frustrating than the QB issue, it’s so damn simple but is no one seeing this issue on film and telling the players? Move your damn feet!

  14. Ryan Says:

    Please think back…If Charlie hadn’t taken the chances he did in the beginning with DJ, we would all be wondering why he didn’t use a mobile QB with this OL.

    Ultimately the same questions, just worded differently.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    If Sharpley started from the beginning of the season, we could have beat Penn State, Michigan State, Purdue and Boston College. We were in each of those games and if we had any offense at all we had a chance to win those games. Sharpley is able to get the ball down field and make plays. As a result, this opens up the running game. But we have not had the chance to see it happen because he only gets in the game when we are down by 20 points. Can’t wait to see what he does as the starter. Go Irish!!!

  16. Anonymous Says:

    Sharpley is the obvious choice for this week. If we can somehow pull off an upset, I don’t know about the rest of you guys, but as far as I’m concerned, all will be forgiven. BEAT USC AND ALL IS FORGIVEN!!!!! Irish win, 20-17.

  17. kbyrnes Says:

    Somehow I’m beginning to feel…that I’ll be shocked if Jones has an NFL career as a QB.

  18. Anonymous Says:

    I think this is a very thought-provoking piece. I’m sure it seems like an obvious question to ponder, but it’s one with many layers, if you really think about it.

    With the hindsight caveat ever-present, what if Weis had never become enamored with what WVU did to Ga. Tech in their bowl game? I know we were all excited about the notion of Double Disaster doing his best Pat White impression and perhaps true freshman Armando Allen doing his best Steve Slaton, but you’re right, why abandon your offensive identity, simply because the Mountaineers had some success with it against your opponent nine months earlier, and simply because you have a QB you think can run a little?

    With a little more foresight, could Weis have said to himself, “I run a pro-style offense. Which one of these guys doesn’t belong?” Demetrius was the correct answer. If he wanted to keep three QB’s on the hook instead of narrowing the race down to two in May, couldn’t he have let DD hit the bricks, and held onto Frazer? I understand the notion of having a QB that brings a little something different to the table, and the notion of crafting the offense around your players’ strengths, but the article above really brings home the importance of sticking to your guns, if that’s what’s been successful for you (and the Super Bowl rings would be evidence of that). The spread experiment was a pretty great example of fixing something that clearly wasn’t broken.

    And with all of Weis’s NFL experience, he has to be in-tune with the latest trend of bringing in rookie QB’s later in the not-going-well season, a la Leinart, Cutler, and apparently not Brady Quinn this year (I missed out on Derek Anderson on the fantasy football waiver wire). I do agree with the article that we’d not only have one or two more wins with Sharpley starting the season, but also that we’d still have established a sufficiently bad record by this point in time to justify bringing in the freshman phenom.

    I understand we don’t like to talk about our players this way (keeping Frazer on the hook, yanking Sharpley in order to bring in Clausen ultimately, etc.) but I’m starting to think that it would have been a lot better to bring in Jimmy for his first meaningful action after the USC game this week for what would maybe be a 3-5 or 2-6 Irish team than it would be to bench Jimmy now and add insult to injury (usually that’s just an expression; I guess here it can be taken literally).

    The elbow injury would’ve been a great excuse, and DD could’ve been the pre-season transfer and Zach Frazer could’ve been the in-season transfer. Charlie says this week that sometimes it’s helpful for players to learn from the sidelines, but I’d say it’s better to learn first, then play, rather than learning by being benched (not to mention physically abused by our opponents to date, even if that might serve as a decent excuse for the benching).

    So, yes, that’s the way this season should’ve gone. Both sophomore QB’s would still be gone, just in a different sequence. Sharpley plays games 1 through 8, then Clausen plays the last four, and the 6-6 or 7-5 Irish go to a bowl game and get that much-needed extra month of practice. We’d still have taken our lumps, but next season would look much brighter, in my humble opinion.

    Senior Sharpley comes back the following year to back-up, as Crist red-shirts. Clausen leaves for the draft after his true junior year (and a national championship), and Crist takes over. We’re rollin’.

    Oh well, live and learn.

    Great article. It got me thinking, as you can tell by the length of my post.

    -Chip, ’99

  19. Anonymous Says:

    This article is a serious case of WHAT IF and morning after QBing. At this point, it adds no value in my opinion, what is done, is done (and I agree that is C.Weis fault),but lets just look forward for once. Go Irish!!!

  20. Matt '09 Says:

    2 of Penn St., Mich. St., and Purdue.

  21. Andrew Says:

    I think some of you Anonymous’ are misunderstanding his argument. While it is speculation that we would have won with Sharpley at the helm, it is an argument based on probability.

    The argument is: if Weis would have stuck with his pocket passing offense, the OL and all other players would be further along than they are right now. Further along means higher probability of success.

    Trying to teach 1st time starters something even Weis wasn’t familiar with meant less time to teach them basic blocking schemes needed to run and block in Weis’ system.

    Taking a gamble on teaching a bunch of 1st time starters (froshs and sophs no less) a brand new offense is not the same as going for it on 4th and 1. I can live with Weis making gutsy calls like going for it on 4th and 1. The decision to not focus on fundamentals and not have 100% speed practices in the spring and summer is not gutsy, it’s foolish.

  22. Anonymous Says:

    We would still be 1-6…Our O-line has been so bad, IMO we would also be 1-6 If Brady Quinn was still here…

  23. Anonymous Says:

    I am an avid Weis supporter as well, and I think you bring up a great point. When you have a young o-line, you need to go with experience. Weis has been treating this year as a “building year for the future,” by starting Jimmy. I was at the game last week, and I definitely saw that Jimmy’s passes were sailing up without much zip on them. I think he needs to sit, observe, rest his elbow, and compete for next year. Evan had the zip on the ball, but with that being said Evan needs to play a lot better this week for us to have a prayer. He overthrew a lot of receivers on Saturday in his 11-29 performance.

    Go Irish!

  24. Cartier sled dummy Says:

    There likely is no amount of spin that can hide the fact that Charlie has managed this team in a Willinghamesque fashion. You can say youth is an issue because it genuinely is but at some point there needs to be direction and it’s obvious that the head coach, for all of his great attributes, lacks the ability to set the direction. He can design great pass plays, and he can talk the ND talk, but at some point the bravado has to wear thin on many.

    Considering that Weis had all of this time to evaluate the QB’s at the skunk works in area 57 under the cloak of black ops in the New Mexico desert and this is the turd sandwich he delivered, I have to wonder if Zach Frazer may really have talent afterall. After all of this many weeks into the season and after a full fall, winter, summer he still has lacked a clue on his quarterback leads me to wonder if this guy wasn’t given alot of credit to which was unearned. For example he gets credit for Tom Brady but Toms situation is that he wound up the starter not because Weis chose him but due to injury.

    I submit anyway that it doesn’t who your starting QB is when you have a head coach so infatuated with the pass despite the talents and profile of his team dictating that they be run oriented team he eschews that wisdom and throws without mercy anyway. AT this point it wouldn’t matter if he reversed stream and did go run first, he just hasn’t spent the time on the running game in practice and in the summer/fall to suddenly turn on the attitude it takes to run the ball. Our lineman are obviously more competent at run blocking and we have big backs and a speed back and a big TE that can catch, but what do we get? 3 WR, draws, empty sets.

    People mention youth, well as short as memories are, we had experience the last two years previous and the best we could hope for was a 3 loss season then and still NO running game. Brady’s group was blown to smitherines by the likes of OSU, USC, LSU, MIchigan etc. which means for those holding on, this is Weis apex. 9-3 seasons, with wins we are supposed to get and blowouts to any team worth their salt in the top 10. To me it’s simple, this offense is not suited for a high level of success at the college level because quite frankly it requires too many things to go right to often and these are college kids. It causes us to get out of games very quickly with multiple three and outs. Case in point, yesterday, Aldridge seven yard run on 1st down, then what? two incomplete passes and a punt.

    Hughes MIA, Tate MIA, etc. etc. and the list goes on. Identifying existing talent and playing it seems to be a theme for Weis this season. I submit that he has never had to develop anything other than a QB (WR production is a benefit thereof) and that he has trouble not allowing personal allegiances for players get in the way of identifying players that can perform, young or old. It’s just been odd really.

    We are seeing mid season transfers, not end of season, but during the middle of the season guys packing it in. Not one but several.

    At some point people are going to have to have stop this constant spinning and begin to see through the hype and spin and call it what it is.

  25. Joe Moores gardener Says:

    What Weis doesn’t get is that ND needs to base its core in the running game.

    and running games don’t show up like Haleys comet once in a blue moon when you need them they appear in summer, fall practices with a dedication to them in practice time alloted. When 80% of the practice time is dedicated to the passing game and the running game is an after thought in practice, is it any wonder why we can’t run the ball?

    The head coach sees running the ball as a secondary option not a foundation to an offense. When one third of the running plays in your play book are draws and another 50% is straight dives and off tackles and you rarely even commit even to that vanilla tripe and then there are no misdirection runs in the book used with any frequency to make the opponent think twice its pretty obvious that head coach doesn’t give a shit about running the ball.

    Guess how easy it becomes to be a DC against ND at that point?

    It isn’t rocket science. A green QB, Three big tight ends with different skillsets, three running backs with size and speed and a green line that run blocks better than it picks up the fancy zone blocking passing game at this point.

    Any rational person would have said, hey, let me protect my new defensive coordinator and my new QB from getting shell shocked going into this season and let me commit to a bunch of different two TE, two WR sets, and let me add runs to the play book, counters, misdirections, sweeps, blasts, ISO’s etc. and commit to their competence in practice in practice. Slow down the game for my team and not expose this young group.

    But no, we have to get robot genius that thinks he is smarter than the entire world (until he gets outcoached by another opposing coach) with all sorts of hair brained schemes and in week seven still throwing any chance he can get on 2nd and third and 3 or less.

    I just don’t think Weis has it him or in his personality as a play caller to commit the time in practice and the patience in a game to develop a running game that is so much needed to stabilize an offense at the college level.

    Heres the tragedy, we have three backs on our roster that I have no doubt that MSU, UM, BC, GT all would have used to bludgeon us with if the shoe were on the other foot and they played for our opponents.

    Instead they are relegated to pass blocking as their 1st priority and key competency in Weis offense (per Weis own value system for who the back most likely to start or get playing time is) and hence their only use as backs is a few draws, maybe one off tackle run per game to “keep the defense honest” (per Weis) and a few screens.

    I personally will never be able to grow to completely love Weis due this core fundamental difference I have with his approach to the game.

    It’s too bad for these very talented backs. They should have been the feature this year hands down and not Weis “I am a QB developer” ego on parade.

    If I have to hear about another talented player not playing because he wasn’t in the “personell grouping/package” chosen for that weeks gameplan I will scream. Find your players and start them, period, so you can get some consistency and the team can gel.

  26. Anonymous Says:

    Sharpley, in my estimation, is the ultimate team player. He has not said one bad word about the system – even though as a fan and alum – I think he has a legitamate complaint.

    So what if he had not been delivering the ball with as much accuracy as the other QBs in Loftus? News flash – A good receiver, like ours, can adjust for inaccuracies (i.e ball thrown over the wrong shoulder or a foot behind the spot). Ball placement matters much more in the NFL. Fact is, Sharpley runs a better game day offense, all the while remaining respectful to ND in the process.

    Blue chip quarterbacks scare me because they tend to not have the guts to back up that status on game day. Jones was blue chip status, what happened there, one and done. I don’t think Sharpley would have quit if he had been picked 6 times in the first half of GT. Will Clausen, will Crist when things go wrong in one half of football? Hope not.

    Here’s an example of a non blue chip QB – take a look at last year’s heisman, Troy Smith, a relative no name in prep school, but turned out to be ridiculously effective on the college level. Evan the same way, not a blue chip out of high school, but seems to not waiver when it gets tough on Saturday.

    It’s too bad we’ve had to wait until Game 8 to see this. Would Game 7 have been a win if Sharpley had been given the opportunity to stretch the field against prior d’s like PSU and MSU. We’ve seen glimpses of magic, but how can a QB gell with a receiving core when you get 10 minutes here and there? All this because of tiny differences in ball placement and completion rates in Loftus? Always, GO IRISH!

  27. hulk Says:

    “I don’t agree however that we’d be two wins further along. Not an expert, or even knowledgable, but from what I’ve read and observed, the OL looks inept. Not only are they confused, but theeir technique is poor. don’t see how the QB fits into that equation. “

    You have missed the point here, which is that if the O line would have spent the spring and fall camp learning a traditional offense, they would be more advanced than they are now. As it is, we had to scrap everything after week 3 of the season and start all over. That is unheard of and that is a sign that the coach royally screwed up. I bet Charlie would be the first to admit that he made some major gaffes heading into this season, but like you say, hindsight is 20/20.

  28. Anonymous Says:

    Why is everyone crowning Sharpely as the savior of this season? Are you watching the games he has played in? Yes, he has a great arm. But, he also holds the ball WAY too long, doesn’t keep his eyes down field.

    Bottom line is, Brady Quinn could be playing for this team and we’d still have a losing record (or we’d be 3-3 at best).

    Face it, this team is not fundamentally sound, instinctive and does not play as a unit.

    Why? Lack of experience AND Weis leaving his brash attitude in the closet so as not to “harm” the fragile psyche of 18 year-old freshmen.

  29. Anonymous Says:

    ND fans should not get too depressed about this year and the musical-chair quarterback situation. We know that ND has a good head coach and the pipeline of high school talent is full. Contrast that with the depressing situation at Nebraska. There, the fans boo the players and hate the AD and the coaches. And they have no pipeline of talent for the future. Their only solace is to continue to relive the past. At least ND students and fans still appreciate the team and hard-working coaches. At Nebraska, if you do not win, you are not worthy of support or respect from the fans. Count your Irish blessings.

  30. Anonymous Says:

    Sharpley or no Sharpley, there’s no way that this doesn’t carryover to next year. The current recruiting class may be #1, but they still will be freshman and inexperienced.

    Now I’m going to sound like B. Davie, but you just can’t come out of the gate with Georgia Tech, Penn State and Michigan and not expect to be running for your life with an inexperienced unit of players. Better teams play the likes of Florida International, Buffalo, Youngstown State and Temple.

    These forementioned teams offer you a opportunity to hide some of your inexperience and coaching mistakes. In N.D’s case, too many cooks truly spoiled the soup as Charlie had a stable of talented QB’s last spring and in hindsight, made the wrong choice putting the team at least a month behind. This may bite ND in the A$$ for a long time as there are ripple effects to losing and losing fairly big…none of us live in a vacuum.

    If ND wants to play the type of schedule it has, it needs to be loaded year-in and year-out because only the very best can come off the starting line full throttle.

    Each week I hope ND turns its season around, but each week the shadows of doubt loom large. The sooner ND can create some consistent positive momentum, the better – here’s hoping that it starts this week.

    Finally, kudos to the defensive side of the ball for not quitting and playing hard. A good sign of character and a big thumbs up to the defensive coaching staff.

  31. Anonymous Says:

    Priority #1: Beat Navy
    Priority #2: Beat USC
    Priority #3: Win Nat’l Champtionship

    Does Weis get that? Let’s hope so. #3 is not possible. #2 & #1 still are. Here’s where we learn whether Weis’ ability to motivate 18-24 yo kids is part of the problem.

  32. coltacp Says:

    I saw Zack Frazier play in high school and he was able to see the entire field to locate the open receiver. I cannot believe that they let him go and kept that worthless Jones. Jones even stated that he was a dropback passer when everyone knew he was there to be a running Qback. Clausen was chosen because of his older brothers, neither of which was a good Qback. I’ll take a PA player over a CA player any day.

  33. Anonymous Says:

    i miss taylor, ismail, zorich, brooks, lyght, watson, boiman, gandy, faine, black, goodspeed, rice, brown, weaver, givens, jackson, quinn, jones, irons, battle, holiday, getherall, quinn, stovall, mcknight, samardzija, and of course rudy

  34. Anonymous Says:

    Charlie lost me in the UCLA game when the D turned them over and gor the ball on th 1/2 yard line. Nexr play…roll-out for minus 7!

    As head coach Charlie OWED the D 7 points in that situation (talk about a team chemistry moment). I don’t care if you have to sneak the QB 4 times….you get 7.

    Instead he decided to be a genious.

    The may have won the game, but he might well have lost the team

  35. connor_in Says:

    I like how everyone here has the perfect 20/20 hindsight thing going for them. All saying, “Ha! I predicted we should have done so-and-so and now it turns out that’s the best way!”

    I only saw like one person point out the fact that Sharpley was sacked like 7 times in two quarters of play vs GT. Then Clausen came in and while he played against some back-ups, he showed he was more mobile than ES and avoided sacks. IMHO, I beilieve that the play of the offensive line in those games dictated the use of JC. More mobile than Sharpley…and a better passer than Jones (this is also why Jones probably got the nod vs GT…Weis probably thought he might be able to get away from the people he knew would stream into the backfield).

    The guy who stated that 3 of our current loses would be wins w/ ES at the helm is deranged…its possible the line would be better, but then again, maybe not. If JC was limited in the plays he could run from a knowledge point of view, then that means there were limits on what the lineman had to learn to perfect as well…and obviously, they didn’t…

    All in all, I admit, I thought
    Sharpley should be the QB this year even before I heard of JC’s surgery. I usually believe a year of watching is best for a QB. I do not fault CW for using JC as I am guessinng at the reasoning above. I also would not have minded a platoon-like system. It would have eliminated any talk of “QB controversy” talk…the fault of this year lies mostly in the play of the O-line and young receivers who are just now developing (please watch some of the early games and notice that recievers were well covered…at least during the short amount of time the QB had to get rid of it).

    This year is disappointing and CW is at the top of the blame list – he is the coach after all! But I thought coming in we would probably have only two wins by now at best three (Purdue and/or MSU-who is also rebuilding, but doing it w/ better stock in the cupboards).

    This IS a rebuliding year…next year over .600…the next yr Nat Championship competitive

  36. Anonymous Says:

    Man, you gotta start proofreading. If there were stats for that kind of thing they would resemble those of our offense this year.

  37. Anonymous Says:

    Weiss screwed up this year. Were he the offensive genius many say, he would have some wins to show for it. He is too complex and overly analytical. The play book should go and he should coach and manage with the talent he has. The test of a genius is to win with what you have and work a team out of the players you have ala Dan Devine and Lou Holtz.

    Weiss is the freshman, not Claussen.

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