The Void

So here’s a coach who went 9-3, 10-3 his first two years at the helm, something that hasn’t happened since Lou.

He went to two BCS games. Yeah, we were over-matched, but that’s because we drew the top teams out there.

He’s recruited three top ten classes in a row for the first time since Lou.

He inherited two upper classes that are bereft of both top talent and numbers — that had the second toughest opening schedule in the country on a team that doesn’t have one senior offensive lineman.

And now he can’t coach?

I’m not happy. No one is. Best Buy probably has had a run on Tvs after screens were smashed on Saturday.

But I’ve never read so many off the wall judgments on a coach in one week — I’ve heard every absurd idea in the world questioned this past week — as if each judgment were obvious fact. I bring up the same facts for perspective, because you can’t really judge everything take all of that into account.

Weis needs top talent and a very good line to coach his offense. He’ll have most of it by next year and will have it all in two. Before Weis got here Quinn, Samardzija and Stovall were all relative busts. In Weis’s first year Notre Dame’s offense went from putrid to potent.

There was talent there, but there was also coaching. For the record, it was the Eagles who called Weis a genius after the Patriots won their third Super Bowl. You would think Weis made it up himself the way some are talking. When you’re called a genius by one of the best defenses in the NFL, that says a lot. This is a man picked by Belichick to coach an offense that won three Super Bowls and was universally regarded as one of the best in the NFL.

ND fans were apoplectic with the thought Weis could go back to the NFL.

Weis can coach offense.

Brown looks like he’ll be an excellent defensive coach.

Both can recruit.

At the beginning of this year Weis tried the spread option and, as BGS showed, it could have and probably should have worked. It didn’t.

But it wasn’t because Weis made the wrong choices at QB, yet you would have thought that was everything if you listened to fandom. The fans clamored for Clausen. Clausen went in and got killed. The fans clamored for Sharpley, he proved very inconsistent. It’s clear now that we didn’t have any good choices at QB. But it seemed so obvious at the time.

Do I think he should have ran more? Yeah. I’ve been very critical of Weis’s play calling. It’s a hellstorm of bad this year, but, as always, there’s a lot more to the story.

As happened on Ty’s team, there’s a rift between the new and the old. The talent’s in the younger classes and the upperclassmen simply can’t lead this team… they don’t have the numbers or the talent. And I’m not disparaging the players, but it’s a problem. Have you ever seen a company takeover where the more talented company is underneath the older company? That’s what’s going on behind the scenes at ND. It’s not the player’s faults. It’s the administration’s which let this program disintegrate and the older players are caught in the transition. It’s coaching, it’s talent, it’s the schedule, it’s lack of numbers, it’s chemistry… it’s everything this year and they all work to reinforce one another.

But don’t forget, this was an inherited mess and we gave the keys to a coach who’s used to coaching only top players and we gave him the keys knowing he faced a black hole of talent. Is it coaching in the end? That’s certainly a huge part of the story, but some coaches are better coaching from the top than others and to be frank, we didn’t hire someone who had a history coaching up and scheming for below average talent… we hired an NFL coach with experience coaching the best talent.

Was it a mistake? Still too tough to call and I’m not saying Weis will succeed. This is not a blanket defense of Weis. His success is definitely open to question and going for it on 4th instead of kicking the field goal was pure brain lock, but Holtz had his fair share of brain locks over the years as well.

We do know that Weis can coach a prolific offense when he has the talent, we do know he’s recruited well and it certainly appears that Brown can coach.

Every fan thinks he or she knows it all at some point and the fact is they don’t. Just like we didn’t know the quarterback situation. Because of the inherited circumstances, there’s a ton of reasonable doubt right now.

Weis will have his men as juniors next year and while that’s certainly not perfect, it will be enough to know which way the program’s headed. In the meantime one would hope we could find a way to beat Air Force, Duke and Stanford, but I’m afraid we’re just playing for next year. And I know, it should never be that way, but we lost to ________ Navy.

The wheels have come off. All bets are off.

“Wise men are cautious where fools are sure.”

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58 Responses to “The Void”

  1. hulk Says:

    “For the record, it was the Eagles who called Weis a genius after the Patriots won their third Super Bowl.”

    Yeah, well, what does Don Henly know about football?

  2. Anonymous Says:

    He still should have tried for a field goal….

  3. Jim Kress Says:

    Charlie didn’t always have “the best talent” to coach. What has done is to show a propensity to get “better than average and the best talent” and then coach them to victory.

    That’s why we need to be patient and wait to graduate the “Ty Guys” and fill the pipeline with Weis and Brown players. That’s when Charlie will have to produce.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    “For the record, it was the Eagles who called Weis a genius after the Patriots won their third Super Bowl. You would think Weis made it up himself the way some are talking”

    agree with most of you post Rock, but have to point out that we called him “Robot Genius” for the last 2 years.

    That was US (the ND community) building that legend, not the media or philadelphia.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Don’t disagree, but it needs to be stated.

    U R what U R, and boys & girls, we have here a 1 & 8 football team; this…..is one L O U S Y football team.

    But, it’s because we care so gosh darn deeply that we are as vocal as we are.

    And, yes, we will be just as vocal 2 years from now when Mr. Weis and his lads leads Our Lady to, yes, a National Championship!

    subalumT

  6. Anonymous Says:

    I have no idea what is going to happen next or the year after, but the issue that I have with this horrible year is other top-tier teams have off years; but off years for top tier teams are 10-3, 9-4, maybe 8-5, with minor bowl wins. Top-tier teams do not go 3-9, or dare I say 1-11. Yeah, maybe Willingham blew it, but you cannot rest this all on bad recruiting. Bottom line, no matter how bad it was, there should at lest be some progress shown in year 3 ON BOTH SIDES of the ball and on special teams. ND is one for three.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Weis’s team lost to Navy (at home). You cannot blame that on anyone or anything but the coach.

  8. Taylor Says:

    The QB question is what has left me in a void of understanding this season. Three highly-regarded high school QBs have come to play at ND in just the past two years, and they either did not have Charlie’s confidence, or they made incredible mistakes. What has happened to the promise that Frazer, Jones, and Clausen once held for the Irish? What has happened to the coaching of QBs at ND, something that Charlie personally oversees and supposedly marks as task number one, his specialty?

    When Evan Sharpley was being dragged to the sideline late in the fourth quarter and didn’t try to get rid of the ball, I couldn’t believe it. Outside the tackle box, some lineman or linebacker all over him, all he had to do was make a 10 yard toss out of bounds, but was sacked for a loss. QB play has not been very good, and that is the area I would expect us to be playing the best in.

  9. matthew Says:

    Great article

    It is simply the facts.

    Besides who wants the job . Given two to three more years and evaluate the situation.

    Crazed ND fans must look at the immediate past.present and immediate future.

    Matt

  10. Ted Eberle Says:

    Thanks for a well-written commentary on the state of the Irish. After coming home from South Bend yesterday, I was stunned by the absurd ideas presented by so many who know so little but think they know so much.

    While they are frustrated and disappointed (are we not all in that state?) it is like some have forgotten what Charlie Weis has done in just two years.

    You have put it in proper perspective. I believe, and I think you have said this in the past, we will see a different team next year. Probably not a national championship contender, but a much improved team.

    Unless something takes place that warrants strong action regarding the head coaching position, I hope Charlie has two years, because I believe we will see something totally different beginning next season and continuing beyond that.

    National championship contention.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    Could not agree more. After the initial (prepared for all week) shock was over I am glad the streak is over. Over the last 20 years I cannot think of a regular season team that always brought more anxiety than Navy (USC & MSU have only reached that status since 2000.) I think it was fear of losing with top talent and embarrassment it would have brought that drove my feelings. As Charlie said in his 1st year, “do you like to win or hate to lose.” I hate to lose, BUT this miserable year was the perfect time to lose. The future pressure of al “all time” streak is over. He did make some bonehead call during the game (and season) BUT I support Charlie 100%. The changes are coming and 2008 should reflect that and 2009 top rank status is coming. Just think back to the decade of disillusionment (i.e. the Davieham era) you could point to major bonehead decisions nearly every game. I do not always agree with CW’s decisions but I could always see the logic. The Navy game is the first of Charlie’s era where the decisions had no logic BUT it has not change my focus, Charlie is the future.

    Keep you head up and show how close the ND family is. United we stand divided we fall. Division will only scare the top recruits extending this misery.

  12. Bill V. Says:

    I agree basically. Everyone is at fault and everyone is working hard at the same time. No one has given up. Charlie is the head and he’s taking the criticism. But the heat gets to him once in a while and then he says or does the wrong thing. Surprise!
    Sometimes one team clearly is better and generally outplays the other team and still loses. This was the case in the Navy game. ND is steadily improving. When you’re way down though, it may be hard to see it.

    The one weakness I think your piece shows here is that you are still dividing the team too much. While what you say is true- it’s still ONE team. The casualty of this kind of thinking is most evident in the way next years seniors are dissed or ignored. They are part of the team and have a contribution that needs to be appreciated and fairly dealt with. They are Domers too.

  13. Charlie Barthold Says:

    “a team that doesn’t have one senior offensive lineman.”

    What’s John Sullivan?

  14. Anonymous Says:

    As a person in the stands on Saturday, I will honestly say that although boring, and against his way to call an offensive game I believe that his was the only way to try win the game. I also watched the kickers before and during the game and I can’t seem to understand why we cannot get any kickers in our program. Other than a few that I can remember, why can we not recruit kickers. The biggest disappointment to me since Lou and a guy named Rocket is our lack of any special team talent including kicking, and returning. We flat out suck in this area. find a special teams unit that works and it is amazing how many other weaknesses you can hide.

  15. Irishman Says:

    You say: “we hired an NFL coach with experience coaching the best talent.” However, the Patriots are universally recognized at having won with sometimes less than outstanding players. The wideouts from Weis’s Super Bowl teams have gone on to do collectively nothing, he had basically backup RBs until the Dillon acquisition, and the OL has been assembled quietly, while other teams have blown top draft picks and huge free agent money trying to match the results that Weis and Co. have coached up. All of this has occurred in a league where the stated goal is to create parity and equality of talent.

    To suggest that Weis had some sort of talent advantage then that he misses now does not comport with the facts. Weis has a lot of talent available to him right now, and certainly moreso than Paul Johnson does.

    If you want to argue that Weis just needs more time to get them ready, that seems reasonable (and I for one still hold out hope that it’s true), but to state that he’s facing a lopsided talent disparity against Purdue, Michigan State, and Georgia Tech, while claiming that he was used to having far superior talent with the Pats against the Colts, Ravens, Eagles, and Rams is arguable at best.

  16. Anonymous Says:

    I’m a huge Irish fan…always have been, always will be. My whole family went to ND or St. Mary’s. I also happen to be an Air Force Academy graduate. If the AFA beats the Irish Saturday, I hope you won’t refer to us as “_____ Air Force” like you did Navy. I’m cool with saying “_____ USC” with the best of ’em but, big picture, don’t forget that the service academies are the good guys, that we stand for the same values as Notre Dame, and that we – like Notre Dame – are one of the finest institutions in the country. Our schools stand for great things and produce leaders who do great things for our country. That’s the big picture we shouldn’t lose sight of, regardless of how our teams happen to be doing. In the end, we’re on the same side. Go Irish! Go Air Force!

  17. Anonymous Says:

    For the Poster below who says: this is “one L O U S Y football team.” Make sure you are at least fair enough to say, this is “one VERY YOUNG & INEXPERIENCED L O U S Y football team.”

  18. Anonymous Says:

    The bottom line for me is that I have patience and am willing to wait until Charlie’s recruiting classes have their day (2 to 3 years?). But in the meantime, here are my criticisms:
    1. There is a complete void of creativity in the running game. Navy typically came to the line with several backs and ran the option with great deception. When ND was ready to run in critical situations (third and short) they came to the line with one back behind the quarterback and zero deception as to who would get the ball. It was ridiculous and painful to watch it develop.
    2. Who is teaching the quarterbacks (Ron P.)? They are holding on to the ball way too long. Sharpley’s losses are too much to bear.
    3. I don’t like C.W.’s propensity–on third and short, to whale the ball downfield instead of going for the easy first down. As though he had NFL talent at hand…

  19. Craig Says:

    Other teams that have down years aren’t going through a virtual probation where we’re ten scholarships short of a full roster.

    Yeah, Charlie has screwed up, but the last coach to face a similar situation was Butch Davis with U of Miami, and he had a pretty bad season then.

  20. Brian R Says:

    Thanks for this article. After week three, or before for some, it was obvious to anyone in the know that this season was the Perfect Storm. We have an inexperienced line, inexperienced QBs, inexperienced WR, and a brand new defense. Then toss in a very tough opening schedule (the teams ARE harder to beat when they are undefeated and still have confidence – MSU)and a void of upperclassmen….and this is what you get.

    We all agreed this was the case and something unpleasant would most likely happen this year. Did we think it would be this bad…no. These things may have sounded bad on paper, but it’s obvious they have played out much, much worse than we expected.

    For the most part, I have stopped using Rock’s House because it seems that all the logical fans who believe reason one week…turn into Boo Birds the next week after another loss. Reminds me of that tOSU vs MSU game last year when MSU was lining up for the blocked field goal to take a commanding lead. You could hear tOSU fans chanting to fire Sweater Vest.

    The season is over…give it a rest. If it makes you feel better to write stuff down…do so on pen and paper…or skip the submit button. As you can see I don’t take my own advice.

    I’ll still welcome you misguided fans back next year or the following year when we are back on top.

    Brian R.

  21. moulder Says:

    The words “inherited mess’ PERFECTLY summarize the situation the ND program is in. Thank CW for taking the challenge to resurrect it.

    I would suggest that every person critical of what CW has done, send a letter or email to Malloy, White, Ty, and Davies complimenting for creating this nightmare.

  22. glenn man Says:

    I first set foot on campus as an ND student in 1964, the year of Ara; so losing to Navy is not in my frame of reference; it is not part of my world order. That order has been topsy-turveyed, and the present Irish season made all the more dismal by it. Can it get any worse? Nevertheless, I stand by Charlie Weis for all the reasons you list; we need to remind ourselves constantly about the need for perspective. Believe you me, Charlie is going to learn from his mistakes and make the necessary adjustments as a head coach. Bleeding Irish green means being passionate about ND football and the team and support, support, support in times like these. It also means judging correctly, when it is warranted, the time to push for a change. This is not one of those times.

  23. Anonymous Says:

    Finally a voice of reason. Great article that some rabid fans need to read. ND will be back, and pretty soon. The big changes (at a level of the administration’s perspective, facilities, $$$ for coaches, etc.) have been made. Enough of the psych evals of Charlie already.

    I especially appreciated the note about the loss to Navy. Whenever the other team says they have nothing to lose–especially a friend like Navy–it is time for it to end because it means we can’t win. If we beat them in a year like this, people will say, “What’s the use? ND is a bully that beats up on poor Navy even in its worst year ever. They ought to end the series.” But the threat of losing turns the winning streak into a curse instead of a trophy to be proud of–a landmine for the coach who allows it to happen. That’s just plain dumb. It had to end sometime, and we should be proud that we had such a streak and leave it at that.

  24. Anonymous Says:

    It’s amazing how delusional some of the Weis apologists have become.

  25. Anonymous Says:

    Weis has failed to get the team truly motivated for any games this year. I don’t know who to blame for that other than the coach.

  26. Anonymous Says:

    I am with Brian R, the team is young and growing. The difference between 18 year old young men and 20 year old men is quite large. Give the kids an off season and watch them grow and challenge to be better. I have more fun watching ND this season then in the past. I hate that we are losing but seeing the new guys come in and those flashes of what they will be. Next year I expect a winning season with more upside to every game and the season after that when this freshmen class is juniors, lookout it might be down right fun to be blue and gold fans again. Success is built one step at a time, leaping just leads to disappointment.

  27. Anonymous Says:

    I agree with the fact that we have bad talent in our upperclass and inexpierenced in fresh/soph. BUT…there is more to this dissapointing season than lack of talent and expierence. We have been outcoached too. Bad play calling, starting lineups,lack of preparation. I think CW is a great coach. This is a learning year for him too. He needs to go back to the drawing board, and work hard for next year. Im looking foward to wearing my ND gear next year and telling all the naysayers, “I told you we’d be good!”

  28. Anonymous Says:

    “Robot Genius” is, I’m pretty sure, a tongue-in-cheek jab at the over-zealous uber-fan: Marco

  29. Anonymous Says:

    How many scholarship seniors do we have this year? And how many of them are big time D-1 talent? Not many. However, it is what it is. Let’s face it folks, Chauncy left the cupboard pretty damn bare. What SUCCESSFUL big time program has ZERO senior offensive linemen? There is no senior leadership. There is no senior talent. The guy has been with us for 3 years but he’s only recruited 2 years…if you’ll remembered when he was hired he was still busy coaching a team called the New England Patriots that was in the NFL PLAYOFFS. Yeah, he should have gone for the field goal, but you know what, this whole season as been a comedy of errors and the finger should be pointed at everyone but especially the administration and Chauncy…who is really lighting things up in Washington too. This was the perfect storm in the making. I don’t care if it was Urban Meyer, Jim Tressel, Bob Stoops, Mack Brown, Steve Spurier, or that Pete F#$%ING Carroll this was going to happen…PERIOD. Don’t judge Weis until 2 years from now.

  30. Anonymous Says:

    someone said there was a void in creativity in the running game…how creative can you get when you have NO ONE who can block…and I mean NO ONE.

  31. Scott Michael Engler Says:

    Points:

    It wasn’t Marco who first coined the term genius, is was the Philadelpia Eagles. Marco played up robot genius but many of us aren’t sure he’s even an ND fan or that he’s even lucid.

    Weis didn’t have top NFL talent with the Patriots…but he did have top talent as vetted through the NFL. Hug e difference between a kid who hasn’t played out of high school and a journeyman pro.

    The team “is” divided now and it’s going to be that way until the underclassmen move up.

  32. Anonymous Says:

    That comment about Don Henly is comic genius.

  33. Anonymous Says:

    It Is Obvious That The Senior And Junior Classes Are The Worst Collection Of Athletes This School Has Ever Seen. As Stated Previously, Weis Only Truly Recruited 2 Classes. The Problem Plain And Simple Is Coaching, But Not The Reason Everyone Keeps Talking About. Yes, The Play Calling Has Been A Bit Boneheaded At Times, But Great Players Usually Turn Nothing Into Something. This Team Has Been Handicapped By The Starters And Other No-Names Seeing The Field. Lets Start On Offense First And Take A Look At Who Should Not Be On The Field. I For One Am Sick Of The Robby Parris/Jeff Samardzija Comparisons…Other Than Them Both Being White That Is The Only Similarity. David Grimes And George West Should Never See The Field And Throw In Travis Thomas Who Just Takes Away Playing Time From Armando Allen. John Sullivan Has Gotten Worse From The Start Of The Season And Evan Sharpley Is Not And Has Never Been The Answer At Quarterback. Bottom Line If Tate, Kumara, Allen And Don’t Forget Freshman Matt Romine In At Tackle Instead Of Duncan This Offense Is Dramatically Different. Deep Breath. Now What I’m About To Say Will Probably Send Shockwaves Through NDNation, But Tom Zibikowski Has Never Done Anything On Defense Period. I’ll Give Him The Occasional “Big Play” On Punt Returns, But He’s Not Rocket, He’s Not Allen Rossum, And He’s Not Tim Brown. He Has Single Handedly Fooled Everyone. And Why Is Ambrose Wooden Still On The Field? Where Is Raeshon McNeil? And How About Terrail Lambert Consistently Not Watching The Ball And Getting Burned. And Why Is Kyle McCarthy Getting Playing Time With David Bruton All Of A Sudden? Is It To Just Keep His Brother Committed To ND? Bruton Is The Team MVP On Defense And That Is Fact. I’ll Admit He Has Made A Few Bad Plays, But By Riding The Pine Behind Ndukwe Last Year That’s Expected. Lets Give John Ryan A Big Hand For Having Exactly 0 Tackles Against Navy On Saturday. Pretty Good Against An Option Team. I Still Don’t Know How He Automatically Has Started All Season. Don’t Forget Joe Brockington Who Will Never Be Better Than Toryan Smith, But Still Starts Ahead Of Him? And Can You Honestly Tell Me Dwight Stephenson Should Play Instead Of Kerry Neal Or Brian Smith Or Mo Richardson. I Just Don’t Know What These Coaches See In Practice And It Kills Me. The Answer If You Look Closely On Kick Returns Is Having 2 Guys Deep. Under Holtz There Was Never 2 Back Only One To Give An Extra Blocker. Whether It’s Tate Or Allen It Doesn’t Matter, But Just One. That Solves The Problem Period.

  34. Anonymous Says:

    Unfortunately, Charlie’s style of interpersonal relations has left him without support during this difficult time. People who like him overlook the mistakes, people who don’t like him, magnify the mistakes. Eventually, it will be results that count. I will be patient, but have become more objective in my evaluation of CW as an ND coach.

  35. mic deniro '70 Says:

    I would invoke the maxim “Losing hurts more than winning feels good”
    but I don’t remember what winning feels like.

  36. Anonymous Says:

    Within 3 years Weis will contend for the National Championship. He will never allow this to happen again. And to the person who graduated from Air Force, I support Army, Navy, and Air Force as well, they represent the same values as ND does. Good luck to ND AND Air Force.

    After graduating from ND, I feel bad for the entire ND nation. If I were a student I’d be furious, but thats just me. I wonder if students are being turned away from ND because of this.

  37. Anonymous Says:

    ND needs an offensive line coach.BD fired the best offensive coach ND ever had, Joe Moore. Please bring him out of retirement. GO IRISH!

  38. Anonymous Says:

    It is going to get tougher and tougher each year. This is not the same ND of yesterday especially when I was there in the 60’s….this is a school that is more like Harvard and Yale not like florida or Texas …. how many line men have 1300 SAT scores, let’s get real it will be harder and harder to recruit. We don’t have a physical ed program to put players in or education classes….

  39. Anonymous Says:

    The Rock has been very fair and even balanced in his thoughts about the team this year. I challenge each of us to watch the Navy game again and watch the linemen trying to maintain their blocks. They would engage and then Navy would fight off the block and make the tackle. Four yard gains could have been 10-12 yard gains. The bottom line is that we could NOT even block Navy! These poor boys are indeed lousy and I hate to be critical of them because they appear to be trying and after all, we must stick together. I blame this situation all on Ty: Charlie cannot block and if the guys don’t have the skills, they will never learn how to block. Anyway, let’s keep the faith!

  40. AthensND Says:

    Best post of the year. My thoughts exactly. To posters who should stay off the boards and keep to the water cooler: If you want the arsenal of talent that we have recruited to go elsewhere, keep up the anti-Weis postings. If you can’t see what he did with a sub-par team the last two years, you need to buy the Frank Leahy GI Bill National Championship Box Set and just lock yourself in some room. Fantasy land. Charlie is doing something that has never been done before in the modern era, win a national championship with STUDENT-athletes. Again, if you want speedy suspect USC results, go root for the Poodles.

  41. Anonymous Says:

    Does anyone think this season would be better with Ty as our coach? Sweet Jesus, look at Weis, he looks like he’s aged 20 years. Weis is a hard worker and will learn from the mistakes he and the team has made his year. A lot of people unhappy with him this year will be kissing his ass in a few seasons.

  42. tim Says:

    Players develop players more than coaches. Until the upper-class is full don’t expect too much success on Saturdays. ND can’t bring in the Chicago Bears to scrimmage our underclassmen. Nor can ND plug in JUCOs. The ND pups have NO ONE to push their development, yet.

  43. Anonymous Says:

    Before the brightest morning is the darkest night. Stay tuned domers, it can only get better.

  44. Anonymous Says:

    There are a couple things disturbing about this team.
    1) Their fundamentals suck. Blocking is terrible. Special teams are pathetic. Way too many penalties. Yes, it’s a young team, but that leads me to:

    2) They are not getting better. They look just as bad now as they did week 1.

    3) Horrible decision making on 4th down. We go for it entirely too much. It’s one thing to do that with a juggernaut offense, but when the offense is struggling you have to give all the help you can to the defense.

    All of these are directly related to coaching. Charlie has one more year to right the ship, imho. I think Lou would have won at least 4 games with this team.

  45. Anonymous Says:

    The way I look at it, this is his grace year. He inherited a team that had mnay holes, thanks to Ty. But he has recruited well, and we all know it won’t pay off for another year or two. So next year will be a sign of which way it’s going, and the year after that (5th year) we’ll know for sure. If he doesn’t produce well by then, he never will. I for one am patient enough to allow him the time to produce, I think we all can do that.

  46. NDWillie Says:

    From my viewpoint it looks as if ND is determined to find a way to lose rather than win. Whether it is penalties, turnovers, lack of execution (especially on key plays), poor play calling and playing with little intensity, this team, including the coaches are guilty of it. Just look to the Navy game if you want to see the contrast between an attitude to win (Navy) and an attitude to lose (ND).

    Standard reasoning for these problems is lack of experience (including some of the coaches), upperclassman leadership, etc. These issues could be the reasons for the current lack of mental attitude for finding ways to win. I doubt it. There seems to be something deeper and I don’t know what it is. Let’s pray someone on the coaching staff does, and Charlie is open to the fix. Note to Charlie: you are now a Head Coach, not an Offensive Coordinator, start delegating, including play calling. You are responsible for the whole team not just the offense.

    Definitely not a Ty fan. Look at his first year at ND. Offense could not score a touchdown. Games were being won by special teams and the defense (attributable to Davie’s staff?). Although this team found ways to win, it was writing on wall as to what was to come in the future for ND Ty football. Poor recruiting/coaching. An educated guess is the winning attitude emanated from the players rather than the coaching staff.

    ND should have won more games than it has this year, possibly having a winning record. They will continue to lose if their attitude tells them to lose.

  47. Anonymous Says:

    As I read through all the comments, I found myself agreeing more and more with the defense of Weis, until I read “It is amazing how delusional all the Weis apologists have become”. That accurate statement made me drop the Weis kool-aid I was about to drink and think about the problem clearly once again.

    1) Leadership. These young men and kids are not being led. They don’t show fire or passion for the game. I’m a military officer in charge of at least 50 kids between 18-22… and those people need motivating from the top. It’s clear the team doesn’t have motivating NCOs (senior leaders), so Charlie needs to step up and lead these kids. The game can’t be all academic, it needs to be played with heart. The 4 yards more and I would have kicked the field goal equation is a great example of being too academic. Line your kicker up and give your team a chance to win the game.

    2) I agree, Ty was a crap coach and so was Davie. But neither of them was EVER this bad (I was a student during both their tenures). So at what point do we stop looking backwards and blaming THIS season on them, and start acknowledging that the current coach is to blame for a 1-8 season? That line of reasoning worked early on in the season, but we continue to get worse each game, not better.

    3) The Navy streak. Here is where the delusion of the apologists’ is at its worst. What are you people talking about, saying that you are glad the streak is over!?! Isn’t that looking for the silver lining a bit too much!? You’re crazy! As a fan, as an athlete, and as an American, why on earth wouldn’t we want to win and keep winning? This is a competitive game, not charity, and for as much as I respect the Navy team and its players, I still don’t think we should be giving this game away. That is a HUGE loss. After the game, Weis was quoted as saying he didn’t care about the streak, and Brockington said he didn’t even know how many years it had been going on. Wow. Glad to hear that our alumni head coach and a player have a clue what is going on in Notre Dame tradition. I guarantee every Navy athlete, coach, and midshipman in the stands knew how long the streak had been going on. But our head coach doesn’t even care. CW, it is time to start caring. Our traditions matter.

    4) I hope as desperately as any of you that this bad dream stops and that next year CW brings out an improved team, and that within a few years we’re competing for the NC. But I have to moderate that hope against what I’m seeing on the field, and right now I’m very discouraged by what I perceive to be CW’s inability to be an inspiring leader. During the last two years we pinned all our hopes on CW being the saviour of football after the horror that was Davie and Ty, and I think no one wants to consider the possibility that, though talented, CW might not be infallible. His errors are apparent this season, not his predecessors… this is HIS team, right now, and he needs to help these kids play better football.

    5) Two more years. I agree with that, because rabid re-actionism is never good… but please, to the apologists… let’s at least be honest with ourselves about our coach and this team. Ty, Davie, recruiting, seniors, lack of experience, etc, etc, etc… at some point, the name Weis needs to be in the list of what is wrong right now.

  48. NessMonster Says:

    I largely agree with your major points, especially your identification of the administration as bearing much of the blame.

    However, I persist in being less impressed by Weis’s first two seasons than you (and many others) apparently are. The Irish got those 9 and 10 wins by beating the weak teams (including some that should have been good but had down years), and by struggling against teams best described as mediocre (a truly good team shouldn’t have had to come from behind, at home, to beat UCLA or North Carolina). And, with the exception of the ’05 USC game, every single elite team we played in those two years not only beat us, but fed us our lunch, with a salad and dessert. In fact, one could argue that the biggest “victory” of Weis’s first two years was that close loss to USC.

    Even if we go 1-11 this year (which I doubt), I still think Weis should get the traditional (pre-Willingham) five years to build his team. I say this knowing full well that ND will catch abuse for the decision to give the white guy five after giving the black guy only three, which is why I’m down on Jenkins and McCartan way more than I am on Weis. They’ve done more to hurt the school, from a PR standpoint, than Charlie Weis (or, for that matter, Ty Willingham) ever has or did. But Charlie shouldn’t have to pay for the administration’s horrendous decisions.

  49. Irishman Says:

    This posting: “Weis didn’t have top NFL talent with the Patriots…but he did have top talent as vetted through the NFL. Hug e difference between a kid who hasn’t played out of high school and a journeyman pro…” does not support the original statement: “we hired an NFL coach with experience coaching the best talent…” that I argued against.

    I like Charlie. I think he is the answer, but you cannot possibly say that this is the first time he has faced a talent disparity or has had to do a good coaching job with less than superior players. That was in fact one of the most notable praises lavished upon him when he was a highly-coveted OC: he was doing it with potentially inferior talent.

    “The perfect storm” theory (so hacky) may help you sleep better at night, but it does not explain away the basic lack of competency seen on the field this season. I expect Charlie to become a great head coach, but this year he has not even been an adequate one. Only his prior two years of success and his stellar recruiting justify him continuing as head coach; in a vacuum, this season alone does not.

  50. Anonymous Says:

    Have faith in Weis because:
    1. He is a true domer. Urban Meyer saw the talent pool and fled to Florida. CW knew what he was getting into but took it for the good of the school.
    2. Field goal on 4th down? If you believe you will not make it, the only reason you go for it is because you don’t have the backbone to answer the hungry media. CW chose what he believed was best for the team knowing the beating he would receive.

  51. Anonymous Says:

    The problem with Weis is that this team has not improved one iota over the course of the season. If anything, we are worse now than we were when we played GT. I don’t think this is a good sign for the future.

  52. Scranton Dave Says:

    Rock- I agree with most of what you said, and I agree that we cant make a fair judgement on Weis til 09 or 10, but it shouldnt be this bad this year. With the last 2 classes and especially the one we have coming in next year, by 09 and 10 we will be players again. Hopefully we can get 7 or 8 wins next year.

  53. John from CT Says:

    The problem started under Monk Malloy’s regime and continues through Kevin White.

    They became enamored by top ranked educational institution rankings and forgot who “brought them to the dance”.

    They started milking the football program 10 years ago and the cow has gone dry.

    Right ND football is like a surfer who is looking up at the Bonzai pipeline wave that is crashing over their head. It will take persistence and luck to get back on top of the wave.

    This is especially challenging in football because “it takes a village” to build a strong team.

  54. Bobby Jones Says:

    Weis will turn this around and I am convinced of that. The team is closer than people think regardless of the 1-9 record. The main issue is the offensive line and if that gets resolved this team will win 8+ games next year. Also very well said about the upper classes being bereft of talent. When Willingham was working on his 5 handicap, other top tier programs were getting the types of players that Weis is now getting. Everybody knew this was going to be a bad year, just not quite this bad. The next 2 years will show how good a coach he is at the college level

  55. yz Says:

    joe moore, rip.

  56. Sean Cameron Says:

    The previous poster pointed out something very few have… Urban Meyer checked the cupboard and the cupboard was bare. That is why he passed up his dream job and went to the fully stocked shelves of Florida. As for this year’s troubles. There is no mystery. Several posters have touched on it, but you can be the best play caller in the universe and if your line ain’t blocking, your plays ain’t workin’. CW has made plenty of mistakes, but MOST of them have been a result of trying like hell to mask the problems he inherited. Before you call me an apologist, consider this simple question: who are the players making the majority of the plays that excite you? Outside of Trevor Laws, Mo Crum, and David Bruton, the players whose numbers are called the most are Smith and Neal (when he’s in), Clausen, Allen, Kumara, and sometimes Tate. Ian Williams has worked his way in and his play has demonstrated he will not be kept out of the line-up for long. Get some perspective and accept this season was “the perfect storm” as some posters suggest. Get excited about the individual players making up next year’s foundation. Go Irish!

  57. Anonymous Says:

    Regardless of what CW inherited I think alot of people here are overlooking one very important point: no one expected this young team to do well this season. But as the season progresses you would expect the team to improve and do better than the following week. But this hasn’t been the case. If we go back and play GTECH we would do just as badly and loose by just as much if not more. That to me is worrying.

  58. Anonymous Says:

    The problem is so huge because it exists on all levels. The players and coaches both suck. This is why ND is taking a beating on all levels. Even with bad players though it should never have been this bad. THat is Charlie’s fault and his alone. He said it in his press conference. He takes no heat because he has no one. I don’t even think he knows there are fans anymore. I hope one day soon he never comes out of his house and decides he has had enough. I sure have had enough of his sh*t for a lifetime.

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