Lou vs Charlie and Senior Day

The following post is from Moff who worked on Holtz’s staff:

I obviously have very fond memories of the 1986 team and hold those players (including our own Mike Haywood) in the highest regard for the way they continued to fight despite starting 1-4. However, I would be hard pressed to argue that the job Holtz did in 1986 was superior to the job Weis did in his first year, or that the 1986 team had substantially more “fight” than the 2005 edition.

The situation Holtz inherited was a hell of a lot better than what Weis and his staff were handed. Just compare the recruiting rankings of the classes Coach Faust left for Holtz and the number of players on the roster in 1986. Nonetheless, Weis damn near had in us in the National Championship game, and if you want to see the epitome of a motivated, emotional ND team, re-watch the 2005 USC game or the winning drive against Stanford. Prior to the Fiesta Bowl, I sat in a bar in Tempe with a member of our 1988 National Championship team and we marveled at the job Weis had done in his first season.

It was absolutely amazing to us, even though we had both woken up at 5:00 a.m. for the puke fests (albeit I simply had to watch) and otherwise had a front row seat for the Holtz rebuilding project. As best I can recall, the 2006 team also demonstrated as much fight and emotion as Holtz’s 1987 team (my senior year as a FB manager). And that’s saying something given that the 1987 team played the toughest schedule in the country and beat the hell out of some excellent teams along the way.

However, I don’t know how you demonstrate more fight, backbone and emotion than the 2006 team did when they came roaring back against MSU and UCLA. The team’s impromptu pep rally with the Band following the MSU game was inspiring: That was one fired up football team. And let’s not forget the impromptu pep rally led by the players after the Army game: [Flash: FatTFMP9NjM&rel=1]

Believe it or not that was less than a year ago. Seems like Charlie had a pretty good rapport with a lot of those guys who were lining up to hug him. To say the least, the 2006 edition didn’t look so hot in the last regular season away game against a top opponent, and got shelled in the bowl game, but so did Holtz’s second team. It is only this year that I see a marked difference in terms of the “fight” and emotion.

Obviously, I am not happy with the way this year has unfolded and I challenge you to curse a bluer streak than I have this year in the privacy of my own home. However, I am doing my best to keep some perspective. As Lou used to say, no situation is ever as good or bad as it seems, and people far smarter than me warned me that this was going to be a season that Weis would have to “survive” given the situation he inherited.

I also know from personal observation with far more mature and talented ND teams, that once things start going badly, the emotional effects can snowball and the team can play below the level of which it is capable and the level at which it is being coached, and less than stellar attitudes can emerge among a few. In terms of the differences between Lou and Charlie’s third years, I try to imagine what 1988 team would have looked like if there were a recruiting class missing, and you therefore removed the senior leadership from the likes of Ned Bolcar, Wes Pritchett, Frank Stams, Flash Gordon, Corny Southall, George Streeter, Mark Green, Andy Heck, together with Juniors like Tony Rice, Anthony Johnson, Mike Stonebreaker, Stan Smagala, Pat Terrell, Jeff Alm, Tim Grunhard and so many others including the likes of Zorich. It did not take a Lou Holtz to bring out the “fight” in these people in 1988, and I believe these guys would have played just as hard for Charlie Weis.

I believe we have players like this coming up through the ranks and in the current recruiting class. Despite what we have all suffered through this season, I remain hopeful and do not intend to give up my seat on the Charlie Weis bandwagon. He has acknowledged his shortcomings this year. However, he remains a very smart coach and his work ethic is beyond reproach. He has dispelled the myth that ND cannot recruit.

It is now self-evident that we are and always have been capable of recruiting top talent, and we are currently assembling the type of talent needed to win a national championship. Charlie also recently said he would make sure going forward that all of his assistants are excellent teachers. This is critical, and should lead to improved fundamentals, confidence and morale. Once that is re-established and we have a balanced roster, Weis has already shown (in the NFL and at ND his first two years) that he can direct properly trained and experienced players to championship level play on a consistent basis.

The attitudes can improve quickly with a little success as demonstrated in the photo and video above. In the meantime, we need to stick together and support this team. I know how bad I felt about the way my senior year ended and we were a Top 20 team with a Heisman Trophy winner, so it has to be absolute hell for these guys. Here’s to hoping the seniors can pull it together and walk off the field for the last time as winners.

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6 Responses to “Lou vs Charlie and Senior Day”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    I wish I can share your enthusiasm for the job CW has done. Granted, two BCS bowls were great, however, the results of those two big games were extremely disappointing. I wish I could also say that we improved from CW’s first year to second but that would be false. In many respects we went backwards. Our play this year was beyond bad. Embarrassing at best. I don’t see how adding talented kids ALONE will change the results. CW and the entire staff must closely analyze what they missed this year and actively work to correct before next season begins. Admitting mistakes is not good enough. Finding a solution to the many problems the ND team has is necessary. Otherwise- bye bye Charlie.

  2. robbie Says:

    Speaking of fight and desire….anyone notice that the O-line NEVER fires off the ball??

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Excellent thoughts mentioned above. As hard as it is, stepping back, removing the emotion, and gaining some perspective is almost always a good thing. No question it has been an awful season to endure. Though hope is not a plan, it’s what we have right now…and some top recruits. I’ll be relieved when the season is over, and, as always, looking forward to the next one. Go Irish!

  4. irishfou Says:

    this was the single best artical of 2007 from any publication ive seen. to the “fai weather” friends of notre dame to the espn’s and the s.i.’s of the world, “enjoy it while you can”…

    In Charlie we trust.

  5. Ted Eberle Says:

    What a great post to read this early morning. It is meaningful to understand how someone else sees Charlie Weis in a positive light.

    CW is not without mistakes, but he acknowledges them and moves forward. I believe that is the mark of a great leader.

    Thanks SME and GO IRISH!

  6. Anonymous Says:

    i firmly believe that Charlie will get the job done. i think last year we were completely reliant on Brady Quinn (especially) and all the other seniors. it seemed that we believed that Brady could win us a game when our backs were against the wall (ucla, mich st, etc), which correlates to sr leadership. we dont have that vocal team leader like last year, though i believe that Jimmy Clausen will develop into a much better QB than Quinn b/c he will be under Weis’ tutuledge for 4 complete years. I firmly believe that golden days are ahead of us.

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