Screw Dana, Lazy Coaches, Stepping Back and Coaching Up

Charlie Weis followed his bombshell recruiting class with a couple of bombshells of his own at Friday’s press conference. In the off-season Weis met with over 20 people close to the Notre Dame program, sought the advice of former AD Gene Corrigan and met with his coaches — the result is that he’s making some dramatic changes in his approach to coaching. Whether it all works or not, it’s truly impossible to accuse him of uncontrolled arrogance.

Bombshell #1: Weis will turn the offense over to offensive coordinator Mike Haywood

“Now, on the offensive staff, one of the things that I’ve done, and you guys know that I’ve spent a lot of time here since the season’s end to change some things around here. Well, I’m going to try to cut the proverbial — the figurative umbilical cord and try to move myself a little bit away from being the sole primary guy on the offensive staff. So in the springtime we’ll start off with the offensive staff running the offense. That means Mike will write the scripts and set it up on offense, and that means that all the offensive coaches now won’t have to worry about the ever-presence of the head coach breathing down their neck all the time.

I’m trying to do this. This is a tough one for me to do, but I’m trying to give them an opportunity to run the offense with me interjecting rather than me demanding and telling them everything that we’re going to do. So that’s how we’re going to run this in the spring.

Everyone is coaching the same positions, nothing is changing. They’re all doing what they do, it’s just that we’re going to try to do it with the head coach less involved. My wife knows I’m going through withdrawal on this one right there.”

Bombshell #2: Weis will become more approachable

“I’m actually going to spend more time doing two things; A, spending more time with the players, which I feel that’s one thing I haven’t done since I’ve been here. Since I’ve been here I think I’ve been spending so much time with the offense, I haven’t spent much time with the offensive players to tell you the truth, more with the offensive coaches, and have spent very little time with the defensive players. And come 6:00 Monday morning I’m going to start changing that because although I give the staff off next week, when they go work out at 6:00 on Monday morning I’m going to be in there with them and see if I can’t start being more — I won’t say more open, but more approachable with the players because I think that especially the young guys get so intimidated, they don’t know that you can come in and talk about everything.

I think if we’re going to play a bunch of young guys, which we did last year, I think the one thing I have to do is make sure I’m much more approachable and make sure I start working on that — now that recruiting is over, start working on that on Monday.”

“The first two years were a little bit easier to be honest with you because when you’re playing with older guys, they’ve already been through that process. You can be harder on them because they’re older and they’ve been more weathered. I played a lot more younger guys this year, and I think in self-evaluation, which is what you’re talking about right now, I don’t think the freshmen and sophomores are really quite ready for the full load, so to speak. I think you have to — they’re not going to change. You’re going to bring another group of freshmen next year. They’re still going to be freshmen. You’re not going to change, you’ve got to be the one that changes.”

Bombshell #3: Polian will coach Special Teams/Tenuta will coach Linebackers

“As far as special teams go, I screwed that up last year. Brian Polian is going to be the special teams coach. He’s not coaching defense. He’s just coaching special teams, and I’m his assistant. So the only two people who will be coaching special teams this year will be Brian as the special teams coach, and that’s his, and I’m going to be his aide because since I’ve been here I’ve been talking about how special teams, special teams, special teams. As a matter of fact, I’m going to meet with Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech, who I think has done the best job of anyone in the country on special teams.”

“Obviously John is going to be our assistant head coach and coach the linebackers; Jappy is coaching the defensive line; Corwin is coaching the DBs as well as being the defensive coordinator and calling the defense”

Bombshell #4: Is the one he lofted at Dana Jacbobson for her F&*k Jesus rant:

Q. And lastly, I believe you were a participant in the roast for Mike & Mike, and there was a situation involving one of the ESPN employees. If you could offer your take on that situation, what transpired that night.

COACH WEIS: Are you referring to Dana?

Q. Dana Jacobson, yes.

COACH WEIS: Well, I’ll just say three things, okay. I was both personally and professionally offended by her comments. And if the situation were reversed, and that were me saying them, two things would have happened. I would have been the lead story on SportsCenter, and I would have been fired. But other than that, the University has issued an official response, and I think it’s best to leave it at that.

Bombshell #5: Lazy coaches vote to keep ambitious coaches off the recruiting trail during the spring.

“Well, there’s two different thought processes on that one. One thought process was there were a few head coaches that were on the road all the time and they were getting pressured by their ADs and presidents to get on the road to compete with those people. That was one thought process.

The other one is to make sure that you don’t hang the head coaches out to dry in the springtime or expose them to potential bumps, no contact in the evaluation period rather than the non-contact because what happens is every school you go into, you can’t talk to anyone. And I think that the presidents and the ADs and everyone else by a wide margin felt that keeping the head coaches off the road would minimize the exposure that head coaches had to being in compromising situations. The truth lies somewhere in between those two answers.”

Also of note, Weis still intends to coach the young quarterbacks and he hit the recruitng road hard before the AFCA put the kabosh on spring travel.

Going to be an interesting year.

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21 Responses to “Screw Dana, Lazy Coaches, Stepping Back and Coaching Up”

  1. Dastel Says:

    Nice! All sounds good to me! I remeber when he first came in I was thinking “wow this guy is really confident, and that is just what we need some attitude”. Hindsite maybe not! It does seem that he was unapproachable and to spread out. It is nice to see someone that is willing to step up and admit his mistakes. And for Dana I was never a fan of First-Take. After hearing about her comments a couple weeks ago I expected her to be fired. I think she got one week suspension. Unbelieveable!! I know she was drunk at a roast but come on. Jimmy the Greek is drunk at a dinner party and he gets banned forever. Dana gets drunk and bashes University of College Football and the Savior and she is back a week later. AND SHE IS THE WORST ONE ON THE SHOW!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Tommy O Says:

    This was brought up on the message boards…but what type of pull does this coaches organization have? What is the penalty for recruiting in the spring? Are these rules strict or are they more just “guidelines”

  3. Anonymous Says:

    I really like CW as a coach and truely believe he can lead ND to the promised land. The bottom line of course will be two things: Wins and losses.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Nice to see Charlie start with himself with the changes.

    Not to toot my own horn, but I’ve been calling for him to put down the clipboard, stop cooridinating and start coaching a long time ago.

    I’m very happy that time has finally come.

    The HC can’t rely on one hat, he has to feel comfortable in all of them and change them with ease, thus becoming a HC.

    Go Irish!

    Leo T

  5. Anonymous Says:

    This is really good to see. CW is learning pretty quick. Hopefully, he can put it together soon. Special teams is no joke. I hope when he looks at special teams, he considers punting inside his own 40instead of going on every 4th down. I like agressiveness, but sometimes field position is the key. Same with a solid feild goal kicker. You shorten the distance you have to go with a decent kicker. All you have to do is get to the 25 and you’re in field goal range. Last year, ND had to go all the way to the goal line to have a ‘cross your fingers’ field goal attempt.
    Booting the kickoffs in the endzone would also be a big plus. Nothing is more deflating, then scoring a TD and having the team return to the 40.

  6. fightn irishman Says:

    charlie secretly went back to boston,where the same two physcians eho took out 20 feet of his guts -the same 2 who weis sued and wasted the preseason on greed andlost -came up to them and said ”what can you do to make me a better coach- right after the super bowl – bill was present- they did it- 1 chemical castration- 2 cut 3 inches of his tongue out- 3 a laser lobotomty- just a little bit this year

  7. curiousjames Says:

    This will definitely become the tipping point in Charlie Weiss’s future at ND. It will either take him to a national title in the next 3 years, or out the door after 2009. I said in a post at the end of the year that Charlie needed to make changes with himself first, if he wanted to be successful at ND. This level of maturity and confidence is seldom seen and a great sign that Charlie is about winning, not what people think about him. For now, I am back on the Charlie support bandwagon.

  8. JohnEWadd Says:

    Y’all better hope that these changes that Charlie is making – from coaching changes to reinventing himself – do result in more wins for the Irish. Let me assure you that there is NOT a large group of talented coaches lined up to take Charlie’s job at the University. Who in their right mind would want to deal with all of the second guessers, fair weather fans, nay sayers & prune heads that constantly heckle the head coach of Notre Dame???

  9. Anonymous Says:

    I sure wish I would have read something about changes related to the offensive line. Either they are not strong enough, which means a change in strength and conditioning coaching, or they are not being taught correctly, which would be resolved by a coaching change for the offensive line. I also hope that Charlie realizes that this is not professional football and that these young men have to hit during the week prior to the games.

  10. hal Says:

    Brian Hamilton’s “blog” on the Chi Trib is talking about this story. It appears he cribbed it from here without giving so much as a tip of the aht the NDNation.

    I’d link to it, but I don’t want it getting any clicks. It might be worth an email directly to him, though. Journalists, which Hamilton’s presumably trying to be, generally credit other journalists with scoops.

  11. Jonesy Says:

    Hey guys. Fist time blogging on here. I am a huge ND fan right smack in the middle of Buckeye country (I like to refer to them as the Suckeyes) and I hate having OSU shoved dowm my throat just because I live here.

    I have enjoyed reading about the great recruiting class that the Irish have coming in, but I honestly think the best addition to the ND football program the past couple of weeks is John Tenuta. I know there have been a number of articles about it, but I think he is being underestimated. Having been an ND fan for more than 30 years (and I have also played Div. I football), nothing has frustrated me more than watching ND’s defense give up points so easily. The ND defenses of the past used to just beat on people and would wear them down and that is one of the reasons ND had the respect of everyone in the country. We don’t have that anymore because teams with much less talent than us have beaten us. It makes me sick to see average quarterbacks have their career-best stats against the ND defense. I am greatly looking forward to the impact that John Tenuta is going to have on the Irish program.

    Lastly, while CW is taking a serious look at the coaching staff, beginning w/ himself, another coach that is absolutely critical to the development of the Irish football players, is Strength & Conditioning coach Ruben Mendoza and absolutely needs to be put under the microscope because ND seemed extremely slow the last couple of years and speed on the field is SO much more than just a guy’s 40-yard dash time. In addition to having played Div. I ball myself, I have also been a Personal Trainer for the past 12+ years and have spent a lot of time studying the human body and how it responds to training and one thing for sure is that any quality strength and conditioning program should definitely have players getting quicker, stronger, and faster each year that they go through the program. This means that every ND player should be quicker, stronger, and faster than he was the previous year and I AM NOT SEEING IT. ND’s offensive linemen did NOT move any better this past season than they did the previous year. This is a major problem and needs to be taken care of or the Irish will NEVER get back to the top and have the respect of everyone in the country.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    so . . . of the 20 people Weis talked to how many had SUCCESSFULLY made the transition from experienced coordinator to HEAD COACH?

    I sure hope he talked to 3-5 people that have been through that. Hopefully he talked to another 3-5 people about the differences between coaching college and pro football.

  13. Ted Says:

    GIVE WEIS A CHANCE WITH THE CHANGES HE HAS MADE. I cannot believe the negative people who say they are supporters of Notre Dame. Most of you are nothing more than arm chair Saturday afternoon coaches, and you have never coached or played D 1 football. If you have, I am certain you can apply for a coaching position.

  14. Anonymous Says:

    thank you charlie for giving up play-calling rights. that was definitely needed to be done.

  15. Matt Says:

    It is funny to read the comments because so many fans keep saying he is arrogant and won’t ever change and now those people haven’t commented at all after the presser and haven’t been heard from. I like the changes and people need to leave Latina alone because going into this year it was supposed to be Jones @ QB and more of a spread offense and the OL’s responsibilities are different. So, he prepared him for that. I can’t wait for CFB to start!

  16. Anonymous Says:

    Floyd for Running Back ’08! His highlights remind me of O.J. way before he became a murderer. You know, the guy who tore us up pretty good back in some predigital era.

  17. Anonymous Says:

    What did you all expect? Last year was the WORST season in Notre Dame football history. Charlie Weis was the head coach. He now holds that “record.” Not Willingham, or Faust, or Davie, etc.

    Sure, he HAD to make some significant changes. But don’t start jumping up and down, and getting all excited about it. Wait.

    Let’s see what all this means on the field next season. Let’s see if the blue-chip recruits start playing to their potential. Let’s see if we win, at least 8 games. No, 7 IS NOT good enough for Notre Dame. EVER.

    Let’s see if Weis has a successful season, and can build upon it the next year. And the next. Let’s just wait and see. Okay?

    Until then, Charlie Weis HAS NOT proven that he is a great Notre Dame head football coach. So far, all he has proven is that he wants to be.

    We’ll see.

    ~mps

  18. Anonymous Says:

    While Notre Dame head football coach Charlie Weis holds one of the most scrutinized professions in American society, he may very well come across as a bit cocky in his playcalling and in some of his antics. Before we jump to conclusions, let’s look for a more accurate word that correlates with him.
    After an impartial college football follower takes some time to ponder this question, a word such as committed, desire, or pride should come to mind. Why these three, you ask? I provided a question, so I’ll provide the answer.
    1.) Commmitted: If Weis’ funding of a homeless and center for disabled residents in South Bend doesn’t show he’s committed to the community and university’s purpose, what does? And, that is just the off-field aspect. Weis has repeatedly said he is not leaving Notre Dame for at least ten years from when he signed the lucrative ten year contract after the classic USC game in 2005.
    2.)Desire: Saying that last year’s 3-9 record was subpart is quite the understatement when it comes to Notre Dame football. In spite of the disappointment in South Bend, Weis and his staff still managed to land one of the top recruiting classes in teh country. Before anyone becomes judgemental and says every player has some amount of desire to play for Notre Dame, take into consideration the sales pitch, too. Weis and his staff were able to sell the program and the university for what seemed like the amount their NBC contract is worth.
    3)Pride: There is no doubt that Weis, a Notre Dame alumnus, has optimal pride in his alma mater for leaving the dynasty that was the New England Patriots. What he has already done for the community with his funding of the shelter speaks of his benevolence.
    Weis said in an interview once that you have to have “the swagger thinking you are the best out there. If you don’t think you are the best, why show for the game.” So, before the court of public opinion makes Weis the next scapgoat for arrogance the university may or may not show, take the three words into consideration. A little arrogant maybe, but backed up by three super bowl rings negates unjustified hubris.

  19. Anonymous Says:

    This is the year – 3 full recruiting classes, all his guys. Weak senior class but that shouldn’t be an excuse. It is put up or shut up time.

  20. Anonymous Says:

    Dear Coach Weiss,
    I appreciate your plans to adjust your coaching style, and wish you the best this coming season. Please dress like a professional on the sidelines.
    Thank you,
    A Concerned Alum

  21. Anonymous Says:

    Dear A.D. White,
    Please instruct Coach Weiss that he represents Notre Dame when he is on the field, and to dress appropriately. Keep the sweats in the locker room and on the practice field.
    Thanks,
    A Concerned Alum

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