July 18, 2008

The Head Ball Coach

"From what I'm hearing around the way, Weis is privately projecting anywhere from nine to 12 victories this year,"

as reported by the good people at Blue and Gold Illustrated.

What do you think Irish fans??

Is 9-12 victories a realistic goal for this team??

What are your expectations for Irish football this year??

What type of season are you looking for??

What are the key things you want to see?? Are you looking for a number of wins, a bowl win, a competitive showing at USC, or is it something more intangible like a better running game and better special teams??


Matt said...

I have heard a lot of mixed opinions about how good this team can and will be this year. I think one thing that all Irish fans can agree on is that there IS a ton of talent on the roster. Charlie has restocked the cupboard after the days of Tregg Duerson etc. This seasons results will be a direct reflection on the coaching staff.

I'm with Charlie. With the team returning and the schedule, we are set up for nine wins. There are already 4 wins right off the bat: San Diego State, Stanford, Navy and Syracus, all at home. There are two that we SHOULD win: Michigan at home and Washington on the road. There is definite loss on the schedule: at USC. Then there are a whole bunch of swing games that will determine if we are a 6,7,8,9,10 win team: at MSU, Purdue, at UNC, Pittsburgh, at BC. Let's say we beat Purdue, Carolina and BC, a reasonable goal, and lose to MSU and Pitt. That gives us a nine win season right there.

Aside from the record, here are some things I would like to see:
-An offensive identity. It looks like we are going to have a more than capable running game - so let's be a freaking pound it out running team. I know Weis loves to chuck the ball around, but I'm a believer that you have to run the ball, wear down the defensive line, and then go with some play action and 5 wide and all that crap Weis loves.
-Continued improvement on defense. Losing Walls is a blow, but there are bodies to fill in. If Corwin and Tenuta are as good as they should be, than we should not have a noticable dropoff with Gary Gray. I'm a little nervous about the D-line, but again, it's the coaches job to make it happen up there. Play the freshman if we have to. I also expect to see Neal and Smith become the team leaders on defense now that Laws and Z are gone.
-A kicking game? It's embarassing to be Notre Freaking Dame and not have a kicker that can make a field goal from longer than 25 yards. In my opinion, you can't be taken seriously if you're going for it on 4th down from the opponents 20 yard line. Not to mention I can't remember the last time we kicked off and got a touchback.
-Clausen to take the leap. I'm on record as saying I want to see Hughes pound the ball. But this season is critical to the future of Clausen. He showed glimpses last year, and gets the benefit of the doubt because of the injury, the QB chaos at the beginning of the year and the shoddy offensive line play. But no excuses this year. There is a huge shadow looming on the sideline if Clausen stumbles. I hope Crist redshirts this year and we stash him away for two years, but if Clausen is struggling in October, there will be rumblings coming from the ND Nation.

I know people say that it is unrealistic to jump from 3 wins to 9 - but I'm not buying that. Last year's team was horribly mismanaged from spring ball on, Clausen was hurt, and everything spiraled out of control. Come on, we have more talent than Navy and Air Force on our scout team - 2007 is not a good indicator of what this years team can accomplish. I think there is enough "material" to have a 9-3 season and a Gator Bowl win.

Go Irish!

Ravi said...
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Ravi said...

Couldn't you have found a more flattering picture of Chuck than that?!? I mean, his damn FUPA is just staring me in the face and I'm supposed to be optimistic about this season?? That picture screams 7-5 at best.

GoCubsGo said...
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GoCubsGo said...

Great site.

Weis is fat, but I believe in him. Put me down for 9 Irish victories and maybe more. I guess I'm just a crazy diehard sub alum who bleeds blue and gold and goes into every year thinking this is the year the Irish win a championship. I tried to drown my sorrows last year with all the Irish defeats, but that won't keep me away from tailgating my face off again this year. I'll be out in the JACC lot bright and early.

Go Cubs Go!! The second half of the drive to the pennant starts tonight!

mcanfield10 said...

The talent and experience levels have increased and the schedule is obviously easier, so the pieces are in place for a vast improvement. If we had finished 6-6 last ever, or even perhaps 5-7, I would expect a 10 win season in 2008. Given our shocking futility last year, however, I cannot reasonably expect the team to win more than 7 or 8 games.

I wouldn't be surprised if we won more, but last year's debacle really shook my confidence in Weis's coaching ability. At this point, I'd be happy with a decent season and a win in any bowl (save for the International Bowl). If we can reestablish ourselves as a credible program in 2008, we should be well positioned for a championship run in 2009-10.

Doug said...

Ravi, you got a chuckle out of me with that post. I know, not a good picture of Charlie, but I'll fault Google Images for the bad Charlie photo since that is the first one that comes up when you type in his name.

It's certainly better than some of the other Weis caricatures that you see out there (Weis the Hut, Weis in a ballerina costume, etc).

Dan said...

Reasonable? Probably not. It is rarely reasonable to predict a 3 win team to win 9-12 games the next season.

The question marks are still too big at O-Line, D-Line, and Kicker. That said, I do agree with Matt's post and think that it is possible.

I think we have a decent shot to go 8-4 and finally win a bowl game.