November 09, 2008

A Sad Day

This isn't going to be a rant against Charlie Weis or a call for his immediate firing. I did enough of that last night. It's more just about how sad of a day is for the ND Nation. I really wanted Charlie to succeed. He's an ND alum, and he definitely gets "it". From Pass Right, to having the ND players stand with Navy post-game, to Hannah and Friends and all the other stuff, I really wanted to see Charlie succeed.

But something has gone wrong the past couple of years. Last night for me was about as low as it can get as an ND fan. Sure, I think that Navy will establish a 2 game winning streak against the Irish this year, which is embarrassing enough, but to not even show up against BC, freaking Boston College, in what many were calling a must-win game is pathetic. It appears to me that the players have tuned Weis out and in effect quit on their head coach. It's one thing to lose games like Pitt and UNC where you play decently but lose (although both of those are still inexcusable in my opinion). But to quit on your coach is about as troubling a sign as you can have as a fan of a program. BC is not that good! Their offense was terrible, and consisted primarily of one play - the shotgun QB option read. But the book is out on a Charlie Weis offense. You only need to rush 3 because the offensive line is so bad you will still get pressure. Don't even worry about the run because when they run your three man front will be able to make the play. And drop 8 into coverage and totally confuse Clausen. Is it just me or did Butch Davis pretty much write this book at halftime of the UNC game. Clausen has just not looked the same since then. And for the record, I'm not holding anything against Clausen. He has been put in a horrible position as a true sophomore, having to carry the offense with no running game and no offensive line.

I don't know what the answer is. I'm not going to be marching on South Bend or posting on NDNation every 30 minutes demanding Charlie to be fired. I just think it's becoming more and more obvious that Charlie does not have what it takes to succeed as a college head coach. If he is on the sideline next year, I fully expect more of the same. If we do make a coaching change, I have absolutely zero confidence that the administration is capable of carrying out a competent coaching search.

Someone tell me this: We are Notre Dame. I know we are not the Notre Dame of the 60's or of Lou Holtz, but there is still something special about the gold helmets and Touchdown Jesus. Why should we have to settle for a head football coach...who has never been a head football coach. Why should we be hiring an athletic director...who has never been an athletic director. Notre Dame is not the place to be learning on the job. I really hope Swarbrick proves me wrong. But when the day comes that Charlie is ousted and the coaching search begins, I'll be nervous to log onto for fear of seeing a headline like "Notre Dame hires Tommy Bowden to revive football program."

Again, I don't know what the solution is. I don't want to hear the youth excuse, or how great recruiting is going. The bottom line is Notre Dame is 1-16 in it's last games against .500 competition. That is beyond horrific. It's totally incomprehensible and should not be tolerated. Losing 17-0 to BC for the 6th straight time while it appears that the team couldn't have cared less, that's what is the most troubling sign. A truly sad day for Notre Dame football. What happens next?


Mike said...

The fact that Weis continues to attract top-flight recruits to South Bend is evidence that Notre Dame can rise to the top of college football once more.

The problem, however, is that Notre Dame's administration is fundamentally flawed that there is little hope for a revival. In order for a football renaissance to occur, we would need a board of trustees and university administrators who recognize football's importance to the University. This, in turn, would ensure that the proper resources would be devoted to football and that the athletic department would be run by competent professionals who are vested with sufficient autonomy. Under such circumstances, we could reasonably expect that Notre Dame would always have a tremendous coaching staff as well.

Sadly, while this may be the case at other universities, Notre Dame's leadership is completely inept and unaccountable. The "leaders" don't appreciate or respect the importance of football, yet they felt compelled to stick their nose in the hiring process, thereby resulting in the choice of Weis (and Willingham and Davie before him). As such, we cannot expect that a suitable replacement for Weis will be identified and recruited to Notre Dame.

Everything starts at the top. Unless there is a marked culture change in the administration, football will suffer. Unfortunately, there is no evidence to suggest that changes are afoot at Notre Dame.

A sad day indeed.

WeisGipper said...

Report Card Time:

Doug said...

Great post, and I agree with everything you have said. Saturday was a depressing day in so many ways, and it revealed that ND's football program is probably no better off than it was under Davie or Ty or at any time since the end of the Holtz era. We are still spinning our wheels, and the light at the end of the tunnel is rapidly fading.

I agree that BC was not that good. Their quarterback had limited skills, their WRs weren't all that good, and I don't think Jags is a wizard by any stretch. An SEC team would have destroyed them. Even a good Big 10 team like Penn State or Ohio State would have pounded them. Pitt was a better team than BC. I could live with the Pitt loss. Getting blown out by BC was a disaster.

I don't know what happens next, but I don't have any confidence that Weis is going to succeed as a head coach (at least at the level that ND fans would like). I think we're going to continue to sputter down the stretch and probably into next year.

The bottom line is that sometimes you just KNOW when your coach is the real deal. Alabama fans KNOW they have a great coach and are happy with their program. Florida fans KNOW Meyer is a great coach. USC fans KNOW Pete Carroll is a great coach. If we had a great coach, I would never complain about the program. I wanted to believe in Weis and have rooted for him, but never really knew that he was it. Now it's becoming clear that he isn't the guy.

ND can do better, and I hope that we make the right decision and find the right guy.