Terrific interview in the South Bend Tribune with former All-America and Pro Bowl lineman Tim Grunhard. He offers some of the most candid and accurate assessments of the Charlie Weis era that I've heard. Very encouraging to hear his goal is still to coach in South Bend when the time is right. Can't argue against his wise decision, opting not to bite at Charlie's dangled lure to join the staff as a grad assistant. Instead, he padded his coaching resume by winning the Kansas state title at Bishop Miege High School.
Grunhard offers a sensible insider take on why Charlie ultimately failed as a college coach:
I always felt like it was more of a pro feel to it than a college feel. That doesn’t sometimes work on the college level. I’ve been in both, and just with the terminology and just with the way the practice was run and the way that they were motivated, it seemed to me that he was treating those guys a little bit more like pro players than college players. And I think that was probably the biggest mistake he made.
Grunhard also offers some keen insight into whether Brian Kelly can rise to the challenge of restoring a winning tradition at ND:
I think that it’s a very interesting hire...This is a college guy...this is what he knows...I think that it’s a positive that you’ve got a guy in there who really knows what it takes to motivate, to get these young men to play in his system.
Kelly and his staff look at this Notre Dame job as reaching the pinnacle – like, ‘Hey we’ve got to where we wanted to go. We wanted to be at a major college football program and have an opportunity to win a national championship,’ and they’re there. “You know, maybe Charlie winning a Super Bowl…there’s something to be said about being hungry to prove yourself. Charlie already proved himself by the time he got to Notre Dame. These guys have an opportunity to do that.
Love where Grunhard is going with all of this, and love the parting potshot, though I don't think Charlie could've worked any harder. When you're not the solution, it doesn't matter how much you grind the wheels in the mud. Stuck is stuck. Kelly is just a better fit - for the college game, for motivating and developing young talent, for using the media and fan base to his advantage, for in-game coaching and adjustments.
I'm putting the over/under on years before Grunhard relocates to South Bend at 3.5 and taking the under. He'll be a welcome addition if/when that day comes.