Saturday, November 7, 2009

Goodbye, Charlie

First off, congrats to the Naval Academy's football team.  They're a fine group of young men and represent our country with unbelievable class, distinction and valor.  Now, on to the tough stuff...
Charlie Weis needs to go.  He seems like a nice guy, is a good recruiter and represents Notre Dame well; he's just a lousy coach.  Check that; a lousy head coach.  He can put together a solid offensive gameplan (though this week was not his finest hour), but he does not attend well to the myriad of things a college head coach must do.  From overall player development to putting a team strategy in place, Weis has been awful.  This squad, stocked with blue-chip players, just lost to Navy for the second time in three seasons.  To put this in some perspective, none of the previous six Irish coaches lost once to the Midshipmen.  Not Willingham, not Davie, not Faust.  None of them.  Beyond that, ND has still yet to beat a team of consequence during the Weis era.  I recognize this point has been beaten to death but, after five years, a signature win still eludes the man. 
For me, today was it.  I can no longer hope that somehow it all goes right and that Charlie becomes a good coach.  I've waited five years and have seen nothing in the way of improvement.  The program peaked during Weis' first two years in South Bend and has not been able to rise above those, albeit, mediocre standards since. 
I have no idea who should replace Weis.  Perhaps it's Brian Kelly, perhaps someone else.  All I know is, if this program is ever to return to glory, Weis must be shown the door.  In a perfect world, Weis, who obviously loves the school, would step down of his own volition.  Explain to his players it's to spend more time with his family, do charity work or something else plausible and just leave.  It would be clean, it would cut down attrition and it would be a gift to the school Charlie Weis loves.
With that out of the way, a few assorted game notes:
  • This defense is bad...real bad.  Yes, I know Navy's triple-option is complicated, but it wasn't even a contest out there.  A bunch of undersized, moderately-talented guys just kicked the asses of Notre Dame's defense all day long.  If Weis goes, Tenuta and Brown should follow.
  • Harrison Smith is a moron.  I'm beyond the point of having difficulty critiquing Irish players.  Smith is useless in pass coverage and does incredibly stupid things like hit the QB well after the ball is released.  Why is he on the field every week?  Where is this "depth" about which I keep hearing?
  • The offensive line was terrible.  After much ballyhoo over the progress they've made under Verducci this season, they took a huge step backwards.  They allowed a safety for the second time in three weeks and an undersized Navy defense harassed Clausen far too often.  Pitt has, arguably, the best defensive line on ND's schedule and will absolutely destroy Jimmy if this situation doesn't improve.
  • Why would you not defer to the second half?  Just when I thought he'd come around to seeing that the Lou Holtz deferral strategy was right, Charlie takes the opening kickoff.  I am sure he did it because he couldn't wait to get an offense with Michael Floyd back in the lineup on the field.  It was still stupid.  With a team that eats as much clock as Navy, you need to make sure you're getting the first crack at scoring in the second half, just in case.  Terrible decision.
  • Last week's concern: depth at quarterback.  This week's concerns: depth at quarterback AND tight end.  I have no idea how long the Irish will be without Kyle Rudolph, but it didn't look promising.  This does not bode well for the near term.  Outstanding work chasing Joseph Fauria out of town, you ass-sniffing layabouts in Res Life. 
  • Jimmy Clausen's knees were down when he "fumbled" near the goalline.  Add that to the pile of "we got jobbed by the refs" arguments for this season.
  • Incidentally, I officially hate coach's challenge/instant replay in college football (and not because it has been a thorn in ND's side this season).  The amount of time spent reviewing even the most pedestrian of occurrences is mind-boggling. 
  • How bad was this loss?  Consider the following: in their losses to Navy;  Western Kentucky and SMU both scored more points than did Notre Dame.  Also, Temple, freakin' Temple, managed to actually WIN their game against Navy (and, yes, I realize Dobbs wasn't playing...that certainly makes this loss better, doesn't it?).
  • What does this do for the potential of Clausen and/or Tate leaving early?  Looking at Clausen, the fact that he got banged up again might be a wake-up call/motivator to leave.  The fact that his stock likely dropped is reason to stay.  Tate, on the other hand, is probably in the same position as before the game. Of course, both may just want off of this sinking ship before it takes on any more water (forgive the naval punnery).
  • I feel badly for Michael Floyd.  Yes, he had two big drops on ND's second-to-last possession but, for a guy coming back from a serious injury, he played awfully well. 
  • Is Ram Vela in like his eighth year?  I swear the guy is Annapolis' answer to Van Wilder.  Graduate already!
  • I would rather not watch ND every week than have to put up with Haden and Hammond.  As it is, I have to watch the game on mute.  The two are intolerable jackholes and appear to have graduated from the Joe Buck School of Broadcast Mediocrity.  Does the Peter Principle apply to everyone in sportscasting?
  • I couldn't help realizing this is the second straight November (I'm willing to write-off all of 2007) the Irish have managed to blow a home game they should have won comfortably (Syracuse, quite obviously, being last year's debacle).  This is a further indictment of the coaching staff.  This late in the season, good teams are hitting on all cylinders and don't lose at home to double-digit underdogs.  You lose in the first week or two, and that can be forgiven.  Upsets in September happen.  In November, losses like this only happen to teams who don't deserve to be favored in the first place.  


Mackay Rippey said...

Reluctantly, I agree. I would keep him as offensive coordinator to recruit and develop quarterbacks.

Domerbill said...

First it was a damn good Naval Academy's football team.
This loss was a defensive team loss and a defensive team
coaches loss. If you replace Charlie who the hell are you
going to get. A new system and start all over because your
upset. Next year is suppose to be our great year not this year.
If you fire Charley next year will be a change of systems year
Not a national championship year.

Anonymous said...

May I point out that the margin of victory for the Midshipmen was aided by the non-fumble by Parris on the first drive? Yes, Parris fumbled the ball, but the play was blown dead anyway and THEN a Navy player recovered the ball. How is that not nullified? Cost ND the game, in the end. Officials have been terrible, not just for ND, but in college football in general all year long. WTF is going on?

Houdinis said...

Regardless, how we only put up 21 points on Navy is absurd. How many times did we shoot ourselves in the foot in the red zone, or were just straight up outplayed?
I tried to stay positive on Weis, but honestly, he only abates the team's bitch-like mentality. I hope that Swarbrick and Jenkins make it clear to him that he's retiring at the end of the year for "health reasons". I honestly do not see how we can win anything of significance without a head coaching change.

Anonymous said...

I agree. I lay the blame for only 21 points on playcalling in the red zone. ND had a first down on the 2, an offensive line that outweighs Navy's D-lin by 50lbs per man and they toss the ball outside to a running back that is as big as Navy's DEs? What is that?

All of the fades are getting insane. Everyone knows it's coming. If they would just throw one slant, just one, I would be a saner person.

Jay-A said...

Domerbill: At what point do you fire Charlie? Last year the team was supposed to put '07 in the past and crack the top 25 - they lost six games. This year was supposed to be an even bigger improvement. The team was supposed to be Top 10 (or thereabouts) thanks to the returning talent and manageable schedule and they've already lost three games. You could rationalize keeping a coach forever in the hopes that "next year will be the one" but, at some point, that just becomes delusional.

Andy said...


Notre Dame fans bitching about calls in a Navy game

Karma's a bitch, ain't it?...guess perry hudspeth can't be there for you every time, can he?

Jay-A said...

Andy: There was exactly one comment made re: the officiating and it was made in the context of officiating being bad all over college football this season. Do you dispute that this is true? Did these things not happen:

For the record, the Perry Hudspeth incident occurred ten years ago. If Karma's truly a bitch, she's a slow-moving one.

thundernuts said...

I looooooove watchin Notre Dame lose. Suckers. Have fun at Jerry's Super Shine Car Wash Bowl.

fang said...

All is right in the universe- Neutered Dame has lost again. I live to see the pompous Irish go down to defeat. Warms my cockells, it does! Poor ol' Booby O'Brian.

dcowboys09 said...

First of all we should have won this game by 17 points and secondly (Clausen) Please stay! He is the Best QB in the country and anyone that disagrees is a D ??? Play calling was not the problem. Bad execution by the players in the Red Zone and a Defense that was NOT ready to play an Option team and that is the D Cord JOB to get them prepared! Clausen stays and we have a chance at a National title next year and he wins the Heisman. We change coaches and he leaves. WE ARE SCREWED! And all you ND haters can burn OFF! Go Irish and Go Cowboys!

L said...

I stumbled onto this blog by accident. I'm a Longhorn alum and of course fan, but I've always had respect for Notre Dame athletics. Permit me to offer an opinion.

There isn't program in the country that hasn't had its ups and downs. Texas, Florida, USC, Oklahoma and Alabama, to name just a few, have all experienced spells of mediocrity. I think it's the coaches that make the difference.

Recruiting good athletes isn't enough. All the top schools do that. But some coaches just know how to put a team together on the field and some don't. Urban Meyer knows, Mack Brown knows, Pete Carroll knows. It seems that Charlie Weiss doesn't.

The Irish need a new head coach, and I wouldn't fantasize about keeping Weiss around. The new man will have to clean house and bring in his own people.

Eric Nealson said...

I agree about the commentators they are beyond awful!! Why don't they just come out and admit they hate Notre Dame and all things Irish. I would take anyone over these jagg off's.

thundernuts said...


Clausen the best QB in the country? I haven't seen Colt McCoy throw a pass directly into his receivers back yet.

He was obviously flustered with a base defense from Navy.

dcowboys09 said...

Colt is NO WHERE near the quarterback Clausen is. I believe he threw for 450 + against Navy. I Would not call that Flustered. Also, that was a hot read on the end zone and Floyd should have been looking for that Ball. He was blocking like it was a running play and it wasn't. NOT CLAUSEN'S FAULT!