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.