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Turning the page

Sep 14, 2009, 1:00 PM EDT

I’ll attempt to make this my final post on the Michigan game.

I haven’t been able to watch a replay of the game just yet, and I’m guessing that I probably won’t get around to it this week. And it’s probably for the best. Everybody needs to turn the page.

It’s been interesting (and a little disheartening) to read much of the reaction amongst Notre Dame fans about the game on Saturday. I’ve received more than a few emails from people questioning Weis’ head coaching abilities, play-calling abilities, even his motor-function abilities after the excruciating loss. As much as the loss frustrates and still shocks me, I’m still firmly aboard the Charlie Weis bandwagon.

The man is the coach of the Notre Dame football team.

There is nothing easier than second guessing coaching decisions from the comfort of our couch or office seat. Did Weis have his A game on Saturday? Absolutely not. I’m sure that Weis would like to have that final series on offense back, just like Jon Tenuta and Corwin Brown would like to go back to halftime and do a better job preparing their troops for Michigan’s offense.

But they can’t.

I can’t help but thinking about the devastating 2005 loss to USC. If you’re trying to gauge how Weis will handle the game-week preparations for this week, you can look back at his comments from his press conferences following the game four seasons ago:

First thing I said was get your heads up because everyone is feeling
bad. And they got their heads up and I very matter of factly said that
I was proud of their effort in the game. Because how could you not be
proud of their effort? I thought the preparation was good. It wasn’t
like we didn’t have errors throughout the game; we had plenty, okay.
But I thought that they played a game that put themselves in the
position to win and they expected to win.

“I was actually pleased that they were that disappointed,
because if they weren’t disappointed, then you really have a problem.
But I wanted them to know that you know my party line, that it’s not
okay to lose, ever, especially when you have that many opportunities to
ice the game.

“But at the same time I wanted to let them know that I was proud
of their effort and I also wanted to make sure they understood that BYU
represents the first opportunity for the second half of the year. And
it isn’t like you just played a game for the National Championship and
your season’s over. You hit the halfway mark, so it’s time for us to
regroup and that’s what we’ll be doing today.

During his Tuesday remarks three days later, Weis’ first comments echoed the same sentiments:

“As we begin the second half of our season, we’re approaching it that
way, the message to the team this week is this is the start, it’s the
first game of the second half of the season. As you talk to our players
and coaches this week, they’re only going to be talking about the
second half of the season; they’re not going to be talking about the
first half of the season. So don’t bother asking the questions on that
because they won’t be talking about it.

The Irish went out the next week and behind 467 yards of passing from Brady Quinn, rolled BYU 49-23 at Notre Dame stadium. It was a much needed victory that helped reestablish the Irish’s confidence and salvage a BCS season.

That’s the approach the Irish need to take if they want to be successful against a Michigan State team that had a devastating loss of their own to Central Michigan. And for fans of the Irish, it’s probably the best way for all of us to keep our sanity.

  1. DarinD - Sep 15, 2009 at 5:05 PM

    This should be a teachable moment for ND…..The lesson being taught is that ND should have fired Weis last year! Weis, although likeable is a bad motivator, leader, and head coach. The one good season that he had was with the players that Willingham recruited. Weis has five years to make a difference, so the question is has he?

  2. Hawk - Sep 15, 2009 at 5:21 PM

    Hold on a second. Have all the Cahrlie haters ever considered that maybe some of our players – particularly on defense – simply are not as good as our opponents? Yet.
    Have you forgotten the damage Willingham did to this program?
    Have you forgotten what life was like for ND fans last September?
    Give it a rest. The program is in good hands.

  3. Rodman - Sep 15, 2009 at 6:13 PM

    Hasn’t Willingham been gone since 04, Hawk? I believe this is Weiss’s fifth season, no? “Good” or not, the team you’re seeing today was 100% recruited and built by CW.
    Also, comparing the Michigan game to 2005’s USC game isn’t quite accurate because the Trojans were highly ranked AND a convincing 5 and 0 at the time, whereas the Wolverines are in 2nd year rebuilding mode (coming off a 3 and 9 ’08). In other words, the Irish should’ve won this game- they just didn’t. Blame cheating/bad/whatever refs, but if Notre Dame played at the level they SHOULD be at, none of that would have made a difference.

  4. AM - Sep 15, 2009 at 6:21 PM

    Agreed. There are two ways to go out. You can play not to lose, like a Jim Tressel or be aggressive and go for the win. There are risks to both approaches, and both coaches lost Saturday. The difference is that one wears a sweater vest and the other let it all hang out. I say go for the win.

  5. Troyer - Sep 15, 2009 at 7:02 PM

    Without Allen (thigh) and Floyd (knee) his options were pretty limited on that last drive. A missed interference call and a frosh WR who didn’t finish his route were the difference in that last drive. Were you criticizing Weis when he was running up and down the field at will against MI for the rest of the game??? I personally was more upset at the lack of speed on the defensive side of the ball that gave MI big leads twice in the game! Grow up people and realize what you have in front of you. A great coach (and staff)and a great recruiter who is putting the pieces of this puzzle together right in front of you. Yeah they lost a game to MI and I was there and just as ticked as anyone…..but it’s a rivalry game and anything can happen. Let’s see what MSU has to offer before we start grabbing the axe. I for one am not ready to start over just yet.

  6. GO IRISH !!! - Sep 15, 2009 at 8:42 PM

    For the love of our lady.. support our team and coach. We will have a great season. This one did sting but we will win over all.
    Charlie has been to the biggest stage 4 times and knows how to win.
    I trust his judgement and it was just a complex mixture of events that beat us. We still have a whole season ahead of us and all this headhunting will only make it worst. This loss early will go a long way to greatness far more than a loss twards the end.
    Support our team!! CHEAR ON HIGH!!
    Our Lady of Victory Pray for us. GO IRISH !!!

  7. Tom Kane - Sep 15, 2009 at 9:03 PM

    Charlie needs to return to the press box where he was for the Hawaii game. I think the discomfort of his leg injuries/surgery bothers him the 2nd half. He said his play calling wasn’t as good the second half against Nevada and I concluded the sme thing against Michigan. I think it might help turn things around if he returned to the box.

  8. aaron.hung at Taiwan - Sep 16, 2009 at 1:59 AM

    I am from Taiwan and have always been a dead hard Irish fan. I was watching or listening to radio for all the games live online getting up at 3:30AM every Saturday midnight for the past 14 years. I read about 10-20 articles about Irish every day including the offseason. I know each player’s name and number, and each kid’s name that we are recruiting even though it is so difficult to watch a game outside of United States, even though I am not mastering English and get lost when the commentators spoke too fast for a foreign like me.
    That said, however my feel and love for Irish, I believe, is not less than anyone here.
    There were big wins. There were disheartening lost. It makes me feel good or bad about my living, working for the following weeks before we start to pick up from next game.
    But guess what, this does not really matters when I look back, and what is last much longer is not a lost, but something like Pass Right, some times to see a player’s growth like Julios Jones, deep cares to Hugh’s family like Hugh’s have a big family with more than 100000 members globally, the classy act of the Irish teams and fans. The interview of Irish players really differ from other players from other school – and as a person who is outside of United States, I really do feel that differences better than you.
    I felt lost when our team lost to Michigan, but I do really feel that good days are going to come, sooner than you think.
    But all this really does not matters. We never left the glories, we’ve always been there. Win or Lose.

  9. robertg - Sep 16, 2009 at 6:18 AM

    charlie and his staff will be at notre dame for as long as the want.these decisions have already been made by the people at notre dame who make such decisions. the phony email traffic from notre dame enemies’ looking for an advantage in the recuiting wars are the people who try to create the impression that charlie and his staff lack job security.
    certain of those individuals guaranteed the public in writing, both in the south bend tribune and at nd central that they would get charlie fired last season. these people did succeed in driving away from notre dame a number of fine recruits. however, charlie is still around and still will be, long after these jerks are gone and forgotten.
    in the charlie weis era, notre dame’s student athletes, who also play football, have won national championships in gpas and graduation success rates every season since charlie arrived at notre dame and overcame impossible odds on the recruiting trails.
    we all love lou holtz and always will. however lou did not have to overcome anything like the obstacles that charlie did when holtz came to notre dame.
    just ask lou holtz and he will confirm these facts. among other factors, when lou arrived at notre dame, notre dame already had great talent at every position and the notre dame recruiting network was alive and providing a constant flow of new talent.
    lou did not have to face the type of sophiticated crooked ref con operations which charlie and his staff and notre dame’s student athletes have had to face every season since 2005.
    on paper, lou’s notre dame teams won 1 national championship and were robbed in 1989 and 1993 by pollsters, with crooked reffing playing a relatively minor role, compared to the present.
    charlie and his staff and notre dame’s student athletes who also play football have only one more real hurdule to overcome-the crooked reffing and rules enforcement at the conference and ncaa levels.
    these are problems which charlie and his staff, notre dame’s fine student athletes, and the notre dame admistration simply cannot solve of their own.
    that is where we have the opportunity and the successful experierce in civil rico litigation to eliminate those ncaa and conference problems asap and to replace the current corrupt systems with honest and transparent high tech systems that do work.
    fortunately, we have been doing exactly those things in other areas of human endeavor for over 30 years, including the enron and mci worldcom civil rico cases and driving crooked judges off the bench(2 of them . so far, have ended up in federal prisons) and cleaning up crooked courthouses.
    courtesy of delany and david parry of the big 10 conference and an ncaa entity known as college football officiating llc( it has a website of the ame name), the crooked reffing con operation has gone nationwide and crosses conference lines so that it does not really matter which conferences refs are from until the underlying systemic problems are fixed from which conference the ref crews come. many refs in many conferences are for sale to the highest bidder and are shielded from punishment by the conferences and by the conferences and the by college football officiating llc on the ncaa and national levels, using claims of confidentiality and the ironically named sportmanship conduct rules by threatening coaches and student athletes with monetary and other sanctions if they complain publically about officiating.
    there are many honest refs and tech reviewers. however, they find themselves fired if they do not cooperate and keep quiet.
    there are olenty of schools in conferences, such as the ohio state buckeyes and joe paterno’s penn state team of the big 10, that simply refuse to participate in the crooked free game.
    those teams and their coaches and student athletes are consistently getting shafted by refs from their own conferences with big 10 commisioner jim delany and david parry and bill carollo of the big 10 providing cover for the crooked refs
    in the pac 10,the situation is different. tom hansen resigned as commissioner after he suplied certain damning evidence.
    however, hansen left behind him jim muldoon and dave cutaia, obviously based on the assumption that new commisioner. larry scott, could be kept on the road travelling, thereby permitting muldoon and cutaia and their staffs of crooked rers to proceed with their crooked reffing industry.
    well, larry scott is proving to be a formidable obstacle to cinuing the corrupt practices at the pac 10.
    there is not one conference that does not have some corrupt refs and conference officials to cover for them and that includes the big east conference.
    we have no time or patience for ngitiations on these matters. either the responsible indiduviduals settle quickly or we can take them down in the civil courts.
    we have the greatest admiration for charlie and his staff and for every student athletes for going out these and taking on both the oppostion and crooked refs while bwe are shiving the required reforms down the throats of the conferences and the ncaa.
    it took us quite a while to understand how the business of college football works and to identify the individuals responsible for the curruption and the coverups and to find all of their assets.
    that work being done, it is time for payback and fundamental changes.

  10. Angry Irishman - Sep 16, 2009 at 12:18 PM

    I understand your take on the situation. However, I played college football and professionally in Canada and really analyze the game as it develops. I have been watching Charlie make bonehead mistake after bonehead mistake. He has been here for five years and has nothing to show for it. The kids are obviously not reacting to his coaching techniques and speeches. I could make a list of all his mistakes but we don’t have time for that. The Michigan loss should never have happened. Michigan started a freshman quarterback right out of high school and made our defense look silly. Nobody pressured him upfield and closed on him when he was running around all over the field. I saw no pressure from our interior lineman and the secondary exposed trying to cover people all over the field. I saw players completely out of position as evidenced by the spacing between the ball carrier and our defensive players. This is where coaching comes in. The adjustments should’ve been made at halftime. Tenuda is another bag of wind! He came over here to instill an aggressive swarming defense. I am pleased with the offense for the most part. We could do without the holding penalties etc. Weis is the head coach and is accountable for the entire football team not just the offense. His clock management down the stretch was brutal! He needs somebody standing next to him holding a clock on the sideline to remind him of the time left on the clock. There are no more excuses at this point. Several friends of mine are alumni and they are done with Charlie. They donate thousands to the university and the football program and have a lot of pull. Charlies days afre numbered and athletic director Swarbrick better come out from under the rock he is hiding under and man up! I’m out !

  11. Matthew C. Krian - Feb 18, 2010 at 11:18 AM

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