Skip to content

Davie talks about the Notre Dame hot seat

Nov 11, 2009, 5:00 PM EST

Few people are as qualified to talk about life on the Notre Dame hot seat as well as Bob Davie. Out of college coaching since he was relieved of his head coaching duties, Davie now broadcasts football games for ESPN and ABC.

Davie was on ESPN Radio this morning with Colin Cowherd to discuss the situation and had some interesting insights into what’s going on.

It’s a feeding frenzy right now,” Davie said. The real problem you have if your Charlie Weis, because I certainly felt it is,  one-half of the people sitting up there wearing the Notre Dame jerseys during the game, half the student body, half the alumni, maybe half of your own team, can kind of be hoping maybe you do lose, just to make the decision an easy one. It permeates everything you do, it just becomes so negative and you really do feel like its us against the world.

If you take the pulse of the average Notre Dame fan right now, I think that’s the exact situation the team is in right now, and a very big reason why Weis was correct in just establishing tunnel vision and keeping his team focused on the challenge ahead.

Davie also weighed in on what it’s like dealing with the Notre Dame administration in a time like this. While the people on top of the university have changed since Davie was head coach, last season’s uncertainty at least makes you think that the M.O. hasn’t changed.

“The administration becomes very quiet, there’s very little feedback, because they’re right now figuring out their plan, Davie said. He’s sitting right on the bubble, you would hope you’d have the next three game, potentially the bowl game, to figure out your fate so you can do it on the field, but you start to panic a little bit administratively, because things start happening.”

Davie pointed to the scrum for Urban Meyer when Notre Dame was looking to hire a coach after they fired Tyrone Willingham, and how many felt it was the inaction of the university brass that contributed to Meyer taking the Florida job over the Notre Dame offer. For the record, Davie thought that Meyer wouldn’t have taken the job regardless of the time frame or money.

One of the more interesting points Davie made was when he also talked about how difficult it was to build an elite defense at Notre Dame, which is interesting because Davie seemingly always struggled with his offensive production, not necessarily putting together a capable defensive unit. He thought the difficulty bringing elite defenders onto campus crystallized the issues that Notre Dame has when trying to become a truly elite football programs again.

“They want to be all things to all people. They want to be an Ivy League kind of setting, the Catholic university, it’s about doing everything right, everything structured. That’s not really defense. Defense is blowing guys up, attacking guys and living on the edge. It’s not really about talent, it’s about the culture, that’s there on the campus, kind of like at Stanford. You’re going to get offensive guys, you’re going to be able to perform offensively, because that’s the kind of guys you’re going to get.

I’d argue that Davie failed at Notre Dame because he wasn’t able to get the type of explosive offensive performers needed to win, in large part because he never adapted to the new offensive innovations that were taking over college football. Yet Davie actually advocates that Notre Dame should switch back to an option-based, running, ball-control attack.

“You can’t throw the ball any better than Notre Dame throws it right now. They’ve got three first round guys that touch the ball every time… Does the offense match and help the defense? That’s what it comes down to winning. They might be better off in a scheme like Georgia Tech, that helps the defense.

“You get a guy like Brady Quinn coached up, and he’s really good and Notre Dame is really good, and then he graduates. You have peaks and valleys because you’re in a system that’s very NFL oriented, but it’s hard to have the next guy that way. It took time to get Brady Quinn to be Brady Quinn. It took time for JImmy Clausen to be Jimmy Clausen. So the system needs to be geared a little bit more to run the ball.

“In the big picture, you need to help the defense, you need to play great special teams. It takes a unique guy to have the right kind of mindset and lack of ego in some ways to know how to win at ND.”

Therein lies the double-edged sword. Notre Dame wouldn’t have the offensive weapons if they didn’t play Charlie Weis’ NFL system. While it may be complicated, it may take developmental time, it’s a system that talented high school recruits want to play because they’re convinced it’ll get the to the NFL.

If Notre Dame switches to an offensive attack like Georgia Tech, they’ll still run into the same problems on defense, and while they’ll be masked more by the protection they’ll get from a running clock and a risk averse offense, they’ll still need to find a defensive coordinator that can coach up players and get the in position to make plays.

  1. Icon Set - Dec 8, 2009 at 10:11 AM

    Excellently written editorial, if only all bloggers offered the same content as you, the net would be a much better place. keep going! Cheers.

  2. Susan R. Austin - Dec 15, 2009 at 10:35 AM

    Hello, perhaps this post is not on topic but in any case, i’ve been browsing about your site and it looks really neat. It is obvious that you know your subject matter and you are passionate about it. I’m building a new blog and I am hard put to make it appear good, and offer excellent subject matter. I have discovered a much here and I look forward to more updates and will be back.

  3. Moneywise - Dec 23, 2009 at 5:49 AM

    Hi, possibly this post could be off topic but anyhow, I have gone surfing about your website and it appears genuinely cool. It’s obvious that you know the subject and you are passionate about it. We are constructing a fresh blog and I’m attempting to make it look great, and offer quality posts. I’ve discovered a good deal from your internet site and also I anticipate further posts and will be returning soon. Thanks you.

  4. Kirk - Dec 23, 2009 at 11:30 PM

    Merely want to say your article is impressive. The clarity in your post is simply striking and i can assume you are an expert on this field. Well with your permission allow me to grab your rss feed to keep up to date with incoming post. Thanks a million and please keep up the sound work.

  5. Val Herkel - Jan 9, 2010 at 12:16 PM

    I wanted to thank you for this excellent read!! I definitely loved every little bit of it. I have you bookmarked your site to check out the latest stuff you post.

  6. Legalsounds - Jan 15, 2010 at 1:07 PM

    A thoughtful insight and ideas I will use on my blog. You’ve obviously spent some time on this. Well done!

  7. college degree abbreviations - Jan 18, 2010 at 2:01 PM

    I live in Chennai. I want to have a college degree in arts but my father wants to send me to study medicine. How can I explain to him that money and respect is not everything. Or at least, that you can earn it in other ways.

  8. Oil Change - Jan 27, 2010 at 10:19 PM

    if every editor wrote like you believe me the world would be a better place! this was an excellent read expecting more!

  9. Irving Cost - Feb 3, 2010 at 9:11 AM

    Hello, superb post, I thouroughly enjoyed reading it. the blog gave me the kick to attempt my own blog, please check out my post by clicking my name at the top of this post, Many thanks

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!