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Weis moves forward

Nov 11, 2009, 7:30 AM EDT

While many look to circle the wagons, head coach Charlie Weis turned the page to eighth-ranked Pitt, in a game that might not have BCS ramifications, but now has a much more macabre feel for the embattled coach.

As usual, Weis took questions from the assembled media, and this week fielded questions from ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi and George Smith, a sure sign that the WWL hasn’t deemed Notre Dame irrelevant yet.

Here are a few observations from today’s press conference.

* Weis did his best to keep the focus on Pitt, which I think was a very wise idea. Even while he was baited every which way from some very persuasive reporters the focus was on Pitt.

You already know what my answer is going to be when you ask that
question. But I’m really only worrying about beating Pitt. And I’ll
never change. I think the day that I walk away from here and I get time to sit back
and reflect, I’ll give you a holler and we’ll go over that one. I’m
just worrying about beating Pittsburgh. And I put all my energy in the
week from the time the last game ends to the time the next game starts
and to just beating that opponent. And maybe I’m trained that way, but it’s just a complete tunnel vision
way of looking at it. I don’t spend any time reflecting. I only worry
about doing all I can to beat Pitt.

Even when asked by Tom Rinaldi a question that included the words “learned,” “muster,” “treetops,” and “journey,” Weis was like a broken record, keeping the focus on the this week’s opponent.

(Note to self: Use more flowery adjectives, and maybe I’ll get some interviews like Rinaldi pulls.)

* Speaking of that opponent, Weis was asked if it was important that they’re playing at Pittsburgh, a top ten team right now on their home turf, after last week’s disappointing loss.

I think it’s probably the same tact that you would expect me to take. That coming into a game, you’re can contend on the road, you’re playing
a Top 10 team, I think it’s going to be a raucous crowd. There’s all the reasons for the team to get fired up to get ready to
go. I mean, every reason. There isn’t a reason imaginable for the team
not to get fired up. They’re ready to go. You go beat a Top 10 team on
the road, it doesn’t take much for everyone to be feeling better after
that ends up happening. 
But we’ll know that about 11:30, 12:00 Saturday night.

For all those that have been screaming for Weis’ head this week, I can assure you that at 11:30 or 12:00 Saturday night, we’ll have a better picture of the head coach’s fate by then as well.

* Staying on the topic of Saturday’s game, it’s clear Weis understands how badly his team needs this win, having lost seven straight games to Top 25 teams.

I think I’m worried more about the kids, that’s what I’m worrying more
about than anything else. I think for these kids’ sake it would do them
wonder to do this. I think the most important thing I have to worry
about in the grand scheme of things, we talk about the program and I
think that that’s a critical factor. But most importantly, you know,
you’ve got a bunch of 18- to 22-year-old kids that after a loss go to
class and everyone says: Hey, what happened? What happened? And I think right now the most important thing, when things like that
happen, is for me to be there for them. And a situation like that, all
we can do is fight together to be in position to go ahead and get this
rectified this week.

No doubt a win this weekend would probably silence a few critics and stabilize the situation around the program for the time being.

* Weis was asked about a USA Today piece that discussed the rapidly rising rate of college coaches’ salaries. Weis predictably hadn’t seen the piece, but took the chance to talk about his much discussed contract.

By the way, John, mine is grossly misreported in case you’re wondering.
And one step further while we’re on that subject, if you would like to
have my tax returns I’d be more than willing to have them just as long
as you were willing to pay the difference between what’s been reported
and what I actually make… You better have a seven-figure check ready, that’s all I have to say.

I’ve always found it incredibly annoying that people always cite this gigantic contract that Charlie Weis is paid, yet nobody has the faintest clue on the particulars. Depending on the source, Weis is either making $4 million a season, has a $15 million buyout, but really, nobody has the slightest clue. For the record, the reporter wasn’t willing to make the trade.

  1. TLNDMA - Nov 11, 2009 at 9:34 AM

    Calmly now. Whatever the result of this coming weeks game, this team has already underachieved. Those of us who aren’t “screaming for Weis’s head”, but that have sadly come to the conclusion that he is not up to the task, will continue to pull for this team. But looking at this man’s body of work the last five years, what would lead anyone to believe that the future results will be different. Next year we will probably have a new, inexperienced Qb, and a whole new set of excuses. Hopefully Dayne Crist will come back from his recent surgery as good as new. If not our next Qb isn’t even on campus yet. For a coach, whose philosophy for success revolves around great Qb play, to put himself in this position, is inexplicable. Of course a good coach would be able to overcome such obstacles, with stout defense and a good running game. Is there any evidence that Weis will be able to do that? Saturday night I’ll be emotional watching my favorite team play, right now I feel, I’m just being logical.

  2. Polego - Nov 11, 2009 at 10:34 AM

    Sad but true T. College football is better when Notre Dame is on the top of their game. They just won’t be with Coach Weiss. I believe he loves the school, heritage, program, and players. He’s just not Top Dog caliber.
    I fear the same for my Michigan Wolverines. Bring Back Bo!!!
    This also shows how difficult and incredible the dominating results were for coaches and teams like Bo S, Woody H, Pete C, and Urban M. As much as I think Tressel is a good coach, his body of work isn’t even close to those icons, and they have rarely if ever lived up to ‘the Polls’ and their rankings… just like the often touted and hyped ‘Fighting but Failing Irish’.

  3. Keith Arnold - Nov 11, 2009 at 11:18 AM

    I appreciate the comments, but let’s try to behave here. It’s clear that some of us (TLNDMA) want CW out. I’ve picked that up from every comment he’s made since Saturday.
    If you’ve got a comment on the story, I appreciate them always. If you just take what I write and then just restate the same opinion that you’ve stated under every post, save the words.
    I can assure you that this coaching staff knows more about football than all of us combined. Underachieving or not (and I’m certainly not arguing that they haven’t) they’ve got a job to do, and that’s to prepare to play Pitt.

  4. Irish Bill - Nov 11, 2009 at 11:42 AM

    I agree Kevin…I still think CW is the guy for the job. No one since Lou Holtz has recruited for ND like CW has, and what scares me more than anything is starting over with a new coach. The offense is not the issue, and the defensive players he has brought are about a year from being able to break out. This team will win, and as long CW is there they will do it with attitude and flare. Everyone forgets that he went to two BCS games with less talent than he has now, and it takes time to build a championship team from nothing. Weis is a very intelligent guy, who did not become stupid since coming to ND. I am going to be cheering hard for ND on Saturday, and pulling for Weis and the coaching staff!!!

  5. Kevin - Nov 11, 2009 at 11:59 AM

    Well, I’m a proud alum and been a fan since I was born… the bottom line is that Weis is a great recruiter, a great offensive coach, and not that great of a head coach. Maybe we can get him back in the booth on game days, have him coach the QBs and be the offensive coordinator, keep him to help recruit, and bring in another head coach. We do need a different defensive coordinator and need to spend some energy recruiting a Dline as well.

  6. Kevin - Nov 11, 2009 at 12:00 PM

    Well, I’m a proud alum and been a fan since I was born… the bottom line is that Weis is a great recruiter, a great offensive coach, and not that great of a head coach. Maybe we can get him back in the booth on game days, have him coach the QBs and be the offensive coordinator, keep him to help recruit, and bring in another head coach. We do need a different defensive coordinator and need to spend some energy recruiting a Dline as well.

  7. Dan - Nov 11, 2009 at 12:31 PM

    Thanks Irish Bill for the dose of sanity. The reality is that starting over with a new coach (take your pick) is no guarantee of improvement. In fact the historical likelihood is that “starting over” is exactly what would happen. Perhaps we should all just recognize that sometimes in life we are best served by “staying at the dance with thems what brung ya”
    Sure the loss to Navy was a dissapointment. But we seem to forget that this is not your parent’s Navy teams any more. They are a very good team and will no longer be the door mat they were into the near future. There will no longer be the 43 year streak.
    As in all facets of life the tradeoff will be that the critics will no longer be able to complain about ND scheduling Navy every year.
    CW and co. are not perfect. They have however driven a stake in the myth and excuse that you cannot recruit at ND. For that he has my support (and of course the class I see him exhibit over and over which exemplefies what ND is supposed to be).

  8. TLNDMA - Nov 11, 2009 at 2:24 PM

    Keith,I’ll try not to be so redundant. Seemed to me, your column was about Weis not discussing his job performance. I thought I would. There had been a couple of comments about posters being somewhat hysterical on this topic. I thought I’d try to point out that some of us are trying to be logical and calm. As far as this coaching staffs knowledge of football, that has no bearing on anyones points being valid or not. I’m not a weatherman, but I know when it’s raining.

  9. willmose - Nov 11, 2009 at 4:30 PM

    Keith, you talk like the game against Pitt is going to be competitive. I see absolutely no evidence of that given Notre Dame’s performance this year, you provide none. It is nice to hear that Charlie Weis thinks so, but frankly that is what is wrong with the ND football program, no clue about reality. By 11:30, 12:00 Saturday night nothing will have changed. If Charlie Weis is right about his salary (and who would not better than Charlie), then perhaps the problem is that ND went the cheap route on hiring the coach (you get what you pay for).

  10. mike ford - Nov 11, 2009 at 7:40 PM

    I’ll start by saying I am a huge NOTRE DAME FAN and I have been for 24 yrs, through it all my enthusiasm for this team has done nothing but grow and I am grateful that a sports program with such integrity and principle still exists in this world full of greed and hypocrisy. To those who wish all things upon this team Other than the things they truly need… (loyal FANS) shush, nobody wants to hear the bull you try to relate only b/c you want “your” team to win for bragging rights or some other schoolboy-like reason.
    Thanks Keith and NBC for giving I and all true Notre Dame fans a place to call home (on our pc)!! “Always remember our TRADITION” it never loses!!

  11. TLNDMA - Nov 11, 2009 at 9:39 PM

    Could I get a script to follow, seems some of us are rocking the boat here, by stating our opinions. I might suggest that this is one of the calmest ND sites on the internet. (go look at the posts on the SB Trib.) All season I’ve found this to be one of the most rational also. I’m sure everyone is aware that the coaching situation is big news in the sports world right now. Topic ‘A’in ND nation. You might want to brace yourselves for even more such discussion as this may heat up. If you wee around in 1985, you know that I know of what I speak. As for Mr. Ford maybe you could post more often with more ideas on how to be a true fan. I’ll get my pom poms.

  12. Keith Arnold - Nov 11, 2009 at 9:48 PM

    Folks: I’m not saying that you need to follow a script when you comment, I’m just saying that restating the same opinion on every post turns this comments into something miserable. @TLNDMA — Just because the comments at the SBTrib and NDN are unreadable, doesn’t mean I want them to be that here. I have yet to nuke or edit a single comment here, so you’re free to your opinion, it’s just hearing it again and again doesn’t advance the conversation here.
    @willmose — Last I checked every single game that ND has played has been competitive — they’ve lost 3 games by 13 total points. So before you claim there’s no evidence to keep things close, I suggest you check a box score or two.

  13. mike ford - Nov 11, 2009 at 10:30 PM

    Sorry to offend wasn’t directly posting about you, and you know were ya can put those pom poms!!

  14. mike ford - Nov 11, 2009 at 10:48 PM

    your reference of Faust in comparison to Weis’s situation…. Well I just don’t see it I guess I’m too young to understand those things

  15. TLNDMA - Nov 12, 2009 at 7:33 AM

    Mike I’ll lighten up. As for Faust comparison I’m talking of media coverage mainly. Though Faust, actually beat some good teams, which made the situation even more maddening. Keith I’ll try to stay more on topic. I guess we all have to remember we are rooting for the same team.

  16. ugetwutuask4 - Nov 12, 2009 at 6:44 PM

    Since coach is so predictable and doesn’t change a thing from week to week. Here are a few suggestions from someone who has watched every game from start to end this year. 1.How about on offense ND players play their position. ie put Hughes and Aldridge in the backfield at fullback and not tailback in the red zone. Or we can place one of them in the shot gun next to Clausen and Armando/Riddick. So this way since Rudolph is out and he won’t be there to help the O-lineman with their blocks Jimmy won’t get sacked. 2.How about on our first drive we pound the rock, power I wth Armando and Hughes in the back field or Riddick and Aldridge or vice versa. 3.And if you happen to go Lepri-cat, maybe Riddick can get the ball on the option. Please try a new wrinkle off Lepri-cat instead of Tate keeping the ball all the time. Try an option pass or some sort of passing wrinkle out of that formation because teams are locked on to the back when ND’s in the Lepri-cat. 4.Also attempt to run some different routes other than the fade ie crossing, routes, slants, posts. Just a few things that might help you keep your job coach because we all know too well the ND’s game plan from week to week. Same as last weeks.

  17. JJ - Nov 14, 2009 at 11:56 PM

    Alright…2 huge problems that I need some explanations on!!! 1) How can a call ruled an incomplete pass (meaning that when the refs blew the play dead, no one had control of the ball, BECAUSE IT WAS AN INCOMPLETE PASS) then be overruled as a fumble and then given to the other team (although the ball was recovered AFTER the play was WHISTLED dead) ANYONE, PLEASE?!?!?! 2) If you taped the ND-Pitt game, go to about 5min remaining when the Pitt RB ran right and OBVIOUSLY straight out-of-bounds resulting in a 3rd and 1yd to go play. The RB ran directly out-of-bounds (not the “forward progress was stopped in bounds” crap) and the game clock continued to run!! Can anyone explain? And by explain I mean an actual explanation…..not your immature BS about how ND sucks and are always lucky and don’t deserve to win! And I also understand that Charlie W. is the furtherest thing from an “offensive genius” that the College world has ever seen, so please save your breath and save us your retarded, “I hate Charlie” speech and just answer the questions?!?! Thanks!

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