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As the rumor mill churns… Day 3

Dec 4, 2009, 7:30 AM EDT

Yesterday was a little bit slow for the rumor mill. That’s not to say it wasn’t eventful.

* Brian Kelly held his weekly radio show, and reportedly for the first time this season, he didn’t take any questions. That’s got to mean that he’s clearly dodging and weaving and not willing to talk about Notre Dame… or concentrating on the biggest regular season game Cincy’s played since Kelly came to town.

* Mike Frank at IrishSportsDaily.com confirms that ND representatives have contacting people representing Brian Kelly. Frank wasn’t willing to speculate as to whether that meant the Irish were moving on from their alleged deal with Bob Stoops or whether we’re to believe one of Stoops’ 15 almost-denials, but this is pretty concrete news that the Irish are finally kicking the tires on a presumed favorite for the job.

* Meanwhile, Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune somehow got in touch with Action Jack and asked him about the rumors that are flying.

“I am simply amazed,” Swarbrick said. “This is not some small kernel of
truth that gets twisted into an inaccurate story — this is complete
fiction that gains credibility by being repeated and repurposed.”

If you’re amazed by the crazed passion and imaginative minds of Notre Dame football fans willing to use Jedi mind tricks to get their coaching short lists to the athletic director, you haven’t been paying too good of attention, Jack.

* Uh-oh. The story of Kirk Ferentz dismissing talk about the Notre Dame job makes it seem like Kirk’s been getting his tires kicked by Notre Dame searchers. According to Andy Hamilton of the Iowa City Press-Citizen, Kirk danced around the questions regarding the Golden Dome:

Ferentz didn’t seem overly enthusiastic about discussing — his name connected to Notre Dame’s search for a new coach.Ferentz wouldn’t say whether he or any of his representatives have been contacted by ND officials.

“The
first thing I’d say is that’s Notre Dame’s business and nobody else’s,
as far as I’m concerned,” Ferentz said. “What they choose to do is
their business. If they had or hadn’t, I think that would be
inappropriate for me to comment on that.

As I stated yesterday, Ferentz isn’t my pick to succeed Weis. (I’d argue he’s a downgrade…)

* Scout.com’s Stoops Oracle, Matt Alkire, a regional recruiting analyst that has been the first to report any of the big Stoops rumors spoke to his legions of followers yesterday afternoon with a mid-day update. He’s getting conflicting information on the recruitment of Bob Stoops. One source says Stoops is gone, the other still in negotiations. Alkire’s source said that Stoops’ biggest issue is that he’s not sure the school will make the concessions needed to make the team a top tier program again.

Not sure what that means exactly, but 50 percent of me will think there’s still a shot with Stoops, while the other 50 percent of me refuses to listen to the radio interviews Stoops does where he makes jokes about calling in from South Bend.

* Former Notre Dame defensive end Justin Tuck weighed in on the Notre Dame coaching job and thought Herm Edwards would be a good fit for the Irish.

Pump the brakes, Justin. Pump them very hard. 

While the press conferences would be awesome, I can’t see that one working out too well for the Irish. (I’m still upset with Tuck for leaving early and not giving us that final season, where he’d have potential been the big difference maker on that 2005 squad.)

* ESPN is running with a report off FootballCoachScoop.com that Swarbrick has centered their search on Skip Holtz and Randy Edsall. I would be SHOCKED if this were true. (Not ESPN taking something off a smaller site and running with it, the fact that Action Jack would focus on Skip and Randy. Those should be fall back plans… at best.) 

And now to our FAVORITE THEORY OF THE DAY:

Courtesy of Irishman5103:

I looked up Bob Stoops’ address (he looked it up, but I’m not including it) in the Cleveland County (Norman, OK) property appraiser records online. I then used google map to find the address so that I could use the
satellite street view feature to look at the front of the home. Then I
compared that picture of his home to this current real estate for sale
listing. (He listed the real estate listing.) Bob Stoops definitely has his home up for sale. This could be a good sign.

Irishman5103… Dedicated fan.

  1. TLNDMA - Dec 4, 2009 at 8:45 AM

    Keith, you continue to put Charlie on a pedestal. Why? I think you need to take into account where each prospective coach’s school is at, as far as conference, pecking order in that conference, and such. I would argue that Kirk Ferentz’s and Randy Edsall’s results at their jobs, far exceed anything Charlie Weis did as head coach. I would not expect Iowa or UConn to compete for national championships, nor would I expect ND to go 3&7, 7&6, and 6&6.

  2. Zach - Dec 4, 2009 at 11:09 AM

    Keith,
    I too have to fight off the erge to ask Justin Tuck what the H@#* were you thinking!? It used to keep me awake at night thinking about how close 2005 was.

  3. Teo - Dec 4, 2009 at 11:38 AM

    How can you seriously suggest that Kirk Ferentz is a “downgrade”? Because he hasn’t won all his games at Iowa? If you can get decent kids to come play football at Iowa — and you win nine games per season at Iowa over ten years — you can win at Notre Dame.
    Don’t make the perfect the enemy of the good. Stoops would be nice. So would Kelly. So would Ferentz.

  4. Patrick - Dec 4, 2009 at 11:56 AM

    Keith,
    I had heard that Lou Holtz was considering making a return to the Dome for a year or two to help Action Jack buy some time until the role could be filled in a more permanent capacity, and then would consider working in a more secondary role (consultant) to ease the transition. It’s been killing him to have to sit next to a smirking Mark May week in, week out while not being able to do anything about it.

  5. wes holtz - Dec 4, 2009 at 12:14 PM

    stoop’s house is for sale because he is building a new one there.

  6. Keith Arnold - Dec 4, 2009 at 12:46 PM

    @TLNDMA — I put CW on a “pedestal” because he’s an elite coach. Weis lost his job because he couldn’t find a suitable defensive coordinator. He may not have turned into the head coach many people wanted, but he’s an elite football coach.
    If Randy Edsall lost his job, would he have the offers Weis will have at the end of the NFL season?
    Having grown up in MN and having watched a lot of Iowa football the past ten years, I’ve watched Ferentz plenty. His first two Iowa teams went 1-10 and 3-9. His 2002-2004 run was good, but you could argue no more impressive than what CW did his first two seasons at ND. 2005-2008 Iowa went 7-5, 6-7, 6-6, 9-4, and the nonconference schedule that the Hawkeyes play is mediocre.
    I’m not in the business of bashing coaches, but I think people forget that CW did some pretty amazing things his first two seasons and this football team lost 6 games by a touchdown or less.

  7. TLNDMA - Dec 4, 2009 at 12:56 PM

    Which one of the coaches you mentioned is looking for work? An elite coach? There is no evidence to support your argument that Weis is a better head coach than either Ferentz or Edsall, none.

  8. TLNDMA - Dec 4, 2009 at 1:14 PM

    Lastly, what did any of his teams do that was amazing, put up good stats? His teams never beat a team with less than 4 losses. Yeah this year they kept the scores close, that was an improvement from the previous two years blowout losses. Were’nt we expecting a little bit more than that?

  9. Dan - Dec 4, 2009 at 1:39 PM

    Keith: Nice article – thanks. I know that the situation did not turn out for CW but like you I applaud him for the class he consistently shows. As Jack S. said there is a huge gap between some people’s perception of him and the reality.
    I do believe Jack S. has a plan but I am concerned that the plan – like all plans can provide no guarantee. Even the “can’t miss” names being mentioned (who probably won’t come anyhow) are not a guarantee. I am however encouraged that the criteria set out fit what ND stands for. The only thing worse than losing at ND is winning by forfeiting the standards which have always set ND aside.
    Anyhow thanks for continuing to applaud CW for his continued class. He is showing that he is bigger than many of us.

  10. teo - Dec 4, 2009 at 3:40 PM

    You could not argue that Weis has done what Ferentz has done. I mean, you could take that position, but there is no way it’s legitimate. Weis was decent for a year and then predictably overrated for four years. And, Weis’ key attribute was predictability. Great coaches are able to have their games filmed week in and week out and they’re able to run plays that confuse people, week in and week out. Weis could not accomplish this. And, more than anything, Weis could not get his offensive line to do anything productive. Ferentz has accomplished this.
    If you’re confused about Ferentz — and you are, if you think he would be a downgrade to the guy who lost to Navy twice, Syracuse at home when they were 1-88 and UConn at home when they were 4-5 and did not beat a team with fewer than four losses in five years — look at how he’s done against good teams. Look at his bowl wins — Texas Tech, Florida, LSU and South Carolina. Sure, Southern Cal smoked him in 2003, but they were really good that year.
    Ferentz isn’t perfect, but he is a good coach. Weis is a decent offensive coordinator.

  11. Nor-Cal Scott - Dec 4, 2009 at 3:41 PM

    “Wes Holtz” (funny), thanks for correcting the conspiracy theorist-like Irishman5103… Stoops is building a new house.
    I’m glad Tiger took the headlines away from this subject so Jack can do his job without the entire sports world looking at him with the hubble size microscope.
    The talent is in place, Charlie did a very, very good job recruiting talent. Now a new staff needs to get these kids to play as a team.
    Go Irish!

  12. mike@espn - Dec 4, 2009 at 5:04 PM

    Patrick @ 1156am ET–
    I’ve heard the same, that ND has contacted Lou about being a seatwarmer until they can find another big coach. Supposedly Lou is very worried about his health, but wants to take the job. From what I’ve heard here in Bristol, he’s seriously considering it.

  13. seandp@irishinsider - Dec 4, 2009 at 5:17 PM

    Patrick and Mike,
    As an assistant to the provost I am not granted first-hand access in the decision making process. But I can tell you that Lou Holtz is being given serious consideration by the powers that be to take on the job in an interim capacity. The thinking is to restore some of the luster that has been missing from the program while taking an extended look at viable long-term candidates for the future. Stay tuned, Rece and Mark May could very well need a new side kick soon.

  14. StephenOfTroy - Dec 4, 2009 at 5:23 PM

    TLNDMA and teo: I’m with you. There’s a bizarre pedestal thing going on here with Keith Arnold. Those other coaches would be obvious upgrades. ANY coach who has won at a supposedly lesser program would be an upgrade. We’re not looking for a humanitarian or an ambassador. We’re looking for a head football coach. The reason we’re looking is because the coaches we have keep getting fired because they don’t win enough football games. Sorry to have to dumb it down, but it seems like it needs to be underscored.
    Weis has never been an “elite” coach. Change “elite” to “a guy who coaches a team I’m nuts about” and I could see why Keith Arnold wrote what he wrote. Otherwise, I have no idea what he’s thinking.
    “Elite,” in my universe, does not mean 3-9, 7-6, and 6-6. That’s not because of some other guy’s recruiting; he did BETTER with players he didn’t pick. He wasn’t simply a defensive coordinator away from collegiate immortality. For that matter, whose freaking job is it to hire a D-coordinator? The head of the physics department? No. It’s the head football coach’s job, and Weis lacked the ability to see that a change needed to be made to the defense, and MAKE it himself.
    If you’re the head coach, you’re supposed to be operating at a certain altitude above the lower-level coaches, but you’re supposed to be able to do everyone’s job, if you only focused on it and paid attention. Head coaches should be able to, if they chose, teach players how to block, how to carry the ball so as not to fumble, how to tackle properly, how to run routes, how to decide when to throw the ball away, etc. And if the defense isn’t working, the head coach shouldn’t say “search me. It’s not my job to fix defense. I focus on wiping Jimmy Clausen’s nose.”
    Weis, as teo pointed out, also couldn’t get his O-line to block for Clausen. If you bring in the allegedly most talented QB in the country to play for you, why in the world wouldn’t you focus on getting a line that can block? There were several seniors on that line, after all. What’s the excuse du jour? Is it Willingham’s fault that Weis didn’t recruit any quality O-linemen in his 5 years there?
    Oh, and where in the world was the running game, coming from the so-called offensive genius? And why do people call the man TOUCHDOWN CHARLIE, when in the red zone he most often had to settle for field goals, if not zilch (See, e.g., NAVY)?
    But beyond that, Weis simply, flat-out COULD NOT MOTIVATE HIS PLAYERS TO PLAY FOR 60 MINUTES A GAME. There’s no way in h e double hockey sticks that you can tell me a coach is “elite” if his players don’t PLAY. Elite? Even mediocre coaches are supposed to be able to get the best out of their players.
    If Keith Arnold wants to tell us that Weis did the best that was possible with the talent he had, I’ll accept that opinion and keep my respectful disagreement to myself. But what he’s doing with this “Elite” nonsense is trying to have it both ways. If you don’t want to admit that he was a poor coach, you have to say he had crummy players.

  15. sharkey - Dec 4, 2009 at 6:26 PM

    That would be a good idea, if it is true. It would take a lot of pressure off of Swarbrick and give more time to hire a coach he feels is the best.
    We shall see.

  16. irishfanintx - Dec 4, 2009 at 7:02 PM

    Lou Holtz back at ND–would love to see it even if it is in an interim capacity!

  17. StephenOfTroy - Dec 4, 2009 at 10:20 PM

    patrick, mike and sean, I am crossing my fingers and toes that you guys are right about Lou Holtz possibly coming back to South Bend. The stars have been out of alignment ever since he got the boot.
    Now can you guys give us all an early Christmas present by bringing the Florida State administration to its senses and have them go to Bobby Bowden’s front door on bended knee to ask him to come back? They were a laughingstock that literally lost 10 games a year before he got there. There IS NO Seminole football program without Bowden. They should have let him decide when to retire, period.
    GO IRISH!

  18. Jack - Dec 5, 2009 at 12:12 AM

    I have to weigh-in on this lunatic statement that Kirk Ferentz would be a downgrade from Charlie Weis. First off, Ferentz is pursued by the NFL every season. Last year he was courted by Cleveland and Kansas City before he told them flatly, not now. Weis never has been, nor will be ever be courted by an NFL team to be a head coach. Second, Ferentz has won national coach of the year. He finished #8 in the country three straight years and will likely be Top 10 this year. Until Stanzi went down with an injury, Iowa had the second longest win streak in the nation and were undefeated for over a year.
    If Kirk Ferentz had the talent that ND is able to recruit he would be not be competing for the BCS, he would be competing for the NFC Central Division. Iowa is the second smallest school in the Big Ten (only Northwestern is smaller). Iowa has a recruting base of about 4 million people. Notre Dame recruits the entire nation. Iowa cannot go down to Miami and recruit, or Dallas, or Los Angeles. FInally, Iowa has put into the pros in the past five year MANY more players than Notre Dame. That is called coaching up…get a clue dude.

  19. irishfanintx - Dec 5, 2009 at 2:23 AM

    I have nothing against Kirk Ferentz. I don’t know if he would make a good coach for ND or not. Comparing records, his first 5 years at Iowa he went 32-29 and Charlie’s first 5 years at ND he went 35-27. Pretty comparable. Could Charlie have matched Ferentz’s record over a 10 year period? We don’t know because he wasn’t given the opportunity. It is true, Iowa does have a smaller recruiting base than ND and Ferentz has done an excellent job of recruiting the midwest. As far as putting players in the pros, I believe ND has had 16 players drafted in the last 5 years and Iowas has had 13.

  20. mrrandolph - Dec 5, 2009 at 8:47 AM

    Something is wrong here! If CW is a master recruiter and an elite coach, how can he finish his ND career at 35-27? Do you think if Ferentz would have finished this year at 6-6? I read an article that stated that CW is only 9-9 against the Big 10 with a 4-1 mark against Purdue. Just curious, what is Iowa’s Big 10 record the last five years against the same teams? Would this be a fair comparison?

  21. mrrandolph - Dec 5, 2009 at 8:55 AM

    I am also for Lou Holtz! We need someone who can take anti-ND slurs and answer them with humor. And, I wonder what would Lou’s record have been with this group of players?

  22. irishfanintx - Dec 5, 2009 at 2:11 PM

    If my calculations are correct, Iowa the last 5 years is 8-7 against the same teams(Mich, Mich St, Purdue, Penn St, OSU–though not all teams were played in the same year). Iowa is 3-1 against Purdue during this time.

  23. trojan68 - Dec 5, 2009 at 6:07 PM

    you seem to have an odd definition of “elite. Despite the deficiencies of the D the reality is that ND had a chance to win numerous games but the offense was unable to score at the end of the games to win.

  24. jeff miller - Dec 5, 2009 at 8:33 PM

    My boss Richar K. Snyder assured me that a Stoops would be hired. But it will be Mike Stoops of the UofA for the trun around he has accomplished at Arizona and 2 repeat post season bowls. Jeff,Tucson

  25. Tom McNeal - Dec 5, 2009 at 8:43 PM

    Well all of this is sweet but lets get serious!.. Id take Nick Saban, Les Miles or Jim Harbaugh over anyone mentioned here. All three run quality programs. All thre run midwest offenses with a little spice. Give me a good running offense and the passing will come.
    But most of all find a defense and quit trying to outscore the other team. Beat em up

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