If Irish fans were hoping Urban Meyer’s departure meant the Florida Gators would get rid of any insider information on the Notre Dame football program, they’re out of luck, as former Irish head coach Charlie Weis is leaving the same coordinator job he had in the NFL and joining Will Muschamp’s Florida coaching staff. He’ll be joined by former Irish offensive line coach Frank Verducci.
“Charlie was a perfect fit for what I was looking for in an offensive coordinator,” Muschamp said. “He has both college and pro experience and has been a play-caller in the NFL. He has four Super Bowl rings and his accomplishments and his ability to develop quarterbacks speak for themselves.”
The news that Weis was leaving the Kansas City Chiefs after one season sent shock waves through the football world last week. Most attributed the departure to a rift between Weis and Chiefs head coach Todd Haley, who at one time worked under Weis in the Jets organization. Weis will stay on through the Chiefs playoffs run and he denied any rumors that his relationship with Haley had soured.
“I almost get offended when people say that,” Weis said. “People always want to look for a different angle for why you’re doing this. Scott (Pioli), Todd (Haley), Clark (Hunt), they brought me in to Kansas City when I was sitting at home in South Bend. I’ll be forever grateful for the opportunity I had to come here as the offensive coordinator and I’ll always wish them well.
“This decision had absolutely zero to do with relationships in Kansas City.”
What this decision did have something to do was Weis’ son, Charlie Jr., who will join the Florida support staff as a student assistant, enrolling next year as a freshman at the University of Florida.
“This is one of those unique situations where I can go to a great institution where my son goes to matriculate and be able to spend the next bunch of years watching my son grow,” Weis told the Kansas City Star. “He wants to coach. It took us a very long to try to find a place where he could be involved with the football program in a student assistant capacity. When I finally did talk to Will, we chatted about that and then we talked about me. I had to really reflect on that, spend time with my wife and Charlie. We talked about a whole bunch of things and at the end of the day, I don’t think anybody could understand how wonderful an opportunity it would be to be able to work at a place and see your kid on a daily basis.”
Muschamp is known as an excellent recruiter, but this has to take the cake as far as combo deals go. Give a freshman son a job in the football office cutting tape and getting coffee and get Weis to walk away from a coordinator job in the NFL, where he just helped a 4-12 NFL team turn into a 10-game division winner, and salvaged Matt Cassel’s career.
Florida running an NFL-style offense will be the ultimate experiment. Under Urban Meyer, they utilized the athleticism of elite recruits and Tim Tebow, running a system that did nothing to improve offensive players pro-readiness, but obviously won a lot of football games. With the rookie head coach Muschamp vowing to change the offense to a more pro-style system, there’s nobody better suited to focus solely on one side of the football and help improve a young quarterback.
Weis himself is no slouch on the recruiting trail, and you’ve got to wonder if his inside knowledge of what Notre Dame offers versus what students will experience at Florida will end up being a thorn in the side of the Irish as they battle for some of the same blue-chip recruits. While many tagged Meyer and then Gator defensive coordinator Greg Mattison’s negative recruiting against Notre Dame as reasons for the flipping of a handful of Irish targets, Weis has been open about his love and respect for Notre Dame, and Verducci raved about the experience as well.