Charlie Weis is a man on the move, especially considering his hip — still bothering him from a sideline collision in 2008 — will be replaced before the new year. Between hitting the recruiting trail hard, which included recruiting visits from Irish quarterback Dayne Crist and South Bend native Gehrig Dieter, Weis sat down with the Chicago Tribune’s Brian Hamilton for a compelling one-on-one interview.
Weis was incredibly candid with Hamilton, talking openly about his time in South Bend, admitting to some mistakes and looking back at what went wrong. As you’d expect, he’s confident that the second time around will be better, and his experience since Notre Dame — coordinating the Kansas City Chiefs offense as well as one season with the Florida Gators — will do him well.
With a giant poster of faces and names of his new team on the wall and a Diet Coke on his desk, Weis spent a half hour with Hamilton. Here are a couple snippets I found interesting.
Probably one of the stupidest things I ever did was that “60 Minutes” piece. It was just stupid. I did it for the right reason. I figured I’m giving Notre Dame a high profile, do a “60 Minutes” piece. And then you’re swearing at (assistant) Brian Polian and you’re doing this and that, and you look like a horse’s ass. And that’s not who you are. Because there’s no one who cares more than me. No one could care more than me.
Thousands of Irish fans are nodding as they agree with Charlie on the 60 Minutes segment. Not all publicity is good publicity, and the fact that the administration let Weis perpetuate a stereotype of its head coach on a show like that is still one of those mind-blowing decisions that can only come in a honeymoon period.
Weis also discussed the lack of chemistry in his coaching staff, a group that went through quite a few changes on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Weis has already officially named Ron Powlus his quarterbacks coach, and Rob Ianello was reportedly milling about the football offices as well. With Tim Grunhard, the former Irish lineman, Kansas City Chief Pro Bowler, and Kansas high school coach that Weis tried to bring into South Bend as a graduate assistant now running the offensive line, it’s pretty clear that any chemistry issues came from the revolving door of defensive coaches.
When it comes to chemistry and the overall dynamic of the football program, Weis makes no excuses or casts no blame elsewhere.
And there’s only one person I blame for that, and that’s me. I don’t blame the AD, I don’t blame the president, I don’t blame the alumni, I don’t blame anyone. I only blame me for that. And not because years later I’m still a stand-up guy taking the shots. The only one who could have done anything about that is me. No one else could have done anything about it. That’s I’d say one of my bigger regrets, that I never got that chemistry right. I think I was getting close. I really do. I think I was getting close, as I made some tweaks and did this and that.
Say what you want about Charlie (and I’m hoping you don’t in the comments), but he’s an incredibly candid guy, and nothing about these answers seem canned. I could pull a dozen other snippets from the story, but do yourself a favor and head over to the Tribune and read it yourself. It’s a great get by Hamilton and an interesting look at the former Irish head coach, who is hot on the trail of another former blue-chip quarterback, BYU transfer Jake Heaps, who considered the Irish and Weis before deciding to go to Provo.