Brian Polian met with the media yesterday and was in a particularly reflective mood. Having watched the video of his interview a dozen or so times, it’s very clear that the coaches are well aware that the end may be near.
No comments I’ve seen up until know have been as telling as these by Polian.
“I love the place, it is incredibly special, however long my time ends up being here — the assistant coaches, we’re vagabonds — who knows where you end up and at what point. I loved every minute of it. That being said, five years right now feels like ten. This is a different kind of place in terms of the pressure that you’re under. When guys at different places don’t want to hear anything in the media they just turn off the local media and don’t read the paper. At Notre Dame, you can’t even pay attention to the national media, sometimes it’s even rougher. So you lock yourself in the room, put your iPod on, put your head down and just do your job.”
There’s no doubt that Polian’s iPod must’ve been playing much of the past two weeks because the whispers have turned into shouting. Yet there isn’t a coach that knows the business side of things better than Polian, who has lived a life in football.
Still, for a coach that came to Notre Dame with only a recruiting pedigree, it’s amazing to see the man Polian has become. While the punt game has been atrocious this season, Polian has done a solid job coordinating a special teams unit, and has been dynamic on the recruiting trail, becoming one of the true “closers” on staff. Weis spoke candidly about Polian’s skills in the living room.
“You can’t negate how dynamic he’s been in recruiting,” Weis said. “He’s gone into one of the hot beds of Southern Cal, not only has he drawn players out of there but he’s been competitive on all the best. And that’s tough to do. He’s both hated and respected by all those coaches on the west coast. because he doesn’t care. He just goes in there to every school and tries to slug it out with everyone in recruiting.
As these final two games approach, it’s amazing that the football program could be at a major crossroads that brings wholesale changes. While the team hasn’t achieved as much as many of us thought it could, the staff Weis put together has to be one of the best Notre Dame has put together since the early Lou Holtz years.
While none of the coaches were willing to admit it, it’s going to be a bittersweet moment for many of them if this is the last game they ever run out of the tunnel at Notre Dame Stadium.