Charlie Weis 60 Minutes: Much More Good than Bad

(UHND.com) – While watching my beloved Birds fall again this week I was privileged enough to hear Greg Gumble promote the Charlie Weis interview on 60 Minutes roughly 36,000 times each time hearing, “What happens when you mike up Charlie Weis?  The priests of Notre Dame might not want to hear it, but you might.”  After watching the segment, however, the good out weighed the bad for the most part and it showed Weis as a caring father, tireless worker, and tough nose SOB.

CBS really played up Weis’s sideline vocabulary in all of their promotions for the show, but when all was said and done, the couple of f-bombs caught on film were only a small portion of the show and since was the only real negative part aspect of the show I’ll address that first and get that out of the way.

I know there were plenty of Notre Dame fans out there thinking, “Oh my God, listen to the mouth on the man in charge of those young boys,” or similar reactions at the colorful language used by Weis on the sidelines, but honestly, how many people out there don’t think a large majority of head coaches in the NCAA don’t use similar language?  All one has to do is watch a replay of the Notre Dame-Navy game from Saturday and read Navy head coach Paul Johnson’s lips and just try to keep track of the number of f-bombs he used throughout the game.

This is football folks and like it or not, language like we heard from Weis comes with territory and if you think those boys don’t use the same language amongst themselves already, hang around any college campus for an afternoon and you will probably learn a word or two.

Part of what made the interview good was the fact that it showed Weis for exactly what he is – a tough nosed coach who holds everyone accountable for their actions – including his coaching staff.  In the short clips shown on TV and in the extended clips available on Yahoo!, Weis could be seen or heard giving it to John Latina, Mike Haywood, Bernie Parmalee, and Brian Polian.

Weis’s treatment of his assistant coaches drew some criticism from Notre Dame fans, but again it goes back to Weis being who he is – a brutally honest leader.  After the last coaching staff held no one accountable for the failures on the field, one would think this would be looked at highly by Irish fans.   While Weis was seen screaming at special teams coach Brian Polian to “get the ‘f’ off the field,” he was also seen calmly asking coach Mike Haywood what his thought process was after a Haywood mistake cost the Irish a timeout.

In the interview, Weis revealed that he learned his no nonsense approach with his assistants from one of his previous bosses – Bill Parcels. Shortly after joining the Giants staff Weis tried to voice his opinion on a matter and was told by Parcels that he was in the league for all of five minutes and that no one cared what he thought. To this day Weis looks up to Parcels as one of his mentors despite being his “whipping boy” because he knew at the time that Parcels would make him a better coach.

Weis has said all along that he doesn’t sugar coat anything and I think this interview showed that pretty well.  He demands perfection from himself and expects the same from his players, but at the same time we saw how Weis handles different players differently based on what works for them.  To an established player like Jeff Samardzija he was very critical telling him “he couldn’t catch a cold” the previous days practice, but to freshman Jasdaad Gaines, he was very encouraging in letting him know that he has a lot of ability.

This interview can’t be seen as anything but positive for Notre Dame despite any of the negative aspects shown.  First off, this came on after CBS’s NFL double header and was mentioned countless times throughout the day so there’s a good chance a lot of potential recruits saw this piece.

Those recruits got to see a coach reporting to work before the sun came up in the off-season as well as highlights from some of Notre Dame’s more stiring victories this year such as UCLA and Michigan State.  They also got to hear Brady Quinn talk about the difference that Weis has made for him and for the Notre Dame team as a whole.  You can’t buy the kind of PR that Notre Dame got when their Heisman candidate quarterback, whose name is already being mentioned on every NFL pre-gram show, singing the praises of his head coach on prime time TV.

One thing this piece also portrayed fairly well was Weis’s NFL mentality and how he’s brought that with him to Notre Dame.  For all those worried about the foul language and tough love, that’s exactly what these kids who have NFL aspirations are going to get if they play on Sundays.

Overall, this was a very positive bit of PR for Notre Dame.  CBS basically sang Weis’s praises the entire time even while showing him use some language that might make some of the nuns over at St. Mary’s blush.   This could have been a lot worse and I am sure there was a lot more choice material that could have been used that was left on the cutting room floor.

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