How Hot is Charlie Weis’s Seat?

It seems almost unfathomable to think we have gotten to this point in year four of the Weis Era after the way in which Weis started his Notre Dame career, but with the Irish sitting at 5-4 the questions regarding Charlie Weis being on the hot seat have begun to pop up.  The reason, of course, is the latest clunker by the Irish – a 17-0 shutout to a rather mediocre Boston College team which had lost two straight games coming into the contest.

According to Chicago Sun Times reporter Neil Hayes, another loss this weekend might dial up the temperature on Weis’s seat even more.

Whether Weis has lost the confidence of his team is one question. Whether he is losing the confidence of his superiors is another.

If the Irish lose to Navy on Saturday, which hardly seems out of the realm of possibility now, Weis might be fired before he is able to limp off the field. Bob Davie, after all, had one more win during his first 46 games than Weis has now. Tyrone Willingham’s winning percentage was .583; Weis’ is .587. Perhaps most damning of all, Notre Dame is now 1-15 in its last 16 games against winning teams.

It seems crazy to think we’ve gotten to this point after the way Weis had the Irish playing in 2005 and 2006, but this is the situation we find ourselves in.  On paper there is no way the Irish should lose to Navy this weekend.  The speed and athleticism edge is so much in favor of the Irish that even a poor performance by Notre Dame should still result in a win so hopefully Hayes’s question is moot, but articles like these are not going to go away anytime soon.

Weis was asked again on Sunday about his “decided schematic advantage” remark four years ago and it seems like now that Weis is down, the media is going to use it as often as they can.  It seems pretty clear that Weis regrets the remark based on his answers, but it also seems clear that Weis bravado which we once all loved is going to come back to bite him if the on field results for Notre Dame continue to be as dismal as they’ve been the last 2 weeks.

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  1. Almost forgot to C-Dog – with the money the University brings in in any given year – yes they can buy out Charlies contract. It would be a drop in the bucket by comparison. Well at least White is gone – that helps but we are still gonna be under a cloud until Weis is replaced. This team should not be going backwards AGAIN for two years straight. That my friends is due to coaching. Joe Moore is gonna kick Latinas butt when he see him again….

  2. Well throwing the ball away on the run is a very coached play. If you tuck the ball and run out of bounds you lose yards. The only thing that scares me is that he doesnt throw it far enough out of bounds. It seems like he is playing a game to see how close he can get it to the field of play and still be out of bounds.

  3. Ed – good question – it begs to be asked of Weis. A play that would have worked great for the Irish when other teams are rushing 3 AND GETTING TO THE QB I MIGHT ADD…would be the shovel play to the back as he crosses the line of scrimage. You guys know the play – the one Pitt and San Diego State used very effectively against the Irish. I’m no genius or offensive guru but I can figure that one out. I can’t understand who Clausen still throws to guys w/ 2-3 db’s on them…and then that little flip out of bounds before he actually runs out of bounds…is that coached???Dangerous play – kind of a nit wit play if you ask me. Tuck the damn thing away and run out of bounds like a football player…

  4. Maybe someone should start letting these football players know that they are getting a $45K per year education and that they can be the first on the bread line when the Big 3 go bankrupt and 2 million people are out of work. Too easy for too long with no consequences. Without better effort this team will not reach elite status again for several years. We’ll be hearing all the gripes and going through that freak show at NBC talking about ND in the past tense. No I’m not optimistic anymore. Hoping, but not optimistic.

  5. If BC was dropping 7 and 8 guys back to defend the pass, why in God’s name were we completely unable to run the ball? You can bet that if I were 6′ 5″ and weighed 330 pounds I’d be pancaking everything in sight. Do our offensive linemen just not want it bad enough, are they poorly coached in technique, or what’s the problem? Our running backs aren’t elusive and they go down too easy, especially Armando Allen. We ignore the tight end, Kyle Rudolph, for about three weeks, then against BC Jimmy tries to force it into him about 6 or 7 times when he’s not open. Why? How come our receivers are never really open, even when we complete a pass? Could the pass coverage really always be that tight? Is Jimmy not reading the defenses and going through his progressions properly? This wasn’t an issue against BC because we didn’t even smell the end zone, but is there any play we can run in the red zone other than that same fade pass they’ve already thrown about 60 times this year?

  6. Thank you Chris. I wish everyone else could take off their blindfold and see what is going on in South Bend. I’m tired of this team getting embarrassed.

  7. Hey – the fact of the matter is watching any SEC or Big 12 team play – they are absolutely light years ahead of ND on the field – the way they coach – the way they hit – the way they execute the way they PLAY! Gee last year I heard the same gripes – oh this year we will be on the cusp – next year we will be challenging for a BCS bowl. Well Bowl-loney! The schedule doesnt get easier than 2008 and we cant win games when we are up by 13-14 points. The way this team has come out flat every half is pathetic! How this coaching staff seems to sit on a lead with 30 mintes to play is unacceptable. The conservative scheme at the half is the primary reason for the first 3 losses. The come back win at Michigan State in the monsoon and he almost win against USC is unfortunately as good as it gets under this current coach. Sorry – it is what it is. Not only isn’t ND playing up to the programs expectations – they are failing to play up to their own potential. Real fans are sick and tired of hearing about next year. It is similar to ND needing an impact coach on D like right away when Charlie cut Minter loose – who does he bring in – another guy who never coached himself or built a defense and he runs a 3-4 something nobody does at the college level…and you wonder why ND can’t stop the run.

  8. @ John
    The only game I felt a little embarrassed was the Mich St game. We have been in every game this year and have been competitive. Yes, we could/should have beat UNC and Pitt. Mich st outplayed us. BC game was mistake after mistake. We keep complaining about the offense but what about the D. Our D stinks far worse than our offense. I like CW and think he is doing a good job with what he has to work with. He has a bunch of fresh/soph’s starting at key positions for his football team. I think we will be ok.

  9. ND can’t replace Weis now or even until the end of 2010, so heavy debate is premature. I do have to say that I am a bit depressed about the outlook however. I am neither convinced Weis is the guy nor that he’s not. I hope, but I still need to see fundamental changes. First get a new offensive line coach. Second, I need to see better play calling. Third I need to see a clear and consistent pattern of leadership developing from the top down. Finally, I want to see a resurgence of the chip on the shoulder attitude that once existed at Notre Dame.

    Notre Dame was once about taking on the establishment. That establishment might have not wanted you because of your national heritage or religious beliefs, but you overachieved using both smarts and hard work. Notre Dame’s football team was merely a reflection of this attitude. I fear that ND has become establishment, more suited for an Ivy league arrogance than reflecting it’s own history and foundation. I hope the football team’s woes are not reflective of this overall fear and that within the Weis era, that chip will come back to stay.

    Here Come the Irish…..Please!

  10. I can’t believe how many of you out there are satisfied with the team this year. We’re not just losing games. We are getting EMBARRASSED. USC is going to destroy ND. How many times has ND come out for a game and been totally unprepared in the Charlie Weis era? It happens routinely these days, because CW doesn’t know what he is doing. I just can’t believe that so many of you are willing to accept it. Unbelievable.

  11. It is interesting, neither Dayne or Nate have any experience to date, and no opportunity on the horizion for the balance of this year obviously. So, who will win the popularity contest next year coupled with zero experience? I am sure this will be an ideal situation for next year in our third run for the national title.

    I now why they erected a statue for Holtz.

  12. No big wins. 2005 & 2006 were smoke and mirrors. 2007 & 2008 are reality. The schedule has been softer than puppy poop and he still can’t win. He has blown games that he should win. If an accounting professor wasn’t developing the talent and kids were failing the CPA exam, he.she would be fired. If the coach can’t develop the talent and win games – see ya!

    Jenkins out to be fired also for hand cuffing the university to this LOSER.

  13. well i agree, you have to sit a player if he is playing poorly. At this point in the season i would put Sharply in if Clausen struggles. It doesnt give you the best chance to win, but it improve Clausen over the long run. If it was earlier in the season i would say throw Dayne in there, but now there isnt much he can benefit from only playing in a few series in the last few games.

  14. Even assuming Dayne Crist was the answer at QB and outplaying Clausen in practice, why would you burn his redshirt? Especially when he probably wouldn’t be the difference between beating Navy, Syracuse (which we should do anyways with Clausen) or USC (who we’re probably not going to beat this year.)

  15. Crist is not ready to play yet. It’s as simple as that. At the beginning of the season Weis said on multiple occasions that Crist was having trouble picking up the offense (which is normal for a freshman).

    A couple weeks back Clausen was the toast of all of the Notre Dame blogs and message boards and now after a couple bad games people are ready to pull the plug on him already. He’s still a true sophomore going through some growing pains. What would lead anyone to assume that Crist would not go through the same exact growing pains?

  16. @ Frankie

    I do!

    If after a fall practice and 9 game practices later I highly suspect Dane Crist will prove you wrong.

    Dane is a very bright guy, I am sure he’s not worried about a popularity contest like the rest of the high quality freshmen on the field.
    Ask Robert Blanton.

    Holding back the best and the brightest is the dumbest period. Quite frankly, no pun intended if we are going to play favorites all the time then there will be no improvement because they are not being challenged.

    If you think Sharpley is pushing Clausen, well the results are already obvious.

    Sorry, I completely disagree.
    Not everbody requires the same learning curve.

  17. @ Eric

    Kudos, on Jonas Grey.

    @ Bleednd82

    I hope your early season prediction is correct, still time.

    @ Jake W

    Kudos, on Latina

  18. What makes anyone think Crist is the answer at QB? The most popular player on every team is the backup quarterback… until the backup quarterback is called upon. Crist is not ready for playing time yet and playing him at this point would be about the dumbest thing Weis could do.

    Crist has a bright future ahead of him, but he needs more time in the system before he is ready. Clausen had a full spring to learn the offense and that’s the only reason he was able to start as a freshman.

  19. @ Jacob

    It is well known Crist is intentionally 3rd (red shirted)and based on Sharpley’s last mop up duty he’s a non-starter.

    In the old days with Holtz, you fumbled you rode the pine, you threw two interceptions you rode the pine, you false started you rode the pine,etc.

    It was not permanent, however we did get to see the new talent for a few plays or if they got hot maybe longer.

    Unfortunately, we are rewarding people for playing lousy. These young players need more discipline.

    So starting Crist for a few plays may be better than two game ending interceptions or maybe not, but to do nothing where’s the motivation to do better?

    By the way, the passing game can open the running game and the running game can open the passing game. Execution on both were horrible against BC.

    I’m a fan of Clausen, however, where’s the best place for him to defunk himself right now and temporary, the pine. Let the new guy motivate him to get back in the groove.

    It worked for Holtz and it should work for Charlie. Now is the time to make sure we have the right people in the right positions for next year if we are serious about being competitive.

    It’s not about throwing 400 yards, it’s about doing the little things right needed to win. Zero turn overs.

  20. Some of you people are nuts. Start Crist now? Would you like to lose to Navy? And then to Syracuse, too? Clausen had a lousy-ass game. But truth be told, the fault lies with Weis! The man can recruit but he CANNOT coach. He can’t hire the right coordinators and he doesn’t know how to use his own talent! When is the last time, for instance, that you saw Tate or Kamara or Floyd catch a 10-yard crossing pass and run with the damn ball? Jesus, Shark did this and he was slow! Everything Jimmy throws is an out pattern or fade to the end zone. The boy has the tools but the boy needs coaching. Coaching, damn it. Charlie, are you listening?

  21. JC,

    Weis has said that Crist is the number 3 guy. That means that Sharpley is doing better in whatever 1st team, scout team, or just position drills in practice.

    I think that Clausen is still the guy that needs to be under center. Up until the Boston College game, he was doing really good. He threw for nearly 400 yards against North Carolina for Chist’s sake! He just look average right now because Floyd, Tate, and him are pretty much trying to win the game by themselves right now. If the running game can get going than suddenly Clausen will look a lot better.

  22. Somebody needs to call out Ruben Mendoza. Has anyone besides Quinn been better than mediocre at combine lifting? Remember the halftime show back in ’05 when Charlie gave a tour of the new football facilities? He must have pointed out “tv’s to play video games” at least three times. Maybe after practice someone should be around to say “put down the x-box and lift some damn weights.” Any wonder why RJ passed Gary Gray on the depth chart, after Gary bragged about playing the most before the season?

  23. The last thing ND needs is to change coaches again! Charlie is struggling with 2 poor recruiting classes from TW era. The talent is on-the-rise and so is the Irish. Alabama and Penn St struggled at times with Bear and Joe Pa, respectively.

  24. I agree with everbody’s disenfranchisement with Clausen and the offensive coaches’ performance since the break. Offensively, ND now looks like a bad case of FUBAR with a record to prove it. What happened to all the ameliorations before the break?


    Desperate strategies won’t cut it, change will and it is time for change and not more of the same. Where did I hear that? Understandably, there will be some wounded egos; nevertheless, it is a perfect time to give Dane Crist a shot, since there is growing evidence MOST of the real talent is in the first two classes.

    With this record, it is not mission critical to keep everybody happy. We need to run the remaining table and do what ever it takes to get there. Trying to keep up a good facade will not produce the results we are looking for. Timely interventions are NOW and will be good for the team. Leaving certain players in on their third and fourth errors is unacceptable and sorely needs to be addressed.

    It is unknowable we can even reach 6-6 based on our last performance. So to allay any of our fears, there should be an unmistakable intent to demonstrate we actually want to win our last three games. It is time to give Dane Crist a start to see what he can do.

    Gooooooooooooooo Irish!

  25. David, I hope you never took a logic class in college, assuming, that you did attend college. I’m not really sure how you came to that conclusion with such poor evidence. Anyway, what even makes some of you people even think we would replace Weis with a better coach? I don’t even think I trust an AD in his first year to make such a decision (not bashing his qualifications, just saying he should settle in before he’s trying to change the whole program). It would be TERRIBLY FOOLISH to get rid of Weis after this season. You’re sending a poor message to all future recruits. You’re getting nailed with the remainder of his contract. You’ll inevitably lose recruits from this current class, not to mention young guys who could transfer. You’ll upset a large fan base of people who aren’t HATERS such as yourselves. You’ll have our current players learning entirely new schemes, which means another “rebuilding” year. Plus we’d have the added fear for lack of job security for the next incoming coach.

    I realize that we have high expectations, but give me a break. Yes we could/should have won some of these games, however, last year we would have been blown out by the fist half. Also think about this. Our leading rusher – sophomore, passer-sophomore, receivers – freshman and sophomore. Just landed #3 WR recruit for next year. Of course these aren’t the only positions that matter, but they sure are huge to get back. Our lines (both) need a LOT of work. Too many times were they (offensive) getting totally dominated and driven into the backfield. That, however, is the difference when you have two NFL prospects on your D-Line. We need to develop our talent up front, physically and schematically. If anyone goes, IMO, it’s Latina.

    Anyway, Charlie stays. If it’s 2010 and we’re having this same discussion, then I think it’s time to let him go. Let him have experience on the field, and then we’ll see what happens (2005/2006 anyone?).

  26. Several things I have taken from the last two losses:

    1. The play calling on 3rd and 1, 4th and 1 is horrible.

    2. No running game, B.C. and Pitt both sent 8 in coverage with two deep and corners and linebackers underneath. I’m suprised Clausen had only 4 picks those two games. Its time to see what Jonas Gray can do. Coach Holtz would probably have already had him in the backfield.

    3. Lambert needs to have his playing time reduced more. His int at Michigan State in 2006 will forever keep in ND lore, but I am tired of seeing him on Saturdays. When you see a lot of a corner during the game there is a problem. More Blanton please.

    4. 7-5 is a successful year after last years debacle. Young team needs to learn how to get hungry!

  27. I agree that people are overreacting. Calm down people. We have 3 games left on our schedule. 2 should be w’s. USC is probably a loss. We will be 7-5. That is better than 3-9. JC played HORRIBLE vs Boston College. I hope we go to a bowl game and win. Any game just as long as we win.

  28. “People are overreacting way, way too much. I believe we’re on the rise right now.”

    All of your reasons, are reasons you should be concerned about the team. Good teams dont put in 4 bad games.

    “I honestly believe it was winnable”. But we didnt win.
    None of the players on BC were even recruited by Notre Dame (pretty sure on that one) which means we should have sufficiently more talent. Thus, your problem comes from coaching.

    I would be all for a coaching change if we could maintain the recruiting class we have coming in. But i dont think that to be the case. So if the team doesnt show dramatic improvement next year, then ND has to make the coaching move.

  29. People are overreacting way, way too much. I believe we’re on the rise right now.

    Lets look at the loses so far.

    Michigan State: lost the turnover battle

    North Carolina: 2nd half play calling got them back into the game. One bad read also led to a pick six.

    Pitt: Run defense let up in the second half. Offense was way too conservative in teh second half.

    Boston College: As bad as the goose-egg looked on the scoreboard, I honestly believe it was winnable. Penalties killed drives. Two INTs in the redzone. So we had at minimum 6 possible points there. A badly thrown pass for a pick six. That makes it 10-6 BC so far; but, Tate’s fumble hurt us too (that drive was a TD, right? I honestly turned the TV off for a couple minutes after that). So we could have won 6-3 if there were no mistakes.

    All of those are solved by Weis taking up play calling again and running the kids hard enough that they decide they’re going to stop holding or hitting people late.

    The offense line coach is the only guy that needs to be fired. Notre Dame is supposed to have smart players. So, why do we run basically the same blocking schemes as my high school team?

    The defensive line is bad but that I do believe is from lack of experience and not enough time in the weight room.

    The reason we are looking so bad is that just as we rebound on offense, the defense takes a step back. If Weis can get both to peak at the same time we’ll look really good.

    I’m an optimist so I may be wrong but I believe next year Notre Dame is a border line BCS bowl team and the next year a definite contender for the National Championship.

  30. Yes, John, at least one writer at the CST and probably most of ESPN does. People actually paying attention? Not so much.

    We’re playing infinitely better than last year, and our record would reflect that even more if we didn’t A) have a terrible turnover margin in road games and B) somehow fail to close out Pitt or UNC. This is despite the majority of the team being Freshmen/Sophomores and more freshmen contributing than seniors. The recruiting class coming in next year will be better than the current outgoing seniors. (I know, accolades mean nothing and you don’t really know until they’re on campus, but it will be nearly impossible for them to be any worse.)

    Three things win games in college, in order of importance. Talent, experience and coaching. We’re catching up in #1 (remember the chart posted here showing 4+5* recruits by year?), we’ll have #2 next year/2010 and the jury’s out on the latter. If the same problems continue next season then it will be time to consider a change. Last year’s huge weakness – Offensive Line/Pass Protection – was mostly solved during the offseason and I have confidence the other problems will be.

  31. We are getting good skill players now but the size (lack there of) upfront (both sides of ball) is what is killing us. Then just a couple of mean nasty coaches to create a football mentality not a pro football do it yourself attitude. If he does not address that in the offseason. SEEEEEE Ya

  32. Am I the only one who really cares about the state of this program? Why does everyone make excuses for Weis? I’m tired of this.

    Nothing is going to change in South Bend until there is a new coach on the sidelines. If you get the right coach, he can turn the program around in 2 years. That is what Holtz did when he arrived in the 80’s. Urban Meyer did it at Florida. Saban is doing it now at Alabama. Charlie Weis is NOT getting the job done. I don’t know why people are so reluctant to admit it. We’re only hurting the program when we fail to acknowledge mistakes and hope they just go away.

    The standards at ND have lowered and it makes me very upset. I mean CW got a 10 year contract extension for LOSING to USC…our biggest rival. He lost (a close game) and we rewarded him for it. What kind of signal does that send?

    We’ve been “re-building” for going on 15 years. It does not take that long. CW had no head coaching experience, no college experience and it is obvious. The problem is a lack of coaching. Period. I love this program too much to see it embarass itself like this.

    Does anyone out there agree with me?

  33. I don’t think it is out of the question to ask these questions at this time. I was definitely in the camp of ND being 7-5 or 8-4 but last week was an embaressment. ND was manhandled by a much less talented team. I didn’t count last week as a win but to be uncompetitive in a loss is tantamount to issues running through the team

    As for the recruiting issue: let’s be honest – the junior class has be a huge disappointment (with guys gone) and I don’t there is one guy in the class at this moment that can play in the NFL which means they aren’t very good. This class will go done as one the most overrated recruiting classes out there. If you are pointing to Sam Young as the “name” guy in your class Nd is in trouble. I think the Sophmore and Freshman class have demonstrated more than those guys have.

  34. Firing Weiss now would be as foolish as firing Willingham the year before his young talent became veterans. The knock on Willingham was that his last two recruiting classes sucked. That turned out to be correct. It also accounts for last year’s debacle and this years struggles struggles — little senior leadership.

    They were 3-9 last year. 7-5 this year is a pretty good turn around in an era of parity. When your semior talent is lw, its not going to be pretty anymore.

  35. Charlie deserves until 2010 no matter what. That’s when his recruits will finally hit full stride (the 2006 class is now officially a bust). He got us to two BCS bowls, he’s a Notre Dame guy, and he has the program moving in the right direction.

  36. I consider my self the most loyal ND fan anywhere, but let’s face it, standing behind CW is a little like standing behind Custer at Little Big Horn. When ND, with all the top recruits we have got in the last three years is hoping that we can beat Navy, well……

    I don’t believe it is the players, and you can’t blame the schedule this year. What’s left? Coaching and motivation. CW only talks to Jimmy during the game and shows no emotion, or enthusiasm at all. Clausen sits on the sideline and doesn’t talk with his teammates, or the offensive coordinator. What’s up with that? CW has to go and Clausen has to get his act together, or they should let Crist play.

  37. Yeah i would give him at least one more year no matter how the team shakes out this season. If you fire him your recruiting class will prob jump ship to another school. Also, changing head coaches sets a program back at least a year (although some coaches come in and have a stellar first year). But all the money and young players involved i think he deserves one more season regardless.

  38. Give him the next two years. If he can’t produce when his talent has matured, then he’s out. Let’s remember this is a really young team (I know, I hate the excuses too, but it’s true). As far as the game goes, five turnovers in a game is pathetic. I think our road turnover margin is something along the lines of -14. Unacceptable. Give him two years, lighten the burden on the remainder of his contract that we’d have to pay if we get rid of him. I have faith, though. BCS next year is very possible. Finish this season on a strong note. GO IRISH!!

  39. I have mixed feeling about weis staying or should he be going. The upside of him leaving is maybe a new coach would give the team a big spark for the season next year. The down side is that the recruiting is supremem with weis. Although that doesnt matter if he cant do anything with it.

  40. Agree with you bleednd82. As painful as it was to watch the losses to NC, Pitt & BC, I will still stand behind ND. Let’s hope for 2 more wins (SC would be awesome, but a dream) and a bowl game victory.
    GO IRISH . . . Beat Navy & Syracuse!

  41. Weis is staying. Everyone calm down. We will beat Navy and Cuse and be heading into USC at 7-4. If we went 6-6 this season and went to a bowl game and won I would still be happy about this season. Reality is that we probably will finish 7-5 and go to the emerald bowl. I am angry but still a loyal fan who is sticking by my team and coach.

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