We Talkin’ Bout Pracitce?

According to Eric Hansen in today’s South Bend Tribune, Notre Dame will only be using 10 out of the 15 alotted practices for the upcoming Hawaii Bowl because of conflicts with final exams.

Umm…. hasn’t Charlie Weis repeatedly said that one of the main reasons for going to a lower tier bowl with a less than stellar 6-6 record was for the extra practice time?  If so, then why is Notre Dame going to a bowl game that only allows the Irish to use 2/3 of the extra practices that are allowed under NCAA rules?  There were other bowl games which were later in December that would have loved to host the Irish such as the Motor City, Texas, and Independence Bowls.

If the Hawaii Bowl was going to cause a conflict with practice time and final exams, why even consider it?  If the extra practices are as important as Weis has made them out to be, it would seem obvious to me that he would want to use every single one of them.  Instead, 1/3 of those practices will be wasted.

To put the 15 practices into perspective, 15 practices is the same number of practices that a team is given during Spring Football.  Not using 5 of those 15 practices is almost the same as skipping a 1/3 of Spring Football.  Bowl practices are also generally used to give younger players more reps to ease their development.  With a young team it again would seem obvious that those 5 extra practices would be very useful.

I will say, however, that I’m proud to see Notre Dame putting final exams first when other schools might not, but if there were other opportunities which wouldn’t have even made this an issue, then why not take it?

Maybe I’m missing something here, but I fail to see how the Hawaii Bowl is more beneficial for the team if it forces them to use just 2/3 of the practice time the NCAA allows for.

I think I’ll let Allen Iverson close this post about practices up for me.


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  1. I think you guys have it all wrong. The reason for the players and coaches cancelling practice is LACK OF HEART! They feel sorry for themselves for the poor display last Saturday and have been down in the dumps. If the players/coaches hearts were in it, the 15 practices wouldn’t even be a question. They would enjoy practice and find study time at other times. The point is, get over the loss because the faster we do, the faster we work towards next year. Future guys, FUTURE!

  2. JC, I still like Weis, and think he should get another year. I truly want him to succeed. But I completely agree with you on your earlier point about not making excuses. If Weis is the man of integrity he appears to be, and is as deeply blue and gold as he appears to be, and is open to being held accountable as he espouses to be, I think the only thing he can do is step down and forgo a buyout if next season doesn’t work out.

  3. Another strategic component to consider; we need to sell popcorn in the end zone to distract opposing defenses, thus allowing for a fortuitous kick-off or punt return before we all die.

  4. Well, I would agree, let’s ask Mr. “NO EXCUSES” If he earned his $________________
    (Charlie to fill in the blank)and also would he consider resigning for not delivering on his promises of “6-5 is not good enough” and “They did not hire me to go .500.”
    He set the benchmark not the media.

  5. My quiet search list:

    1. Urban Meyer age: 44
    ND still his dream job!!!
    Stellar record, only one four loss season in his total career. Makes less money than Charlie.

    2. Mack Brown age: 57
    Official successor just named at Texas: Defensive Coordinator Will Muschamp @ $900,000.00 per year. Not bad for an assistant coach until Mack leaves.

    3. Lou Holtz age: 71
    Loves ND and would be great short term. Jo-PA at Penn State 11 years older.

    All Three are proven National Championship Winners. I am not sure we can afford anything less considering the current state of affairs with our football program.

  6. In listening to Pete Carroll speak the other day he said practice is their most important ingredient to their success He said they compete at every session for their respective positions and when gametime arrives they treat it as an extended practice. This is probably why they are so deep and when one player goes down or is taken out of the game tere isn’t much of a dropoff in talent. What he glossed over was the fact that SC gets the pick of the litter — tyat doesn’t hurt. The only way to look at it is at least they will have 10 more than last year.
    What the Irish need is a different offensive line approach in the blockiong department. The past four years offensive line blocking has been a sore spot. They don’t hold their block long enough beause the running back lines up 5-6 yards behind the scrimage line. Down by the goal line or a third and two tye defensive line is always waiting there with open arms. They also never line up in the quick opener type of run, the initial surge would be enough to spring the back quickly. The defensive man doesn’t have time to react, the offensive line knows the count and that split second is usually enough to be able to give the back some room. When the defense str6s to get ready for the quick run you can fake it and give it to another back lined up in the back field. It would enable Jimmy to flip tyhat patented flat pass. We just need s a couple of fresh faces with a different approach.
    The team hasto get mean and don’t lay back when the get ahead by 14 or so. Watch USC, Florida, LSU, Oklahoma, Boston College, etc, they swarm the ball and hit with power, they are tough. The way the Irish used to be. Get some films of the 1966 tesm with Larry Conjar at fullback. There were games I remember Larry was the only one one backfield he carried eight times and the went 60-70 yards with him bowling into the endzone. That group was really tough, they had six shutouts out of ten gsmes and surrendered ony 38 total points for the year. That mindset is a must.

  7. On the improvement note, if it looks as bad as the regular season, consider this.

    MAC, Mountain West, and WAC all had top teams but had to fight for one BCS ( maybe ) bowl bid, and that with other “non’BCS” cvonferences.

    In fact the Mountain West had three ranked teams in higher aggregate position than the Big East, the Pac-10, and the ACC.

    So either these three conferences are going to win some battle to break the BCS or:

    Someone should be looking at

    Kyle Whittingham
    Chris Peterson
    Brady Hoke

    Let’s see how the team looks in the Fiji Bowl, and hope a new strength and agility coach is announced before January. Otherwise, my wish is for a quiet hiring process of one of those three coaches.

  8. @Frankie and @Vic,
    I think we should be clear that we expect both. USC’s players can’t even be considered in an accredited program, so GPA at USC is irrelevant.
    But we needn’t argue over whether off the field accomplishments come at the expense of on the field performance. They don’t and shouldn’t. If Weis was doing the right thing today, he’d have a performing team with a GPA close to 3.0 anyway.
    And I also don’t think extra practice time before bowl games will be critical to next year. It’s the quality of practice. For the past three years, it’s been evident that ND doesn’t conduct a quality practice. So ten poor practices versus fifteen aren’t going to make a difference and I don’t think Weis has time to overhaul that situation until January.
    That said, January and February are the critical time periods. That’s when the early morning strength and agility workouts take place. Those should be killers. That’s when your linemen get better footwork and leg drive. That’s when stamina is built up while maintaining strength. That’s another notch toward metal toughness and the ability to handle adversity.
    Holtz talked about the commitment in January of 1988 after the Cotton bowl blow out. I remember Mark Green and Cornie Southall talking about how those workouts were killers and harder than regular football practice. That turned a good but flawed team into that last national Championship team the Irish had.
    This bowl doesn’t excite me. But I will watch to see if anything is improved.

  9. this is so ridiculous that notre Dame is even playing in this game.

    but hey Weis now has another excuse to use when Hawaii blows them out; lack of practice time

  10. Amen Frankie, you nailed it. If the team’s 3.0 gpa would have translated on to the field this year, we all would be smiling.

  11. @Vic,

    As soon as we begin celebrating off the field accomplishments over on field results, we accept mediocrity. This is Notre Dame. We’re supposed to be great on the field and in the classroom – not just one or the other.

  12. The reward is not for their lackluster way of ending the season, but in my mind, for their excellence in the classroom. I would love to see more wins but aren’t we just as proud of their accomplishments off the field? I think so. If you don’t, go cheer for U$C.

  13. @ Matt
    Its not like we are picking one or the other. Usually they are directly correlated. More practice time = better execution = higher probablity of winning.

  14. I would much rather have a bowl win than use all of the practice time alloted for bowl season…and I truly think of all the bowls we had a chance at..this one is the most winnable for our team..a bowl win would be a huge boast going into next season..

  15. Bleednd82,

    My argument is that we should have picked a bowl that let us use all 15 practices. I don’t think exams should be sacrificed for football, but if we could have taken a later bowl that paid the same, had less travel expenses, and allowed us to use all 15, why didn’t we?

  16. I would love to see what Crist has to offer. I agree that competition will not hurt anyone. Even if jimmy wins it would still be healthy for him.

  17. I expect to see Dayne Crist in the game. Hopefully as early in the 2nd Quarter.

    Competition never hurt anyone and the offense has been extremely boring.

  18. They wont need all 15 practices to put in their Hawaii package. However, I would hold every practice i could get the chance to do. If players cant make certain practices, allow them to miss them. But if you dont have a final slotted during the practice time they should be there. The only one you really cant run practice without is Jimmy Clausen (unless you run defensive practice during his exam days).

    I see this as yet another poor move. Worst case scenario if you hold all practices, on 5 of the days you may have players (who wont see the field during the game) seeing practice time with the starters.

  19. Bixby, I’m sorry, but a 6-6 season filled with a total lack of passion at times, hardly seems like something to reward.

    I agree it’s student first and athlete second, but a different choice could have accommodated both the student and the athlete. 5 practices is huge, and I can’t believe we would walk away from that.

    Regarding the TV coverage, I don’t think we should be putting the coverage of a second rate bowl game, above the development and long-term viability of the team. Yes, the coverage is good for the school, but it’s nothing compared to winning.

  20. Additional practices is a significant benefit; but not the only one. ND WILL get the benefit of having ten extra practices. For
    “the cup is half-full” gang—this means extra practice time; even if it is only 2/3 of what it might have been; and this will benefit the still young and developing team.

    Next..consider the venue. Hawaii offers a higher profile location; that the current players like; and which shows potential recruits we can still go to a great location for a bowl; even if our record is pedestrian.

    Further….consider the TV coverage. Several of the other bowls you mention are carried only on network coverage that reaches very few of the large ND following; so Hawaii offers a very visible time slot; in a good location; a bobnus to the current players; a bonus to otential recruiting; and TV coverage for the throngs of ND followers.

    AND…Manti Teo is in Hawaii.

    VERY much TO like; NOT much to dislike about the bowl selection.

    I can tell you….the former players that I have talked to; all regard this as a nice reward; for an otherwise very disappointing season.

  21. I like the Nebraska attitude better

    You can lose about 40 percent of your game over this time,” Nebraska tight ends coach Ron Brown said, “or you can actually get better. The teams that go to a new level are the teams making the most of their time. If you do that, you’ve got a great chance of having that help you long-term.

    “It can be huge.”

    Especially for the young players.

    This is the time for the Huskers’ redshirts and reserves to shine. It’s when linebackers coach Mike Ekeler finally gets a taste of the satisfaction he’ll feel after this season for sitting true freshmen Will Compton, Alonzo Whaley and Sean Fisher.

  22. Well,
    I read the post and I see two arguements and two points. Dont know which one Frankie is in favor of but I for one am in favor of the exams first. Student Athlete. Student first athlete second. I think that about sums it up for me.

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