Irish Stewed: U-Dub, Jake Locker, and Why I’m Sick of Blaming Ty

Washington's Jake Locker is the most dangerous quarterback the Irish will face in 2009.

Trying to summon genuine rancor for the upcoming Washington matchup is next to impossible. Washington is a reputable school situated on a beautiful campus. They have a reasonably storied football program that has already embarrassed USC this season (always a good thing), and if there is one group of fans who can empathize with the Irish faithful, it is the U-Dub fanbase. They don’t make excuses for their previous coach. They don’t spew ill-informed, shamelessly transparent op-ed pieces—yes, Mr. Whitlock and Mr. Wilbon, I’m talking to you—that have nothing to do with the quality of a man’s character (or his coaching acumen) and everything to do with the color of his skin. Washington fans know the “Molder of Men,” in lieu of recruiting or game planning, prefers to split his time between lowering expectations with alumni and lowering his handicap on the golf course. They know what we know: Tyrone Willingham is a cancer.

Where was I? Oh yeah, the Washington matchup. What’s there to say, really? Notre Dame has played Washington seven times since 1948 and has never lost. Not only have we never lost, we’ve won the seven games by an average margin of 32-10. For sure, there have been a couple memorable moments in the series. The 54-20 shellacking of the #16-ranked Huskies in ’96 stands as Lou Holtz’s last truly great game as Irish head coach, not to mention the last time I ever personally witnessed ND beat a ranked team in Notre Dame Stadium. And of course, there was the instantly legendary “pass right” game in 2005 (video below).

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I’m not suggesting we don’t take this game seriously. If you can find me a QB on our 12-game schedule who’s more dangerous than Jake Locker, let me know. Locker is essentially a likable version of Tate Forcier on steroids. If we see the same blown coverages by our DBs that we saw versus Purdue and Michigan State, ND won’t just lose—they’ll get killed. If we see the same soft DL play and lack of QB containment we saw versus Michigan, ND won’t just lose—they’ll get killed. And if this game comes down to a few decisive plays in the fourth quarter (again), I don’t know if Clausen can bail Coach Weis’ ass out of the fire (again).

Hey, now there’s something worth talking about. Anyone else bothered by the fact coaching is even an issue here? Anyone else bothered by the fact we have to question whether or not Coach Weis can outthink or out-motivate a 35-year-old with all of four games experience as a head coach?

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I think Weis is a good guy and a relentless recruiter. I think he possesses a great offensive mind and that if we give him a little more time he may yet figure this head coaching thing out. But here’s the dirty little question the Kool-Aid drinkers seem to be afraid to ask: Has Charlie Weis succeeded only to the degree a Parcells or a Belichick has been there standing over his shoulder saying, “No, Charlie, we can’t freaking do that”?

Show me something, Chuck. Don’t show me sporadic spurts of greatness—show me a team that is disciplined and relentless for four consecutive quarters. Close the deal! Keep your foot on the gas! I’m sick of praying you don’t piss games away because you might be a career assistant disguised as a head coach. I’m sick of Internet fanboys with their heads so far up their asses they are perfectly accepting of a 2-16 mark in your last 18 games versus teams that finished the season with records of .500 or better. I’m sick of salivating every time I read a Cincinnati Bearcats box score. And yes, believe it or not, I’m even sick of blaming Ty.

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76 comments

  1. doneasafan 10 years ago

    This game was terrible, as is the head coach and his staff as I have said before. Charlie and Co got lucky. The “unbelievable” offense was non existent. I don’t care about Clausen’s stats, there are lies, damn lies and statistics. 4 times to the red zone in the first half and they have 3 field goals and 1 TD, this is improvement? Against a .500 unranked PAC 10 team? Keep drinking the Charlie-aid, USC will destroy this team and Charlie’s record against USC will go to 0-5, the score will be 30+ to 0. He’ll keep his job and the delusional fans will be talking about “next year” and he’ll hover above .500 for his coaching career at ND, wow that’s a “return to glory” plan I’ll tell ya. And by the way, I have been a fan for 40 years, until this clown came along.

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    1. nepachris 10 years ago

      umm…see ya! i hear “the u” is coming back and could use some bandwagon fans!

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  2. Derek 10 years ago

    While I personally like Charlie as the head coach and want to see him there for a while if he can start accomplishing the things we fans crave (beating USC, BC, blowout wins, BCS bowl win, etc.). I agree that we shouldn’t barely be squeaking by 1-3 teams in his 5th year with the program, but I am glad to see the Irish come out with wins in close games this season (minus Michigan).

    I hope we win out, kill USC and BC, and then kick @$$ in a bowl game. If, however, we don’t get it done and the administration decides to pursue a new coach, why not go after Chris Peterson? I know Brian Kelly’s a great coach and there is a ton of hype surrounding him being the next coach in South Bend, but why no hype for the coach who’s gone 39-4 since 2006 with low ranked recruiting classes, including going undefeated that season, with two huge victories over Oklahoma and Oregon, and a BCS bowl victory to his credit?

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  3. brick 10 years ago

    so true good analysist, i am just hopeful every season they return to glory

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  4. Ted 10 years ago

    Brick, you are correct. One could also make the comment that a blown review of a field call screwed the Irish from being undefeated going into the Washington game.

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  5. brick 10 years ago

    bottomline we are 11 seconds from being undefeated , gotta love it

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  6. C-Dog 10 years ago

    To those who get sensitive to criticism of the coaches, I make this analogy: During the Vietnam war, protestors used poor judgement and criticized everything about it, even the poor soldiers. Fast forward to the war in Iraq. I think by now, we can safely say that our leaders didn’t do a good job on this one. But does that mean we do not support the war on terror or our troops, absolutely not. I for one fully support our troops and thank them for the job they do. I also want us to fight and win the war on terror. I just want a winning strategy and set of tactics.
    In the same way, I always root for Notre Dame, as long as the traditions and standards, philosophy that made it unique and great, are maintained. But when it becomes obvious as in the last three games, that fundamental issues exist, I feel I have the right as a fan and alum to critique.
    Otherwise, why care about it at all and why watch or cheer them on in the first place. I’ve been to some pro games in baseball, football and basketball. I see no reason to cheer. Really, what’s the difference is some owner’s team wins or another owner’s team wins. But I cheer for ND. As an alum, ND’s reputation reflects on me. So I’m invested in the quality of the program. I maintain the right to respectfully in not passionately cheer and criticize.

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  7. Ted 10 years ago

    This is a site I have admired for a some time. Then this post appears (dated Sept. 30) and all hell breaks loose. People cannot even express their opinion without being shot down…often in a nasty tone. I don’t believe that is the Notre Dame way. The Irish are 3-1 going into the Washington game. If we win, as I so hope we do, I believe there are some people who have posted on this blog who owe others an apology…if you are man enough to do it. As for other coaches who might replace CW, one can draw whatever picture they want, but the person who will make that decision certainly is not read on this blog. It is VERY premature to be talking about firing Charlie Weis. Let’s support the Notre Dame Football Team as one and hope for a win every Saturday they play.

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    1. Shazamrock 10 years ago

      Your 100% correct Ted.
      McSweeny and I (Shazamrock)have no right to make fun of the great Fans from Cincinati no matter what they spread on their wieners.
      Actually I’ve never had a Cina-chili dog so who the hell am I to ridicule right?
      I for one am going cook up some Cincy-Dogs for this Saturday’s game and toot..er, I mean root for the Irish!

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  8. Back to Reality 10 years ago

    So, I’m a long-time ND fan that was out of the country and didn’t get to see the game last Saturday. However, after perusing many of the ND sites, somehow everyone is calling Dayne Crist’s game last week a coming out party. What? Did I read the stats wrong or something? Are these really our standards for a coming out party (5-10, 45yds, and a long of 12). If so, get real Irish fans.

    Crist has been in Charlie’s system for two, count ’em, two years now, and Charlie wasn’t comfortable enough to let him sling the rock around a bit? You’ve got to be kidding me. Also, I’m sure that Dayne possesses quite good leadership skills, and can handle a huddle well (you’re backup QB for ND, if you can’t do this we have major problems), but for the most part the guy handed the ball off or was out blocking because we were in the wildcat. Somebody please explain how this is a ‘coming out party’. So, the guy got some meaningful game action when we were losing, and we scored when he was either handing the ball off or blocking…great, but hardly a ‘coming out party’. Every backup ND QB I’ve ever seen over the years could have done what he did on Saturday. What’s the big deal?

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    1. palk21 10 years ago

      First off, he’s been in CW’s system for 1, count ’em, 1 season now. Unless 4 games constitutes a season, it’s been 1 year, nice try with that though.

      Secondly, if you saw the game, there was NO NEED to pass until the fourth quarter, but CW didn’t get the memo that Purdue figured out how to stop the run. I don’t know if was CW not wanting Crist throwing or if CW didn’t realize Purdue changed up their Defense. He made some good throws and just missed Tate on a long pass due to lack of fluidity with the First Team O. Jimmy came in at the end to run the 2-minute O because Crist is not as fluid with these guys as Jimmy is.

      But to answer your question, I think people were saying good things about him because of the things he did that were unique when compared to Jimmy. He is MUCH more mobile than Jimmy, he’s not afraid to lower his shoulder, whether he’s making a key block on a sweep out of the wildcat or giving the defender a reason to tackle him (he doesn’t seem to be one to slide). For not having played in his ONLY season with the Irish, I was happy with his performance and the future looks good for our QB situation. There is by no means a QB controversy, but it was nice see what intangibles Dayne possesses over Jimmy.

      I wouldn’t call it a “coming out party” but he certainly did some things that I liked and if he has to replace Jimmy again due to injury, I’m not worried about him.

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      1. Back to Reality 10 years ago

        Thanks for the answer Palka, as it’s definitely helpful. No need for the sarcasm though, as I thought (perhaps mistakenly), that Crist was an early enrolee, which would give him about two years in CW’s system by now. And I’m glad the run was looking good, but 5-10 for a long of 12 just doesn’t seem good enough for people to be fawning all over his performance.

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      2. Bill Meehan 10 years ago

        Here’s how I saw it:

        JC was hobbled. We went down 7-0 Early. I might be a tad mistaken, but I believe Jimmy led us to a field goal. As it was, at the end of the first quarter JC was out and Dayne was in. Dayne proceeded to lead the team to 14 more points to give us our 17-0 lead.

        The passings stats themselves were deceiving, because there were a couple drops and balls that were simple issues of timing. Also, when Dayne was throwing it was mostly screens and slants only intended to pick up small chunks of yards.

        I hate referring to it as his ‘coming out’ party. So we’ll call it his “hi, I’m kinda a bad@$$” party. If you think back to 2007, It was nothing like JC’s Debut. Dayne looks every bit like he’s been in the system for a year.

        Especially when you put Dayne’s performance next to Aaron Corp of USC. oh it makes my tummy flutter. That’s right, I found it encouraging enough to use the word tummy.

        Finally: the two most encouraging parts were A)the fact that our O-line and running game (sans starting RB) was more than capable of taking a large part of the weight off the new kid’s shoulders. and B) the way the team rallied around him and supported him.

        Pay attention kids, this group is close, I genuinely get the feeling that JC wants Dayne to be awesome, and that Dayne wants the same for JC. And I think the rest of the team is starting to echo those feelings.

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      3. palk21 10 years ago

        Back to Reality,

        I honestly don’t know if Crist enrolled early, but if he did, I apologize and you would be correct (nearly 2 years in the system). Having said that, I still think his showing was impressive enough to give me a great sense of comfort if he’s forced to play more. He didn’t play a down as a Freshman and the mundane stats do not do justice as to how he truly looked on the field. I do believe he’s got plenty of promise and the fact that he didn’t play a down his Freshman year gives him an opportunity to apply for a 5th year. A 5th year would benefit everyone involved because Crist would get 2 years to start after Jimmy leaves, on top of helping Notre Dame win football games, and Charlie will be able to flaunt all this talent that he’s bringing in.

        The talent the Irish have is undeniable. We just have to make it all work on both sides of the ball for 60 minutes at a time. I also think, much like Jimmy, by the time Crist is a Junior, he’ll be ready to lead this team and make everyone around him better.

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  9. JDH 10 years ago

    Good comments here on this thread. Sorry, but the U of Cincinnati fan’s comment made me laugh out loud. Now, being from Cincy myself, I have nothing bad to say about UC football, and I truly am happy for your success. But, if ND came calling his house would be on the market the next day. It’s like offering someone the choice between a day old hotdog and filet mignon right off the grill. C’mon!

    GO IRISH

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    1. Shazamrock 10 years ago

      I don’t know JDH. Once when I was passing through Cinncinatti I stopped off for one of those world famous, slow roasted, Chili dogs.
      It was awesome bro.

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      1. Shazamrock 10 years ago

        Come to think of it. A few years later I stopped at the same place. It had been bought out by a couple of BigTen Ref’s. They pulled a switch on the wieners. Went from all beef to the crappy one’s that are full of Lips and a-holes. The Guy in front of me was a Michigan fan. They kept saying that they relished his buns. What’s up with that?

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      2. Cliff 10 years ago

        Now that is some funny stuff…LMAO!

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      3. McSweeney 10 years ago

        Are we talking REAL chili on your dogs, or that cinammon-infused Skyline crap Cincy people pretend is chili?

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      4. Shazamrock 10 years ago

        Cinammon-infused chili???
        McSweeny, Are you making that up?
        Are we talking Cinninati Ohio or Cinninati California?
        The only thing that should be infused with cinammon is a freakin sticky bun.
        I guess the methane problem out there is worst than I thought.

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      5. McSweeney 10 years ago

        Not making up anything Shazam. Google “Cincinnati style chili.” Cinammon, cocoa and allspice are common ingredients in most of the recipes, including the recipe used by the popular Cincinnati chain, Skyline Chili. It’s pretty common knowledge that they don’t eat chili in Cincinnati, they eat pasta with chunky brown sauce.

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      6. Shazamrock 10 years ago

        McSweeny,
        Thanks for broading my cullinary deficiencies. I’ll be darned if you don’t learn something new on this blog every day.
        I had heard of “chili-mac” before, but never new of it’s origins.
        If you ever make it down here to North Carolina they have road kill chili. Rabbit and Squirll are the norm, and unless you want a bad case of swampass, I would advise avoiding the cooter chili. (Snappin turtle)
        GO IRISH!

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  10. RYAN A SIMMONS 10 years ago

    im honestly a little worried about this washington team. just a lil though.

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  11. RYAN A SIMMONS 10 years ago

    No one knows this but the huskies are LOADED at the skill positions. there rb was a usc commit (did u watch him against lsu and usc! dude is a beast! was stiff arming them left and right, and plowing through tacklers and has the speed to get to the edge. there freshman wr is getting national attention and will win pac 10 freshman of the year (even sarkisian says he’s ahead of mike williams at this point in his freshman year)he beat pattrick patterson up all day (he’s a cb for lsu and a potential 1st round pick)..they also have two 5 star tight ends. not to mention locker who could of gone to pretty much any school he wanted and is one of the best qbs in the nation. but heres where we OVERMATCH THEM completely! there offensive line is a joke, and so is the defensive line! although there linebackers, all three of them (butler, savannah and foster) are among the best trio in the nation not just the pac 10.

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  12. Paul 10 years ago

    I’m tired of seeing coaches come and go. We just need to turn that corner.

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  13. Irisheye62 10 years ago

    Jack–
    well said
    very well said
    if we REALLY wanted to look at the VERY beginning of the not so bright part of ND -we defnintely need to look at Kevin White and Davie.
    DON’T Forget ND FANS
    WADSWORTH—
    He was the puppetier and Davie was his boy toy Puppet.
    ( This is called butt kissing from Davie and two faced on his part as well when he spoke the way he did about Lou. A real man does not do that.
    So much for ND integrity.)

    A blemish on ND history indeed.
    GO IRISH BEAT HUSKIES~~~~~~~~~~~~!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  14. LosIrish 10 years ago

    Long time Irish fan

    First time blogger

    I am fed up hearing everybody use recruiting and talent as excuses. This coach didn’t recruit and this coach is recruiting. Are recruiting and talent all you need to win? Of course not. They are important, but you also need an excellent coach who knows not only how to coach, but also knows how to motivate.

    Example: Chris Petersen (Boise). First year, took Boise to the Fiesta Bowl and beat leviathan OU. Three year tenure as HC at BSU: 35-4-0. I don’t recall seeing Boise on the top 25 Recruitment Rankings for the past 8 years. Coaching and motivation is what is getting the job done there! Boise currently ranked #5. Petersen is bad @$$!

    CW first three years at ND: 21-15-0. He has the recruiting part down, but it looks like he is still working on the coaching and motivation part. How much longer do we wait until he produces? Another 5 years? Don’t get me wrong, I like him, but if he can’t produce, get someone who will.

    GO IRISH!!! Beat the Huskies!

    Sources: http://www.cfbdatawarehouse.com & http://www.rivals.com

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