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

jake-locker-irish-stewed
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).

[youtube]cUFwsG59Ejc[/youtube]

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. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

    1. 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!

  6. 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?

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

      2. 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.

      3. 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.

  7. 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

    1. 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.

      1. 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?

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

      3. 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.

      4. 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.

      5. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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~~~~~~~~~~~~!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. 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

  11. Ty Willingham is not the problem. A little history since Lou left. Kevin White was the problem. We hired Bob Davie after Lou left. No head coaching experience and it showed. We then hired George Oleary and our great AD department forgot to do one thing, check out his references and resume. We settled for the guy we overlooked for the job. Willingham pulled in one good class and that was it. Charlie took over, again not the administrations first choice, check Urban Meyer. Why didn’t Urban want to come to South Bend, his dream job. Well they wouldn’t relax the standards to allow criminals into the school, and he went to Florida. Now lets look at Brian Kelly. He is at Cincy, where if he goes 9-3 in the weak Big East he will probably go to the BCS game. If he goes 10-2 or better he is a god. He he goes 7-5 or 6-6 or has a bad season it is a rebuilding year. Why leave Cincy when you can have a bad year and still make a mil or two a year. Also it is different coaching and playing and ND. You get everybody’s best game. Now if we fire Charlie, we will again be starting over again for the third time in 15 yrs. USC did the same thing from 1980 until Pete Carrol came and what type of product did they put on the field. One ND beat on a regular basis. Since Pete has been at USC he has faced three different coaches at ND. The defense is the weak link from making this team a top ten team. The front seven is the most inexperienced of the team. Remember Charlie didn’t recruit any good d-linemen or linebackers in his first recruiting class. This year is not their year to make the run, next year will. Also if CW leave so will Jimmy for the draft.

  12. Good job McSweeney. The line about Parcells or Belichick standing over his shoulder and saying you can’t do that Charlie rings particularly true.

  13. I went to Cincinnati and we foisted Minter on them as a coach. Can’t they return the favor? Actually talked with him on the field one time. Now, their last two coaches have had ranked teams. Quite amazing considering they’ve only been know for b-ball.

      1. Make me a believer in Gruden. No college head coaching experience–which every great HC since Rockne has had–he’s publicly stated he doesn’t like developing young QBs, he runs a complex offense that would be hard to implement at the college level, and he won’t be inheriting a Super Bowl-ready team built by Tony Dungy.

        I used to be the biggest Gruden fan. Was convinced he was coming (and ecstatic about it) before they hired Ty. But I think his later years at Tampa Bay exposed some of his flaws.

  14. I’m sorry, I should not have lumped you in with Mark May. I regret that comment and apologize.

    I felt that your tone about Clausen having to bail him out, and the internship remarks reflected an a opinion that others have about his ego.

    Also, upon looking at things like the definition of hypocrisy I think you’re right that it was the wrong word. Ignorance probably would have been better. But once again, I should not have lumped you in with that group.

    I hope you can accept my humble apology and that while I may disagree with you on parts of what you have to say about CW, I think you have many passionate and accurate things to say.

  15. “I hate hypocrisy. People (Mark May, yourself and others) have used Weis’ arrogance as a reason to fire him.”

    Two things: 1) Where’s the hypocrisy? 2) Kindly don’t attribute things to me I didn’t say.

    I called Charlie a “good guy and relentless recruiter” with a “great offensive mind” who could perhaps excel with a little more accountability. I never said anything about arrogance, nor have I suggested we should fire him for being arrogant.

    Find a better noun than hypocrisy, and while you’re at it try and stick to debating things I actually say.

  16. For all of you salivating over the Cincinnati Bearcat box scores or have a mancrush on Brian Kelly; you better start looking elsewhere. We’re going to keep him here in Cincinnati.

    You’d be better off trying to hire an alumnus of Cincinnati.

    If you don’t know who that is, I’ll give you 1 clue. His team is CURRENTLY ranked ahead of the Bearcats.

  17. Fuel for thought:

    ND will be at home for the next 6 weeks. 6 weeks without any away games. That includes an “off” week or bye week, Starting this Sunday.
    ND went 4 and 1 for September. Lost a game we should have won. Won a game we should have lost.
    If ND can defend it’s home field for this 5 game home stand, by the time we finish with Navy on Nov 7th, the Irish would be 8 and 1. That right there will get Charlie a decent bowl game. With 3 remaining games, he gets the oppertunity of being able to position his team even better. The worst would be 8-4, the best 11-1.
    I think these next 5 home games will make or break CW. If you have any magic left up your sleeve, now’s the time to bring it out. This is your golden oppertunity. This is your opening. This is your best chance to seperate your team from the rest of the pack, to elevate the program, and to take that next step. Screw it up, and I’m afraid that will be all she wrote.
    Me, personally, I’m pulling for Charlie. I hope he gets good home crowd fan support. I hope the light goes on for some of these players. I hope he accomplishes what he set out to do.
    It would be really cool to see ND win on NewYear’s day.
    Saturday, it all starts on Saturday.

  18. shazzam: i totally agree. sarkesian will have this team fired up and focused come kick off. with that being said, we have more talent on both sides of the football. CW and the team shouldnt even have losing cross their minds. not even for a second! do not look past UW, because they are dangerous. take care of business so we can feel good going into our bye week. thats all that matters right now.

  19. “I don’t see excuses, I see reasons.” –Hank the Tank

    You can play the semantics game all you want, Hank. Doesn’t change the fact Weis has been college football’s highest paid intern for going on five years. Why are there always exc–sorry, “reasons” for his inadequacies?

    To review…

    In 05 and 06 we had the talent on both sides of the ball but not the right DC.

    In 07 Ty left the cupboard bare.

    In 08 the talent was there but the defense wasn’t used to playing the 3-4 under the new DC.

    In 09 we have the talent and an easy schedule to compliment that talent, but we’re struggling because of the DC’s playcalling and the fact that we inexplicably have no talent along the d-line which Weis inexplicably doesn’t get blamed for.

    Ahh, the defensive coaching staff. Everyone’s favorite sacrificial lamb. When Weis came to town, he hired “an excellent staff,” including “Holtz’s last truly great defensive coordinator.” Two years later, Minter was apparently shitty all along and we were all just magically duped into thinking he was good. And now, we have Tenuta, the greatest defensive mind this side of Dick LeBeau. But low and behold, he’s apparently never been good either. And that Corwin Brown fella we all loved last year? Word is he can’t teach kids how to tackle.

    WTF? STOP THE INSANITY!

    1. First off:
      05-06 ND didn’t have the defensive talent. I can still hear the media railing about how ND (much like the big 10) lacks speed and talent. The defensive scheme didn’t help either.

      Secondly:
      I still cannot believe Tenuta is coaching our Defense. It was one of the most unexpected hires I’ve ever seen. Honestly, he alone is an argument for keeping Weis around. I’m not making excuses, I really think this D is coming together and will become more formidable as the year goes on.

      Third:
      I hate hypocrisy. People (Mark May, yourself and others) have used Weis’ arrogance as a reason to fire him. He has too big of an ego to be a head coach. I think this is bull$#!+. He has found the coaching staff he is (and I am) confident can get things together so long as he continues to recruit and put them in position to succeed. He’s pretty well handed over the reigns to Tenuta and Brown and I think it was an awesome decision.

      Also, I think it’s worth noting in relation to his arrogance that he was so arrogant that he went to Frank Beamer before the 08 season and studied how Beamer has gotten his special teams in line. Not to say ND special teams has been spectacular (punt coverage against purdue was annoying, and the UM TD was very upsetting), but they’ve also blocked a critical extra point, had their first KR TD in a long time and I believe they’ve blocked at least one punt since this visit.

      I’m not saying he’s god among coaches, but I believe he’s got the team heading in the right direction, and that he doesn’t have near the ego some seem to believe he does.

      I’m also not making excuses. I mean, if you would just LISTEN to what you’re saying, it honestly sounds like ND is 1-3, and that they’re up a powerhouse program with a 2 time heisman winner. And that after that ND will be playing the Baltimore Ravens.

      I think it’s time to chill out. Step back. Not hit the panic button. And assess where ND is. ND is 3-1. What does ND need to do this year to be successful THIS YEAR? I personally believe 10-3 at the end of the year would be a success (so long as ND doesn’t get blown out in a bowl game). Can ND achieve that goal? Hells $@!#ing Yeah.

      Then what are we crying about?

      All that matters right now is beating UW. Beating UW will help push ND in the right direction.

  20. “Are you saying we are going to lose this game because of the ‘greatness’ of QB Jake Locker or the experience of Head Coach (4 games in) Steve Starkiesian?” –bleednd82

    I’m not saying anything of the kind, bleeder. I think ND is going to win. But that’s immaterial to my two relevant points: 1) Jake Locker is the best QB we’ll face in the regular season, and 2) I’m disturbed there’s evidence to even entertain the possibility Sarkisian is a better coach than Weis. Nine months removed from an 0-12 season and four years of “Ty-ball,” Sarkasian already has the quality win Weis does not…and he nearly got that quality win in Washington’s opening game vs. LSU.

  21. Try to say something new. The same old rehashed shit over and over again. I don’t see excuses, I see reasons. But standing on top of the hill and shouting just will not help. I do pleanty of that myself, but in reality, it is not the answer.

  22. If you are sick of blaming Ty, why call him a “cancer”? That is a terrible insult and unbecoming of an Irish fan, frankly. It makes you sound like the “Internet fanboy,” as a matter of fact. Ty may have disappointed as our football coach, but all indications are he was a good man who could teach a kid how to be a man. Move on, grow up, and stop whining about him.

  23. Jake Locker is scary. If he has a big game it’ll be close. Blitzes will not necessarily affect his style of play – he is elusive and accurate. It would be best to reexamine defense play for Nevada and Michigan games and evaluate a new approach. Washington has a Freshman running back so the offense is on Locker’s shoulders yet again, so eliminating his strengths will be essential and that includes better linebacker pass coverage and pass rush from the d-line. For ND’s offense, game clock control with a steady ground game and consistent momentum is a must. In both the Michigan St. and Purdue games momentum changed due to sloppy or undisciplined offensive play especially against State. Improved discipline and smart playmaking will be the key (no breaking off routes and dropping the ball Golden and no bone head play S. Young and no day dreaming Duval). With Allen back, the running game should be emphasized, especially with Hughes coming off a big game and Tate running the wildcat very well. I’d love the Theo come off the slot and break off another big run, but I most want to see Hughes and Allen with huge running games. jimmy should have another great game but without a definite second receiver pass coverage will key Tate and Kyle, meaning screens, playaction pass and slants to a slot receiver will be instrumental in disrupting Washington’s game plan. A strong game going into a bye week with the Trojans coming up next will be paramount to maintain momentum for the rest of the month.

  24. First ever post. Never felt motivated enough to write anything but always read you guys. Had to say something here. Thats the best damn summation of the situation I’ve ever read. Great job.

  25. Mcsweeney:

    Are you saying we are going to lose this game because of the “greatness” of QB Jake Locker or the experience of Head Coach (4 games in) Steve Starkiesian?

  26. Well done C-Dog.

    As I watch Weis and listen to his interviews it dawned on me that on the Pro Level– those players are self motivated…playing for a check and/or to keep a roster spot. For college ball (players) a coach needs to motivate a player…some players self motivate however most players are worried about school, or girlfriend, or being away from home (or all of the above). That is one of the reasons Holtz was so successful- he had the ability to re focus his players ever day. Pete Carroll has understood this from the beginning of his USC HC job- and that is one (not the only) reason for his success. Thoughts/input?

    1. Cliff,
      You’ve hit it. In fact from the youtube above, you can get to a Holtz speech. Typical Holtz and inspiring. Weis truly is a good coach. I personally am coming th ethe conclusion that he’d be better in the NFL and one day will wake up and just go there. His mindset as head coach is that of an NFL head coach. His resume makes that statement almost too obvious.
      While I can’t stand many aspects of Carroll’s tenure at USC, including multiple incidents involving players and coaches harrassing women. And Pete’s teflon smile, a la Bill Clinton, ( if you don’t catch me it wasn’t wrong ).
      But, Cliff your observation of Holtz and Carroll and motivators and psychologists, fit for college football is accurate. That is their trademeark. In fact Sarkisian and his staff have Carroll looking for answers, yet USC still has some aura of invincibility. Were Sarkisian and Chow the brains, but Carroll the guy who brought it all together? Maybe. Holtz certainly managed a game well. But his management of coaches was simply to demand results. Anyone remember that Foge Fazio was fired in favor of Barry Alvarez? A suspect defense that couldn’t adjust at helftime became a feared defense that stepped on your head in the second half.
      Yeah, Cliff, I am now of the conclusion that Weis is not good fit while he is a good coach. ND and Weis working that out will be difficult.

  27. @shazzam: not to argue…or even to defend CW, but i’m pretty sure i’v heard almost the same exact quotes in the past (the not “a field trip” one i mean)going to hawaii, and possibly other games as well.

    good job franky!! did someone piss in your corn flakes this morning, or what??

    1. jonnyC,

      I read a story yesterday about U-DUB Coach Steve Sarkisian when he was a coach with USC and when they traveled to South Bend and lost, then a couple of years later came back to South Bend and almost lost agian. He told of how ND can be a very distracting place for players from a visiting team.
      He implied that him and his staff have worked hard to get their player’s to block out the distractions and concentrait on just football.
      I have the feeling that his team will be ready come this Saturday.
      I hope ND realizes that this isn’t the same Washington team that they beat down last year.

  28. I’m sick of hearing about how Brian Kelly is a good coach.
    I took a look at UC’s boxscore from last week – against a team that is 1-3 and were outgained by 100 yards, only picked up 57 on the ground and lost time of possession by nearly 30 minutes! That’s giving the opponent the ball 3/4 of the game!
    The week before they couldn’t top 80 rushing yards, lost TOP by 10 minutes and went scoreless in the first quarter.
    Take out their game vs. Southeast Missouri State (shouldn’t games vs teams with more than 2 words in their name be disqualified?) here are their stats:
    UC: PPG: 34.3 YPG: 443 PassYPG: 342.6 Rush YPG: 100.3
    compare:
    ND: PPG: 31.5 YPG: 455 PassYPG: 306.3 Rush YPG: 158.0

    Brian Kelly’s win pct as a FBS coach: .650
    Interestingly, Central Michigan’s win pct since Kelly left: .650

    A problem ND has had in the last 10 years of so is lack of quality wins so let’s see how Brian Kelly does against top 20 teams:
    No. 4 Oklahoma L 52-26
    No. 19 Virginia Tech L 20-7

    1. Fun with numbers. Oh, can I play?

      Kelly graduated 22 seniors in the offseason, including 10 of his 11 starters on defense. The Bearcats are currently ranked 36th in total defense, while ND is ranked 94th. And oh yeah, one of Cincy’s recent defensive MVPs was a 3rd-string QB under Weis. How is it Kelly can rebuild something in eight months, with Weis’ own personnel, that Weis has yet to rebuild in five years?

      Some other numbers to chew on:

      24-0: Kelly’s record at Cincy when he has a lead going into the Fourth Quarter.

      26-0: Oregon State’s home record since 1996 versus non-conference opponents before Kelly came to Corvallis.

      .281: Central Michigan’s winning % in the 5 years prior to Kelly’s arrival (the fact CMU has maintained Kelly’s .650 record since his departure proves nothing)

      .741: Kelly’s career winning % as a head coach at the Div I & Div II collegiate levels

      In a nutshell, take Urban Meyer when Florida hired him or Jim Tressel when OSU hired him, triple his resume, and you have Brian Kelly.

  29. Agreed and well said! No true ND fan can read this post and not agree, at least not if they have been following what has been going on for the past five years!!!

  30. Yep, Ty is old news. Only drawn up by certain bloggers with nothing better to do. Usually using three to four year old posts as evidance that ND fans obsess with Ty. Ty was old news the day he packed up and left South Bend.

    And there IS NO STORY about any ND Washington relationship beyond this. BEAT your opponent, IRISH!! One or two games are about the other team and some rivalry. Every other game is about your team playing it’s best to beat the opponent. Teams that focus on themselves with the bar set to the highest level don’t consider anything about the opponent other than dissecting their weaknesses to be exploited and gaurding against their strengths. Your real opponent is lack of perfection. Perfection is your goal. Nothing less. The enjoyment is getting ever so closer even when you come up short. Tough games against worthy opponents usually bring that out.

    Washington’s relationship to this game for an ND fan is this: Is our opponent who was at the bottom last year, doing something positive that we should emulate? Will we allow ourselves to underachieve and not beat this team convincingly or worse yet will we allow them to overachieve and beat us? Or will we reach our potential as players and coaches, individually and as a team? Playing Like a Champion is not about winning. It’s about reaching and sometimes overreaching your potential.

    That’s the kind of inspiration worthy of Notre Dame.

    To Weis and the Team: Be the IRISH! Play Like a Champion! Coach Like a Champion!

    1. C-Dog

      Well said. “Playing Like a Champion is not about winning. It’s about reaching and sometimes overreaching your potential”. In the last few years it seems the meaning of Play Like a Champion has been watered down to “Just Win..please”.

  31. Shazamrock

    Charlie and company took that approach to Michigan. We lost.

    Frank

    Most passionate post I think I’ve read on the blog. Nice. Question though, if Weis had won against USC with the same type of game Washington did, would you really consider it a “signature” win?

    They were playing with a backup QB and pissed the game away with turnovers. If Weis had won that way, most would be saying that we squeaked one out and were lucky.

    That’s all Washington was in my opinion. Lucky they got SC with Barkley hurt, because Corp was not ready. I do credit them for the drive at the end, but it was helped out by a roughing the passer penalty, that’s 15 yards that Washington may or may not have gained otherwise.

    Most were asking earlier this season how peoples expectations would change if injuries to key players (like Clausen or Floyd). Most figured this team would sink without them. They beat Purdue on the road, basically with worse than that. If the team had been healthy, it would have been a blowout.

    The defense needs to tackle. When they start doing that we will be a team that no one wants to play. Explosive offense, sound defense.

    I had to check who the author was at the end, I thought it was Mac. But I do agree with alot of the points at the end. Keep the foot on the gas, and Ty has nothing to do with this year except maybe having some slightly better 5th year options.

      1. not suggesting anything, just pointing out that they have done what you said they should do, and that they lost doing so.

        People are always bitching that Weis keeps to much of a NFL atmosphere around here, and then you pointed out we should take an all business approach. Not sure if you are one who has said anything like that before or not.

        Anyhow, like I said, just pointing out that it has been done.

        As a note, that did not seem to be the approach in the Hawaii bowl. It appeared that it was a go out and have some fun approach, which I think had the players playing loose and contributed to how well that game went.

      2. Actually, I prefer the fast and loose approch, and having some fun. But i think that style is more geared when your team is a heavy underdog or going agianst a team thats had your number (USC), or if it’s a big game to close out the season(bowl game). In that enviorment you have nothing to loose and everything to gain.
        Now playing at home agianst a team like Washington when there is little question about who has the edge in talent and experience, and also being favored, they need to go out and do what they are supposed to do. Do what’s expected of them. Win the game. Take care of business.

    1. to wrdomerson:

      after getting beat by USC for 7 consecutive years, I totally disagree with you. Weis needs any win against USC. As for UW being lucky, turnovers are part of the game. USC had their chance to stop UW and there was no stopping Locker. His passes and scrambling ability made him look as good as any college qb. Let’s hope he is of as he was against Stanford – we need to get pressure.

      1. Not saying any win over SC would be a bad thing.

        The point was that if Weis won like that, it would not be considered a “signature” win.

        Especially considering the circumstances of how UW managed to beat them.

      2. Agianst Washington, USC was 0 for 10 on third down. That’s ether very good, very lucky, or USC was very bad.

    2. wrdomerson,

      Wow!

      Have you ever heard the saying I’d rather be lucky than good?! Besides, bad teams aren’t lucky ones. How many bad teams in the history of sports do you recall saying “Man, that’s one lucky team!”?

      I’d now take a lucky-bounce win against SC rather than lose “pretty” like we Did with Brady Quinn back in CW’s first year. Wouldn’t you?

      1. Again, I will take any win against SC, however it comes.

        My point was more toward the posts premise that Sark has a “signature” win now that he has a win over SC, and whether anyone would actually consider it a signature win for Weis if the game was won in a similar fashion with the same situation.

        Backup QB, multiple TO’s, and getting gashed big on the ground.

        UW didn’t win that game, SC lost it. They didn’t shoot themselves in the foot, they shot themselves in the temple.

  32. For the record, I wrote this. Frank just accidentally posted it under his byline. He doesn’t have a mancrush on Brian Kelly nearly as big as I do.

  33. I was wondering when someone was going to draw a line in the sand. The Young Huskies coach already has a signature win in just his third game.
    Something I’m shamfully envious of as we plod through year 5.
    I read a story about him bringing his team to South Bend this Saturday and it not being a “field Trip”. He has made it clear to his players that this game is business, and not about the ND campus, TouchDown Jesus, the Grotto, or the Dome made of gold.
    Football business and Only football business.
    I think it wise that Charlie Weis and his player’s take the same approch.

  34. Wow, that may be the most passionate thing I’ve ever read on this board. Good points all. Last weeks game was a roler coaster. I remember the chat room: “The internship is over”, “We’re doomed” to “Charlie can stay”, “Thank you Jimmy!”.

    If we’re not putting away the teams that we should beat easily, then we’re not going to sniff the top 25.

  35. Go Frank Go!!! I was listening to CW’s press conference when he was talking about new coach Sarkasian (sp) and I was thinking why can’t we have that…upbeat practices, flying to the ball, 100% effort all the time. For Goodness Sake, Charlie quit denying your blind spots and really be objective like you say you are.

    1. This was actually written by McSweeney, I just forgot to change the author name in our admin section. This was all Mac though.

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