New Year’s Resolution: Restore the “Fight” in the Irish
The past two seasons have not been in the vicinity of meeting expectations of the Fighting Irish faithful. With the conclusion of the 2008 campaign, we can now turn our attention to the 2009 season. In the spirit of the New Year, let us focus on the resolutions Notre Dame and Charlie Weis will be required to make.
In order for the 2009 Fighting Irish football team to flourish, they will need to adjust their approach. From the head coach down to the third string kicker, the Irish need to get tougher and develop a killer instinct. Weis will have to emphasize conditioning, toughness, and going for a team’s jugular instead of allowing them to creep back into the game.
Notre Dame needs to think like ADT/Under Armour and start protecting “the House that Rock Built.” Knute Rockne was probably lying infuriated in his grave as the Irish conceded double-digit leads in the second half to Pittsburgh and the mighty Syracuse Orangemen in the house he built.
Notre Dame Stadium has not been undefeated at home since 1989! Since the Irish will have seven home games each season it is imperative to sustain a home field advantage.
Creativity and unpredictable offensive play-calling were evident from Weis in 2005, but has since faded. The offense has little misdirection, play action passes look nothing like their run plays, and gadget plays are non-existent.
Weis has not been able to find creative ways to get the ball in the hands of his playmakers. I foresee the offensive staff will add misdirection in the run game, play action passes designed to look like their favorite run plays, and a few trick plays to capitalize on turnovers and build momentum.
The three worst rushing attacks in Notre Dame’s illustrious history occurred under Weis’ leadership. This must be addressed in order for the Irish offense to reach its full potential. Look for an adjustment of the scheme and possibly a coaching change along the offensive line. If Notre Dame forces opposing defenses to respect the run I anticipate the 2009 offense will look similar to the one constructed in 2005.
After the past two seasons. Weis understands it is necessary to make a few changes. With Mike Haywood being named the head coach, he will now have an opportunity to make a homerun hire at offensive coordinator. Most likely, there will be at least one more coaching change. The offensive line coach, John Latina, is who most Notre Dame Fans believe is unlikely to be retained.
Will Weis call the plays in 2009? If he does, will he coach from the booth and allow fiery defensive coordinator, Corwin Brown, to control the sidelines? These questions should be answered within the next 30 days. I expect Weis to make a few significant changes and for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to be in the BCS hunt in 2009.
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