ND Football '09: Hard To Watch

Marc HalstedCorrespondent ISeptember 26, 2009

SOUTH BEND, IN - NOVEMBER 23: Members of the Notre Dame football team hold up their helmets to the student section after a game against Rutgers on November 23, 2002 at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Rutgers 42-0. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

FULL DISCLOSURE: This article was written at 11:15 on Saturday night, with the Notre Dame-Purdue game on TiVo pause, just before the Irish began their final drive down the field to beat the Boilermakers, 24-21.  These are the rantings of an angry fan who just could not continue to watch another game slip from the grasp of the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame...or so he thought.

This is now officially hard to watch.

To watch Charlie Weis run a slow-down offense to start the third quarter was an insult to the good people of West Lafayette, the fans of Ross-Ade Stadium, and every Purdue football player past and present. For Coach Weis to think that he could run out the clock with thirty minutes left is foolish and arrogant.

There’s that word again: arrogant.

The Charlie Weis arrogance has cost the Fighting Irish another game. Notre Dame is now 2-2 and an average football team with a below average defensive unit and a pedestrian offense that lacks creativity, ingenuity, and an identity.

This is now officially hard to watch.

And don’t blame the injuries. The second quarter was stacked full of Theo Riddick, Jonas Gray, and Golden Tate out of The Wildcat. Notre Dame ran four options off The Wildcat formation that mixed in the athleticism of Dayne Crist, the freakishness of Riddick, the power/speed blend of Gray, and the beastism of the reborn Robert Hughes.

And then it was gone.

Where did The Wildcat go in the second half? Where was the diversification of looks?  Where was the New Jersey swagger that had the guts to put the ball in the hands of young playmakers who were so primed to make plays.

It all dissipated into one lonely play. One pure Wildcat play in the final thirty minutes. One meek and lonely Wildcat play from a genuine Wildcat formation in thirty minutes after it had worked so well in covering ten minutes of first half possession time and creating three Notre Dame scores.

Where was the “decided schematic advantage” that Coach Weis has been known for? It was there for that one quarter. But as soon as it got a little hot in the kitchen it was time to rely on quick hitters from a 235-pound “I-don’t-know-what-I-am” fullback/halfback/fatback named Robert Hughes, a pro-set offense, and the arrogance that has so tragically marred the Weis era.

Too many painful three-and-outs. No freedom for playmakers like Riddick, Gray, or Tate. No creativity for Hughes on a pitch or a mis-direction. No chance to let Dayne Crist prove he’s a division one quarterback.

It was as though Coach Weis wanted to make sure that if a loss was coming it would arrive with every reminder that he didn't have his top wide reciever, his best running back, his most dynamic all-around players, and his starting quarterback.

It was obvious that Coach Weis would make sure that Crist and the young crew of speed, talent, and passion had as much impact on the second half of the Purdue-Notre Dame game as the trio of Floyd, Aldridge, and Allen.

It was hard to watch.

It’s a shame to consider.

It’s a season lost to arrogance.

It’s another game in the coaching internship of Charlie Weis.

FULL DISCLOSURE PART II: Thanks for reading the rant.  I'm glad I pushed "play" and watched the last three minutes.  Now I'm ready for all of you to rip me to shreds for my pessimism, negativity, and lack of faith. Rip away...I deserve it...