Notre Dame Football: The Truth about Charlie Weis and Ty Willingham

CJ DaleyCorrespondent IJune 5, 2008

Everyone who follows college football knows Ty Willingham does not like to recruit.  People make jokes about it, but it is the truth.  He has been and always will be a bad recruiter.

Now people say that Charlie Weis won with Willingham's players.  While they were not his recruits, anyone who follows Notre Dame football knows the players made huge improvements after coaching changes.

Brady Quinn has, via his mother, made comments that he learned nothing under Willingham and counts his stars that Weis came to town.  He would have been a 4th or 5th rounder without Weis.

In terms of the players in Willingham's class, there are some things the "media" never points out.  Example: he was forced to take Quinn.  Willingham was after Chinedum Ndukwe, who was teammates with Quinn.  It was a very close call and Notre Dame almost lost Brady to Ohio State.

A funny sideline is Willingham's current star QB Jake Locker has said numerous times he was a lock to go to the University of Washington since he was a kid.  So once again, Willingham did not get a kid but rather had him land in his lap.

Here is where it gets sticky. People who prop up Weis with BCS games need to understand that Notre Dame should have NEVER been in those games. 

The only reason why the Irish were in those games was the name of the school AND that they played weak teams to build up their win count.  If Notre Dame would have played the type of schedule they did last year in Weis' first two years, they would have had one or two more losses per season.

For me, this would have been a good thing.  In the last seven or eight years, Notre Dame simply has not had the talent or depth to compete with the big boys.  The classes that Lou Holtz brought in and Bob Davie ruined did have the talent, but they choked and I think it was because of coaching.  There's a reason Davie was not able to find another job after he got fired.

For the entire time that Weis has been the head coach, Notre Dame has been a house of cards.  The quality of first string players has been inconsistent.  However, this can be and was corrected by coaching.

The depth is what got ND into trouble.  Going against the big boys like USC, OSU, and LSU was a buzzsaw.  Those teams had better talent on the 2nd string compared to ND starters in some positions. Notre Dame had no right to be on the field with those teams in January, when the actual game is the only consideration.

If you go back and watch the games, you will see a huge difference between the 1st and 2nd halves.  Some people say it was adjustments.  Sure.

For me it was playing time.  Go back and look at the snap counts between teams and the stats.  The list for ND is half the size as those teams.  That plays a factor.

But we all know the actual game is not the only consideration.  This is why teams that are on the second tier of the Pac-10 and Big-10 were more comparable to Notre Dame the last three years.  

The Irish should have been playing in a game like the Gator Bowl and not the BCS.  I really wish they would have.This would have done a couple of things.

1—It would have put less pressure on Weis in his efforts to rebuild the program from scratch.  If you do not see this, look at the depth chart that Willingham left after the Quinn class.  It has numbers and quality similar to SMU after the death penalty!

2—It would have put Notre Dame in a bowl game that it had a realistic chance of winning.  Playing OSU and LSU for a half just does not cut it.  The bowl streak would have ended in one of those years, giving less ammo to the talking heads.

3—It would have put more focus on the crappy job Willingham did with the program.  I feel the media would have written stories about him and his time at Notre Dame that are similar to his time at the University of Washington.  Nice guy, good game day coach, but he cannot run a program.