Would Charlie Weis Step Down?: Notre Dame's Best-Case Coaching Scenario
It's all about ego.
If Charlie Weis truly loved Notre Dame as he says he does, would he put his aside for the betterment of the Irish?
I am not a Weis-hater.
In fact, I commend everything he has done as a recruiter and would hate to undermine that foundation.
I count myself among the majority of Irish faithful who want to maintain his style of offense, because it's essential to recruiting the type of player that meets Notre Dame's personal and academic standards: smart, talented and pursuing an NFL career.
Yet, it's been abundantly clear for far too long that for all his strengths as a recruiter and play-caller, Weis is not fit to be a head coach.
He's an uninspiring personality and, as we were reminded on Saturday, his teams often play uninspired football.
He's a poor game manager, as evidenced by the extra down and timeout that went unused in a last-second loss to USC.
He's an inadequate staff manager, as the defensive and special teams units he delegates to his assistants have unequivocally underachieved.
Perhaps most importantly, he's had his chance.
Five years into the Weis era, the Irish are no better on the field (35-23) than they were under Bob Davie (35-25) or Tyrone Willingham (21-15).
However, because of Weis' recruiting and offensive scheme, they are in better position to immediately compete at college football's highest level.
And unlike Davie and Willingham, Weis (a 1978 alum) is one of Notre Dame's own and cares about its success.
Which is why I believe the best-case scenario for the Irish is not to fire Charlie Weis, but rather to retain him as an offensive coordinator and recruiter for the next head coach.
It's an equally improbable and unprecedented suggestion. But it's justified.
Although they will not factor heavily into athletic director Jack Swarbrick's decision, the financial considerations deserve mention.
Weis is under contract through 2015, and the reported buyout figures have ranged from $4 million to $18 million. If Notre Dame is going to pay him, why not negotiate a way to put him to work?
More consequential is the fact that Weis is on the verge of producing his second first-round draft pick at quarterback. He inherited and transformed Brady Quinn. He recruited and developed Jimmy Clausen into the game's most efficient player.
Weis and the Irish currently rank sixth in the country in total offense, and his is one of the few remaining productive pro-style attacks in college football.
Year after year, he's harvested top-10 crops of high school players.
His offensive mind is one that any future head coach, save Urban Meyer, would consider an asset. His recruiting prowess within that system is rivaled only by USC.
So whether Jon Gruden or Pat Fitzgerald or Brent Venables is next at the helm for Notre Dame, all should consider themselves fortunate to have Weis in the booth and on the road recruiting as their offensive coordinator.
Are any of these men secure enough in their own abilities to retain the head coach of the previous regime? Notre Dame shouldn't interview any candidate who isn't.
Would Weis' ego entertain the idea? Perhaps if his mind knows the alternative is far more humiliating.
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