Irish Accountability: The Charlie Weis Era Meets Its Maker at Notre Dame

Marc HalstedCorrespondent INovember 12, 2009

CHESTNUT HILL, MA - NOVEMBER 8: Coach Charlie Weis of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish against the Boston College Eagles on November 8, 2008 at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images


Every coach talks about it, every player hears about it, and every team desperately needs it.

Without accountability the structure of the program dissolves into irresponsibility, irreverence, and inconsistency.

Without accountability, a team is lost before they step on the field.

Face it ND Nation, the Irish have three games left to produce three marquee wins and one Gator Bowl appearance. If the Irish beat a favored, and No. 12 ranked Pitt, then fends off the emotional UConn Huskies, and earns a victory over the Fighting Harbaugh’s at Stanford, the season ends at a respectable 9-3.

It's getting desperate, but Charlie Weis is your coach. He’s the headman in charge. You can jump on board or you can bail out early.

After hearing the high degree of accountability coming out of South Bend this week, I’m on board.

It all began with Coach Weis on Saturday night. He didn’t run and he didn’t hide. He accepted full responsibility for the loss. He began with himself and worked down from there. He was contrite and reflective. He was articulate and realistic.

On Saturday, he was accountable in his look back at Navy. On Sunday, he was accountable in his look forward to Pittsburgh.

"The whole theme this week is going to be about accountability and dependability. I can authoritatively get in front of these guys and say, 'OK, we want to talk about what happened,' and just go through the game.

"Without being just totally condescending and demeaning, let them know that—'You want to know why you lose? Here's why you lose,' and go right down the list. It's always easy," Weis added, "because I always start with me."

The message continued Wednesday with an impassioned Jimmy Clausen, looking and sounding much like the leader so many of the Irish faithful have wanted him to be.

"He's not out there each and every down, playing in the game. I take full responsibility for everything. All the mistakes I make, and things I could have done better to put us in better position to make plays. Down in the red zone I fumble on the one yard line, that's not coaching that's playing."

Center Eric Olsen fell in line, defending his coach, yet holding himself up to the appropriate standard.

“He's always the first one up in front of the media and puts all the blame on him.” Olsen continued, “People sometimes criticize his play calls. Well, what are you expecting him to call when I'm letting the guy run free at Jimmy?'' 

The other captains echoed many of the same sentiments and ducked few questions. They said all the right things, pointed directly at themselves, and accepted the responsibility to play better.

These words should re-ignite a fan base that was so completely ready to push the Weis era over the cliff on Sunday morning. From Coach Weis on down, the Irish program is modeling the type of accountability they need, day-in and day-out, game-in and game-out, play-in and play-out, to be a successful 10-win program.

From Weis to Clausen, and each captain, coach, and player in between, the right things are being said. After another painful loss, five years of fallibility, and an era of unmet goals, it’s now time for those eloquent words to evolve into on-field success.
For the next 180 minutes of Notre Dame football, accountability must show up from Pittsburgh, to South Bend, to Stanford.

180 minutes. Three wins. One coaching career.

From Nov. 14th to 28th, it all comes down to 15 days of football for the coaching era of Charlie Weis.

The Maker is watching. Accountability in full is the last hope of Coach Weis.


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