Notre Dame Football: Sorry Charlie, But It's Time to Go

jeff HubbardCorrespondent INovember 15, 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

I’ll always be a fan of Notre Dame Football.

I love the idea of a team of student athletes playing competitively against the best team money can buy out on the West Coast. Sure, many would say everybody does it, but most teams aren’t blatant enough about it to put Reggie Bush’s family up in sweet digs in Malibu.

I love the idea of a small, nominally Catholic school playing against huge state institutions.

I love Rudy, the ND tradition, football in November on grass with temperatures dropping and cheerleaders covered. Who knows how many kids have opted for the warm weather SEC schools on an aversion to cold and a penchant for scantily clad coeds.

For me, however, ND doesn’t just stand for Notre Dame. It stands for Not Delusional. While Charlie Weis bleeds Notre Dame blue and gold, I’m not sure he is the other ND.

So, while I believe that Notre Dame simply can’t compete in these days of moribund graduation rates and athletes playing one or two years while taking course work consisting of classes in football and phys ed. I do believe it’s time for Charlie Weis to move on.

Thanks Coach, you’ve rekindled some fine traditions. Singing the alma mater. Keeping the graduation rate high. Being competitive with Navy.  But you’ve lost some tradition too, and that’s why you need to go.

Notre Dame is a RUNNING TEAM. Check Joe Montana’s stat lines. Check the national championship team with Tony Rice at QB. 

Charlie is simply in love with the idea of being a QB Guru. That’s not the way to win at a small school focused on academics.

Navy has shown you the answer twice now. You can be smaller and slower and run the ball effectively. The running game is about heart. The passing game is about athletes.

You can recruit academic standouts with heart. I’m not certain you can recruit academic standouts that are prime-time athletes. 

I remember when Notre Dame managed to use running backs similar to Armando Allen and Robert Hughes together. Teaming backs like Rickey Watters, Rodney Culver, and Braxton Banks. This approach actually increased the big play capability of wideouts Rocket Ismail and Kris Haines because the safeties had to play up.

I haven’t seen a safety in the box against Notre Dame since Charlie came to coach there.  I would think a guy that graduated from ND in 1978 would remember the latter group well. Losing to bad teams is not a Notre Dame tradition. Playing good teams to a standstill is.

The Michigan game showed that Charlie found it more important to stand by his name as a Quarterback Guru than beat a bad team. Again, Armando Allen averaged over six yards a carry. 

But late in the game with an opportunity to RUN out the clock, Notre Dame throws two passes, with 2:00 minutes remaining, both fall incomplete and stopped the clock. 

Two runs force Michigan to use two time outs that were necessary for the win. This is basic football. Charlie instead opted for basic Get Jimmy Claussen the Heismann.

Notre Dame often appears ill prepared. I don’t think that’s part of the tradition of Notre Dame Football.  I’m sick to death of the deer in the headlights look on Charlie’s face when a play goes wrong. I’m even sicker of the wasted timeouts.

A good coach is prepared and expects what could happen on the field. It gives the team confidence and after all these years at ND as a head coach, Charlie still appears to be guessing and guessing wrong.  If only he had Bill Belichick to guide him.

It isn’t about USC. I don’t expect the Fighting Irish to beat the Trojans every year. Maybe one out of three would be nice.

It’s about beating Navy, the school that’s closer to ND in size of student body than any other team on the schedule. It’s about beating Boston College with regularity because Boston College is the team Notre Dame should be recruiting against in those Catholic Schools where they need to be competitive.

Stanford is coming up. They played back-to-back big games against state schools, Oregon and USC and got up and won both of them, they were well prepared. Stanford has student athletes similar to Notre Dame.

They even have a big bruising running back with a 4.0 GPA. I’m fairly sure his major isn’t in football.  In those two games, Stanford, coached by a former NFL QB, threw the ball 42 times. About one quarter for Jimmy Claussen. 

Now if Jim Harbaugh can accept that you win at an academics based school with a running game, why can’t Charlie Weis?

You’ve been out-coached by Dave Wannstedt. When that happens, it’s time to call it a career. Everyone gets out hustled by Navy. Not everyone gets run over by them.  Again, Weis was out-coached.

It’s time to go, Charlie. Do it with class. Announce your resignation.

Ask that your successor continue to focus on the core values of Notre Dame, that he continue to recruit from Catholic high schools, that the team continues to sing the Alma Mater, that he continue to stress the importance of graduating while other schools stress the importance of the NFL opportunity. 

Notre Dame is different. Remind them of that. And remind them that the school deserves a coach that can do all those things, run a basic boring playbook, put a smart team out there that doesn’t get out-hustled and never, ever gets out coached

I can tolerate a 6-6 record. Yet, going 6-6 while just not playing smart, tough, Notre Dame Football, I cannot tolerate.