On Monday, the University of Notre Dame held a press conference announcing that Charlie Weis will not be retained for the 2010 season.
While the college football world speculates if Bob Stoops, Brian Kelly, or Butch Davis will be the next head coach at Notre Dame, my question is where will Charlie Weis go?
Is it realistic to assume Weis will stay in the college football realm?
Notre Dame was the first time Weis coached in college since his four seasons at the University of South Carolina from 1985 to 1988.
Believe it or not, when Weis was hired in South Bend, he had more recently been at the high school ranks (1989) than college.
The man spent over a decade coaching and coordinating for NFL offenses under Hall of Fame coaches Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick. He is spectacular at doing what he does best but overmatched as a head coach at the nation's most demanding college football program.
I would not be surprised if Weis takes a year off to evaluate his options and maybe do some TV. The truth is Charlie Weis doesn't have a face for TV though, he belongs coaching at the pro ranks, and these are his options.
This year 11 NFL teams have new head coaches, and there are five coaches who assumed their role in 2008. That means half of the NFL has been coaching their respective teams for less than two years.
Of the first year coaches, only Tom Cable seems to be at risk of losing his job (yes, it seems that Eric Mangini will get at least another year). Charlie Weis is too old and too smart to work for Al Davis.
Perry Fewell is the interim head coach in Buffalo. He has done a very good job with the defense all year, and the team has been playing competitive football under his command. Weis knows the AFC East very well. I'm not so sure he would be running to coach against his former colleague in New England, however.
The Redskins' Jim Zorn was considered a great signing last season but currently sits on the hot seat. Washington is a high pressure coaching job—something Zorn had no experience with. Notre Dame was a high profile position on Weis’ resume, and he has NFC East roots with the Giants, but the job is not open yet.
Other jobs that could be on the market include Dallas, Tennessee (before they had won a game this season there was the ultimatum—either Vince Young goes or Jeff Fisher goes, right now everyone seems happy), New York [Giants], Chicago, Jacksonville, and Carolina, but no moves have been made at any of these places either.
Overall there projects to be a lack of demand for head coaches in the NFL this offseason compared to past seasons.
If Weis were to take a head coaching position, he would have to reacclimate himself to the pro game, and more importantly, find a coaching staff. At Notre Dame, Weis could not find defensive coaches who were capable of getting the job done. Coaches like Jon Tenuta and Corwin Brown had the pedigree to be successful defensive coordinators but simply could not game plan and call plays to keep teams out of the end zone.
Of course, one obvious option to be Weis' defensive coordinator would be Romeo Crennell, who is recovering from hip replacement surgery. The two made one of the best coach/coordinator combos in the NFL under the Parcells family tree and working together again would almost be like a co-head coaching role.
Calling all of the shots for the Fighting Irish is a big step up from Franklin High School in New Jersey, which is why the whole ordeal may have been slightly overwhelming for Weis.
The truth is Charlie Weis is an offensive coordinator; it's what he does best. Some coaches are motivators, Charlie Weis is an orchestrator. After giving the head coaching game a shot, Weis may be ready to get back to his bread 'n butter.
Currently Weis' former team, the New England Patriots, do not have an offensive coordinator in place. Still using the same Erhardt-Perkins offensive system that Weis put installed, Tom Brady has been able to lead the 2009 Pats to victories, but overall, they haven't been clicking against elite competition.
Bill Belichick is stressed like never before as a coach after Josh McDaniels left the team this summer. New England needs a real offensive coordinator, and Charlie Weis is the best fit.
The move may seem like Weis is running back with his parents after failing in the real world, but Belichick and Weis have a special relationship, and nobody would fault Weis for going back to what worked.
When the Pats offense is killing like they can, everyone will agree it was the right move.
If not New England, Buffalo's coordinator position would be a better fit than the head coaching position. With two very good running backs and some weapons on the flank, Weis' offense could turn Buffalo into the wildcard of the AFC East.
It might be a stretch for Charlie Weis to work under Eric Mangini in Cleveland because he outranked Mangini in New England. Additionally, Mangini seems loyal to OC Brian Daboll, whom he's coached with since being in New England.
If any coach can get Brady Quinn going in the right direction, it would be Weis, though. The Browns are also scouting Jimmy Clausen for the 2010 NFL Draft.
Any team looking to give their offense a shot in the arm should be calling Weis ASAP. Many teams like to bring QB, WR, RB, and OL coaches up the ranks, but if you are looking to win now, Weis is your guy.
It could be as a QB coach, assistant head coach, or offensive consultant, but there are many team's who would like to have Weis as a part of their brain trust.
Weis might not be ready to take control of the Pats offense just yet, but he could be ready to help them game plan and call plays.
This season we saw Sherm Lewis take over the play calling from Jim Zorn, and the move could have other NFL decision makers thinking that some head coaches who came up calling offense need to focus on all three phases of the game more, not just the one they know best.
Weis' success has earned him respect in every NFL locker room, nobody wants to be demoted, but it's hard to dispute brining in an expert of his caliber.
Where Will Weis Wander?
It seems too good to be true, but the best fit for Charlie Wies is the most obvious one, the New England Patriots.
The Pats need some stability in their offense and their staff is currently a coach short. It would be an extremely quick turnaround, but Weis could join the Pats this season and be calling the plays by the playoffs.
If not this year, Weis could walk into the OC role in the offseason, but he may not be willing to step back in the past at all. In that case expect Charlie Weis to take a year off from coaching, or maybe he could relax at the high school ranks like after his last stint in college.
Follow me on Twitter @JohnLorge.