This was the loss that did it. The countdown clock on Charlie Weis’ tenure as head coach at Notre Dame started when the fourth quarter ended. That’s not to say that it can’t be reversed, or stopped again.
But with the debacle that was the loss to Boston College for the sixth straight game, even defenders have had our faith shaken and our hearts broken.
It isn’t just the loss, but the way we lost. After clear signs of improvement in the first half of the season, the Irish now seem to be a team not just stuck in neutral, but one that has actually slipped into reverse.
A botched punt return.
Drive-killing, undisciplined penalties.
Failure to adjust after half-time.
An inability to control the line of scrimmage, on both offense and defense.
A lack of a Killer Instinct.
A kicking game that has lost games.
I could go on.
So, what’s to be done? Coach Weis, I know you are a good, decent, generous man. I also know you are a great offensive coordinator, and a helluva recruiter. For what it’s worth, here are some suggestions from someone who has seen more Notre Dame football games than he can remember:
1.) Replace Offensive Line Coach John Latina.
This should have happened after last year. Despite being a disciple of Joe Moore, Coach Latina has failed to instill even fundamental blocking skills to this under-performing unit. Everything starts here. No running game? Sacks? Failure to get ONE YARD for a first down? It all lays at the feet of Coach Latina.
2.) Relieve Mike Haywood of play calling duties.
With all due respect to a good and loyal man, Notre Dame needs and deserves an offensive coordinator with experience. This is not an entry-level program. His play calling has been a disaster.
Time and again productive drives engineered by the passing game have been killed not by turnovers, but by a sudden series of running plays that have gone counter to team strength. It has been maddening, amateurish, predictable, and ultimately disasterous.
You are clearly a better play caller. Take the reigns.
3.) I am afraid Corwin Brown needs to move on as well, and John Tenuta should be made Defensive Coordinator.
Clearly whatever strengths Tenuta brings are being kept in check by the cumbersome arrangement of having both him and Brown coaching defense. Write Brown a letter of recommendation and let Tenuda off the leash.
4.) Ron Powlus might need a second look as QB coach as well….
As for you Coach Weis, you need to get hands-on again. You need to inspire. You need to get ANGRY. You need to make these kids know what it means to put on that gold helmet.
You have one more year. Next year, these highly skilled but inexperienced freshmen and sophomores will be experienced sophomores and juniors…plenty old and skilled enough to make a run at the national championship, and at the least win 10 games. You know what it means to lose…and lose big…to USC. We’ll be massacred this year.
But to be humiliated by Boston College, our little brother ND wannabe’s, the school Frank Leahy left for Notre Dame, to lose to them six straight games…that’s asking too much.
You will get five years. But if next year is like this year, you won’t get six.