With the Irish coming off a historically terrible season, the Notre Dame faithful were looking for any glimmer of hope to start the season. A shaky win against San Diego St. followed by a good effort against Michigan must have been enough of a glimmer.
Soon after, the most prolific Notre Dame pontificators were predicting a BCS bowl in the future, perhaps even a 10-win season. Now, just two months later, fans and non-fans alike are screaming for Charlie's head at the end of the season.
How did this happen?
Notre Dame supporters have come to expect a certain level of play out of the Irish, and they should. The only school with an individual television contract and its own seat on the BCS committee should be excellent year after year. The talent of the players coming in should be some of the best in the country, and it is...now.
I know that I sound like any other Notre Dame apologist when I say that Ty Willingham set us back a few years, but he did. There is no way around it. The talent level of his recruiting classes was subpar by Irish standards.
Willingham left the Irish some outstanding talents (Quinn, Walker, Samardjiza, etc.), but he wasn't putting them together on the field and winning. I mean, look at the shambles the University of Washington is in right now.
Did Notre Dame handle the Willingham situation badly? Absolutely. He should have at least been given a chance to see a full recruiting class graduate from school, but what's done is done. Now, we have Weis, and we should have him until his contract runs out six-plus years from now.
If Notre Dame were to fire Weis, it would mean that the last three coaches at Notre Dame lasted, on average, four years with the program: barely enough to start and end a recruiting cycle.
We've all seen what Weis can do when he has talent on the offensive side of the ball. We saw it in New England, and we saw it his first two seasons at the helm of the Irish. Give him some time to rebuild that talent.
Look at the starting offense and their classes. QB - Clausen - Sophomore, RB - Allen - Sophomore, WR - Tate - Sophomore, WR - Floyd - Freshman, WR - Kamara - Sophomore, TE - Rudolph - Freshman. Are you kidding me? There are still two years of development and understanding that these kids can get under Weis.
If Notre Dame were to bring in a new coach now, all that talent would be wasted. A new coach brings a new system that takes another year to learn, another year to perfect, and by then all the talent that is being stockpiled has gone to waste.
It is hard to preach patience to a group of fans that is used to excellence. Not only are they used to that excellence, but they also love a school that SHOULD be excellent year in and year out.
However, if the impatience leads to contempt, which then leads to hurting the program and the kids that were recruited to that program, I cannot in good conscience stand by and say nothing.
Sit back and take the 7-5 or 6-6 record that we will finish with this season. Watch the Gator Bowl and hope we win. Then, next season, root your hearts out for a team that is one year older, one year wiser, one year better, and led by Charlie Weis.