Charlie Weis Needs to Drop Ego for Notre Dame to Be Competitive

Nate SummersContributor IDecember 9, 2008

It has been a while since I have written, and for good reason.  I don't think my keyboard could have handled the negative emotions or the physical pounding of my fist as I watched the Irish get handled by the Trojans.  My hats off to the Trojans—they kicked our butts from start to finish. 

I sat back and watched the SEC title game, wondering when the Irish will be able to play as strong as Florida and Alabama.  Of course, I am still calculating this due to the large number of mathematical equations involved to figure out such a complex problem.

Since the increase in academic standards for the Irish, I have no doubt that in a Math Bowl the Irish football players would be the number one ranked team in the BCS.  Those pesky Commodores from Vandy might give us a run for our money, but the mystique of Notre Dame would prevail.

When will Notre Dame be competitive?  I have read quite a bit from Irish fans and commentators over the last few weeks about Coach Weis's future with the Irish.  I think anyone who knows football would have seen that Weis would have been retained for at least one more year.

Weis has recruited his way into another year with the Irish.  If he can land either Jenkins or Te'o or both in this year's class, he will almost certainly keep the naysayers at bay for at least one more year.

Tenuta and Brown are probably chomping at the bit to get these two kids in the program.  Those linebackers could be the difference between blitzing and swarming.  I have watched both of these players play, and I can tell you this: They are explosive and quick.  They have a couple of good prospects at D-line, as long as they can hold onto them.

I think the most important thing to come out of this season for Coach Weis was a big piece of humble pie.  Every coach likes to think of themselves as a subject matter expert when it comes to the game of football.  Some coaches, Weis, like to think of themselves as even better than that.  But I think the last two years have caused Weis to sit back and finally eat some good ol' fashioned humble pie.

If he can get over himself and all his Super Bowl glory and take a long hard look at his staff and the program as a whole, then he will make the necessary changes needed to bring the tradition and power back to the Irish.

I think for the first time in a long time, Weis finally understood that his way might not be the only way.  Successful leaders, no matter what their discipline is, have always had the ability to adjust and make the tough decisions when it comes to being successful.  That is why leadership doesn't come to just anyone.

So what changes need to be made? Well, let's look at the coaching staff.  I don't know where the O-line coach went wrong, but those big boys are not producing.  You gotta make a change, Coach.

Sorry Ron, but you have to go too.  The development of Jimmy Clausen would best be served by someone who is more skilled in fundamentals and technique.  Besides, Jimmy looks like a robot out there.  He has to loosen up.

Strength and conditioning.  Probably the cornerstone of any major program is the strength and conditioning.  The Irish looked weak in the trenches and out of gas in the fourth quarter.  I don't know what the players are doing over the summer, but they should consider running with those books instead of just sitting at the table studying.

I know I focused on the offensive side of the ball, but for three games that was the difference maker.  With a solid running game the Irish would be 9-3. 

Next year's schedule won't be a pushover based on this year's performance.  Like any other die-hard Irish fan, I have faith that Coach Weis and his staff will not only recruit another good class, but also really focus their spring and summer program to strength, conditioning, and fundamentals (blocking and tackling).

Master those and you are looking at a 9-3 or 10-2 season.  Don't, and you will be looking at Brian Kelly, Urban Meyer, or Turner Gill coming to Notre Dame to take your place.