An Open Letter To Charlie Weis

Marc HalstedCorrespondent ISeptember 16, 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)

Dear Coach Weis,

There is a long list of great accomplishments on your resume, including Super Bowl rings, the whole Tom Brady thing, two BCS bowl games, 30 wins, and some great recruiting classes. Your Notre Dame contributions include high academic standards, a clean program bereft of NCAA violations, and the re-development of a program that was in danger of a self-generated loss of significance.

In addition, your work with Hannah and Friends, numerous charities, and the University of Notre Dame is commendable. You are a family man who places character at the forefront of your program's philosophy.

But this is college football, and Notre Dame is a disappointing 1-1 with a devastating last minute loss to rival Michigan. You haven’t had a win over a program that finished the season with a winning record (not named Navy) since Sept. 30, 2006.

I know the instant-feedback culture we now live in is a pain in your hide, but this is the reality we all deal with as we navigate through Twitterland, the blogosphere, and the ever-present message board culture. 

With that said, I need to sound off.

Charlie Weis, your arrogance is killing me.

For two years, I've had to watch you send Asaph Schwapp up the gut for every 4th-and-1 from September to November. Time after time, I've had to watch a double-tight end set, a power formation, and 11 opposing players stack a box that was tighter than a Biggest Loser wardrobe fitting. 


Stuffed. Turnover on downs and one of the worst fourth-down percentages in the nation.

Gee, you think they knew what you were going to run?

For five years, I’ve had to watch your arrogant play-calling; a sweep against Navy on 4th-and-goal? Seriously? You didn’t think that a whole fleet of Midshipmen wouldn’t blow by their blocks, pursue with the passion of John Paul Jones, and torpedo a simple run play they saw coming from three nautical miles away? 

For three years, I’ve had to watch post-Brady quarterback play that hasn’t been taught to get out of the pocket and throw a ball away (Jimmy, 2007), hasn’t been disciplined to the point where they actually avoid triple coverage (Jimmy, 2008), and hasn’t been forced to accept the natural humility that has long been the badge of honor for so many Notre Dame QBs (Jimmy, 2007 to present).

This arrogance has crept into the locker room as well. We all heard so much about the fiery ’08 pregame pep talk that inspired the 35-17 win over Michigan. But you’ve repeatedly laughed off and wholly dismissed the idea that you do that sort of thing with regularity. You imply that if they don’t walk into the stadium fired up, then they don’t belong in a jersey of blue and gold.

Coach, they’re 19-years-old. The tyranny of adolescence still haunts their every step. They can’t decide whether it’s more beneficial for their football development to walk to school or carry a lunch. They’re confused when they wake up, and they’re perplexed when they go to bed.

The only thing they know for sure is that they think for sure they know everything.

And now we’re on the refs? Good grief, Charlie, we lost. I know, I know, you sandwiched everything with the patronizing compliments to Michigan and statements of false humility concerning Irish complacency.

But let’s not even talk about the refs until you tell Golden to use his hands to actually catch the ball and not “open-palm” the ref after every play. How about grabbing a headset and telling Dr. Tenuta, the mad scientist, that the 53rd consecutive blitz on Tate Forcier might not work, due to the fact that the first 52 failed miserably.

This arrogance is holding this program back. 

Just because you’re ND doesn’t mean your offensive line will automatically road-grade the opposition for every first down.

Just because you’re ND doesn’t mean 5’9" Navy guys will let James Aldridge saunter past them for the game-winning score.

Just because you’re Charlie Weis, quarterback guru, father to Tom, and mentor to Brady, doesn’t mean Jimmy will turn to gold with every laying-on of hands.

Just because they hit that beautiful sign on the way down the steps doesn’t mean they’ll automatically play like champions without a little passion and fire from the head man.

Just because the refs stink and you’re Notre Dame doesn’t mean you can get away with criticizing them without making us all look ungrateful, irreverent, and elitist.

Coach Weis, you’re a good man, a solid coach, and you do more before 8 a.m. than Steve Spurrier does all day. But the arrogance must go.

Continue to get more creative (circa '05 and '06), respect your opponents (ALL of them), start making your halftime adjustments (e.g. RichRod last Saturday), and let’s get back to focusing on getting our 11 guys ready to take care of their 11 guys.

Get ‘em fired up, Coach. Show them the flag-planting video, replays of Jeff Smoker touchdown passes, and all the pictures of that dumb Sparty mascot you can find. We need this one.

Check that, you need this one. 

Now that's a humbling thought, huh?


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