Could Jimmy Clausen Save Charlie Weis' Job?

Bryan FlynnAnalyst INovember 17, 2009

SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 17: Head coach Charlie Weis of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish gives a play to quarterback Jimmy Clausen #7 during a game against the USC Trojans at Notre Dame Stadium on October 17, 2009 in South Bend, Indiana. USC defeated Notre Dame 34-27. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Many experts think that Charlie Weis’s tenure is done as head coach of Notre Dame. The final nail might have been added by a 27-22 loss to Pittsburgh.

This 2009 Fighting Irish team was supposed to be a BCS contender this season. At 6-4, the Irish hope to win their final two games and, with luck, make a New Year’s Day bowl based on their name.

Their record alone and the teams they have beaten might not look super attractive but Notre Dame sells tickets. Even a bowl win might not be enough to save Weis’s job.

Right now, his record is equal to that of Bob Davie, and his win percentage is equal to that of Tyrone Willingham. Both Davie and Willingham were fired as head coaches of Notre Dame.

There might be one thing that could save Weis and give him another season in South Bend. It would depend on a number of things, but what if Jimmy Clausen decided to return for next season, but only if Weis was the coach.

The 2010 NFL draft already looks to be very quarterback heavy. There are a number of senior quarterbacks that will be in the draft. Below is a list of just a few of them:

Tim Tebow- Florida Gators

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Colt McCoy- Texas Longhorns

Dan LaFevour- Central Michigan

Max Hall- BYU

Zac Robinson- Oklahoma State

Tony Pike- Cincinnati

Tim Hiller- Western Michigan

Todd Reesing- Kansas

Ryan Perrilloux- Jacksonville State

That is just to name a few of the senior quarterbacks in the 2010 draft. Only one underclass man has declared for the draft so far and that is Sam Bradford of Oklahoma. Here are some other underclassmen who could declare for the draft:

Case Keenum- Houston- Could leave while his stock is up.

Jevan Snead- Ole Miss- Should comeback after very poor 2009 season.

Jake Locker- Washington- Might want to finish the turnaround he helped start this season in Seattle in 2010.

Christian Ponder- Florida State- After injury against Clemson, he could stay or go.

Andy Dalton- TCU- Might declare early if he has an outstanding showing in a BCS game.

So I think we all can agree with the senior quarterbacks and big-named underclassmen the 2010 draft will be quarterback heavy. It might be best for Clausen to see who is staying and who is going before declaring for the draft. This could be Clausen’s bargaining chip with the university.

One thing that might also sway underclassmen to come out might be if the NFL institutes a rookie wage scale for the 2011 draft. For the sake of argument, let us say the new collective bargaining agreement does not have a rookie wage scale.

If Clausen knows he can play next season for the Irish and it not affect his payday when he does leave school, then he may be inclined to stay. One thing is for sure, he will not stay if Weis is fired.

Clausen’s draft stock would suffer if he came back to Notre Dame only to have to learn a new offense. More than likely, for Clausen to even consider coming back, he would have to know Weis would be back as well.

The major factor that could keep Clausen at school would be if he has the chance to be the top pick in next year’s draft. Another year in college, as long as he is not injured, can only help his already high draft stock.

The contacts Weis has in the NFL would be a plus for Clausen if he decided to return next season. The money, the recognition, and a top-25 ranking in 2010 could make it worth keeping Weis around for one more season.

Clausen’s return could also have a domino effect in South Bend. Golden Tate could also return and along with Michael Floyd would be the best quarterback and receiving crops in college football.

Yes, the University president and the board of directors will decided if Charlie Weis is given another season at Notre Dame. The biggest factor could be if Jimmy Clausen said he would like to comeback but only if Weis is the coach.

This could be the first time in college football that a player dictates if a coach gets to keep his job. Clausen staying would be beneficial to university and more than make up for the record and winning percentage Weis has.

Clausen might be the only thing that can save Weis at this point. Which is worth more to the Irish an $18 million buyout and a new coach?

Or Jimmy Clausen a potential Heisman winning quarterback in 2010. If Clausen does want to comeback everyone will get a chance to see which means more to the university. 


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