Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Notre Dame Football Press Conference on Charlie Weis
Yesterday the Notre Dame Football program announced that Charlie Weis was no longer the head coach of The Fighting Irish effective today, December 1st. Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick held a 20 minute press conference to talk about what was his decision and moving forward.
The video presents 15 minutes of that 20 minute event (provided by CBS Sports Online and The University of Notre Dame) including the question and answer session with the press and my commentary.
Why 15 minutes? To control the video file size and get this out as quickly as possible. You can read the full transcript at the Notre Dame Football website here.
At the press conference, Swarbrick said that told Weis of his decision not to retain him Saturday night, after Notre Dame's loss to the Stanford Cardinal 45 to 38. He had not talked to any other coaching candidates before releasing Weis. My impression is that, indeed, how the team performed in that game impacted Swarbrick's choice to look for a new coach. After the game, Weis did not talk to the press.
Charlie Weis leaves with a 35 win, 27 loss record and was just 16 wins versus 21 losses over the last three years.
Swarbrick said that he believes the program has the right ingredients to take the next step and return to a level of prominence is a leadership issue, and "turning the corner" is a matter of finding the right person. Swarbrick believes that having a team with a great defense is a must in a pursuit of a BCS bowl bid.
I think Swarbrick should have given Weis one more year with a strick objective: 8-4 we retain you, less than that we get rid of you. At 8-4 a BCS bowl bid would take care of itself.
But now, Notre Dame has to start over again.
After some thought I do believe Notre Dame can return to football competitiveness, but not prominence. The reason is that talent and the knoweldge to develop that athlete is more spread out and communicated via the Internet. Also, new schemes work for one year, then because of online communication, answers for those approaches are developed rapidly.
I think Weis gets that now. When he came to Notre Dame he was confident he had a "schematic advantage" but as I told anyone who would listen it would take about two years for college football to develop a "book" on his offense, then we would see how well he could coach and recruit. We did; Weis lost to Army 31 to 17 and that started the league of pissed off Fighting Irish fans. Some of them think a return to the days of Knute Rockne is possible, and Swarbrick's one of them.
Notre Dame can be competitive, but to think the program can get talented players to come and perform under the amazingly rigorous academic standards the school has established is just plain unrealistic. The main problem is Notre Dame refuses to change with the times: to come into the 21st Century. I'm not saying it should relax its standards, but make a choice that if its going to maintain them it should expect to field a competitive football program and be happy with that.
But as long as Swarbrick and other Golden Domers think they can "wake up the echoes" Notre Dame will be in for more coaching failure for years to come. What Swarbrick should do is sit down and craft a numerical performance standard for the next coach to follow that reads like this: if your team posts an 7-5 or better record for four years, we will extend your contract after year five. Simple.
That standard may not be "national championship level" but it does make sure the program establishes a competitive ethic first, then, maybe, that national championship will come.