Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Charlie Weis and a Make or Break Year

Oh, the pain...the pain...
A new billboard facing the Notre Dame campus offers a not-so-subtle reminder to coach Charlie Weis that the past two seasons have not been up to the standards of the storied Fighting Irish football program.

It reads: "Best wishes to Charlie Weis in the fifth year of his college coaching internship." Weis said Tuesday he had not yet seen the billboard, about a half mile from his office, but had been told about it.

"Everything was great until the last word," he said, laughing. "So tell them thanks a lot for wishing me best wishes."

Weis is well aware that Notre Dame fans have high expectations after the Irish went 3-9 and 7-6 the past two seasons -- the most losses in a two-year span in the 120-year history of Irish football. Those 15 losses are three more than Knute Rockne had in 13 seasons as coach, four more than Frank Leahy had in 11 years and two fewer than Ara Parseghian had in 11 seasons.

The 15 losses have wiped out most -- if not all -- the goodwill Weis built in leading the Irish to Bowl Championship Series berths in his first two seasons.

Weis ran out of goodwill two years ago, and the Irish could have been spared those dismal seasons:
"Charlie Weis has returned Notre Dame to relevancy. Just two years ago, as Notre Dame spiraled toward mediocrity under Ty Willingham, a shot at a national title seemed improbable. But the schemes and the discipline Weis has installed have revived past glories. The only question on the Irish offense comes on the line. But considering the way Weis turned castoff linemen into solid starters with the New England Patriots, that should not be a huge concern."—New York Times, Aug. 27, 2006

In the entire history of American sports hype, has there ever been any fraud more grossly fraudulent than Notre Dame football coach Charlie Weis?

Weis' Fighting Irish now stand at 1-7. This record is only the faintest indicator of just how awful Notre Dame is. They have lost nine of their last 10 games, by an average of 24 points. None has been close. While Notre Dame has suffered very few injuries, three of its opponents have had to play the Irish without their starting quarterbacks. Two of those teams, USC and Michigan, nonetheless beat Notre Dame by a larger margin than either has beaten any other opponent so far this year. Notre Dame's lone win came against UCLA, which had been forced to use its third-string quarterback, a walk-on. In that game, Notre Dame compiled just 140 yards of offense, but won with the help of seven Bruin turnovers, five of them hand-delivered courtesy of the hapless walk-on signal-caller.

Just how bad is Notre Dame? Of the 119 teams in Division I-A, ND is 119th in total offense, 119th in rushing offense, 112th in passing offense, and 118th in scoring. If Notre Dame had doubled its scoring output, it would still rank 108th. If it doubled its rushing output (currently 34 yards a game), it would barely eke out Duke for 118th place.

No one wants to eat his contract, and no one wants to admit failure. Don't worry, kids--Charlie Weis is the kind of coach who focuses on what is important, and he's not about to let distractions or phony issues distract his team:
Weis also said Monday that he put a stipulation on players who want to wear helmet visors, which Notre Dame hasn't previously allowed. The visors must be clear, saying he didn't want players to have "Darth Vader visors" because "I thought were way too Hollywood for Notre Dame."

He also required players who use visors to be clean shaven and clean cut. Most of the two dozen or so players who got the visors needed a haircut or a shave. Weis said he had a "conga line" of players coming through his office seeing whether their hair was short enough after a cut to get a visor.

"We had some fun with it," he said.

Of course, Weis could have just looked up the rules for college football:
Illegal Equipment:
ARTICLE 5. No player wearing illegal equipment shall be permitted to play. Any question as to the legality of a player’s equipment shall be decided by the umpire. Illegal equipment includes the following:

Eye shields that are not clear or made from molded or rigid material. Note: No player wearing illegal equipment shall be permitted to play. If illegal equipment is discovered by an official, the team shall be charged a team timeout.

National Federation of High School football Rule 1-5-3-n the rule is the same as the NCAA's. The eyeshield must be a molded rigid material that is 100% translucent without any color or tinting.

Hope this answers your question,

Vic Winnek
NCAA Football Official

Basically, you have the coach of Notre Dame football not knowing that darkened visors are illegal. It's one thing for the coach to say "dark visors are illegal" but Weis actually said, of the darkened visors, "I thought were way too Hollywood for Notre Dame." What a clown circus they have in South Bend.

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