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Too soon for ‘Weis watch’

Letter to the Editor | Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Monday, Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun Times wrote an article entitled “‘Weis Watch’ has begun at ND”. The article doesn’t need to be read for the gist of it to be understood: Coach Charlie Weis is on borrowed time. It was all over ESPN at around 3 pm Monday, discussed on “College Football Live,” “Around The Horn” and “Pardon The Interruption.” Weis’ winning percentage, winning record against winning teams and all the negative statistics are thrown around.

One ESPN reporter (Joe Schad) said that the biggest reason Weis won’t be fired is the buyout on his contract. Campus is groaning with discontent and frustration. And it’s all understandable. Why write a letter to point this all out?

Because it needs to stop. Being a fan doesn’t mean unabashed green Kool-Aid drinking. It does mean supporting your team and every part of it, but is not mutually exclusive from being critical. I’m tired of hearing the groans even though I agree with a fair chunk of them.

I, too, want the nasty team we were promised. It’s hard to watch our running game flounder while a team in East Lansing – the now proud little brother in that state – runs smash mouth football behind a 3-star running back from Dayton, Ohio that the previous regime didn’t even take a crack at recruiting. I thought this team grew up faster than we all expected.

Ah, yes. Expectations. Remember at the start of the year, when everyone, including people here on campus, expected us to go 7-5 or 8-4? Why is it that this is now unacceptable to people? What did everyone expect our young team’s growing pains to look like? What did everyone expect our losses to look like? Close losses are now unacceptable, as is being shut-out by a team with a Top 10 defense, and games that we admittedly gave away. Did we, as fans, expect too much after some glimmers of what will be against teams who aren’t very good?

The losses are met with calls for the coach’s head and that the players don’t have the heart or will to win. You, the reader of this letter, probably know a player. Ask him how much he enjoys losing. I’d be willing to bet that he’d rather win. A lot more. As for the coach, who inherited a myriad of recruiting problems, has hauled in three great-to-stellar recruiting classes, with a fourth on the way.

People expect all of our freshmen to be Michael Floyd, and they all can’t be that. He’s a freak. But how about the most underrated player on our team, Mike Turkovich, a senior who is just now making serious contributions on the field and has been a rock a left tackle. I didn’t expect it when I, at all of 5’10”, attempted to post him up in bookstore basketball last year. Some people take time to mature. Most do, in fact.

Meanwhile Coach Weis is holed up in his “bunker” trying to get ready for Navy and secure another top recruiting class. Let next year be the one in which judgment is passed. Next year, it will be his players and the team will no longer be “young,” with a junior quarterback leading the way. Realize these are the growing pains you knew were coming at the beginning of the year, but somehow forgot about along the way. Because sophomores and freshmen can’t lead a team. Not yet.

Keep the faith. After all, patience is a virtue.

Nathan Bernardi


off campus

Nov. 10