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Four years with Charlie

Jason Coleman | Wednesday, December 2, 2009

There are a lot of ways to look at my last four years of Notre Dame football. I could be disappointed. I could be enraged. It’s hard not to get a little nostalgic. But it’s also hard not to be a little bitter. Let’s take it year by year.

Coming into Notre Dame, the hype was unbearable. Notre Dame was No. 2 pre-season and had a big opener with Penn State. Before choosing Notre Dame, I wasn’t well-versed in college football, and was excited to get my education, as we crushed teams all the way to a championship. As a resident of Zahm, we were allowed to go into the stadium early to pass out those green “9-3 isn’t good enough” towels. I excitedly called my parents about that, and looked forward to the game the entire week. Looking back, that first 41-17 victory over then No. 19 Penn State would be the best game of my four years. It would be all downhill from there. We got through the rest of the season with ten wins, suffering only serious breakdowns to Michigan and USC.

Sophomore year, as we all know, was a total disaster. It took us quite a few trys to get a win. Regardless, I went up to Ann Arbor to witness the first time Michigan and Notre Dame had ever played each other without a win between them. The weekend was great and there was a certain camaraderie among both sides as a result of our less than stellar records. When all was said and done, Charlie’s magic had certainly diminished, but we were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. After all, he had lost a ton of talent.
The last two years have played out pretty much the same. We started out strong, win some games, and then tank. The class of 2010 has the distinct privilege of losing to Navy twice at home, USC twice at home, Michigan once at home and twice in Ann Arbor, and of course the crowning loss to UCONN on Senior Day. After the first year, we kept him, as in good faith that that the program was back on the rise. However, after another break-even season, one remembers the old saying, “fool me once, shame on me; fool me twice, shame on you.” And with that, the Weis era comes to a close.

I don’t mean to sound bitter, but it’s hard not to when looking back over the on field disappointment. However, I have a great satisfaction with my four years of football. We didn’t get a championship, but I did get to go to Ann Arbor twice and see the huge tradition behind that game. I did get to witness Brady Quinn come into his own, and I did get to stand off against rabid LSU fans on Bourbon St. This year almost every game day was perfect weather, allowing for historic tailgates, great pre-game traditions and a hope every week that we would win. Nearly every game this year was exciting, with most of them settled only in the closing minute or two, and the marshmallow fight was the best of all.

There are also the positive take-always. I will always be able to tell future generations of Notre Dame students who complain about losing a game here or there that they didn’t have to live through the 2007 season. Even better, once I become an alumnus, my horizon for a national championship effectively goes to infinity. That is to say, I’ve got all the time in the world now.

Charlie may have never given me the year-in, year-out title runs that I hoped for, but he still gave us a team worth rooting for, a no-nonsense approach to the game, and an exciting couple of years. For that I am thankful.

Jason Coleman is a senior accounting major. He can be contacted at coleman.70@nd.edu

The views expressed in this column are those of the author anotre dame not necessarily those of The Observer.