The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Weis knows nasty is needed

Matt Lozar | Tuesday, December 14, 2004

It stuck out like the diamond-filled ring that weighs down his right hand.

In the middle of his lengthy opening statement, new Notre Dame football coach Charlie Weis described what his team would be.

Hard working – Weis knows first-hand championship football teams aren’t made by going through the motions.

Intelligent – at Notre Dame, Weis already has an advantage.

Nasty – wait a second.

“And I hate to include the nasty, but that is part of being a winning football team,” Weis explained.

After three years of politically correct Tyrone Willingham always having the right answer to every question, Weis opened some eyes at his first press conference.

One common theory in replacing a leader is to go for the opposite of the person being replaced.

Weis isn’t the exact opposite of Willingham. Both understand the first and foremost responsibility of the coach at Notre Dame is to win and win often. That’s why a new coach was announced Monday.

But Willingham never talked about his team being nasty. Having a swagger, yes. Being nasty, no.

There is a difference.

Weis comes from the Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick coaching pedigree. Knowing anything about those two top-flight coaches reveals they are no-nonsense kind of people who don’t make excuses for anything.

Parcells throws his rookies into the fire and chastises them when they ask for a play off. Just ask Julius Jones how well that’s worked.

Belichick won’t acknowledge injuries as an excuse in New England this year. The Patriots have been forced him into using wide receiver Troy Brown as a defensive back. By the way, the Patriots are 12-1.

Weis refused to make excuses Monday about the academic standards for recruiting, the challenging schedule and juggling act he’ll have to perform holding two jobs for what many hope is until Feb. 6 in the winning locker room at Super Bowl XXXIX.

The players really didn’t know what to think upon hearing Weis’ nasty comment during the press conference.

They remember an offensive coordinator from the Super Bowl champions as something more than just a run-of-the-mill guest speaker during a winter practice. He criticized them and after that initial shock, the players realized this guy knows what he is talking about.

Hearing the nasty comment Monday morning provided another eye-opener for the players.

But they let it sink in again.

And they liked it.

Just ask Justin Tuck and Brady Quinn.

After meeting with Weis Monday afternoon for the second time in as many days, the two leaders left the Joyce Center with a bounce in their step and smiles on their faces.

It didn’t matter that it was finals week.

It didn’t matter that it was a winter wonderland in South Bend.

It didn’t matter that Tuck has all the temptation in the world to declare a year early for the NFL draft.

They wanted to strap on the pads right there.


They know that nasty wins.

Just look at Weis’ right hand.

The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Contact Matt Lozar at [email protected]