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Time for Weis to go

Letter to the Editor | Thursday, September 25, 2008

“You are going to have a hard-hitting, intelligent, nasty football team.”

These words, spoken in such a matter-of-fact way by Coach Weis at the beginning of his tenure, gave Notre Dame fans around the country hope. After three years, it is clear that we will never have a “nasty” football team with Weis running the show.

I don’t hate Charlie Weis. He respects Notre Dame tradition, embraces student life and has touched many lives through volunteer efforts. The problem is simply that Charlie Weis is not a college football head coach.

While Weis displays a knowledge for the game and an uncanny ability to recruit talent, he is unable to combine the necessary skills to lead a college football team to a dominate level. In particular there are three main aspects of college football that Weis has been unable to grasp: motivation, game plan and putting his team in a position to excel.

Coach Weis is not a motivator. The team is semi-disciplined, but rarely come out of the tunnel with the determination to beat up good opponents. While Weis has a desire to win, the emotion of our players is more business than excitement. This probably stems from Weis’ NFL pedigree, but college is different. Teams need motivation.

Secondly, Weis has failed to create a successful college football playbook. It is clear that he understands the Xs and Os of football, but the college game is dramatically different than the pros. When you don’t have Brady Quinn’s natural ability to lead your team to wins over mediocre teams, you need to adjust the game plan. The 2007 and 2008 seasons have displayed questionable coaching time and time again. Weis seems scared to run a misdirection or a cross-rout now that his players aren’t NFL caliber. We have seen enough bubble screens, HB dives and fly-routs to last us a lifetime. What happened to a slant, post or pitch?

Finally, Weis has failed to set his team up to win. We clearly have the talent to win football games. We have had back-to-back-to-back top-10 recruiting classes. While a select few of these players have relied on their God-given talent to excel, the team as a whole is underdeveloped. Do you think Pete Carroll or Jim Tressel would have allowed themselves to be put in a position to lose nine games?

Attrition rate and lack of collegiate development are what put us in a position to have consecutive “off years”. Charlie Weis hasn’t desecrated our program, but our tradition of winning is fading, and has been for some time. You simply cannot go 3-9 at the University of Notre Dame. You cannot lose to the Naval Academy at home. And you certainly cannot lose by a combined 76-0 to your two greatest rivals.

We used to compete for the National Championship on a yearly basis. This is certainly no longer the norm. Sorry Charlie, but I simply cannot picture you winning a National Championship. You’re a good guy, a family man and a great recruiter. I’d certainly hire you as a quarterbacks coach.

You just are not a University of Notre Dame head football coach.

Michael Burdell


Stanford Hall

Sept. 23