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Change not coming yet

Matt Gamber | Thursday, November 13, 2008

No one reads The Observer’s sports blog (but here’s a shameless plug – you should! The address is observersportsblog.21cr.info), but if they did I might have some explaining to do.

Last week, I posted in defense of Notre Dame’s head football coach thinking it would take at least until the inevitable thrashing at USC for the massive influx of “Fire Charlie Weis” rumors, articles, letters and Web sites to really heat up. But thanks to Saturday’s debacle at Boston College, Christmas comes early.

As disheartening as the last two losses have been, Weis is still my – our -man. As athletic director Jack Swerbrick said yesterday, he has the program moving in the right direction.

But the Chicago Sun-Times and ESPN reports that Weis was “officially” on the hot seat were probably premature.

Unofficially though, in the court of fan opinion, he’s been on it since last year’s disaster. The 3-9 season wasn’t entirely his fault, and neither is this year’s 5-4 record that marks both improvement and disappointment.

But is the war in Iraq all George Bush’s fault? I don’t like him either, but there are other factors at work.

Can all the blame for the economic crisis be placed on investment banks? Fannie, Freddie and others also deserve some credit – pun intended.

Are Americans the only ones contributing to environmental decline? A few other countries have cars and trash, too.

How has the country tried to solve these problems? With a change in leadership (whether Obama can and will get it done is a topic for another column).

After the loss to Pitt, Weis altered the practice schedule. After the loss to BC, he’s taken over the offensive play-calling duties (a situation complicated by a death in Mike Haywood’s family – my condolences, by the way).

When Weis runs out of changes, Swarbrick and others might have to start making some. And that usually starts at the top.

It won’t happen this week, probably not this year, and chances are, not even after next year unless the team takes a major dive – which no one wants to see.

Alumni can complain to Fr. Jenkins and withhold their ticket donations, but until one of them comes up with the x-million dollars it would take to buy out Weis’ contract, it’ll all be moot.

That being said, it’s clear Weis needs to step it up – at least, he needs his team to step up for him.

Notre Dame needs to find some motivation – to save their coach’s job, to qualify for a bowl game, to avoid another embarrassing loss, to shut up whiney alumni – to turn things around.

Frankly, I don’t think anyone cares how the team does it – we just want wins.

Without them, the Notre Dame football program might be left looking for a leader that can instill a belief, validated or not, that “Yes, we can!”