Letter to the Editor | Monday, November 17, 2008
Although we have long been skeptical of Charlie Weis’ ability to be a successful college head coach, my roommate and I have tried to remain quiet as others attempted to identify specifically what the problem has been. This latest debacle of a football game against Navy has proven to finally break our silence. So why is our football team performing so poorly? The bottom line is that our head coach makes horrible decisions at horrible times. Let’s recap some of these decisions, specifically those Coach Weis made during this weekend’s stroke-inducing victory over Navy.
In no particular order, there was the QB-read sneak on 3rd & 4 (note that even if successful, this play usually goes for 2-3 yards, still short of the first down); running the Wildcat offense for the first time this year on a 3rd & 5 with Golden Tate taking the snap (who, as much as we love his playmaking ability, has never been a passing threat); putting in our second string players with 9 minutes left and only a 20 point lead (a 5-4 team should never be that confident); and finally going for it on 4th & 3 from Navy’s 48-yard line (with said second string players still in the game) giving Navy a shorter field to drive down and score than if we had punted. It was also painfully obvious during all three of Navy’s onside kick attempts that our team has not practiced the proper way to defend against such a kick. Our players stood still, waiting to get run over instead of charging the ball and jumping to meet it at its highest point.
How about some other notable decisions from the past four years: a pass on 4th and 1 (from midfield) in a tie game against Pittsburgh with 50 seconds left; the fake punt against LSU in the Sugar Bowl on 4th and 13 from our own 30 yard line on the first drive of the game; not attempting a 43-yard field goal against Navy last year; and last, but not least, he once even started Demetrius Jones. Furthermore, there is the noticeable lack of discipline our team displays each week – arguably the only thing a head coach truly has control of. We watch dumbfounded each Saturday, as our team commits mental mistakes (“False start, number 74 offense,” anyone?) and personal fouls (Toryan Smith’s endzone dive, or perhaps Harrison Smith’s late-hit against Pitt after a 3rd down stand, a huge momentum swing). What’s worse is that these infractions go unpunished. The players get their 10-second lecture then they’re on their merry way and back playing in the next series. Charlie Weis has simply lacked the ability to coach, which in the barest sense of the word is the ability to teach others about the game of football.
Yes, his recruiting classes have been spectacular. Unfortunately, that doesn’t matter if you can’t develop that talent into something useful. We thought he had this ability when Brady Quinn’s 50 percent completion percentage his sophomore year turned into a 65 percent rate his first year under Weis. However that just means maybe he would be an amazing quarterbacks coach. As far as head coaching goes, he just doesn’t have what Notre Dame is looking for. Three years later Charlie’s signature game is still a 31-28 loss to USC.