Auburn Fires Up the BS Machine

So, it seems that Tuberville “resigned” and wasn’t fired. Right…

At least I’m not the only one that thinks this makes zero sense:

Sure, Tuberville doomed this season to mediocrity the minute he hired that offensive coordinator, the high school guru who promised to install the spread offense. Turns out that knowledge-wise, the guy had outkicked his coverage. Tuberville fired him a month into the season, admitted his mistake, and tried to minimize the damage. He didn’t pawn off the responsibility on anyone else. He took the blame and promised to fix the problem.

Yeah, those boosters, the ones who embarrassed you over Petrino, are still unhappy, but you’re Auburn. You’re bigger than that. No coach is going to win in the SEC every season. Tuberville has delivered for you for 10 years. Surely that engenders some loyalty from you to him.

Besides, you signed a contract that promised him $6 million if you let him go after the 2008 season. In these economic times, with people everywhere trying to hold on to their jobs and their mortgages, you surely aren’t stupid enough to spend $6 million paying a guy not to coach. No one could be that insensitive to the message that would send. Talk about misplaced priorities.

What’s that?

You let him go?

You’re going to pay him $6 million not to coach?

And start over from scratch? Against Nick Saban?

You’re kidding, right? Is there something about Tommy Tuberville that causes you to make agonizingly stupid decisions?

Forget I ever brought it up. Good luck finding a coach better than the one you just forced out.

And people say ND fans have unrealistic expectations…

I can’t even see how anyone even tries to justify this move. Although I’ve seen some “knowledgeable” Auburn fans try.

“His recruiting is slipping.” Really? Ok, so maybe he doesn’t have a blue chip QB in the program right now, but Auburn did have the #5 class for next season before they let Tuberville go, and today it has dropped to #12. Have fun watching that continue to drop as I’m sure this move loses more recruits. Oh and by the way, previous recruiting rankings (Scouts.com only goes back to the class of 2002, which would be the 2001 season’s recruiting):

2002: 11
2003: 16
2004: 31
2005: 22
2006: T-9
2007: 6
2008: 18

People are seriously going to bitch about recruiting? There is only one class in there outside the top 25 (oh and that was for the year Auburn was trying to give Tuberville the boot for the first time — SHOCKING the recruiting suffered then) and two in the top ten. Just wow.

“7-9 in the SEC the last two seasons.” Numbers are fun. Yeah let’s lump in the bad season with this year from the 2nd place finish Auburn had in the SEC West last season. No seriously, it makes perfect sense and I’m not being sarcastic. No not at all.

What a joke. So Auburn, 5-3 in the SEC last year was inexcusable right? Losses that year by the way were to Mississippi State, @ then #4 LSU (oh look the champs for that season), and @ then #10 Georiga. The only “bad” loss there is Mississippi State, but then Auburn bounced back and upset a then #4 Florida team in the Swamp.

“14-11 overall last two seasons.” Yay more fun with numbers. See there is this thing in statistics, in which if you see a major deviation from the mean you tend to toss out the result. This last season was Tommy’s worst since his first season in 1999. Completely forget that from 2000-2007 he went 75-27 (48-18 SEC). Yep those eight seasons shouldn’t buy him any loyalty at all. Hang him after the first bad one right?

“36-0 loss to Alabama this year.” I absolutely cannot believe this is a reason. Auburn had the #1 team in the nation kick you while you were down this year. Like no one saw that coming. Welcome to reality (and one that ND fans have been living for a while). I also love how quickly everyone at Auburn seem to forget Tuberville went 7-3 against Alabama and you just ended an amazing 6 year winning streak on the Tide. In case anyone is having trouble reading in between the lines, that means you just forced one of the most successful Iron Bowl coaches in your school’s history.

If anyone at Auburn seriously believes that starting from scratch is going to magically make Auburn beat a now fine-tuned Nick Saban machine in Alabama, I need to know what you are smoking. Good luck with that mess.

I have no idea who Auburn will hire. There seems to be this thought that Mike Leech will be coming and I don’t know why. I have a feeling that if Texas Tech will actually finish a contract negotiation, he will stay in Lubbock. Even if he goes to Auburn, where is your QB to run his offense? Hell, I’ll be surprised if that offense even works against the tougher SEC defenses. Not to mention, Leech isn’t exactly a defensive guru. Auburn fans did watch the OU/Tech game right?

This just blows my mind. Can I move that Auburn’s boosters, administration and AD are now more insane than ND could ever dream of being?

Tommy Tuberville Fired

So why am I posting about Auburn football? Well, my sister attends Auburn, so I have indeed become a fan of the team (as long as they don’t play the Irish).

Anyways, it seems that Tommy Tuberville’s 10 year tenure at Auburn is done.

I must say I am SHOCKED.

In his 10 years he led the Tigers to a 85-40 (52-30 in the SEC) record, won the SEC West 5 times, won the SEC Conference once, got hosed out of a national title in 2004 (Tigers went 13-0 winning the Sugar Bowl), a 7-3 record against rival Alabama (with a 6 game winning streak in there), had Auburn ranked in the top 25 6 seasons, was in the top 10 twice, and has a bowl record of 5-3 with a BCS win.

His sin? This last season going 5-7 (2-6) and snapping his 6 game win streak against Alabama, losing 38-0, which was his worst season since his first in 1999 going 5-6 (2-6). He attempted to start the season by moving to a spread option offense with a first year starting QB, Kodi Burns whom was quickly replaced by ex-Texas Tech Raider (and another first year starter) Chris Todd (sound familiar ND fans?), and abandoned that offensive plan firing his OC early in the season. Todd was later replaced by Kodi yet again and Auburn continued to see their offense struggle and their defense soon followed.

This is why I am against knee-jerk reactions to coach firings. In my opinion, Auburn has just highly hosed themselves and like I said about ND, I have no idea who in the hell they will replace him with. Auburn has one big problem and that is the lack of a solid QB. You don’t fire the coach because of that. Especially one that consistantly beats your biggest rival year in and year out, plus has you at the top of your conference pretty much every year.

Just unreal…

Had ND not given Weis the vote of confidence, I’d be all for giving Tuberville a good look. As I said earlier, I hope Swarbrick does indeed talk to possible candidates as a contingency plan and if Tuberville is still jobless in 2009, as an Irish fan, I definitely want him to be getting a call to gauge his interest if the ND job happened to open up.

Random Addendum: Holy crap today was a busy day for college football news…three posts in one day by me…yeesh. Don’t expect this kind of activity too often.

Let’s Go Bowling Part Deux

Quick hit post as it seems tonight will help in determining where the Irish end up in the bowls. I stated previously that the Sun Bowl would be the likely destination for a 6-6 Irish. Well, it seems there are some goofy bowl rules that don’t allow bowls with conference tie-ins take a 6-6 at large team if there is a conference team that has seven wins. If my explanation makes your head spin, maybe this will help.

In short, if Louisville beats Rutgers, the Irish could be Sun Bowl bound. If not, these are the other bowls we have been projected for:

Texas Bowl (Houston) vs. Rice
Hawaii Bowl vs. Hawaii
Poinsetta Bowl vs. BYU

It’s Official: Weis Will Be Back

I wanted to hold off making a post until I actually saw the official news and it came down this morning.

Needless to say, I agree with the decision, and I have definitely made my thoughts well known on the matter. For next year, this is easily the best decision for ND football. While I do hope we have a great turnaround next year so we can all laugh that we had this moment of panic, I am quite realistic on the situation. Swarbrick must test the waters of other potential candidates during the offseason and through the 2009 season in my opinion. When we fired Ty, our plan was get Urban Meyer and when that we really didn’t have a plan B. We should never find ourselves in that situation again.

I do honestly believe we wouldn’t be able to find a better coach to fill Weis’ shoes right now than Darth Sweathshirt himself. Believe me, I’m as outraged as anyone else with the last two years, but I don’t think we would’ve made ourselves any better by firing Weis out of pure rage and then bringing in yet another mediocre coach.

Of course now, ESPN and anyone wanting to trash Notre Dame will likely be playing the race card very heavily. As sad as that old argument is, I’m going to hate hearing it no matter how off base it is. So brace yourself you know it is coming. My major counterpoints to the BS:

  1. Look at his Washington tenure
  2. Still cares more about his golf game (see point #1, pulled the same crap there)
  3. He refuses to take responsibility for any mistakes (aka he’s quite classless)

I seriously feel bad for anyone that tries to paint the ND/Ty situation as an example for unequal opprotunities within NCAA for minority head football coaches. He is a horrible example to hang that hat on.

Anyways, on the bright side, this will very likely ensure we retain our current verbal commits and lead us into yet another top ten recruiting class without a doubt. At the very least, Weis will have done one thing and that is stock us full of talented players, and that bodes well for anyone that is walking the ND sidelines in the near future.

It is time to move forward in any case. Personally, I feel like the song and dance Swarbrick put on went on for far too long. For now, I am hoping Weis can start the 2009 campaign on the right foot and end the bowl losing streak. I don’t care who it is against, it needs to end, and it needs to end this year. Quite frankly, in terms of “Are we improving?” — that question will continued to be answered in this year’s bowl performance.

EDIT: Chin up, have some laughs.

6-6: Now What?

Watching in horror, I sat in front of the TV absolutely numb to yet another USC drumming of ND, seeing the all too familiar number 38 next to our opponents name (hey, at least we got 3 this time right?). As the game progressed, I knew what would be coming. There would be no good news for the next couple of weeks concerning ND football.

Pick your media poison — they are all saying singing a similar chorus. How much is it going to cost ND to buy out Weis’ contract? Will Weis be fired? Will Weis step down? Why hasn’t Weis been fired yet?

It has been a whirlwind of despair to say the least. Knowing that your current head coach now holds a worse winning percentage than both Davie and Willingham isn’t exactly the most encouraging stat in the world. Seeing ND get beaten for the seventh straight time against USC doesn’t help. Finishing 6-6 against a weak schedule is depressing.

So now what?

Weis won’t be having any type of meeting with AD Jack Swarbrick until next Monday and about the same time, we will find out our bowl fate as well. In the meantime, Weis is out recruiting in the West and Swarbrick will no doubt have every pissed off alum/administration member/donor/fan screaming in his ear to fire him.

Swarbrick, must to the anger of some it seems, has been standing fast on his stance that he will review the entire year and make the best decision for the program. It seems everyone is ready to say that the “best decision” is obviously to fire Weis. Folks on the fire Weis bandwagon also seem to not be too fond of hearing our AD mention things like GPA and graduation rates in Weis’ review. I’ve seen more than one post in regards to this topic saying ND clearly doesn’t have its priorities straight and should be focus far more on football than academic standards.

In my opinion we are currently at a very defining moment for ND football. Swarbrick, in his first year, has quite a large decision (no pun intended) in front of him. This decision isn’t just simply, fire a coach, get another and move on. ND for the most part used to have either one of two things happen: the coach would have a long tenure and retire (Ara, Leahy), or retire/resign on their own (Devine, Faust).

Not since the departure of Leahy has ND seen the program get hit so hard. Even then, only one of those coaches was actually fired by ND (Terry Brennan). Joe Kuharich resigned following Brennan, and frighteningly enough, there are some scary parallels:

[Kuharich] took the head coaching position at the University of Notre Dame in 1959, realizing a longtime ambition to return to his alma mater. He had earlier been courted by Notre Dame after the 1956 season, after the Irish finished 2-8, but before he had a chance to accept an offer, Terry Brennan was given a reprieve. He brought a professional touch to Irish football, putting shamrocks on the players’ helmets and shoulder stripes on their jerseys. Kuharich compiled a 17-23 record over four non-winning seasons and remains to this day the only coach ever to have an overall losing record at Notre Dame. Included was a school-record eight-game losing streak in 1960, a year in which the Irish would finish 2-8. It was one of the worst stretches in Notre Dame football history. The consensus opinion was that Kuharich never made the adjustment from pro football to college football, attempting to use complicated pro coaching techniques with collegiate players, and never adapted to the limited substitution rules in effect at the time, having big, immobile linemen playing both ways in an era where smaller, quicker players were preferred. He often said, “You win some and you lose some,” and seemed perfectly content finishing 5-5 every year. This did not sit well with the Irish faithful, who expected Notre Dame to beat everybody. The team played listlessly, showing no emotion. When the pressure of winning became too much to bear, Kuharich resigned in the spring of 1963 and assumed the post of supervisor of NFL officials. Because it was so late in the spring, Hugh Devore was named interim head coach while the search for a permanent replacement was being conducted. Little did Joe know at the time that the players he had recruited would come to within 93 seconds of an undefeated season and a national championship in 1964 under first-year coach Ara Parseghian.

Now, a couple things that I want to point out here. Yes, we have some scary parallels with what is going on now. And most of the complaints in the wiki article (which from the tone, sounds like it was written by a pissed off Irish fan), seem to be the only echos that we have been able to wake up the past couple of years. However, I want to point out two very, very critical points.

  1. ND Football has been bad, dreadful, God-awful, etc. before. This line of thinking that somehow the almighty program of ND doesn’t hit a rough spot somewhere along the line is completely out of place.
  2. Read the last bold excerpt. Ara nearly won a national title with the same players one of the worst coaches in ND history put together. I do wonder what would have happened had Kuharich coached another year (before anyone thinks I’m about to bash Ara, back off, I’m not, keep reading). Perhaps the results wouldn’t have been as good as Ara, but then again, what would the results have been if Ara wasn’t…well Ara.

And this comes back to my main point in my last post. I flat out don’t see another Ara-like coach out there right now that isn’t already employed. Weis is still putting together top-flight classes and laying down (and more importantly repairing) the foundation for ND football talent-wise. We are still a very young team for the most part and young teams don’t just figure it out automatically. Of course, that leads to the argument of Weis just can’t get production of the team and someone else can do better. Well oddly enough, let’s follow the Kuharich/Ara senario:

After an undisclosed initial disagreement, Parseghian was hired as Notre Dame’s 22nd head coach, inheriting a team that had finished 2-7 in 1963 and taking it to within 1:33 of an undefeated season and a national championship in 1964.

Ara’s superior organizational skills had a lot to do with this rapid turnaround as well as his ability to put the right players in the right positions. He discovered underutilized talent in quarterback John Huarte and end Jack Snow. These two players went on to set numerous school passing and receiving records and Huarte wound up as the 1964 Heisman Trophy winner, the first non-monogram winner ever to do so.

2005 ringing any bells? Underutilized talent (Jeff Samardzija) and being able to put people in the right places (his play schemes, leading to Quinn exploding). Hell, you could even say Weis nearly made a run at a title (OT loss to Michigan State, “Bush Push” loss to USC).

Weis is still, believe it or not, placing people in the right spots. Golden Tate was converted from RB to a huge WR threat. Michael Floyd starts over Harold Kamara and David Grimes as a freshman (and you can’t tell me not having him hasn’t killed the offense lately). On the defensive side of the ball Robert Blanton has made a huge impact as a freshmen CB. Pat Kuntz went from being called a horrible fit for a 3-4 defense to an amazing NT. Hell, even walk-on Mike Anello turned into a special teams phenom for ND. You can’t tell me that Weis hasn’t been squeezing out as much talent as he can from his young squad.

If we really want to take a real long, hard look at what is wrong with the team, does it completely fall on Weis? As I look at ND right now, the two biggest problems performance-wise that I see are the O-Line and Clausen’s regression.

Weis was able to scheme around O-Line problems in 2005 and 2006 by running a ton of screens, look routes and draw plays. Needless to say, other defenses have caught on. The problem is though, we can’t just switch to running the ball down people’s throats when we can’t block. I’ve been critical of certain play calls seeming “too cute” on things like 3rd and 1, but you know what…can you look at our O-Line and say for certain “Oh yeah, they’ll get that yard.” It is hard to follow the K.I.S.S. principle here when your team can’t perform the simple. So what happens next? You try to out-scheme and out-think easy situations to try to actually succeed.

So what does Weis need to do to remedy O-Line woes? Well, he sure as hell doesn’t know the precise fundamentals of blocking in my opinion, but guess what, he doesn’t teach them. The O-Line coach does. Clearly, Coach Latina has not been performing up to par. In Weis’ current recruiting run, I sure hope he is able to give Swarbrick name of a damn good O-Line coach as a part of his job defense. We clearly need it. I don’t care who the head coach is at ND — if the O-Line can’t do it’s job, we will forever be one dimensional and continue to be a mediocre football team.

So now, what about Clausen, isn’t Weis supposed to be the QB guru? Well, what if Clausen simply just isn’t the “guy” for ND. He wouldn’t be the first highly recruited QB to be a bust/mediocre player (see: his brothers). Now, I have no doubt he was the best choice to start this season, and remember, things didn’t exactly “click” for Quinn until his junior year.

At the very least, Weis made (in my opinion) a very wise move to resist the temptation of burning Dayne Crist’s red shirt year and throwing him into the fire. Best case scenario, Clausen goes through another bowl game and spring ball as well as fall camp with Crist competing for his job and comes out as the QB we all expected him to be. Worst case scenario, we find out Crist is the better player and he has four full years to work with.

There is no doubt in my mind if those two parts improve, this team comes out firing on all cylinders. The defense will improve not just from more experience, more talent and time with our new blitz-happy style, but also spending less time on the damned field. Improvement from the O-Line will make people at the very least respect our running game (and take a look a this year’s games…when we ran well, we dominated) which will open up the passing game and take the pressure off of whoever our QB is. Let’s be honest, how badly to you think defenses are really biting on play action passes when they know the D-Line is already in the backfield?

Is this all an entirely over-optimistic view of our current situation? Probably. Do I think I am too far off base in this analysis? Not really.

The fact of the matter is that Weis has indeed built a solid talent pool. Next year will be the first time in quite a while that we can look at the roster and see four consecutive top ten recruiting classes. And better yet, the transfers that most programs suffer from in getting such classes, doesn’t really seem to be affecting us. Clearly, the players and current recruits still believe in Weis despite the troubles we’ve had.

Whether or not fans don’t like to hear it, Weis has gotten the football team to have a 3.0+ GPA during his tenure and continued to hold a graduation rate above 95%. I don’t know about everyone else, but I would prefer to not be like most of the other top-flight programs that can’t graduate their players (and minority athletes, I’m looking at you Michigan). We seem to love to use this argument before on how we are “doing it right” and hearing that some people want to kick this to the curb is beyond me.

I’ve finally come to grips with the fact that ND currently is *gasp* rebuilding. This might be a dirty word for some ND fans, but is there any doubt that is what has been going on the past two years? Not everyone has an Alabama-like resurgence. Does anyone reading this think Michigan is going to recover from 3-9 to BCS/NC contender in one year? I sure don’t (and they are losing players on top of that). I know people aren’t happy with saying going 6-6 from 3-9 is improvement. I’m not either. However, if Clausen happens to hit a wide open receiver against Pitt and ND doesn’t blow a lead against Syracuse, we are all of a sudden 8-4 and I have a feeling I don’t even have to be writing this post.

There are so many variables going into next season that I believe it is impossible to say that firing Weis is going to be the cure-all for this situation. Make no mistake, I still believe this team underperformed and you do have to place some of the blame on Weis. And, should Weis keep his job, I fully expect nothing less than a 9 win season and winning a bowl game of worth — actually, I would expect this with any coach next season with our talent and schedule.

We don’t need to put another quarter in the coaching carousel this year. We don’t need to be like every other program in the nation that freaks out after a couple of bad seasons. Davie got 5 seasons with a similar winning percentage, and before anyone says “Well Ty got 3 with a similar record!”, I’m sick of hearing it. If there is any doubt that Ty can’t cut it, I direct you to look at Washington and ask their fans how they feel about his abilities coaching and recruiting. We shouldn’t be handcuffed by that decision. Given Weis’ performance with recruiting and his seasons, I don’t see why ND shouldn’t at least give him the same time as Davie.

Since people love to toss out the winning percentages and such as arguments to fire Weis, I want to leave you with some numbers. Everyone seems to be comfortable saying that 2007 was more the result of Ty leaving us in a recruiting hole, so taking that 3-9 season away from Weis you get:

Bob Davie: 35-25, .583 win percentage
Ty Willingham: 21-15, .583 win percentage
Charlie Weis: 25-12, .675 win percentage

And just to play fair, taking the worst season away from all coaches:

Bob Davie: 30-18, .625 win percentage
Ty Willingham: 16-8, .667 win percentage
Charlie Weis: 25-12, .675 win percentage

Food for thought.

Orange Crush

Saturday I felt like I was in the middle of a dream. Syracuse 24 – ND 23. The Irish lose on Senior Day — the one game on the schedule in which we beat the ever living hell out of the opposition and have every non-starting senior get their moment in the sun at Notre Dame Stadium. Instead, we had this:

Inexcusable. In a game that should have been nothing more than a glorified scrimmage and a celebration of seniors, we instead have senior David Bruton in tears over one of the worst losses in ND history.

As if the loss wasn’t bad enough, Yahoo! Sports decides to write a nice hack article and spin it so that it appears as if the student section was so pissed off by the loss, they threw snowballs at their own team. I won’t spend anymore time on that BS than this: If you qualify drunk college students throwing snowballs around in the first quarter as “pelting” their own team, you have lost your mind. Granted it shouldn’t have been happening in any fashion, but there is no reason to spin the article in such a ridiculous fashion.

I am angry, furious, and completely pissed off. I’ve detailed before our issues and problems and the positives this season has shown us. I have also detailed my opinion on the current differences between Ty and Weis. However, despite any credit I have tried to give Weis and believing that this is just a young team, we found ourselves on the losing end of a Syracuse game in which we blew a 4th quarter lead and used all of our timeouts well before Syracuse’s eventual game-winning drive.

Absolutely embarrassing.

Weis is now firmly planted on the hot seat. Past failures that were shaken off as building the program up are now huge glaring errors. His signature game is a loss to USC. His biggest win was against an overrated Michigan at the Big House in 2005. And in that time, he is 0-3 (and likely soon to be 0-4) against USC, had Michigan State plant their flag in our field, lost to Navy, lost to Air Force, and had the worst season in ND history at 3-9.

John Walters at NBC sports summed it up perfectly:

And, as Notre Dame heads out to USC for a game that will truly test its character next week, I leave you with these numbers:

Bob Davie, five seasons, 35-25 record.

Tyrone Willingham, three seasons, 21-15.

Charlie Weis, just under four seasons, 28-20.

What do each of the last three Notre Dame coaches have in common? As of today, the same exact winning percentage at Notre Dame: .583.

Simply unbelievable. We are now looking at the very real possibility of Weis being fired in the near future. And with USC currently being favored at 28.5 points at the writing of this article, we are starring a 6-6 regular season dead in the face. If all hell really breaks loose, we could also be looking at a Sun Bowl loss and ending the season with a 6-7 losing record and the bowl loss streak extended yet another year (hell we might not even make a bowl). Who would’ve thought things would be going this way after we started 4-1?

Ever since the Pitt loss, ND has looked to be in shambles. The fact though is that the problems that were being overshadowed are just now coming to light and everyone we played has figured it out. Our O-Line is still God awful. We can’t get a rushing game going to save our lives. So now we pin all of our hopes on a sophomore QB to carry our offense — oh and with that same horrid O-Line blocking for him and trying to give him “time” to pass. There is no doubt in my mind Clausen still doesn’t completely have it figured out. He throws a pretty long ball, but if we need to throw that 10-15 yard route, he tries to throw it through the receiver’s chest every time which more often results in inaccurate passes that our WR never have a prayer of making a play on. You flat out can’t win like that.

Our offense was so bad against Syracuse that we managed to turn a blocked punt and what should have been an easy score into an eventual 3rd and 40 and then punt the ball right back. Syracuse wasn’t in a position to ever win that game, but we sure as hell found every damned way to ensure that they stayed in it instead of being able to stomp on their throats and come out with an easy win.

This team isn’t motivated to play. We can’t seem to get it through the team’s skulls that every other team we face is just ready to pounce on Notre Dame and beat us rival or not. Why? Because we are Notre Dame and if you don’t love us, you hate us and you want that win — you want to be the team to further shove ND into the ground.

What happened to that nasty football team mentality? What happened to proving the rest of the nation that WE ARE ND damnit? Where is the chip on our shoulder? What happened to proving everyone wrong and making Lee Corso and Mark May eat their words Sunday morning? And as Rakes of Mallow pointed out, what the hell happened to this:

“You are what you are, folks, and right now you’re a 6-5 football team. And guess what, that’s just not good enough. That’s not good enough for you, and it’s certainly not going to be good enough for me. So, if you think they hired me here to go .500, you’ve got the wrong guy.” – Charlie Weis

I hope to hell that one of the reporters brings this quote up at his next press conference.

Just because we went 3-9 last year does NOT mean a current 6-5 record is anywhere near good enough. Why isn’t Charlie coming out and saying this and making his team believe this?

Has Weis underperformed? Yes. Are the past two years fireable offenses for a ND coach? Yes. Will he be fired? No. Should he be fired? No.

Yes, you read that right. Despite the fact that I think Weis has completely failed the team the past two years, I can’t see a good reason to fire him. This isn’t another cry of “give him another year” and “things will get better just wait.” We are more in a situation of “who in God’s name would we hire in his place?” and “will we lose some of our top recruits in doing so?”

The fact of the matter is that there is no “Urban Meyer” on the scene to prompt a quick firing. There are openings at far too many programs right now and there are also come high profile jobs in the mix too. Tennessee is now looking for someone to rebuild their program much like ND for instance. Staying in the SEC, Auburn’s head coach, Tommy Tubberville, has met with his AD and been told that he will be evaluated after the Alabama game. I don’t know about you, but I read that as: “Beat Bama or Get Fired”. I have a feeling that any top flight coach would rather take stabs at schools like that than to be yet another coach to fail at ND.

Firing Weis and then hiring yet another sub-par coach isn’t the answer. We will cycle back to the Daviham era all over again if we scramble for a last minute coaching replacement. Right now, ND needs to start looking for possible replacements. Test out the waters, and find out who is interested, and most importantly, find a proven head coach. The time for experiments is over, ND isn’t the place for on the job training. If you haven’t proven yourself as a head coach, apply elsewhere.

Weis isn’t dumb, he knows he is one solid head coaching candidate away from being canned. He also has the persona in which he would love for all of us to eat our words and proving us wrong. Unfortunately, I just can’t see that in the cards right now. Weis has been a great recruiter, but he hasn’t been coaching them and even more importantly motivating them like he should be.

I still want to believe, but reality is starting to set in. I am more and more convinced (much like many other fans) that the 2005 and 2006 seasons were a result of great players being great and having the Ty Willingham handcuffs removed. They motivated themselves, they wanted to prove everyone wrong, and they wanted to look at the rest of the nation and say “we told you so.”

Saturday we face USC. Motivating a ND team to play USC should not be hard, especially on the heels of a horrid loss. ND should be foaming at the mouth to take out all the anger, frustration and pain of the Syracuse loss on SC. If we come out flat yet again, there isn’t even a glimmer of hope for Weis. Weis has a chance to redeem himself and this team has a chance to make a statement to end the year.

As far as Weis goes, this is all the motivation he should need:

“9-3 isn’t good enough. 10-3 isn’t that much better. 3-9 is inexcusable. 6-5 wasn’t good enough for you or ND when you got here. We are 6-5 now and it still isn’t good enough. 6 straight losses to USC isn’t good enough and it is time to turn all of this around RIGHT NOW. Your time is running out.”

Go Irish. Beat Trojans. God help us.

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