That's right folks, Duke got themselves a win (against a Big Ten team nonetheless), and we are still staring at a bagel in the win column.
I didn't get a chance to watch the game, as I was a groomsmen in a friend's wedding. Normally, I'd be miffed about having a wedding on gameday and no way to catch even part of the game. But now, I'd like to thank him for sparing me that particular torture.
This is a dark day in Notre Dame football, and one that I am no longer placing on the shoulders of Tyrone Willingham. In fact, I have decided that I am turning the page on the Willingham era, and I will never utter his name on this blog again. The failures of this team are approaching such historical and monumental proportions that a lack of seniors on the team no longer suffices to explain this level of incompetence on offense.
Coach Weis is the head football coach, and also serves as the offensive coordinator. He will be the first to tell you that he is responsible for the performance of the organization that he is in charge of. As coordinator, he is also directly responsible for the performance of every aspect of the offense.
I respect and admire Coach Weis.
I believe that though recruiting he has done what is necessary to build a program capable of long term success.
I believe that he is a man of integrity that understands how to win and lose with class and character.
I believe that he understands the game of football incredibly well, better than any other coach in the college ranks.
I believe that he is a great leader and manager.
I believe that he is the right person for the head coaching position at Notre Dame, now and in the future.
But Weis talks all of the time about accountability. And now it's time to hold him accountable. At this point I have to question Coach Weis' ability as a teacher and motivator.
I agree with Coach Weis that he needs to go back to a training camp mentality, and re-install our basic packages - from an X's and O's standpoint. But he needs first to identify why he so utterly failed to teach them properly in the training camp he already had. If he just goes back to do the same installation, we'll get the same results. Identify the problem and fix it.
More importantly, he needs to find a way to get these kids excited again about playing the game. From what I have seen of yesterday's game, Weis' NFL approach to the game is insufficient to motivate 18 year old kids. Those players looked confused and demoralized yesterday, and showed no signs of the passion which makes Notre Dame football great, and which has inspired the greatest fanbase in the history of sport. Weis needs to learn from his young and energetic defensive coordinator, and spend some time talking to Coach Holtz about delivering a halftime or sideline speech. Maybe he should take some drama classes in the offseason. He needs to spend more time inspiring his players, like he did back in 2005 with "Pass Right."
He needs to remind these kids that this is a game and that they have to have some fun out there. He needs to inspire some passion for the game and get the team to display some of that promised nastiness.
It's time for Coach Weis to step up to the plate and earn his paycheck.
I don't care if we lose next week - in fact, I expect it. But Weis had damn well find a way to keep his quarterback on his feet and move the ball on the ground. And to establish an identity. If he can do that, winning will eventually follow. And he can stop making me look a fool for defending him every week.
Because if he can't find a way to do something right - and I mean THIS WEEK - I'm done being a Weis apologist. This is your last chance, coach.