Sunday, November 30, 2008

Notre Dame Football Annual Review

With the end of the season upon us, Jack Swarbrick has stated that the program will be evaluated at the end of the season, using the same metrics as every other program. Therefore, I thought I'd take a stab at evaluating the football team from Swarbrick's perspective, rather than the perspective of a pissed off and disappointed fan.

So, here are the metrics (in order of importance) I would use to evaluate the football program, were I the AD:

Coaching staff review: Evaluate the performance of each assistant coach, and make a determination as to whether or not each of those coaches should be retained.
Revenue generation: A cost/benefit analysis will be conducted for each program.
Alumni and fan support: Donations are not just financially important to the school, but are in fact a measurable that impact a school's reputation nationally.
Public relations: The public image of Notre Dame is very important not only for the University, but indeed for the entire Catholic faith.
Recruiting student-athletes: The lifeblood of every program, a coach must demonstrate an ability to attract top talent.
Academic commitment: Notre Dame is committed to the athletic performance of every part of the University, and that includes sports teams. GPA, grad rates, etc.
Moral integrity: Notre Dame is a Catholic institution of higher learning, and has always held themselves to a higher standard than their peers.
Program direction: Here are the ultimate measurables - wins and losses, rankings, and championships. This metric also looks at the overall direction of the program, and whether on the field performance meets expectations.


Corwin Brown - Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs
Total defense rank: 39
Scoring defense rank: 42
Pass defense rank: 30
Pass efficiency defense rank: 17
Recommendation: Retain

Michael Haywood - Offensive Coordinator/Running Backs
Total offense rank: 74
Scoring offense rank: 85
Rushing offense rank: 98
Fumbles lost rank: 77
Recommendation: Do not retain

Rob Ianello - Receivers Coach/Recruiting Coordinator
Pass offense rank: 46
Recruiting ranking (freshman class): #1 in country
Recommendation: Retain

John Latina - Asst. Head Coach (Offense)/Offensive Line
Rush offense rank: 98
Sacks allowed rank: 47
Tackles for loss allowed rank: 70
Recommendation: Do not retain

Jappy Oliver - Defensive Line Coach
Rushing defense rank: 62
Sacks rank: 82
Tackles for loss rank: 112
Recommendation: Do not retain

Bernie Parmalee - Tight Ends Coach
Developed Kyle Rudolph after several key losses
Recommendation: Retain

Brian Polian - Special Teams Coach
Punt return yardage defense rank: 34
Kickoff return yardage defense rank: 1
Net Punting rank: 60
Punt return rank: 52
Kick return rank: 85
Field goal rank: 32
Recommendation: Retain

Ron Powlus - Quarterbacks Coach
Pass offense rank: 46
Passes had intercepted rank: 106
Pass efficiency rank: 69
Jimmy clausen: 64th pass efficiency, 31st passing yards/gm, 24th total passing
Recommendation: Toss-up

Jon Tenuta - Asst. Head Coach (Defense)/Linebackers
Pass defense rank: 30
Pass efficiency defense rank: 17
Rushing defense rank: 62
Sacks rank: 82
Tackles for loss rank: 112
Recommendation: Toss-up

(I don't know enough about the grad assistants to grade them)


Notre Dame football is the most valuable property in college football, and generates the most revenue of any program in college sports. However, the revenue for this property is not being maximized. There will be only minimal bowl revenue, and national merchandising is down.


While I don't have measurables for this criterion, I do live in South Bend, write this blog, peruse message boards, attend games, talk to fellow alumni, fans, staff and other college football fans every chance I get.

Alumni and fan support is at a low we haven't seen since Ty Willingham was fired. There are still fans out there that want to see Weis retained, but the overall sense is that Weis is not achieving.

The consensus seems to be that the coach should be fired (or resign), and that we should replace him with a Tier 1 coaching candidate. However, there is a lot of fear about our ability to attract a Tier 1 coach.

Unlike the Willingham firing, I have not heard, anecdotally or otherwise, that Weis' recent failures have led to the wwithholding of donations to the University. Yet.


Hansen, South Bend Tribune

Wieneke, South Bend Tribune

Carroll, South Bend Tribune

Morrissey, Chicago Tribune

Greenstein, Chicago Tribune

Fort-Wayne Journal Gazette

Chicago Sun Times

O'Leary, Blue and Gold

Incoming class recruiting rank: 10/11
Freshman class recruiting rank: 2/2
Sophomore class recruiting rank: 8/11
Junior class recruiting rank: 8/5
Senior class recruiting rank: 40/27


Academic Progress Report

Coach Weis has done an excellent job of maintaining the academic integrity of the football program throughout his time here. His teams have high team GPAs, the players graduate, and there have been no major academic violations. (Rumor had it that Darrin Walls was involved in some academic misconduct, but that is completely unsubstantiated. If true, it may impact this review.)


Weis has often been called onto the carpet for his personal conduct, whether it be his abrasive personality or his penchant for cursing like a sailor. However, taken as a whole, Weis is an excellent ambassador for our football team, media reports notwithstanding. His charity work with Hannah and Friends, and stories like "Pass Right" show an ongoing commitment to social justice and a personal moral integrity.


Expectations: Notre Dame football is a Tier 1 football program, with the most storied history of success. In terms of wins and losses, Notre Dame should be able to maintain their winning percentage at 75% (currently 0.738). Also, Notre Dame needs to be able to average 1 AP National Championship per decade, and winning a Heisman Trophy on average every 15 years. BCS bowl games should be reached 2 out of every three years, and the Gator or Cotton Bowl on the odd year. Notre Dame should never be in a lower bowl game, much less have a losing season, except in rare instances. Bowl games should be won at above a 50% rate.

Winning Percentage: Notre Dame football has a 6-6 record (0.500) this season. Coach Weis has a 28-21 overall record (0.571). The past two years, Weis has posted a 9-15 record (0.375), an all-time low for Notre Dame over a two year stretch.

National Championships: Weis has not won a championship at Notre Dame.

Bowl games: In Weis' four-year career, he has had 1 losing season, where Notre Dame did not attend a bowl game. This is unacceptable. Weis did make a BCS game 2 out of 4 years, which is good, but not at standard. He has lost both bowl appearances. He is bowl eligible this year, but is going to go to a lower tier bowl, which is also unacceptable.

Direction: There is no evidence that this team is improving at a satisfactory rate. There are serious questions about Weis' ability as a coach and in player development. Recruiting has been corrected, and there is a lot of talent coming in to the University, but Weis has been unable to translate that into on-the-field success.


Weis has not met the expectations for the football program on the football field. His inability to field a competitive football team has damaged alumni and fan support, and has led to a firestorm of public relations outcry for a change. Several of his assistant coaches have not performed up to expectations. The areas which he promised the most improvement in, specifically offensive performance, have been severely deficient.

It is my recommendation that, after this review, a search for a new football coach be undertaken immediately. Allow Weis to remain on as head coach through the bowl game while we determine if there is a coach available and willing to take the position. If a suitable upgrade can be found, we will terminate Coach Weis' contract at the end of the season. If not, we will retain him for one more season, and re-evaluate then.


Dekom said...

Grab a mop, a broom, and one of these guys:

Urban Meyer, UF. It was love once...and a repeat customer is your easiest sale. And if there is a promotion from a top tier program like UF, it's ND.

Brian Kelley, Cincy. Good record and won't put nearly so much stress on an office chair.

Mike Leach, TTech ND is stocked w WR's but has trouble getting yards on a treadmill. So let's use the best offensive scheme for what we got.

Jeff Jagdssdcbcjdcvy, BC. Seems to enjoy beating ND.

Paul Johnson, GTech. Just turned water into wine at Tech, after walking on same at Navy.

Anonymous said...

Interesting evaluation. For the replacement, I vote for Brian Kelley FIRST and then Paul Johnson A VERY CLOSE SECOND.

Anonymous said...

I like the cost benefit analysis, leave it to you lawyers.
Dekom, your right; there's a huge pile of dung in South Bend. I've been following B. Kelly for a while and think he's the best choice. Johnson is a good coach, but I don't think we have the triple option athletes. It will be interesting to see if Mr. Swarbrick
has any real power or is just another company PR man.
The goose is on life support, does ND want to live without the eggs?

Anonymous said...

Several mitigating factors this year-Oliver & Tenuta to be RETAINED based on past successes and young talent this year. Comment about Walls was inappropriate-and even if true CW still has a great academic record. If your standards could have been met from day one with no missteps well then TY would still be our coach!? CW given at least 5 years to make progress. RETAIN!!!

Anonymous said...

Unless we can get a top flight Proven College Coach to somehow leave his current program, I think the only choice is to retain..

Unfortunately, Charlies first true class... the highly heralded and large current junior class has been a big disappointment with transfers, injuries and suspensions(Walls & Yeatman)and overall mediocre performance..

As such, the vast majority of our talent resides in the current freshman and sophomore class along with the incoming recruits..
Can the current staff delevelop them to their full potential? So far, the results are not good.... so, at the very least, positional coaching changes must be made...

Also, The current firestorm surrounding the current staff will hurt.... Unfortunately, I feel that we will lose some of our remaining talent unless this situation is handled quckly and decisively.....

I believe that a decision must be made sooner rather than later..

I can live with it, either way, but we can't live with the current, houly rumors of Charlies demise.. Either keep him or dismiss him but do it sooner than later..for everyones sake!!

Anonymous said...

Paul Johnson? ND doesn't have the players to run his offense. Jimmy can't be a option QB, Crist might be able to be, but he has such a good arm and pocket presence (according to HS highlight vids and scouting, of course) that it would be pointless to waste his talent running the option. Plus, did you forget players like Golden Tate, Kyle Rudolph, Michael Floyd and the incoming players like Nysher Olver and Shaquille Evans?

I love Paul Johnson, but he's not for ND, not now.

If anyone is the best candidate, it would be Brian Kelly. The guy has made water into wine at both of his D-1 coaching stops, Central Michigan and Cincinnati. He's turned around mediocre programs in very little time and instilled fire and confidence in his players. Let's face it, at this point, ND is a mediocre program that needs to be turned around. He's the guy to do it.

Of course, Urban Meyer would be a steal to get. ND would likely lose the least of their incoming recuits if he was named the HC (with Kelly a close second) and he has said it's his dream job. I'd think that Mike Leach wouldn't fit in at ND. He's too scatagorical and laid-back to suit the expectations. He may win a lot, but his teams are rarely dominant. He's an insurgent (hence the love affair with pirates), not a commander.

Jimmy said...

You can't change coaches every 3 years and expect to win. That kind of turnover spells disaster.

I agree with some of the reviews, but not all. Tenuta for one. This is his first year. How do you fire after year one? that is the problem with this kind of analysis. Leadership in a program depends on some stability.

On the Walls issue, inappropriate. Even if true, the issue is being addressed. That is a positive. If nothing were done (like at SC) You would have a case.

One that I agree with: Latina. Last year was a disaster and should have been a forshadowing of the chronic problerms running the ball and pass protecting consistency this year. It will not improve dramatically next year. We need someone who can develop offensive linemen.

Gerard said...

As a Navy grad, I watched Paul Johnson closely and can state without reservation that he possesses the moral standard that ND would expect of a head coach, He also has an exceptional football mind, and has proven that he can do great things in a national spotlight. If he is available at all, ND should make him the top choice for the head coaching job.