Apparently, my dreams of a competent coaching search and qualified relacement for Coach Weis are just that - dreams.
According to Mike Frank at Irish Eyes, Weis will return as head football coach next year.
With the timing outlined in my previous post, I have to figure that after whiffing on the top candidates, Kelly passed as well, leaving Swarbrick with no legitimate candidates to replace Weis.
Apparently nobody else wants this job, so we're stuck with the guy we've got.
I guess that means it's time to dust myself off, wipe away the tears, and try to climb back on the bandwagon.
Before the Syracuse loss, I was always on the Weis bandwagon, and thought that he would get it all figured out eventually. And I still think he's smart enough and works hard enough to get it turned around - eventually.
But I think this reclamation project is going to take much longer than I anticipated.
Next year, the team will be much better than this year. However, another big loss to USC seems inevitable, and with the way Weis has coached, another 2-3 losses seem inevitable as well. I feel like a new coach could have walked into this program and contended for a title NEXT YEAR. I don't feel the same about Weis.
In 2010, we'll be loaded with experience, depth, talent, and have a manageable schedule that could put us in a position to go to the promised land. And that's why I wanted a new coach now, because I'm not sure Weis can get Humpty-Dumpty put back together again in time for a title run in 2010. Oh, we're a shoe in for the BCS, but a title? I don't see it.
Time to hunker down and accept that Rome wasn't rebuilt in a day.
Weis needs to make some big changes in this offseason.
First of all, none of this "I'm not making any scapegoats" bullshit that kept the entire staff in place last year. It's time to make some changes.
Here's how I see things shaking out in the offseason:
Corwin Brown moves on to Eastern Michigan as their head coach. This guy is a great coach and will do well in his future career.
We'll move Tenuta to the Defensive Coordinator role, all by his lonesome. The defense will be his to do with as he will.
While I still have high hopes for Latina, it's likely that he will be gone. The fanbase needs blood, and Latina's name has been at the top of the list for almost three years now. Our running game is horrible, and that falls on the offensive line. Also, Andy Heck is sitting out there, waiting to be lured to South Bend.
Haywood needs to go. The offense was our weakness this year, and Haywood is also responsible for the running backs, who have underperformed this year. It's time for Weis to admit that he isn't the offensive coordinator anymore, and go hire somebody to take over. Of course, Weis will pick a guy that runs a pro-style offense, and that's fine, but Weis needs to be hands-off here, except for inpuit on the gameplan. If Swarbrick makes anything clear to Weis this offseason, it should be that Weis is responsible for finding the best available EXPERIENCED offensive coordinator available, and do whatever it takes to get him to South Bend.
The only way I accept not hiring an experienced offensive coordinator is if we promote Rob Ianello to the position. Ianello is too valuable an asset to this team to let him move on to greener pastures. He has done an outstanding job of coaching the receivers, and is the best recruiter in the game. He's been in this offensive system for a while now, and I have more faith in his competence than I have ever had in Haywood.
Keep Polian, and leave him in charge of special teams. I was not high on this kid the last couple of years, but he produced this year, and the special teams improved as the season went on. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Finally, we need a new defensive line coach. Again, open up the pocketbook here, and go get someone that kids like to play for. We've struggled in recruiting here, so we need someone who has a resume that stands on it's own. Oliver rode Minter's coattails into town, and just never left.
Keep Parmalee - Tight End recruiting has been spectacular, and the development of tight ends has never seen the slightest hiccup - from Fasano, to Carlson, to Rudolph. This guy stays right where he is.
The final change I'd like to see is Weis show some humility. He needs to come out to the fanbase and apologize for the past two seasons. He needs to give us a plan moving forward, and admit his fault in this nosedive. Weis often talks about how he doesn't read the press clippings, and doesn't know what's said about him. Maybe it's time to start listening a little bit. You can't change perception if you don't even know what that perception is. Start acting like someone who is rolling up his sleeves and getting to work - no more talk. We need results.
Finding a way to land Manti Te'o and ink the #1 overall recruiting class for next year would be a good way to start.
While I'm disappointed that Weis is back next year, I'm still hopeful for the future of the program. At this point, I don't think there is much that Weis can do to get fired in the next couple of seasons, as the talent alone should be able to win 9 games next year, and 10 the year after that.
I know Weis is a smart guy. I know he works his ass off. I know he cares deeply about Notre Dame. And I desperately want him to succeed. I bleed Blue and Gold, and wanted him gone not because I dislike or disrespect him, but because he led this team into the worst two game stretch in history. And I'm tired of having my heart broken by this team.
Weis has some fences to mend this offseason.
And they say winning heals everything.