Monday, December 13, 2004

The Passion of the Weis | by Mike

At Notre Dame, Charlie Weis will be judged on his ability to deliver wins. As he is the football coach, this is as it should be. And in his first press conference today, Weis made it clear he knows this:

Really, that's the bottom line in this business, folks. It's if you win or if you lose.
So graduating kids is of the most important, bringing in character kids who will make the university proud is important. But it's all about winning games, that's why there's a coaching change.
However, it’s almost nine months until the first game of the Weis era – so the wins and losses will have to wait. Until then, Notre Dame fans will enjoy having a coach that shares their passion for Notre Dame. Bob Davie’s distaste for the university’s alumni and their expectations was palpable. While Tyrone Willingham made an effort to embrace the university’s tradition, his recruiting pitch sold the opportunity to play for Tyrone Willingham, Molder of Men, rather than the opportunity to play for the University of Notre Dame.

Weis’s NFL success will be a powerful selling point to recruits, and Weis acknowledged this in his statements.
I'm going to be very honest with you now, when players going to college, when they go to front-line programs, they want to be able to play on Sundays. They want to play on Saturdays, so that they could end up playing on Sundays. Every one of them has aspirations when they come to major colleges to be able to play on Sundays. And I feel that one selling point that's a great advantage, not a disadvantage, I'm coming from teaching guys that play on Sundays…
However, Weis made it clear why recruits should come to Notre Dame.
So the first selling point it has to be is they have to want to come to Notre Dame because of Notre Dame.
Dealing with the press is an important part of coaching at Notre Dame. Of Notre Dame’s last three coaches, one thrived on the media spotlight, another wilted under it, and one adopted a standoffish approach. While winning cures all ills, Holtz demonstrated how a coach who is comfortable with the media can use it to his advantage. Weis’s ability to deal with the press has been a question mark. Parcells and Belichick both keep their assistants off limits to the media. While Weis’s press conference was encouraging, there are still unanswered questions. Weis demonstrated that he can be confident, disarming, and, at times, humorous:

Q. Wondering if you had a chance to see any Notre Dame games this past season and what your impressions were of the team?

COACH WEIS: How could you not see any of the games?

There was also a pointed exchange with South Bend Tribune reporter Jason Kelly, when Kelly brought up Weis’s surgery in impolitic fashion. While Kelly probably deserved what he got, one wonders how Weis will handle his first press conference as a head coach following a loss.

Nonetheless, there was much that was encouraging in Weis’s press conference. While the real evaluation begins September 3, 2005 when the Fightin’ Irish take the field against Pittsburgh, for now Notre Dame fans can savor Weis’s passion for the job.
So if you're going somewhere, you should go where you feel that both you and your family can be part of something special, and I can't think of any other place better to be part of something special than this place.

This is an end-all for our family. We come to Notre Dame, it's with the intent of retiring here. That's why we're coming here. We don't come here to bounce somewhere else. If that's what I was going to be doing, I would not be taking this job and I would be waiting till the season ended in the NFL and try to get one of those jobs. I'm here because I want to be here. I'm proud to be here.
Then again, maybe this is what Notre Dame fans really wanted to hear:
You are going to have a hard-working, intelligent, nasty football team that goes on the field because the attitude of the head coach will be permeated through the players. And I hate to include the nasty, but that is part of being a winning football team.