Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Weis gets it in a way Willingham never did | by Michael

and there are some incredibly promising developments going on.

None better than recruiting.

Former Irish CB verbal Brandon Harrison is expected to pick between Michigan and Iowa in an ESPN chat today. While losing Harrison is a big deal (regardless of what anybody says about 5'8 corners), I have noticed a huge difference between the first 24 hours of the Weis era and the first, oh, week or so after Willingham took over.

When Willingham took over, he took a long time to call back the current Irish verbals. In fact, he lost two of them. One of them was Jeremy Van Alstyne, who was projected to be in the DL mix for Michigan this year until an injury knocked him out. Check out what Van Alstyne's coach said back on January 14th, two weeks after Willingham took over.

"After (Tyrone) Willingham was hired, Jeremy never heard anything from Notre Dame. No home visits and no phone calls. I called Notre Dame myself and was told that Coach Willingham would call that night. He never called. Jeremy and I talked and he wanted to switch his commitment from Notre Dame to Michigan at that time.I told Jeremy we should wait and do this the right way. We wanted to give Notre Dame every chance to come in make their pitch. We never heard from Notre Dame so Jeremy called Michigan and committed."

That happened to other kids, too. Chris Olsen. This article is from Insiders.com (now Scout.com), and is dated January 8th - one full week after Willingham took over the team. It may be a paysite article, and you may not be able to access it, but here's the relevant part:

"No, he has not called me yet," Chris said. "I have not been in contact with anyone from Notre Dame since the new hire, but I'm hoping to hear from them sometime this week. It has not really hurt Notre Dame because I'm sure there is a good reason, I'm just going to wait and see about what they decide they want to do with me."

Now, let's check out Weis. Mike Frank of Irish Eyes called recruits last night and got their reaction to Weis' hire. Not only was he able to hear how they felt about their new head coach but he was also able to find out that they had actually talked to their new head coach.

For whatever reason, Weis, who only has been allowed two days out of seven to allocate toward Notre Dame while he's still employed as the Patriots' offensive coordinator, managed to call these recruits.

Charlie Weis was able to do in less than 24 hours what took Willingham days to accomplish - and in some cases, didn't get done whatsoever.

I'll say this...Derek Landri looked great last year, and Trevor Laws was impressive as a redshirt freshman, but I think most would agree that the loss of Greg Pauly wouldn't hurt so much had one phone call been made, and Jeremy Van Alstyne was playing for the Irish.


Finally, a shameless plug. Mike Frank is the best in the business at following Notre Dame football, and even more so, Notre Dame recruiting. There is no one who does it as well as he does. Everyone should check out that site and sign up immediately. You won't be disappointed. This is going to be an exciting time for Notre Dame football, and given the way Weis has already called our verbals and some outstanding recruits, I think we're going to see an aggressive recruiting approach that we haven't seen in some time. There will be lots of news, and most of it will be good. I think the example outlined above precisely demonstrates how and why Weis will be a much better recruiter than Willingham, and that's not even getting into the comparison of their assistants' recruiting prowess. Can't wait to do that post once we hire some guys...