Monday, September 14, 2009

Stuck Between Stations | by Dylan

Or more appropriately, between stages, 4 and 5 to be precise. A metaphysical oddity.

I may have, in the heat of the moment, lost my everloving shit after the game on Saturday. Immediately following the final whistle, I wrote "Weis is a profoundly stupid man" to some friends. I said that Notre Dame will never win while he is the head coach. I gave in to that urge that compels all internet know-it-all dweebs and gave voice to my outrage, which was pure. But, much like a California Roll, my anger tickled my tongue but left me, ultimately, empty. There's no place for such damning absolutes, especially considering the target of my scornful rant; a fellow alum, a man who loves Notre Dame, someone who deserves my respect and, unfortunately, my sympathy. This man is no saboteur, nor is he a fraud. However, he is also deserving of criticism and, frankly, a vote of no confidence.

Weis is not“profoundly stupid.” He has designed a spectacular offense that he, on occasion, voluntarily derails while admiring his own reflection. I still think it’s very unlikely that he can ever make it through a full season without hamstringing his team’s chances of winning (can you imagine him getting through 13 games without one of those all-too-predictable boneheaded maneuvers?), and so I still think it’s unlikely we’ll win a championship with him at the helm. He’s too unconventional and has too much faith in his own sense of panache. His “take what the defense gives you” approach has the college game exactly backwards, I think, at least if you’re the more talented team. Why react? Execute a plan and take advantage of the defense’s (over)reactions. Not to dwell on the glory days, but I remember Lou Holtz sending guys into eight-man fronts, getting their heads bashed in for seemingly no good reason. But I remember loving those plays, because I knew that we’d burn the other guys in the third quarter. We’d exert our physical superiority.

Which segues, in a way, into my point, such as it is. I don’t see this game as the typical Weissian failure (and there have been many), and I guess that eases my mind a bit. It actually reminds me of post-1993 set-in-his-ways Holtz, when it always seemed that we had a 35 points-per-game offense and a 36 points-per-game defense. I remember stewing over various “prevent defense” calamities, watching huge chunks of yards yielded in the minutes before the ends of halves. Weis is the head coach, and I think he made an error at the end of the game, but he hired a great defensive coordinator who happens to have no idea how to defend the spread. We lost because we gave up 38 points to those freaking nitwits. 34 points and 500 yards (and the 100+ yards that were stolen) should have been enough.

So what now? Well, we need to win 10, 11 games. We need to get radical improvement from our defensive line. We need to see some offensive coherence whereby we avoid catastrophic quarters where we run nine plays to our opponents twenty-six (or whatever). If we don’t do those things, we pray. We pray that there is a great coach out there looking to coach at Notre Dame. If there isn’t, rinse, repeat.