Saturday, December 11, 2004

Saturday Morning Quarterbacking | by Dylan

Since it hasn’t officially happened yet (though there are solid reasons to believe it will soon), I’ll make some (hopefully) premature remarks about how Charlie Weis came to be the head coach of the Fighting Irish.

While Weis is a spectacularly successful NFL offensive coordinator, and while he may be exactly the right guy to bring ND back from the near-dead, his hiring would demonstrate that the systemic problems that existed one month and one year ago have not been corrected. They’re simply being perpetrated by a new cast of characters. I wish Coach Weis well and I think he’s going to be fine, but the events that led to his hiring were a series of unmitigated disasters, borne of incompetence, beginning the moment Ty Willingham was (rightly) fired.

The ascendant faction in the BOT acted too quickly by firing Willingham without a replacement in hand. “Agreements in principle” are worth exactly as much as the paper they’re printed on. Nothing. If they felt that Meyer was the answer, they needed to have a signature before Ty was canned. From the moment we fired Willingham, we have been in free-fall a la Wile E. Coyote, grabbing at branches on the way down. Whiffing on Meyer put us into a time crunch. The stunning thing is that this was entirely foreseeable. The same thing happened 3 short years ago. We should have learned. By denying ourselves essential time, we narrowed our field of vision.

As was the case in 2001, in the past week we have found ourselves flailing at NFL head coaches who had one to two months of the season to work through, and one college coach in particular who was preparing to play in the National Championship game. By repeating the mistakes of ’01, by not allowing ourselves enough time, we made the failure to land Gruden, Shanahan, or Stoops a fait accompli.

The product of this breakdown in discipline has been what appears to be the hiring of a man who has one year of head-coaching experience – in high school; someone who, on 11/30 should not have reasonably been considered among the top ten candidates for the job. By that measure, this is another failure, both of leadership and of vision. I hope, as do all Irish fans, that, in spite of this botched process, we have found the next Pete Carroll.

Now, with that all (potentially) behind us, GO IRISH!