Monday, January 03, 2005

Two-Hat Charlie | by Jay

Our new coach had a Patriots press conference today, and understandably, a lot of Notre Dame questions were mixed in among the Patriots' playoff chatter. The thing bounced back and forth so much, it produced this moment of unintentional humor:

Q: In your offensive philosophy, how much was drafting talent that will fit into your system versus taking what you already have and making it work?

CW: Are you talking about the Patriots?

Seems to encapsulate what must be a very confusing time for Charlie...I can't imagine trying to juggle both duties at once.

Lots of interesting tidbits were divulged, and Weis gave us a little more insight into his hiring, how things are progressing under the Dome, and what the future holds in store for ND. A few excerpts:

Q: What is your life like right now? Are you conflicted at all with being here and at Notre Dame?

CW: No, as a matter of fact, I think the most important thing that happened to me as this situation with Notre Dame went down, was I thought that character and integrity could be a question when it came to a conflict or contradiction between the two jobs. I think it was important to me personally and professionally to try to do due diligence to both jobs. I think I have been able to do that with a fairly good amount of success so far. Hopefully by February it reaps the benefits on both ends.

Q: Since you were hired at Notre Dame, have you been able to manage your time the same way you would if it hadn't come along?

I think it has been pretty close. It has just meant that my hours get pushed a little later at night. So, instead of going to bed at 10:30 or 11 [p.m.] it is [pushed back] to 2 [a.m.]. But, I think I have gone about talking about this, to my wife and my son in particular, in a training camp mentality. In training camp we go on about three hours of sleep a night, and it is because by the time we are done with the players and we meet, and then we have the scripts for the next day it is 1:30 [a.m.]. By the time you go lay down, you're getting back at 5:30 [a.m.]. So, we just felt that until February we would view it as a training camp mentality and this way you can do the right thing by the Patriots and at the same time not neglect Notre Dame.


Q: As far as hiring your assistant coaches, was there any kind of discussion between you and Bill [Belichick] where he has said, 'Please don't take anyone from here?'

CW: He didn't say that, but I am not taking any of the position coaches from here out of respect for Bill Belichick. Case closed. I will not take a position coach from here.

Q: How much of a benefit will it be for potential recruits to turn on the television and see you coaching the playoffs?

CW: There is good and bad there. So, let's talk about the positive first. Because I have gotten into this game late as far as Notre Dame goes, what you don't have are personal relationships [that other recruiters have] with these guys who have been schmoozing them for six months, a year or two years. You don't have those. So, when I talk to a recruit I don't try to proclaim that I am their best buddy. I just try to get right to the facts. I just try to sell Notre Dame and me because I can't talk about my relationships with them. So, where some people think of that as a glaring negative that you don't have personal relationships, every time we play it is an opportunity for guys to sit there and look at their prospective head coach. Obviously, 17- and 18-year old young men are very impressionable. I think that it could be a positive. I am certainly looking at it as a positive because I am not ready to stop playing.

Q: How much will you draw from your years both coaching at South Carolina and attending Notre Dame heading into this job?

CW: I think recruiting is always a question of personality. It is schmoozing, and that is something that I like to do. The fact that I went to Notre Dame makes it a little easier to talk to these guys about the experience of being at Notre Dame is, because I was there for four years. I think that being out of the recruiting mix doesn't necessarily mean that you won't be a front line recruiter because I enjoy it. I think the people who usually fail in recruiting are people that just don't like do it, and I am not in that case.


Q: How important is it to you that you finish off this season with a Super Bowl win?

CW: It is important enough that I told Notre Dame that if I couldn't do that I didn't want the job. That is how important it is. When I went through the interview process I said, 'I can't take that job if I can't finish the one I have now,' because I felt I owed it to the organization, the team, of course, but I think I also felt it [in regards] to New England in general. That is how strong my conviction was, that if it cost me the job I wasn't taking it.

Q: Was there some back and forth on that?

CW: No. It was one comment, one time. They asked me my opinion of it and I said, 'Here is my stance on that.' I just knew that if it ended up costing me the job, then so be it. But, I wasn't going to walk out on this place, not in the midst of a playoff run when hopefully something good will end up happening.

Q: Do you think a comment like that might have helped you get the job?

CW: I didn't really care to be honest with you. When I made it, it was because I meant it. I didn't say it with any intentions. I felt it was the right thing to say and do. I am not trying to endear myself with the people here. I just thought it was the right thing to do.


Q: One of the biggest criticisms of Notre Dame over the last decade was their inability to bring in blue chip recruits. What do you think needs to be done differently there and what do you plan on doing differently?

CW: Just give me until next recruiting season.


Q: Do you have time enough time to salvage this recruiting season, or is it a dead issue?

CW: I think we have made serious headway. There have been three things that have happened that have been a big plus for me personally. First of all, the last two weeks were a dead period. In a dead period you can't go out and see anyone and you only can talk to these kids one time a week for the last two weeks. So, I was the one who made every one of those phone calls to every one of those kids. So, for two weeks they heard from Notre Dame and they heard from me. Now, this week, which is the first week recruiting, I have all of my reinforcements in. So, now I have all of the coaches on the road recruiting. I will have a little time here at the end of the week, not at the beginning of the week, but I will have a little time at the end of the week to go out there and be able to meet them and their families before I come and shoot right back here. You know, shoot out, shoot back. But, at least they will be able to meet me face to face and be able to decide whether this ugly face is the guy they want to be playing for in the next four to five years.

Q: What have you done with the kids that were already there?

CW: That is the first thing that I had to do, was deal with the kids who were already there because they were in a state of flux. They were in a state of disarray. They had lost a very popular coach. I think for the two days that I was out there to start off with, I think we made head way. I am also making personal phone calls to each one of those guys now that they are home to say, 'It is 2005. Get over it. Let's move on.' So, I started in group sessions at first and I am now working to one-on-ones right now.

[in reference to player evaluations]

CW: Our job as coaches is, once we get them, to fit them in. Don't say, 'Well he can't do this.' Find out what he can do. That is what we do. So, I think that we as assistants all understand to take the lead of the head coach, and of course Scott in this case, because he is finding the personnel for us and then just coach them up as best we can. That is how we look at it. We never look at a player as somebody we can't use. What we try to do is maximize their strengths and minimize their weaknesses by hiding them as best we can.


Q: Has [your wife] been in charge of buying the house and selling the house? Those types of things?

CW: She has always been in charge. That has never changed. Unlike most other guys who think they are in charge, I understand where I fit.