Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Media Day | by Jay

Of course the previous photo was from the Super Bowl Media Day yesterday in Jacksonville, where Charlie had some face time with the press, and he ended up fielding quite a few questions about his next job. Charlie expounded on his busy schedule, his first recruiting class for the Irish, and what the future holds for ND football. (He even had some choice words for David Nelson). Terry Bannon of the Chicago Trib has the full scoop:

JACKSONVILLE -- Charlie Weis is working this week with a Notre Dame cell phone in his left pocket, his personal cell in his right and the gaudy Super Bowl ring from last season on his right hand.

Notre Dame's new coach is spending his final days living in two worlds and juggling two of the most high-profile jobs in football—coach at Notre Dame and offensive coordinator for the reigning Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.

"This time of year you have to suck it up," Weis said Tuesday. "Two of the most important days in football -- college signing day is Wednesday and we're preparing for the Super Bowl; you can find enough energy."

Energy hasn't been an issue for Weis, but holding down two jobs has complicated his first recruiting class.

It won't include wide receiver David Nelson from Wichita Falls, Texas, who opted for Florida when the Patriots' victory over Pittsburgh in the AFC championship game Jan. 23 prevented what he and his father wanted—a face-to-face meeting with Weis.

"I told them that's not the type of kid we're looking for," Weis said. "I said if they want the Patriots to lose to come to Notre Dame, then you go somewhere else because I'm not into losing, and that's what I told him very clearly, and he understood what my point of view was."

Nelson said Tuesday it wasn't that simple. He also liked Florida's tradition, new coach Urban Meyer and its offense. But to Notre Dame, it did not come as a coincidence Nelson announced for the Gators the day after the Patriots won the AFC title.

"That's not what I'm about," said Nelson, who added he did not want New England to lose. "I just told him meeting the head coach is very important to me, at the same time, it's not that important. For some reason, I worded something wrong and it got blown way out of proportion."

Weis' first recruiting class still could be good. Weis said he won't use all his scholarships.

"I want a full year in recruiting and take those extra few we don't use this year and take an extra few next year," he said.

Weis was coming from behind in recruiting after replacing the fired Tyrone Willingham. He knows the Super Bowl exposure will come too late to help on signing day. But he's convinced all the free advertising he will get Sunday night will help down the road.

"I think that for any sophomore and junior in high school who's watching their head coach out here working the sidelines [in the Super Bowl] for the third time in four years, if that doesn't make an impression, I don't know what's going to," Weis said.

"It'll be the type of class who fits the prototype of guys we're looking for. I'm not looking for volume, I want to sign ones who'll be the foundation for the program. Anyone can go in and fill out the bottom of the roster and take another four or five guys at the end; that's not what we're looking for. We don't want to put a number and say, they got 19. We want the right 19."

It has been said recruiting is the lifeblood of college football. Weis said he can't wait to get pumping full time.

"I'm going to recruit like they haven't been recruited before, and that's not a slight on Ty or Bob [Davie] or anyone before me, but I have a passion for recruiting," Weis said. "I really enjoy doing it."

Be sure to check out the entire article. A couple of quick reflections:

• David Nelson isn't doing himself any favors by trying to rationalize why he said 'no' to Notre Dame. His explanation of how his words got twisted around actually makes things more confusing, not less ("I just told him meeting the head coach is very important to me, at the same time, it's not that important"). Dave, please, put down the shovel.

• Charlie confirms what many recruitniks had surmised for a while: that filling all the slots this year is of lesser importance than holding some open for next year's class, for when Charlie and the staff have had a full head of steam on the recruiting trail.

• That said, next year's class better be galactically impressive.

• "I said if they want the Patriots to lose to come to Notre Dame, then you go somewhere else because I'm not into losing." Jesus marimba -- what a sentiment. Kevin White once said that he thought George O'Leary was an Irish football coach straight out of Central Casting; the more I think about it, the more Charlie Weis seems more apt for that comparison: blunt, brash, outspoken, and painfully honest. He's the Archetype, in so many ways.