Friday, August 26, 2005

A Chat with my Inner Dialogue | by Jay

(Following is a transcript of a conversation that recently took place inside my head)

Eight days. EIGHT DAYS!

Man, get ahold of yourself.

Who said that?

It's me, your inner dialogue.

Inner dialogue? I have an inner dialogue?

Yep, and you got to cool that shit off! And that's the double-truth, Ruth!

My inner dialogue talks like Shaft?

No, I was just quoting Mister Señor Love Daddy in Do the Right Thing. Remember when things were getting really excited, and everybody needed to just CHILL OUT? And Mookie--

Yeah, yeah, I remember. So, what the hell do you want?

I'm here to drop some reality on you.

Aha. I get it. You're going to remind me that that date with Elizabeth Hurley I've always dreamed about is probably never going to happen. I know. I'm pretty much resigned.

Nope. I'm talking about the Irish. Notre Dame. The Dome, and its new Savior, Charlie Weis. You know, the 'new era' and 'reclaiming the glory' and 'we're done f---ing around' and all that stuff.

Hey man, that's my team you're talking about. You better back the hell off!

Dude, I'm your inner dialogue, I can't back off anywhere. Listen, you really do need to calm down. I know you think that Charlie Weis is the bomb, or, the 'shizznit' if you prefer, but you've been getting way ahead of yourself. Have you read some of the stuff you've written on your little 'blog'? Pollyanna herself would blush.

What's not to be excited about? Charlie's the Man with the Plan. Have you seen his finger jewelry?

Okay, see, that's what I'm talking about. You look at the Super Bowl rings, and see reflected Glory and a return to the top for Notre Dame. I look at Charlie coming from the NFL, trying to install a pro-style offense in just over six months. Did you ever stop to think that that's pretty much an impossible task? You think our team of 19- and 20-year olds are going to be able to absorb what Charlie's been working on for twenty years? Your expectations are through the roof.

He'll break it down into bite-sized chunks for them. He's not going to give them anything they can't handle. He'll keep it simple.

Oh yeah? Have you seen the wristbands?


Yeah, Minter's got the defense wearing these wristbands with all the plays listed out on them. You call that 'keeping it simple'? It's insane. It's going to be '93 Boston College all over again. Way too complex.

Dude, it's not going to be that bad. I'm sure Charlie's not trying to install everything all at once.

That's the problem. With the offense he's been running for years, this is going to be like trading in a Porsche for a Hyundai for him. And he'll get frustrated doing it, not being able to work in all the wrinkles and subtleties that he could with a professional squad, whose only focus is football. Our guys have a limited practice availability, plus on top of that they're actually college students with a full slate of classes to deal with. They don't have all the free time in the world. Can Charlie work within those constraints?

Well, he used to be a college coach. And high school. Hell, he's got a masters in education. He knows what it's like to work with student-athletes.

Glad you brought that up. When's the last time Charlie was a HEAD coach? That's right: high school. This is a whole new ball of wax for him. Sure he smiles and nods and exudes every confidence in the post-practice videos, but he's learning on the job just as much as his players are. He can't simply focus on Xs and Os and let Belichick do all the administrative dirty work; it's his bus to drive now, and the transition can't be smooth sailing.

He's from ND, he knows the drill.

Yeah, but he's got things he's got to deal with he's never even dreamed of before! Alums. Boosters. Glad-handling. Alums. ND faculty. Speeches galore. Alums. Appearances. Alums. Plus, all the mundane administrative stuff: managing the roster. Setting the schedule. And finally, keeping the pulse and the tempo of the team, and maintaining a culture of excellence, all by himself. Football teams are top-down organizations, and this organization will reflect Charlie Weis, for better or worse. The best you can say at this point is that he's unproven on all of these things.

Wait a second. It's not like he's going riding into the valley of death all by himself here. Hell, he went out and hired a great, veteran staff, full of ex-head coaches whom he can lean on.

Ever hear the phrase, "too many cooks"? What happens when there's a little controversy, and suddenly Lewis and Minter and Vaas are all telling him, "this is the way 'I' would have handled it", and Charlie disagrees, because he's got an ego the size of New Jersey. It's a recipe for disaster. The guy has a history of thinking he knows better.

Well, he IS a little cocky.

A 'little'? Yeah, and Chandra Johnson's a 'little' bald.

Look, if things go smoothly, this brain trust could be a great thing, with all that expertise bouncing off each other. It might be just what we need for a great season.

Dream on. Have you looked at the schedule? Five opponents in the top twenty-five. Three of the top four teams in the country. Let me repeat that: THREE OF THE TOP FOUR TEAMS--

Okay, I got it, I got it. Yeah, but I think we've got a chance against all of them. Even USC. Um...hello?

I'm sorry, I just passed out from an idiocy overload. Did you even bother to look at our opponents rosters? Leinart. Breaston. Palko. Bush. Jarrett. Stanton. Want me to keep going?

No, I gotcha--

Henne, Smith, White, Riggs, Rhodes, Ainge, Lee, Meachem, Watkins, Watson. I bet you don't even know who Gabe Watson is.

Yeah, he's, uh, a safety, I think, for...BYU?

Oh, man. You're in for a long season.

All right, well look. Even if we DON'T go 7-4, or 8-3 -- which I'm NOT conceding, by the way -- that doesn't mean things aren't working. Holtz was like 5-6 his first year, right? And yet, most people say that they saw discernible improvement that year. We can have a .500ish record and see the same thing.

Yeah, but look at Willingham. 10-3 was a mirage. THAT could happen, too. A good season, followed by a death spiral.

This is ridiculous. We've got a lot of experience on offense coming back, and--

Yeah, a GREAT offense -- one that ranked 81st in the nation last year. And what about that defense? How many guys in our secondary have any real game experience?
We're greener than Gumby back there! I mean, look at the receivers and quarterbacks we're going to face. Palko's gonna carve us up. What'd he do last year, 400 yards and 5 touchdowns? Holy hell. What happened last time at Michigan? That's right, 38-0. USC: I shudder to think. For Leinart, picking us apart will be easier for him than picking up chicks at SkyBar. You think Tennessee won't be looking for revenge after how they stubbed their toe against us? BYU - we rushed for eleven yards against them. ELEVEN. And so on, and so on. And you know what? As brutal as the schedule is, that's not even the worst thing we're facing.

There's something worse?

Everything I've already mentioned could be ten times worse if say, Ryan Harris blows out a knee. Brady Quinn goes down. Trevor Laws gets chop-blocked by dirty Purdue linemen and we lose him for the season.

You're really bumming me out.

Look at the depth chart. Who's going to step up if we suffer an injury? We're precariously thin, and what football team goes through an entire season without injuries...

...And another thing, while we're on the topic. How about Charlie's propensity to get 'too cute' with his playcalling? Huh? How about that? That's gonna burn us at some point. And what about his health? I don't even want to think about that. Oh, and he cusses WAY too much for a Catholic school. That's not the image we want, and if he keeps it up and butts heads with the CSC, he'll get run out of here before we know it. That's if he doesn't get bored with the college game and all its petty NCAA restrictions first. And then where will we be? Back into another gawd-awful coaching search!

(Suddenly, a distant noise is heard)


What the hell is that?

chugga...chugga...chugga...chugga...CHOO CHOOOOO!

Holy crap, it's Marco!

Marco, how'd you get in here?

Marco: I borrowed some of Charlie Weis' OMNIPOTENCE. He has plenty to spare, my friends.

Marco, I'm glad you're here! My inner dialogue was really bumming me out. Dropping reality on me and stuff. I was on the verge of tears.

Marco: Glory, my friend. Glory. Like Moses, Charlie will take us to the Promised Land. He will strike his staff upon the ground and turn it into a SERPENT that will destroy the heathen Wolverine. He will part the RED SEA of TROJANS and drown them along with their silly white horses. He will talk to a burning bush, and subsequently BURN THE TREES (Stanford). He will cast a PLAGUE on college football, and He will carve, in STONE, a new law: I am CHARLIE WEIS, who brought you out of PERSECUTION. Thou shalt not have FALSE COACHES before you. I will lead you to the PROMISED LAND!

Oh, Christ. I'm out of here (footsteps trailing; a door slams)

I love you Marco. Glory!