Monday, January 30, 2006

More than a Quick Fix | by Jay

Provocative piece in the SBT this morning by Eric Hansen about revamping the defense, including some choice commentary from former ND assistant Tom Pagna:

"I didn't like their scheme worth a damn," Pagna said of the 2005 Irish. "I thought they played way too much man, and you can't live on a steady diet of that. I'd like to see them bring more pressure on the quarterback. When I was with Ara (Parseghian), we had to make adjustments defensively every year, even when we were good, because people caught up to you. I believe they can do it. Between the players they have coming back and the new ones coming in, they have the one ingredient you need to make that leap, and that's speed. Speed counts more than experience. Speed can cover up mistakes. Speed allows you to make those dramatic leaps..."

The most catalytic variable, though, will likely be Weis. He took the Fiesta Bowl loss hard and he took it personally. The thought is it will drive him even harder to find a solution.

Through recruiting. Through scheme. Through his impressive network of friends with visionary football minds when it comes to defense -- Bill Belichick, Bill Parcells, John Fox, Andy Reid.

Weis' true genius has always been that he's not as full of himself as some of the media purport him to be and that, like Parseghian, he's not afraid to admit he doesn't know everything. So he asks questions, he learns and he grows.

"I think the truly smart coaches have got to be that way," Pagna said. "It's like life. You can always learn something every day from everybody. I learn things from my grandkids. Not everybody sees it that way, but those people never seem to find greatness either."