Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Personally Invested | by Jay

An interesting bit from today's presser, about how Charlie and the coaches are keeping this recruiting class together during this 1-7 season:

Q: Lastly, when you're out recruiting, out on the road, it must be as much reaffirming commitments to players who have said they're coming. Has your recruiting philosophy changed this year, and has your message to those guys changed when you're trying to reaffirm a commitment?

WEIS: What those players have done is they've bought into the 'we'. We've involved them a lot more. Anybody who has jumped on board and said 'yes' we involve them in everything that's going on. In other words, they're not outsiders. Once they say yes and the commitment is a two-way deal, we treat them like they're here. They know everything that's happening just the way everyone in the program does. I think they feel ownership, and they feel part of it.

They obviously have to withstand the ribbing from the people in the towns they're living in or the kids they're going to school with, but I think they view themselves as part of the future.

Q: In the past, do you think you didn't have that ownership at work as much as you do now?

WEIS: I don't think we let them know about everything and all the inner workings the way we do now. Back at signing day last year we lost a couple of guys, and afterwards we talked about the word commitment. Now we've shown that commitment is a two-way street, and we are involving them more than we did before.
Reading the recruiting articles lately, you get the sense that Charlie, Corwin, and the rest of the staff have fostered a sort of 'Band of Brothers' mentality among the incoming guys. They're engaged. They're invested. And there's got to be a lot of peer pressure to hang tough and hang together. New guys see that and want to be part of it (Floyd, for instance). And breaking the bond and leaving would be tough to do for any of them. They'd have to face Corwin, and they'd have to face their peers.

That's what I think is going on, anyway. It's either that, or Corwin Brown is some kind of Jedi master. ("You don't need to see our current record." "We don't need to see your current record.")

At the end of the presser, Charlie fielded this question:
Q: Charlie, I cover Navy in Annapolis. For those of us who haven't followed ND as closely, can you quickly summarize what you feel has happened this year? Is it just being hit hard by graduation, and the younger players having to fill in, and they haven't performed or they were not ready? Is it inexperience? In your analysis, what led to 1-7?

WEIS: Well, that's a loaded question [laughs]. Let's start with coaching, because in your question you gave me about 15 different excuses I could make for us being 1-7. So let's start with coaching. In the transition from last year to this year, I have not done the best job of having the team ready to go...

And I should probably leave it at that. If you're looking for me to give you a dossier of problems that have happened this year, there'd be too many things. But let's throw me out there [first].

Q: But the fact that you have such an inexperienced team, isn't that a crucial factor?

WEIS: Well, it's a factor, but that's what it is. It's a factor. It's not the factor. It'd be easy for me to sit there and say, "Well, if these five things weren't the case we'd be 7-1 right now." Well, the problem is they are the case. So I started with what I felt is the number one reason, and I think that if you start with the head coach doing a better job, then we probably have a better record.