Tuesday, October 20, 2009

the Big Picture | by Pat

I suppose it's hard to recap the weekend without dwelling on the obvious fact that ND lost for the 8th straight time to Southern Cal. But I still haven't worked up the nerve to re-watch the game. I don't think I'm quite yet over the numb, frustrated, exhausted feeling that kept me frozen in the stands as everyone else silently filed out around me.

We'll probably talk more later about the defensive strategy choices, the John Goodman wildcat formation, the gutty play of Robby Parris and sheer fun of watching Golden Tate and Jimmy Clausen. In the meantime, it's probably time to address the bigger picture issue that is on everyone's mind. What does the loss mean for Charlie?

It seems that fans are starting to really dig in for a protracted argument about whether Charlie will be back next year or if he'll be let go. However, while mulling the topic on the flight home, I think much of the current debate is largely wasted bandwidth and ink. Nearly all angles have been exhausted and at this point much of the discussion is the equivalent of shouting past each other. With the team already saddled with two losses, the results on the field the rest of the season should make the decision about Charlie largely obvious. Either the team will build off the late rally against the Trojans, play up to their ability the rest of the season, and run the table, or perform a redux of the second half of 2008 and drop a few clearly winnable games against teams with inferior talent.

We all hope that Jack Swarbrick is performing any and all necessary due diligence to prepare for a coaching change, if needed. At the same time, Charlie's fate still rests solely in his hands: there are six games left to play. Let's just hold off on the hard and fast conclusions for a bit and see where he takes us over the next few weeks. By then we should know what the next steps should be and can all move in that direction together.