Monday, November 23, 2009

Tough Stuff | by Jay

There's a must-read by our old friend John Walters on the fanhouse today. Walters caught up with Charlie at the crack of dawn Sunday after the Connecticut loss, and it seems as if our beleaguered coach was ready to unload some pent-up frustrations.

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The November darkness is unseasonably warm. Charlie Weis steps out of his black Yukon SUV toting two bagels and two coffees. Clad in gray Notre Dame football sweats and shower sandals, America's most renowned embattled football coach, if not employee, has brought breakfast for his first visitor of the day.

The time is 4:28 AM.

"I bet you thought I wasn't going to show up," Weis says with a rueful smile Sunday morning.

"I wouldn't have blamed you if you'd hit the 'snooze' button," the reporter says.

How could you? Only 10 hours earlier the fifth-year coach had trudged off the field at Notre Dame Stadium, perhaps for the last time as the leader of this program, following a 33-30 double-overtime defeat to Connecticut. The intervening hours have been anything but restful.

"I spent about three hours last night answering text messages from players and coaches saying they're sorry," Weis says. "I'm texting them back telling them it wasn't their fault."

Earlier in the evening, Sergio Brown stood bawling in Weis's second-floor office in the Guglielmino Athletic Complex (a.k.a., the Gug). Brown, the senior safety whose late-hit penalty in the second quarter provided the game's first tidal shift in the Huskies' favor, feels particularly responsible. Weis was having none of it

"The bottom line is, we're 6-5 and somebody is responsible," says Weis. "That somebody is me. And I have to accept responsibility."

Sometimes you just cannot outwork a problem. Notre Dame is flirting with its second .500 regular season in the past two years. And while the past three weeks have seen a litany of inexplicable player errors, from a pass being thrown into Michael Floyd's back at the goal line to Brown's late hit (the pass was already out of bounds when he launched himself into the receiver), ultimately the buck stops at the man who makes the most of them. This Saturday at Stanford, Weis will likely be coaching his alma mater for the final time.
The article goes on, and is worth the full read. Tough stuff. Depending on how much charity you afford him, I suppose your reaction to Charlie's outpourings may vary.

For my part, I'm saddened at how this has all turned out. I could probably do a thousand-word ramble trying to sum up my feelings about everything here, but I'll shake my head, and keep it short.

It's a cryin' shame.