Unless Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick gets bizarre marching orders from above, today’s 45-38 loss to Stanford will serve as Charlie Weiss’ swan song. In a game full of spectacular offensive drives, Notre Dame’s defense collapsed time and time again to finally surrender the lead to Stanford’s resilient Hiesman-hopeful, Toby Gerhart.
The Irish ended up 45-38 losers to Stanford on a 4-yard touchdown run by Toby Gerhart in the final minute in a full-throttle race to test scoreboard capacity, blowing another double-digit lead and eradicating Weis’ slim hope to return and prolonging a miserable month.
The final score, really, was the only mystery here. Weis’ departure is expected within days, maybe hours, of the Irish’s early-morning return to South Bend, Ind., Sunday.
For all the media criticism of Weis, those attending his professorial weekly news conferences learned a lot about football. They learned that if an elite high school coach became an NFL offensive coordinator, his head would swim with Xs and Os. They also learned that an NFL offensive coordinator is just as overmatched coaching a team composed mainly of freshmen and sophomores.
That Weis spent so much time playing three-card Monte with young and inexperienced signal-callers heading into the 2007 season was the first sign of his failure to understand how to develop a young team. Instead of an identity, he gave them a split personality.
When his team needed a steady dose of Football 101, Weis delivered graduate-level courses. The program would never fully recover, and it would be a lack of fundamentals that would be largely responsible for where the Irish find themselves heading into today’s game at Stanford, which likely will be Weis’ last as ND’s coach.
Just when his teams learned how to block, they forgot how to tackle.
And a suggestion for ND’s next head coach from David Haugh at the Chicago Tribune:
An Irish change of the guard appears to be under way that, if governed correctly, will alter college football’s balance of power. As Charlie Weis coached what was believed to be his final regular-season game in an entertaining 45-38 loss Saturday night on the Farm, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops dodged rumors back in America’s heartland.
Bob Stoops at Notre Dame? With the schedule and talent in place, Stoops could promise his next recruiting class it will play in a national title game, and it wouldn’t sound like blarney.
What a tough year it was to be Irish.
On the off chance Notre Dame is offered a bowl bid, we can only hope and pray AD Swarbrick spares us all the embarrassment.