Friday, November 20, 2009
End of an Era in Notre Dame Stadium Saturday?
When Charlie Weis came to Notre Dame I bought what he was selling. I bought that Notre Dame was going to out work others on the practice field and in the weight room. I bought that within years the Irish would be that perenial national championship contender we all wished they would be. Unfortunately that has not been the case under the Golden Dome.
What we have gotten is a football team loaded with some of the most sought after high school talent. That football team that for the second year in a row has fallen hard on their faces after a somewhat promising start.
The loss in week to in Ann Arbor looks worse by the week, as does the loss to USC, and the upset at home to Navy. This was supposed to be the year Notre Dame made it back to the BCS, instead its a year where the GMAC bowl is now more likely.
Saturday may be the last time we see Charlie Weis coach a game in Notre Dame Stadium. His attitude made many call for his head early in 2007 when the Irish were in the midst of a 3-9 campaign. I stood by Charlie Weis then.
Last year when the Irish blew two possession leads to North Carolina, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse I stood by Charlie Weis and thought it was just the growing pains of a freshman and sophomore dominated team.
This year is another story. The Irish redzone offense has become a laugher, struggling mightily to find the end zone the past two months. The defense hasn't stopped a thing. Heck, outside of a Golden Tate punt return a week ago the special teams have even turned into a joke.
Does it all fall on Weis? No, in fact I still see a way where he could one day be a legitament head coach in college football. His offenses work, execution has been a whole other issue.
At this point it would take a minor miracle for Charlie Weis to keep his job as the head football coach at Notre Dame. After five years, even I who gave Weis far more time than most feel the same.
Notre Dame welcomes UConn in a game that could be the last for many at Notre Dame Stadium. Senior day was a poor showing a year ago with a blown lead to Syracuse, this year UConn comes a calling.
This could possibly be the final time we see not only Charlie Weis but Jimmy Clausen, Golden Tate, and Armando Allen at Notre Dame Stadium. When all of them came into the University of Notre Dame we thought we were headed for glory, instead we went straight towards mediocrity and stayed there.
UConn is no slouch, much like Notre Dame they have played a schedule full of nailbitters. Yes they come in 4-5 overall but the 5 losses are by a total of 15 points. Play poorly and this one will likely be another loss for the Fighting Irish.
UConn likes to throw the ball with quarterback Zach Frazer, the same guy who was once seen as the possible "future" at Notre Dame. Frazer has thrown 6 touchdowns to 13 picks on the year and eclipsed 1300 yards passing. Not the most feared passing game around but the yardage numbers as a whole for UConn rank them in the top 40 in the nation.
Jordan Todman heads the running game for the Huskies, he has 826 yards on the ground and 12 touchdowns this year, Andre Dixon has carried for 730 yards and 7 scores.
UConn on defense allows roughly 23 points a game. Not a ton by any means but enough to make you worry as a Notre Dame fan due to the redzone inabilites of the Irish of late and their mistake-prone defense.
The Huskies pass defense ranks in the 70's for yards allowed a game, expect perhaps Jimmy Clausen's final game at Notre Dame Stadium (all speculation) to be amongst his finest.
I fully expect the Notre Dame offense to put up lots of points on Saturday. Next week won't be easy but many of these players want to go out with a bang. Because of the inability to stop the run the defense will keep UConn in this game.
I supported Charlie Weis for a long time but this will be his final win as the head coach of the Fighting Irish.
Nick (8-2): ND 27 UConn 24
Mark (8-2): ND 31 UConn 24