I’ve been very silent about Notre Dame football this season. And for good reason. I knew it wasn’t going to be a good year over the summer when Coach Wei, at a celebrity golf outing, told the press that he thought it was going to be a tough year for the Irish. He said, “we’re real young.”
This isn’t the worst Notre Dame team I’ve ever seen. This wasn’t Bob Davie bad, nor was it Gerry Faust bad. They were a very young team with almost no experience. They lost a lot of games and some of them were quite embarrassing. The loss to a 0-2 Michigan team 38-0 and the loss to Navy a couple weeks back were particularly tough to swallow.
I’d be extremely surprised if Notre Dame fired Charlie Weis. I don’t think I’ve heard it discussed at all. When they fired Tyrone Willingham back in 2004 a lot of people saw that coming. While there was a lot of talk about that being racially motivated, I think it had more to do with his inability to recruit. (my post about his firing)
Contrast that to Charlie Weis. He is getting the job done. The first two years he took the talent he had an went for the wins. Willingham left him with a decent couple of classes and really messed up in getting younger players… so Charlie didn’t have much left. But the players who played this year were very young and talented. See, unlike basketball, you can’t grab 11 kids from high school and have the dress for a college football game and expect them to win. There will never be a Fab Five in college football as size, experience, and speed of the game. So they took their lumps and learned this year.
I expect Notre Dame to be much better as a result of this year. You won’t have to motivate guys to work out. You won’t have a hard time convincing them that two-a-days are worth it in August. All you have to do is point to the sign that says, “2007 We Were 3-9. the worst record in Notre Dame History.” I think Charlie has the Irish on the right track and he had to take them down this road to prove to them that good things happen as the result of hard work. Each time I saw them truly down and out I could just squint and wait for January 2010 when they win a major bowl and see that this is where they had to go to hoist the trophy.
Two guys who need to be recognized as they graduate from Notre Dame (You’ll be seeing them on Sunday’s very soon)
- Tom Zbikowski– This guy is a football stud. He’s listed as a defensive back but is built a lot like Brian Urlacher from the Chicago Bears. He is fast, he is tough, he hits hard, and whenhe gets his hands on a punt return… he is exciting to watch. His toughness reminds me of Notre Dame great, Marc Edwards and Mike Alstott of Purdue fame.
- Trevor Laws– All world. He may be the first defensive lineman taken in this years draft. I think he had about 225 tackles on the year. He isn’t the biggest guy on the planet but he plays hard and is slippery. I’m not sure who to compare him to from Irish teams of old. But I do know he is a great one and that he’ll do well at the next level.
Both of those guys have had a great season in the midst of a terrible season. It’s really a shame that these guys aren’t going out on a bigger stage. Yet, I am positive both will be featured at the Senior Bowl in Hawaii.