The cupboard wasn't bare the first two years (although I think Weis got more out of those guys than any of us expected in the wake of Ty), but it contained a time bomb which had gotten Ty fired in year 3.
When Weis took over, he had a senior, junior, and a Freshman (Turkovich) at LT. Nobody else.
He had 3 seniors at left guard. Nobody else.
He had two seniors and a junior (Sullivan) at center. Nobody else.
He had two seniors at right guard. Nobody else.
At RT, he had a senior, Sophomore (Chauncey Incarnato) and a freshman (Duncan).
So he had two juniors, two sophomores and two freshman upon arrival thanks to Ty's recruiting or, rather, his total lack thereof. (Fore!) As one of the new coaches said upon arrival, where are the football players?
So when 2007 rolled around, there were no 5th years and one senior (Sullivan). There were only two juniors. The OL was full of talented sophomores and freshmen thanks to good recruiting there.
At WR, there were no seniors and only two juniors (Hord and Grimes)
At TE, there was one senior, and no juniors.
At QB, no seniors, and one junior (Sharpley)
At fullback, no seniors and one junior.
At halfback, one senior (Thomas) and no juniors.
This was why, in Spring 2007, when I asked one of our former coaches (who helped take us from 58-7 to the NC) how we would do in 2007, he said it was going to be so bad that his friend Charlie would be lucky to keep his job. Even after 19-6 and taking Ty's train wreck of a team to the Fiesta and Sugar Bowls? Yes. He said it matter of factly. Sure enough, Weis had to have his OL wear a differently color jersey during the Spring game so they could play both ways. There weren't enough guys to have two full teams. When sophomore Sam Young broke his wrist, they moved him to the other side of the line so the good one was on the outside, because there was no one left to play.
By contrast, in Kelly's third year, four (4) of his starting OL were seniors or above recruited by Weis, including Martin, Watt, Cave, and Golic. He also had Weis' recruit Eifert at TE, along with running backs Wood and Riddick. On defense, Weis left him over half his defense in Lewis-Moore, Fox, Calabrese, Teo, Motta and Slaughter. He also gave him his kicker and punter in Turk and Tausch, along with his special teams guys, Cowart, Goodman, Riddick and Wood.
Yes, Holtz or Ara would have done better in 2007, but I don't like to think what my senior year would have been like if we didn't have those 4 5th year senior OL leading us against that schedule, and didn't have a few other 5th year starters.
Ty was a destroyer of programs. Weis left Ty with the heart of a 12-0 team in his third year.