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NDNation.com Staff: Scott Engler - Michael Cash - John Vannie - Mike Coffey - Kayo - Bacchus

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Charlie's Big Bet

posted by Scott Engler
(The Rock Report) - Weis is betting big on the USC game this week. Not necessarily to win, but with the future of the program. There will be between 10 and 15 four and five-star recruits on campus as the Irish look to break the Trojans' seven year stranglehold. As noted by Tom Lemming in today's South Bend Tribune, it's the biggest in-season recruiting weekend Notre Dame has had:
Eleven of the nation's elite senior prospects who are still shopping will be on hand Saturday. So will 11 of Notre Dame's 15 committed recruits. And there will be 19 of the nation's top juniors in attendance.
Irish Sports Daily reports that some of the top recruits in the country including Seantrel Henderson, Josh Shaw, Louis Nix, Chris Martin and surprise visitor all-world wide receiver and USC commit Kyle Prater will be on campus this weekend. If Charlie can pull it off, he'll likely pull off a top 5 class as well.

Go big or go home.

Wherever the chips fall, you can't fault Weis for shying away from a big game, he's embracing it. And it's just possible his team may make the jump from being able to win to expecting to win. Weis believes that the mindset is changing as he noted in his press conference.
Once again, I'm going reiterate it, I mean, they understand the talent level who they're going against, but I'd say, you know, this is probably the first time since I've been here where the players really believe they're going to win. You know, they might be in the minority but they certainly believe that.
While not an absolute must win game for Weis, it's become very important for him to prove he can get more out of his players than the sum of the parts and in the minds of many, this is the game to prove that. A blowout loss to SC might be the end of Charlie's run in South Bend. Weis has to prove he has that leadership intangible or at least that he can nurture it in his team.

The problem for Notre Dame is that while the Irish have looked very good on offense to this point, they haven't played one top defense in five games and USC is a top five defense that HAS owned the Irish. Notre Dame hasn't scored a touchdown against USC since 2006.

On the other side of the ball, USC has been gashing teams with the run and, unfortunately, teams have have been gashing ND with the run. Before the year started it was easy to see that USC's offensive line against our defensive line would be a mismatch and negate ND's clearest advantage, at quarterback. If SC is running the ball for 5 and 6 yards a carry, Matt Barkley won't be forced into tough decisions.

This game will likely be decided, as most games are, up front and on turnovers. If ND's line can protect Clausen, ND can be successful through the air which could open up the ground game. USC's linebackers are so fast, that slow developing plays will be eaten alive, so I hope Charlie's tabled trickery that could go backward. Oregon State beat USC by hitting them up the gut.

Defense wins big games and right now Notre Dame's defense is woeful. To win this game, ND's defensive line will have to play at a completely different level than it has the first five games. The offense doesn't have to make a ton of big plays, more than it has to not make big mistakes and be efficient. Turnovers against the Irish will end this early.

It's been said about other games, but this is Charlie's biggest game. I haven't written very much this season, because I haven't been able to tell very much about this Irish team the first five games.

Everyone's willing to give Charlie a shot, but in year five with a talented team, it's time to either become great or step aside and Weis has made a very big, possibly career making/ending bet on this game.

Here's how I see it:
  1. Win and the Irish have a very good shot at the BCS and another top five recruiting class.
  2. Lose a close one and we're back in purgatory.
  3. Lose big and the Gruden, Saban, Meyer, Kelly talk heats up again, recruits drop off and Weis could end up in a death spiral.
As one who's trekking out to South Bend on Friday, I'm hoping for the first.

Go Irish!!

And after more than a few notes from Irish supports, the cover of my book has changed from Trojan colors to a more palatable gold and green. Amazon is still updating this.

""I read this book when it first came out and it had a very powerful impact on me. Recently my daughter was going through a rough time and I thought this book would be just the ticket to help her and guess what? She called and thanked me after she read it and passed it to her sister who also got a lot out of it and she just gave it to her husband to read. It can have a pretty powerful impact on the young and the not so young."

""As a son, a father and now a grandfather I found ten secrets a truly inspiring book. I read it cover to cover within an hour. My only regret is that the book was much too short.":

""This book is one of the best that I have read. It is simple, meaningful and life changing. It was recommended to me by a priest as one of the best books that he has read. Not a religious book- but many positive, powerful thoughts."
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

This might be Weis's only chance to show he's a top tier coach. This is a must win game for him.

10/14/2009 10:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My freshman year at ND I saw the 2005 "loss" to USC. Easily one of the worst/best days of my life. As much as I'd love to watch us beat USC when I'm in South Bend on Saturday, I just cannot see us beating a team this talented. I hope they prove me wrong.

10/14/2009 10:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is deinitely a must win game for Weis. We just can't tolerate continued mediocrity from the most profitable program in the NCAA. 1-13 against teams that finish ranked is horrific and MUST STOP THIS SATURDAY. BEAT SoCal!

10/14/2009 10:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate to say it but I fear the worst - to win we need our three second recievers to step up big as Golden and Rudolf can't get this one alone - if we can run the ball well and the D gets steady against the play-action we could see a nail biter once again - if we pull out the victory the sky is the limit for this team and teams to come - GO IRISH - ND'90

10/14/2009 11:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think Charlie has a choice but to make this bet. It's not like poker; he can't change the schedule or what has happened in the past that brought him to this place.

This is more like the Russian roulette scene in the Deer Hunter. The three outcomes mirror the ones you noted: lose; hit an empty chamber and keep playing; turn the tables and shoot your way out.

10/14/2009 12:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Joe said...

With Floyd, ND would maybe have an outside chance to keep it close. Without Floyd, and if ND's defense looks the same as it has looked the first 5 games, it'll be another long, embarrassing game. USC will just run through us like we don't exist to keep the frosh QB mistakes down, and USC's fast defense will simply frustrate ND as they have repeatedly done for the past few years. The talent gap is still too wide. Miracles can happen, so let's hope this is it.

10/14/2009 02:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What team that finished the season ranked has Weis beaten? I thought he had not beaten a team that finished in the top 25.

10/14/2009 02:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2006 Penn State finished 24 in the AP.

10/14/2009 02:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since CW arrived at ND, not counting the 2009 season, over teams that finished in the top 25 in the AP:
Boise has 2 wins;
Cincinnati has 2;
BYU has 2;
and TCU has 4.
I wonder if it's their superior recruits, superior facilities, or superior coaching that enables them to outperform ND.

10/14/2009 03:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And David put his hand into the bag and took out a stone and slung it,and it struck the Philistine on the head.. and he fell to the ground." AMEN !!


10/14/2009 04:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

THe time is now...Carpe Deim...I'm not going to tolerate moral or pyric victories...lets be honest...we as fans...we always want, strive and yearn for an Irish Victory, and we long for the says when the Irish were among the elite...

I hate to be negative...so I will try not to...but if you even look at CW's own quote this week...he said this is the FIRST TIME...that his team BELIEVES they can beat the Trojans.? you mean the past 4 years they thought they were gonna lose? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? What happened to the days that the Fightin Irish walked onto the gridiron and you just know they were gonna come in with everything you got...guns blazing....

I honestly...just dont think CW gets it...neither did Ty or Davie...lets be real....the greatest error this school ever made was to let their own JoPA and Bowden go...and we all know who i"m talking about....Lou

Well,I say enough's enough man...I'M MAD AS HELL AND I AIN'T GONNA TAKE IT NO MORE...I expect the IRish to win and if CW is happy with a moral victory then go back to the NFL and let us get someone who gives a damn...

This is it...the line is drawn...The irish win and they win convincingly...or cw is out..



10/14/2009 05:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although biblical references are certainly appreciated, particularly here of all places,I feel we should be considered the Goliath, not USC. I think the parallel illustrates where we are not relative to our past, rather than the chance ND might win against USC. Either way, let's hope for some Papal intervention.

10/14/2009 06:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Either way, let's hope for some Papal intervention."

Just remember, God may not care who wins the ND football games, but His Mother does.

10/14/2009 06:31:00 PM  
Anonymous James ND said...

"Lose big and the Gruden, Saban, Meyer, Kelly talk heats up again". Is anyone actually talking about Saban or Meyer? If they are it's time to remove their head from their cornhole.

10/14/2009 07:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well Said...

10/14/2009 07:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


umm...wow...the trojans really seem stressed out to play the Irish...man..I hope someone on the Irish is seeing this....and it's pissing them off....

USC is so damn cocky...it's like they think they're gonna come in here and have their way with us...like an old dog...I'm tired of this crap....




10/14/2009 08:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And David put his hand into the bag and took out a stone and slung it,and it struck the Philistine on the head.. and he fell to the ground." AMEN !!

Now you are thinking outside the box. I like it. I think this is the only way the Irish win, pelt the Trojans with stones. Not a bad strategy, IMHO.

10/14/2009 08:36:00 PM  
Anonymous OderName said...

I just don't buy all the Book of Revelations / Chicken Little panic that this game is the be-all and end-all for ND football. Yes, this is probably the only opportunity for ND to make a case as oneofthe elite teams this year, but a decent performance in a loss here, followed by winning out the rest of the year, or even finishing 9-3, and we're right where reasonable people said we need to be before the year started.

Look, I can't contain the excitement thinking about what a win would mean to our ranking, Jimmy's Heisman chances, and even an outside shot at a MNC, but a loss won't immediately mean the season is a failure or Charlie is done. The rest of the season will tell that story - a spiral like last year would, and should, mean the end for Charlie and backto the drawing board for the next few years. But a respectable effort against a superior program and 5-6 more wins would be right in the range of expectations for the year.

The offense is right where it needsto be, and the defense has the talent but is a year behind, thanks to what turned out to be a less than desired DC hire 5 years ago. The pipeline is full and the future is strong.

10/14/2009 11:32:00 PM  
Anonymous OderName said...

One more thing - I keep reading a lot of belly-aching about the inability to beat a team we're not supposed to; the fact that there's only one team all year we're not supposed to beat means that we've reached a program level above 11 of the 12 teams on our schedule. That's progress.

Now, if only we could close out all the teams we're supposed to beat . . .

10/14/2009 11:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This game is the biggest in Charlie Weis career, i mean you talk about hulk hogan vs andre the giant, the fate of a entire nation (irish) against the distain of being a sub par team for the next decade hanging on just one game, if notre dame doesnt win this game we wont beat usc for another 4 years, and we wont beat a big team for god only knows how long, we have to win this game and prove not only to the nation but to ourselves that notre dame is for real, and that our biggest game wont be vs michigan state, weis's job notre dame future all hang on this game, we cant lose, if the people that are there on saturday cant shake the roof off that place, if we let old people who came to a football game for a nice quiet saturday afternoon run the crowd, then we need to get the **** out of college football, i dont care what usc has done or what players they have, in the end its 60 minutes of football between 22 players and in that 60 minutes anything can happen


We dont back down, we never have and we never will

10/15/2009 01:20:00 AM  
Anonymous domerdaughter said...

Great piece! Couldn't agree more about not knowing what conclusions to draw from the first five games. Onto learning!

10/15/2009 01:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The actual number of recruits invited to the USC game is 20.
I was informed of this by a member of the coaching staff, while attending a meeting in the Gug, the weekend of the Washington game.

10/15/2009 01:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reason Lou left were the fans who were on his back and he had enough of that taking the best option open to him. The fans I am talking about are the same types you see on this site responding with their now or never attitudes. Why would another coach want to put up with this?

10/15/2009 07:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you talk to Lou? Idiots who state their internal feelings as facts should reexamine their existence. Most who in the know think Lou left because Monk wouldn't allow him to recruit the same kids he did before, took away his coaches tickets and started backing Davie.

Only Lou knows why Lou left, but fan expectations never seemed to be a motivator. The University neutering football and lowering expectations seem to be more realistic options given Lou's nature and what is known (as opposed to your internal feelings.)

I would argue that you're symptomatic of the low expectation "Monk" crowd that killed Notre Dame football and likely Lou.

Lou never shied away from Hi expectations and in fact, called himself out for it.

Evidence would suggest that you're the problem and you're trying to place blame on others.

10/15/2009 08:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

P.S. You are an enabler of mediocrity.

10/15/2009 08:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The boys are ready and they 'believe'. We're going to win on Saturday and there are no if's or but's about it.

Go Irish!!!!

10/15/2009 09:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please, no pyrrhic victories for sure. Lotsa folks have to step-up, like I know they can: Blanton, Walls, Parris, Evans (don't care if he's a freshman; so is USC's QB!); D-line; the punter. By my count, that's about 9 people. Can it be done? USC's opponents' collective record is 13-15; ND's is 13-16. USC is not demonstrably better; why do we keep saying they have superior talent? I keep hearing all this "whistling past the graveyard" optimism. If I'm in the locker room before we take the field, I tell my teammates,ala Frank Stams, USC 1988: "let's go out and kick their collective arses." (But I'm lighting a candle just the same)

10/15/2009 11:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Don in LA said...

I'm weary of all the talk about prior years. They don't matter. Reggie Bush is gone. Matt Leinart is gone. Carson Palmer is gone. Mark Sanchez is gone. The only thing that matters is what happens now, this Saturday, in South Bend.

What Washington did to beat USC is far more relevant than what Oregon did. You'll remember that Washington beat them, right? This season, right?

I like Charlie's relaxed style this season. I believe he has come to terms with the reality of ND; you're only as good as last week, and then only if you win by 3touchdowns.

I think we get another close win here. I could be wrong. I do know that no one important to this team has been around for seven consecutive losses.

It's a new day.

10/15/2009 12:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Noel said...

I say leave the heat off in the USC locker room. Going to a cold locker romm would nice little trick like not cutting the grass or leaving it a bit longer. This is Barkley's first cold game.

People are down on charlie thou, We're 4-1 going into the SC game. He has a ton of great recruits coming in. He is doing a good job. Lets hope the officials don't call anymore "roughing the snapper" calls and call an honest game.

To correct people, the players must win this game for Charlie. Charlie calls the plays but the players execute them. The same players beat a team that beat SC.

Go Irish

10/16/2009 10:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lose and recruits start to drop off?

Manti Teo visited for the Syracuse game.

10/16/2009 11:25:00 AM  
Anonymous ND 2009 dad said...

1940 movie,

Knute Rockne - All American.

The phrase "Win one for the Gipper" was infused into the lexicon of American society and later became a rallying cry for the political campaigns of the actor who played Gipp in the movie, Ronald Reagan.

Below is the transcript of the dialogue from the movie that begins one hour and seventeen minutes after the showing of the MGM logo.

The scene opens with the interior of the Notre Dame dressing room.

The players, seated with blankets draped over their shoulders, are dejected and silent.

The door pushes open and Rockne is wheeled in.

They look at Rockne (played by Pat O'Brien) in mute apology, then guiltily away, as if to avoid his eyes.
His dark-circled eyes range over the players for a full moment of unbroken silence.
Then, quietly, as if the game didn't matter to him:


ROCKNE: Well, boys ... I haven't a thing to say. Played a great game...all of you. Great game.

(He tries to smile.) I guess we just can't expect to win ‘em all.

(Rockne pauses and says quietly). I'm going to tell you something I've kept to myself for years -- None of you ever knew George Gipp.

It was long before your time.

But you know what a tradition he is at Notre Dame...

(There is gentle, faraway look in his eyes as he recalls the boy's words). And the last thing he said to me --

"Rock," he said - "sometime, when the team is up against it -- and the breaks are beating the boys -- tell them to go out there with all they got and win just one for the Gipper...

(Knute's eyes become misty and his voice is unsteady as he finishes). I don't know where I'll be then, Rock", he said - "but I'll know about it - and I'll be happy."

There is a hushed stillness as Rockne and the crowd of boys look at each other.

In the midst of this tense silence, Rockne quietly says "Alright," to the men beside him, and his chair is wheeled slowly out of the dressing room.

PLAYER # 12: Well, what are we waiting for?

With a single roar, the players throw off their blankets and rush through the doorway.

69 years later..............

Go Irish BEAT Trojans

The few The proud The Irish

10/16/2009 12:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just to clarify, Weis doesn't pick when these guys take there official visits, the kids do. Most of them are on the quarter system in high school and have some break in school work in these next couple weeks. I'm sure Weis would prefer to have these guys spread out throughout the season so he could give each more individual attention. Anyway the game itself is almost irrelevant to the recruiting process. Floyd made his official for USC in '07 and committed that weekend. Te'o came for Syracuse last year. I hope we win. If Floyd was healthy we'd have a much better chance. The defense needs to make Barkley beat us with his arm. That means tackling Joe McKnight.

10/16/2009 12:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey heeeeey jimmy clausen....ohhhhh jimmy clausen....were singing are song..as we fight on....WALKIN IN A CLAUSEN WONDERLAND!!!!!!!!!!! GO IRISH

10/16/2009 03:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This weekend's game is a win-win.
Win and you win the recruiting battle. Lose and the Irish are one step closer to the press release announcing the next coach of Notre Dame, Brian Kelly, who would be a huge improvement over Weis.

10/16/2009 04:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To paraphrase James Blunt:

"So Charlie, you're getting older,
your journey's been etched on your skin
So Charlie, I wish I had known that, what seemed so strong, has been and gone,
I would call Ara up every Saturday night, and we'd both stay out till the morning light and we sang, 'Here we go again,'
And though time goes by I will always be on a field with him singing 'Here we go again.'"

10/16/2009 05:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whatever happens today, Weis has had plenty of time and opportunity to prove that he's an elite, top-tier college head coach. Well, is he? You all know the answer.


10/17/2009 12:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ridiculous LEARN HOW TO RECRUIT DEFENSIVE PLAYERS! Charlie your head is much deserved on the block!

10/17/2009 07:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The excuses are going beyond absurd. I've seen Message Boards claiming Weis is 23-8 over 2.5 years, the poster obviously gets to pick the time span. The next favorite is that the defense is young. Will we every be old? Next year when our O-line graudates, will we still be young?

Charlie Weis is the guy at work who most people like, who works hard, but who just can't get it done. He has management buffaloed into thinking he can, so they continue to let him replace his subordinates. And just for good measures, he throws out the old "I got here at 4 am".

10/18/2009 10:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Irish Mike, you are full of it. The Irish didn't win but they played the Trojans to the last play. For your information, there is still half the season left. With two losses we still have a chance at the BCS. Even with three, we will play a quality bowl game. It is still about recruiting as The Rock has pointed out. We need depth at all positions, and the class being recruited can bring it to ND. Charlie will be back next season.

10/22/2009 12:57:00 PM  

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