Thursday, October 04, 2007


In my neighborhood, we were never stupid enough to let someone know we were going to hit them. We just hit them.

Apparently, Jason Whitlock didn't grow up in a neighborhood like mine, because he prefers to telegraph his punches. Right in the middle of what he bills as 10 NFL Truths, he tosses in this gem:

For you Notre Dame fans wondering at home, I'm a week or two away from writing a gloating/scathing column about Charlie Weis and the grossly premature contract extension Notre Dame gave him. Oh, I haven't forgotten all the nasty e-mails I received two years ago after pointing out that ND had no business giving The Great Weis Hope a 10-year contract extension for doing far less in his first eight games than Tyrone Willingham did in his first eight at Notre Dame. But before I strike I'm waiting on additional information to trickle in, such as I want it to be crystal clear that the Irish are the fourth-best Division I football team in Indiana -- after Purdue, Indiana and my Ball State Cardinals.

I had hoped no longer working for EsPN might put Whitlock's race-baiting and immaturity into remission. Apparently signing up to write for another media behemoth provoked a relapse. Too bad, because most of his recent stuff at the Star had been good.

This is a classic example of writing without writing. He doesn't want to write the article now, because ND has started showing improvement, and should Weis' crew carve out a win or two in the next three games before the cupcake parade, the storyline would get swallowed up and he'd look like an idiot. So he covers his bases by tossing that throwaway paragraph into an NFL story. He gets his digs in to the "nasty emailers" and manages to get the crux of what he'd write about into the electronic ether to float just like any other kind of turd would.

Of course, it goes without saying if and when that article is written, the best response by ND folks would be to ignore it by not linking or not reading it. But having said that, I'm going to ignore my own advice. What can I say, it's been a slow day and I can sometimes be a slow guy.

The original position that Charlie Weis "did far less in his first eight games than Tyrone Willingham did in his first eight" was off-base and unsupported by data, which is why it most likely provoked "nasty emails". Tyrone Willingham's team won its first eight games because the defense created an unsustainable takeaway margin for those games. When the defense got figured out by BC, so did Willingham, who then did nothing for the next two and a half seasons to change the situation. Charlie Weis's offense produced consistent point differential improvement for his first two seasons, and when the defense proved suspect, he dealt with it by changing coordinators.

Let's compare some totals, shall we:

Number of BCS bids achieved:
Weis 2, Willingham 0

Number of wins in first two seasons:
Weis 19, Willingham 15

Number of top 10 recruiting classes:
Weis 2 (one more on the way), Willingham 0

Number of recruiting classes outside the top 30:
Weis 0, Willingham 2

A reasonable person could conclude potential, if not actual, interest in Weis from NFL programs, something ND never had to worry about with Willingham (or any of his assistants, some of whom have not managed to be hired away from him in over seven seasons). Was it a level of interest that warranted a 10-year extension so early? Of course not. But as I talked about a couple weeks ago, the contract extension was dumb in the same way ND has been dumb about many coaches in many sports for the better part of 20 years, not due to some kind of racial vendetta against an underperforming coach. In fact, ND probably did Willingham a favor cutting him loose when they did -- one or two more terrible seasons and he wouldn't have been able to get a job at the high school level.

Weis is just as culpable as Willingham is for ND's current situation. But that doesn't mean Willingham's performance can suddenly be judged as capable, nor does it make the positive results of the last two seasons go away.

Weis has already shown in two seasons of being a head coach he's more able than his predecessor to detect and take action on problems. We'll see what happens the rest of this season and into next before we evaluate the success of those actions. Meanwhile, Willingham seems to be much happier where he is.

From my viewpoint, everyone's happy. Except the muckrakers, of course.

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Blogger GuinnessGuzzler said...

Whitlock is a world-class, black-belt ass clown, and one of several noteable AA poster children for the "play the race card in the absence of facts, research, or any semblance of rational intelligence" school of media midgetry. F him.

10/04/2007 04:08:00 PM  
Anonymous CJC said...

Au contraire, Michael. The muckrackers are happies of all.

10/04/2007 04:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Tim McCarthy said...

"For you Notre Dame fans wondering at home . . . "

Can I get a show of hands from everyone who was waiting at home to hear what this guy said next about ND?

Bueller? Bueller?

10/04/2007 04:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Hammerken said...

Ooooh I'm scared.

As one of those "nasty emailers" I guess I have my comeuppance coming from this hack. Yeah right. Many crayons would Whitlock, the mental midget, have to wear down in order for him to give me my just desserts.

10/04/2007 05:03:00 PM  
Anonymous NorcalDomer said...

Has anyone considered that Weis used his leverage from early wins and calls from the NFL to provide himself with cover for this (and potentially next) year.

Weis knows talent; he knew that this year would be the year of the underclassman. He said as much to an NFL scout last year according to a recent article.

That foresight may have given an added incentive on his side to get locked in long term.

10/04/2007 05:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we would have to say Weis top ten recruiting classes: 2 Willingham: 1.

10/04/2007 06:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if Willingham's classes were rated higher than Purdue's or Michigan State's?

10/04/2007 06:53:00 PM  
Anonymous gutsmo said...

Next time little spoiled baby talks about race, perhaps someone someone should ask him if Willingham was racsist for not playing Jeff Smardzja ( I hope I spelled that right. That is no more stupid than 'Brats' columns.

10/05/2007 09:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Jim Kress said...

And how many black co-ordinators did Willingham have?

Willingham 0, Weis 2.

Becoming a well recognized co-ordinator is the accepted route to becoming a head coach.

I guess Willingham didn't want any competition from other black head coaches since he refused to develop them as co-ordinators.

10/05/2007 09:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why you continue to give credence to sports journalist hacks is beyond me. Of course Whitlock was going to pile on after ND's horrendous start. Do you have to get your undies in a bunch even when he threatens to write a column? Let it go.

10/05/2007 03:16:00 PM  
Blogger pdxwriter said...

At the end of the day, Whitlock’s comment still have veracity and resonate in terms of the actual prudence, or lack thereof, of committing to CW for such an exorbitant amount of time and money. As has been previously mentioned several times, being a top-flight NFL assistant, who he no doubt is, is not a reliable indicant that he can be a sustainable top tier college head coach. As for the Geetar’s comment “should Weis' crew carve out a win or two in the next three games before the cupcake parade, the storyline would get swallowed up and he'd look like an idiot,” well, that not only borders on phantasm, it is the definition of the word.

With all due deference to the strides that ND has made in recent weeks, and they have made some strides, this is by far the most difficult part of the schedule. Further, especially for the west coast teams they will encounter, the sideline-to-sideline speed, of lack thereof, for ND, is what is most noticeably absent, and thus very much plays in favor of both UCLA and USC. It would literally be impossible to argue otherwise—so, it with a grain of precious salt that I read the Geetar’s words.

10/05/2007 06:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I beg to differ with PDX. The commitment to CW was prudent. What plausible choice did we have...Willingham and Davie established a long term recruiting tailspin...if you thought CW's longevity stood between you and 2 to 6 good recruiting years, regardless of his actual on-field'd take that issue off the table wouldn't ya??? Three rings and across the board credibility with the Sunday Gang = guaranteed top 15 (maybe top 10) recruiting for at least 6 years.

Until that 10 year deal, CW was a top target of a handfull of NFL teams...still is...but regardless, the contract shows his we get 4-5 star commitments because they aren't wondering if he is bolting to the NFL. At worst, CW is a launching pad to excellence...Lou he isn't...but he's learning, and while he's figuring out the "magic" motivational part, he is already the best X's and O's man at any none.

After the debacle over the delicate genious (Urban Meyer), and the Blarney king from GT, I thought ole' Kev put together a string of decisive, and prudent moves.

Who the hell is Whitlock...seriously...Notre Dame will always have Nation-Wide support/Nation-Wide coverage...who else can sustain that over decades??? This program, in shambles or at its peak, is THE PROGRAM, and will always rise from the ashes by virtue of its fans and alumni ($$$$), ...not everyone knows this, but the people with money know it...look at the bowl folks, they push away arguably more qualified teams to get to us...why..they know if you invite ND to a bowl, you put meat in seats. So let me ask you all a question...if a kid is on the fence about he going to consult Whitlock, or remeber what he wrote...mmmmm...NO. Is this kid going to picture 3-4 bowl appearances, a national audience for EVERY one of his games, a racially diverse staff (if he is so inclined to care), and the best NFL mentor at the college level. Folks, no amount of Whitlock's lunacy will change the FACTS/REALITY. I'd dismiss him completely, if it weren't for the damage his "race card first" approach does to those for whom he claims to speak.

And for the record, it was never about black or has been well-documented that Ty Willingham was not the best at pre-game prep. and game day adjustments, nor was he a gifted recruiter, and he certainly wasn't compensating for the recruiting weakness by working real cudos to Kev for seeing this year, and others just like it coming, and actually doing something proactively to "get well" (even if he had a couple miscues along the way :).

10/05/2007 10:42:00 PM  

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