Saturday, November 17, 2007

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

Or so the good Lord has told us. So no sooner do I hope Charlie will be willing to go to others for help in the offseason than he talks about his plans to do that very thing.

During the NBC broadcast of the Duke game, Weis talked of plans to return to the Patriots' organization to allow them to scout his ND program and help him identify the flaws in his approach. He'll be working with Bill Belichick, Duane Charles Parcells, and the guys with whom he had so much success in the NFL.

I like it. Charlie is going to bring in some new ideas and get critique from outside the program. Sometimes you need to step back and get the commentary from people that aren't as close to the situation as you. If it leads to an improvement in the workings of the team and the program overall, it's an excellent thing.

But I'm guessing there'll still be some discomfort in some quarters with Weis returning to his NFL roots for this education. I think those folks are uneasy about it for the same reason Peter Vaas' daughter is getting such negative blowback about her appearance on the game telecast (and as an aside, I'm trying to figure out who was more foolish: NBC for thinking that interview was a good idea, or Ms. Vaas for agreeing to proclaim her switched allegiances to a national audience). If you're in the ND family, people expect you to be ND uber alles. If you can get something from within the family, people expect you to stay within the family. When you go outside or proclaim an outside source as being your preferred method, you're going to create some internal irritation because you're perceived as somehow splitting your loyalties. For a school that proclaims "God, Country, Notre Dame" as a way of life, that kind of "disloyalty" is off-putting.

As I said yesterday, my family is very important to me, and I'm not inclined to get something from someone else if I can get help from (or help) them. But in this case, I'm thinking Weis' plan is the best one. For one, the Pats are probably best equipped to give Weis the most comprehensive review of what he's doing. In February, college coaches are consumed with recruiting and getting spring ball ready, assuming they'd be willing to help ND and Weis in the first place. NFL teams, on the other hand, are in their offseason, and have both the time and resources to really dig deep and give Charlie the analysis he needs. Two, for better or worse, Belichick and his folks are the most likely to be blunt with Weis about what he's doing wrong, and they're also the people whose comments Weis is most likely to take to heart. Right now, Charlie needs an outside perspective, and it's best to go the route with the highest chance of success.

There is one potential drawback, though. If the answer to Weis' questions boils down to his schemes being too complex for players who have only 20 distracted hours with the coaching staff per week, the degree to which the pro coaches can help him might be limited. These guys made their bones in the pro ranks, and might not have the familiarity with college-specific aspects of the game. For that education, Charlie may be on his own, and it's at that time his ND family will come in handy for him. If that ends up happening, I remain hopeful he makes use of those resources.

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Anonymous Robert said...

I don't have a problem with Charlie doing this if, that's if, he understands he is inherently limited to the pro perspective. We still have issues with teaching fundamentals, and no ammount of time spent with the Pat's organization will compensate for basic fundamentals. The higher rate of return would be garnered by relinquishing some duties to his assistants, and presumably spending more time overseeing the empire he was entrusted to guard.

11/17/2007 10:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Keith said...

I like this idea also. I'm not worried that the complicated scheme is the problem. It certainly wasn't for Brady Quinn et al. ND players are smart and should be suited for a complicated playbook. Weis just failed to teach them to walk before asking them to run.

What's often overlooked is that he was probably lax in teaching fundamentals in prior years too. So some of the sophomores and juniors might be no more experienced than freshmen in that respect. That will take time to fix.

Although their NFL experience doesn't translate directly to college, Belichick and company are still some of the best coaches around. Hopefully they'll be able to figure out what Weis's approach is missing and point it out to him in a way he'll understand. If they could teach him a thing or two about delegating authority, that would probably help too.

11/18/2007 12:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with what I think you're saying about Vass' daughter, at least insofar as it being a mistake for NBC to put her on. But criticism for her switch of allegiance? CW/ND fired her father - this after a season in which BQ - coached by Vass - saved Weis and the Irish from a .500 or so year with his leadership and his ability to execute the offense. Her comment was apt - supporting her friends on the ND team while rooting for her father's school - something akin to "supporting the troops" even if you oppose the war. I would hope that our Notre Dame community would recognize the primacy of family and loyalty to it as nothing short of a Catholic value. Something as miniscule as changing football allegiance doesn't rise to the level of a moral value, but this is a child who was understandably hurt by the treatment her father received and responded accordingly. I'm an ND alum and I salute her.
As for CW returning to his roots - Bellechik has demonstrated repeatedly (try the Washington game this year) that he is a classless lout. Weis' apparent iconization of him is disturbing. There are plenty of other coaches he can bounce his ideas off of, ones from whom he could learn something about class and prevent the further degradation of Notre Dame football into "just like everyone else" that is at least as insidious in the long run as mediocre and losing season records.

11/18/2007 01:27:00 AM  
Blogger James said...

It's great when anyone seeks to correct perceived mistakes, but are we sure that the Pats' organization has the time to go over a failed season with some coach whose program didn't do too well?

11/18/2007 06:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Ted said...

Excellent leaders are willing to ask for input from those who can help them be better leaders. This is what I believe Charlie Weis is doing by going to the Patriots organization...not just their head coach. I believe Charlie will also reach out to others, but he is under no obligation to detail that to the public at this time.

Geetar is on target. He also asks CW to consider the ND Family as a source for help. That would be an excellent idea.

To say that CW/ND fired Peter Vaas, perhaps, but if that is true then why did he and Charlie meet each other on the field in a very friendly setting. No one forced either man to do that. It appeared that Peter came over to where Charlies was on the field...not the action of a man who holds dislike toward another man or institution.

Frankly, my wife and I thought his daughter looked foolish, but she has every right to present herself as she wishes. However, she is an adult...NOT A CHILD.

A poster gives the credit to Brady Quinn's success to Peter Vaas. You say that he saved the Irish from a fifty percent season. How do you know that? I find it difficult to believe CW had nothing to do with Brady's success. You obviously do not like Charlie Weis...why not say it?

11/18/2007 08:03:00 AM  
Anonymous posty10 said...

It is a move well needed but I have to agree that we probably need more of a college outlook right now than a pro view that players know fundamentals. Also undisiplined penalties have to fall back toward the coaches.

11/18/2007 08:08:00 AM  
Blogger matthew said...

CW will be just fine and the Team will continue to get better.

It seems that CW can not get a break from critical ND fans. He's this ,he's that,can't coach,he's like Parcells(Jersey BOY),...... just tons of unrelated junk.
All nonsense ! He can recruit,straight forward in his actions and words, community oriented,loves ND,loyal to a fault,realizes his mistakes and he can deal with it. He now wants to have others(experts) evaluate his coaching.Admire him for all those positives.
Granted,Duke was weak,but you saw Hughes,Kamara,Claussen,Neal.etc show signs of being the real deal.
He understands what it takes to develop the whole program. He is not a front runner, as many of his critics are.He puts a brick on the foundation each day, remember,there was no foundation for a future when he arrived.

11/18/2007 08:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think your columns are usually reasonable and well thought out. With regard to Vass' daughter you are way off base and out of line. First, my DNA family means a lot more to me than my ND family. If yours doesn't, you should get counseling. Weis fired her dad. And then effectively fired her. ND family? Weis had so little regard for her integrity that she couldn't keep her job in the football office. If he had any regard for the ND family, he would have been able to trust that she would have kept everything she was exposed to in her job completely confidential - that as an honorable member of the ND family telling her dad anything would have been no different than telling something to Pete Carroll. ND uber alles? A lot of good that did Germany, eh? Mindless loyalty to the fascist vaterland!

11/18/2007 09:14:00 AM  
Anonymous JC said...

Finally a post that has everything in perspective - I'm talking about the one from "anonymous" on 11/18 at 1am. I cannot believe the angst caused by a meaningless interview on TV where it would actually be ultra strange if the kid did not support her father. Also, I'm sure Weis has bounced off ideas by Belichick before. So how is this time going to be different? Beli-cheat is such a questionable character, it would not be surprising that he holds back some "great" info.

11/18/2007 09:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Don said...

I think we're all glad that Weis has admitted that he needs help, or at least doesn't have all of the answers. And it probably can't hurt for him to reach out to the great pro coaches with whom he has a relationship. However, Weis was also a great pro coach. And there's a large body of evidence that suggests that coaching success at the pro level doesn't necessarily translate to success at the college level, and vice versa.

So, in addition to reaching out to his great pro coaches, I'd like to see Weis reach out to a great college coach, one who has known success at that level, likely has the willingness to help, and who loves Notre Dame - Lou.

Though Holtz's play calling at the end of his tenure with ND arguably became stale, few in football would argue that he wasn't a great college coach. So, leave Weis with his strength - the X's and O's, and ask Lou to consult on every other aspect of how to coach at the college level (i.e. day-to-day activities, motivation, etc.).

11/18/2007 09:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Jeff moreno said...

What a bunch of nonsense.You take help where you can find it!If it is from the Patriots Coaching staff you take.It may not all be of help or even applicable but you certainly take from it what will be of use.About the Voss daughter,"blood is thicker than water"!No big deal!Why is it that we are supposed to be patient with young football players but students are another matter.She was up front and honest ,good enough for me!Her Dad and Mom did a good job of emphazing family values.Jeff

11/18/2007 09:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Weis needs a veteran older coach that has coached college for years and know how to translate the lingo for him to the players. I call it the K.I.S.S. method. Keep it simple stupid. Charlie has KIDS for goodness sake, they may be big, strong, fast and pretty smart to go to ND, but they are still just KIDS.

11/18/2007 10:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like a good plan. But I do think that he would be foolish if he neglects to let Lou Holtz have some meaningful input. Lou understands the college game as well as anyone, and his ability to motivate and inspire 17-23 year old men is well proven. And Charlie must be willing to accept that these kids are not professionals. I have read that Golden Tate hasn't played more this year because, although he flashes brilliance, he doesn't yet have full grasp of the playbook. So now his career is 25% over and he's not been fully employed as a weapon in our arsenal. Charlie may need to trim the book a bit in order to best utilize all the young talent that he has been recruiting. These kids have a finite amount of football time each week, and CW must truly learn, as Lou always says, "what's important now" (W.I.N.).

11/18/2007 11:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Totally disagree. You don't go to a neurosurgeon for help when you need a podiatrist. The NFL is so different than college.

With experienced and replaceable players, and 40 hours of practice a week, you solve problems different in the NFL than you do when you have only 17 hours of practice and inexperienced players.

It's clear that Charlie's approach to football is to put all the marbles on the QB. ND's offense is demands so much precision that it takes a QB 9 or 10 games to become somewhat proficient. That is not a path to success.

Instead of going to the Pats, why doesn't he go to Lou Holtz. Holtz understood the game well enough that you could insert a McDougal and go 11-1. Lou could win games while a QB is still learning. Spend some time at Ohio State or LSU for god's sake.

Charlie is so in love with the thought that he is a QB guru that I'm afraid he's willing to sacrifice a lot of losses for that one magical time when "it all comes together".

But that's no way to approach the college game.

11/18/2007 01:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why doesn't Charlie use his local sources, Ara, Joe Yonto, Tom Pagna, etc. If he knew anything about the "mystique" of Notre Dame, he would realize they would probably be more willing and able to help him figure out what he is doint wrong and would be more than willing to help him out...I think they did more for Notre Dame than outsiders who do not understand what Notre Dame is all about.
Go Irish!!

11/18/2007 07:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that this is great to hear, as it shows that he is willing to change to improve himself and the program. The Patriots are the cream of the crop in the NFL this year and their help would be priceless especially when you consider that they have been able to stay at the top after loosing top assistants.

11/19/2007 07:22:00 AM  
Blogger thegipper said...

While I applaud Charlie's willingness to have his program evaulated, I question the choice of evaluators. I would have prefered to see Ara and Lou come in and give a complete critique.

They have both "been there, done that" in terms of National Championships.

11/19/2007 08:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that the Pat's may have a lot to offer Charlie, but it may have more of an affect if the other coaches were there to hear the criticism against Charlie and themselves. Then it's not Charlie coming back with the criticisms and the other coaches wondering if everything was presented and received in a fair light.

It's generally best for everyone to share in the praise or blame together (first-hand) as apposed to it being delivered by someone who they may blame and not trust. Because Charlie is going back to his ‘old gang’ it’s all the more important that his assistants be there to understand how the situation was presented to the Pat’s and what was really given to Charlie to change.

11/19/2007 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Ryan said...

Yeah, it was kinda disturbing to see somebody publicly say they're leaving the family for Duke, but seriously, I think Duke needs her more than we do.

Good luck, and we'll be waiting until you come back to the fold.

11/19/2007 10:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's much more than just how complicated (or not) the offense is. It's about managing a college football team. It's not about stars living up to their hype, it's about getting those second and third tier players to play at a level above what's expected. I don't know if the Patriots can help with that.

11/19/2007 12:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great blog. I think the one thing that is being missed here is that the discussion on TV only covered what Weis id doing in the off-season. And, as we have seen from previous years, he assigns the rest of the coaching staff to go out on assignment. I think Weis will seek advice within the college ranks, but that he will do so through his coaching staff.

11/19/2007 02:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ask for help- YES! Publicize that you are seeking it- NO!!!! Charlie Weis is paid the BIG bucks to be able to determine problems and find solutions. If he needs help doing this why in the dear lords name who he tell everybody about it? I am beginning to think he is totally out of his league. The look on his face on the sidelines is indicative of this also. By the way Charlie, the NE Pats are a PRO football team and do not deal with young, inexperienced guys on a daily and very limited basis. How about consulting with Lou Holtz. I am certain he would be more than willing to help based on his allegiance to ND.

11/19/2007 02:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

His O-line is slow off the ball and can't pass protect or run-block, he blew the spring and summer installing a dumb scheme to beat Georgia Tech and threw his whole team off off any hoped-for rhythm, he didn't play enough of his players last season to make any of them game-ready, he didn't let his players go full-contact in practice, he's conceited though he hasn't earned it in the college game, he's stubborn and lacks flexibility, his defense is porous and slow and they apparently have never learned how to tackle.

Done and done. Save the airfare.

11/20/2007 09:26:00 AM  

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