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Latest Checklist Has Many Marks Against Charlie Weis

Nov 15, 2009 – 2:01 AM
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John Walters

John Walters %BloggerTitle%

PITTSBURGH -- There exists a surfeit of essays, all written within the past few hours, on why Charlie Weis should be fired. Instead of adding to the drudgery, I've compiled a list of 35 thoughts (one for each victory Weis has had in South Bend) that came to mind in the wake of Notre Dame's 27-22 defeat at Pitt.

35) If motivation were all it was about, then Tony Robbins would be an SEC coach. And if intelligence were all it was about, Charlie Weis would be a winner.

34) One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting to yield different results. Mr. John Swarbrick, please stop the insanity.

33) Notre Dame's "Stepford Wives" act during post-game interviews is emblematic of why they are a failure. All four players who spoke to the media -- linebacker Brian Smith, wide receiver Golden Tate, quarterback Jimmy Clausen and safety Kyle McCarthy -- used a variation of the term "I'll have to go back and look at the tape" when asked to assess a shortcoming. If you control players' speech off the field, how much do you also stymie their self-expression on the field.

32) USC allowed more points (55) than it ever has in 121 seasons of football and Pete Carroll still had a better day than Charlie Weis.

31) The shame of it all is that the Irish may have had more players on turf at Heinz Field who will actually be playing in NFL stadiums five years from now than Pitt did.

30) Accountability? Accountability?!? Where?

29) Has anyone ever gazed upon the Notre Dame sideline in the past five years and ever thought of the word "levity"?

28) "We came out conservative," Weis said. "I call a game differently on the road than I do at home. When we're on the road, you have to consider the crowd and the tempo of the game and I thought we were doing pretty well when the score was 3-3 [late in the second quarter]."

Yes, but you have more talent in 2009 than you did in 2005, Charlie, and in your first road game, at this very stadium, you led 35-7 at the half. Please explain.

27) .583. That is the magic number. It's the career win percentage at Notre Dame of Bob Davie, Tyrone Willingham and now Charlie Weis.

26) Swarbrick was walking near the back of the group of Irish players as they trudged through the bowels of Heinz Field after the game. The Notre Dame athletic director was not spreading incense as he walked, which is customary at a funeral.

25) Do you realize that if Weis is fired, and if he refuses to accept the remainder of his salary, that A.) It would be the ultimate statement in terms of "accountability"? B) He would in effect be donating enough money to, and this is a conservative estimate, fund 50 four-year scholarships?, and C.) you and I would be living in a fantasy world of unicorns and wood nymphs?

24) This is the proper time to call a second-half timeout before the five-minute mark of the fourth quarter: Never, never, never, never, never, never, not even once, not even if its fourth-and-goal on the other team's one-yard line, not even if your hair is on fire. Never. Ever. Are we clear?

23) It isn't his fault, of course, but if Jimmy Clausen decides to go pro after this season, the very best the Irish could finish during his era would be 19-19. That is assuming that Notre Dame beats Connecticut, Stanford and a bowl opponent, and is anyone prepared to assume that?

22) Notre Dame has outscored opponents in the fourth-quarter 60-30 in its four losses. The Irish never quit, but they never show up to play, either. It's as if every game is an exam that Notre Dame pulls an all-nighter for on the eve of and then cannot believe that it received a C-minus.

21) I don't know much about television production, but could ABC not have occasionally shown a remote shot of ESPN's Mark May and Lou Holtz watching the game in Bristol?

20) Golden Tate, warrior. I've been writing it for three years and once again he is worthy of that appellation. I asked him, "How come there don't seem to be more players on this team who try as hard as you do?"

"I go out and play every game like it's my last," Tate replied. "I can only speak for myself. I don't know."

19) Reportedly, radio play-by-play announcer Don Criqui (a Notre Dame alum) said, "Over and out for the Fighting Irish" after Pitt made it 20-3 late in the third quarter. That's on Notre Dame's flagship station. Will there be repercussions?

18) Notre Dame ran six plays, all passes, on its final drive and only one ball went to Tate. This is why you lose. Unless Tate is being double-teamed by Ed Reed and Darren Sharper, you go to him.

17) Eric Maust had a higher yardage average passing versus USC than he did punting versus Pitt. Maust completed one pass for 25 yards versus the Trojans and punted five times against the Panthers for a 24.8 yard average.

16) It's funny how Charlie Weis refuses to talk "big picture" about anything pertaining to the Irish, but he was able to say, and quite accurately, this about replay officials in general: "It seems like the replay officials recently, in a lot of games you watch, are the stars." He's right and they were wrong.

15) Cincinnati played Friday night, which means that Brian Kelly had today off. Did the Bearcats' head coach tune in to ABC this evening? Did he take notes? P.S. Demetrius Jones is on an undefeated team that will play in a BCS bowl.

14) Michael Floyd's performance for much of this evening was only a hair better than what he did for the Irish against Purdue, Washington, USC, Boston College and Washington State.

13) Are we really looking at a potential third time this decade that the Irish journey to California for Thanksgiving weekend and provide a major assist to a successful Heisman candidacy? (Carson Palmer, USC, 2002; Matt Leinart, USC, 2004) Toby Gerhart of Stanford rushed for 224 versus Oregon last week and 178 versus USC on Saturday. If he gets anything less than two bills against the Irish I will be surprised.

12) You can have just one of these two players return to Notre Dame for a senior year, Jimmy Clausen or Golden Tate. Whom are you taking?

11) The image in your mind of Brian Smith chasing Dion Lewis and then stumbling near the end says in pictures and just a few seconds everything that has been written about the Irish for pretty much the past 15 years.



10) Before Tate's 87-yard punt return for a touchdown, Notre Dame had scored all 35 TDs this season via an offensive play from scrimmage. This is a defense that simply does not make enough plays.

9) Notre Dame has had three PATs blocked this season, has a net punting average of 35.4 yards, was pantsed on a first-half onside kick by Michigan State, blew an easy fake field goal with a stupid hold against Boston College and allowed a kickoff to be returned for a touchdown by Michigan. How is special teams coach Brian Polian faring on the accountability scale?

8) The Irish are 0-3 in the past 54 weeks when Brian Smith does something inflammatory toward the opposing team coming out of the tunnel. Tonight he got into it with a Pitt player and a male cheerleader hoisting a flag.

7) Those holding their breath for Corwin Brown's next appearance in front of their media, you can go ahead and exhale now. I'm all about saving lives.

6) Pittsburgh "committed" just one penalty, for five yards, all evening. Yes, they were Big East officials.

5) Do you know which team -- outside of North Carolina State, who beat them -- gave the Panthers the toughest time this season? That's correct, Connecticut, who only lost by a 24-21 score.

4) Weis said that the Huskies would be "highly motivated" when they visit South Bend next Saturday. Why does it always seem, when it comes to Notre Dame, that the other guy is more motivated?

3) Will Weis speak at next Friday's pep rally?

2) Not including the scrimmage versus Washington State, Notre Dame has scored two first-half touchdowns in its previous five games.

1) There's a Starkist Tuna catchphrase that has been running through my mind all evening.
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