Friday, February 8, 2008

Thoughts on February 8 Press Conference

I will be returning to my recruiting recap articles shortly, but today I wanted to comment on the press conference from today and the announcements that Coach Weis made regarding the program:

1. Coach Weis giving up the playcalling and total control of the offense.

I am going to be completely honest here -- this shocked me. I did not see this coming at all. I didn't get to watch the press conference live, so when I first read the bullet point that Charlie was giving up the playcalling, I had mixed emotions. As Charlie said today and has said numerous times in the past, he feels his greatest strength is his playcalling ability. My initial reaction was concern about whether he should really be subtracting his greatest strength from the program at this time. Also, I never had a problem with his playcalling and did not believe playcalling was one of the major issues on offense last season. However, after listening to the explanation he gave at the press conference, I see why he made the move and I think it could be a really good move for the Irish. Once again, Charlie has shown that he is not afraid to make bold and dramatic changes to help the program. A move like this can have the effect of energizing your entire offensive coaching staff. Those guys work extremely hard in their positions, but when you are not one of the main guys directing the ship, it can be very frustrating, especially when things are not going well. A move like this gives those offensive coaches more of a sense of ownership over the offense and its performance. Coaches can't think after a poor practice or poor game "My RBs ran the ball well" or "My WRs caught the ball when the QB was able to throw it to them." It is about production from the offense, not production from your specific position group. I think what Charlie realized this offseason is that the offense had become stagnant. He wasn't receiving creative solutions from the offensive coaches because they didn't feel empowered enough to tell the head coach they thought he was making a mistake. A key part of the presser today was when Charlie said that he personally performed his best when he had someone to lean on. I really don't know if Charlie has had that or has done that the past 3 years. Mike Haywood was a first time Offensive Coordinator when he was hired. Rob Ianello was a career position coach. As head coach and in control of the offense, I just didn't see a whole lot of collaboration during games between Charlie and the other members of the offensive staff. Now, with Coach Haywood running the offense, the other assistants involved, and Charlie interjecting, he is forcing himself to collaborate with and lean on others. I do think this is going to be incredibly difficult for Charlie to stick with. You saw that in his demeanor at the press conference. I think one of the major themes I took away from the press conference is that Charlie wants to become more approachable -- more approachable to his coaches and more approachable to his players. I think one of the things he found from his self-reflection at the end of the year is that he spent so much time on Xs and Os and trying to plug leaks last season that he really didn't know his football team well enough. When things went bad, he didn't know his team well enough to know which buttons to push with them as individuals or collectively. Today was a bold and decisive step by Charlie to become this program's head coach, not just its master offensive strategist. I am interested and excited to see how it translates onto the field.

2. Brian Polian Named Special Teams Coach with Charlie as his "Assistant."

This move has been expected since the hiring of Jon Tenuta to coach the LBs. Look, Charlie realizes the special teams has been a disaster the past several years. Therefore, he is taking a coach in Polian who has experience coaching special teams and he is saying to that guy, "Forget about the LBs, forget about the defense, you are the guy who is going to focus solely and exhaustively on fixing special teams. Scheme, personnel, etc. is all on the table. To give us the tools we need, we are going to visit the football staf that does it best. Fix it. And to let every member of this team know how important I think this is, I am going to officially go out on a limb and call myself your assistant." I like it.

Your thoughts??????


Sir John said...

That aboutsums up what I think Glory. He saw the jelli ng together of the recent recruits (and we sure never had that before) Even if you won the NC last year cha nges are necessary and he recognises it.

Face Mask said...

As a leader,being inaccessible is a fatal flaw.If indeed these steps are being taken to remedy that it is a very good move not to mention that if CW realized this about himself then that is the mark of a great leader.The most successful organization in history had a maxum."If your plan does not adopt change,its a bad plan."I find these changes heartening.I am not so worried about the Defence now that JT is coaching the LBs.Perhaps CW will find a good man in JT to lean on.GO IRISH!!!

mdekom said...

This business of CW being head coach and simultaneously the spec teams assistant is nonsensical and idiotic. Indeed Charlie's strength IS playcalling, so I see him relinquishing that as dumping the girl that brung ya. His mistakes this year have been those of a man out of his depth, and the failure to fire any coaches (sing it with me: La-La-Latina) after such a deplorable year is a bad sign. The Tenuta signing is the bright spot.
I'm a big fan of ND, not one of those poser-haters who post on blogs. But I'm thinking Charlie just jumped the shark.

Ted Eberle said...

I like the changes. Bringing in Frank Beamer demonstrates a willingness to reach out. To me, that is leadership. Weis is also saying to everyone that special teams are important to the future success of ND.

Charlie Weis is showing that he recognizes there were problems, and he is taking the steps he believes will help solve those problems.

Will they work? Only time will tell, but I believe CW deserves credit for trying different ideas.

Ted Eberle said...

One other thought about the changes CW announced. By giving his Offensive Coordinator the play-calling responsibility, it gives CW more time to work with his great young quarterbacks in their development. That has to bode well for the future of ND Football.