Watching the Irish play on Tuesday was a glaring reminder of what Charlie Weis and his new coaching staff will inherit. The Irish simply do not have a lot of seasoned talent in the secondary, and they just can't seem to find any cohesiveness on offense.
Notre Dame also does not generate much of a pass rush on defense, even against the lesser teams, and the Irish surely don't cover well—even amongst the linebacker corps.
But more importantly, they just can't seem to find a rhythm on offense. That is where Weis comes in.
Losing Matt Shelton to injury severely limited the Irish on offense. Oregon State was able to load the box with eight and nine man fronts against the run and play man coverage all night long.
But the sad thing is Shelton appears to be the only wide receiver who is a deep threat for Notre Dame--thus the real problem for Weis and his new coaching staff.
The Irish are simply lacking talent and depth in a number of positions, and this lack of depth and talent will be difficult to overcome in the future.
This won't be a quick or easy fix, folks.
Weis and his staff will become heir to a very little depth and talent along the offensive line, in the defensive backfield, and at quarterback, wide receiver and running back.
Weis and his staff also will be left with a woefully thin recruiting list of talented prospects currently considering Notre Dame—another major concern.
I'm not suggesting that the Irish do not have talent, they do. But that talent is very thin or hasn't been realized at this point.
I wonder how poor this team would've been had Brady Quinn been hurt early in the year?
I wonder how many more games this team would've lost had Ryan Harris been out for the season?
The simple truth is that Notre Dame has problems—the reason why Weis was hired and Willingham was fired—and it's not going to be an easy fix for Weis or any coach at this point.
With less than a month to recruit, Weis and his staff will have to try to find some answers to some of these problems, and judging by the current list of top prospects currently interested in Notre Dame, that could be very difficult.
The Irish simply must find some talented offensive lineman and cornerbacks in this class. I cannot stress enough how important that will be to the future of Notre Dame football.
The idea that Notre Dame will finish in the top 10 of recruiting classes this year is ridiculous. However, they can address some need positions with this class, and that is vital or a must.
How should we judge the success of this recruiting class at this point?
If I am Charlie Weis and this staff, I/we focus on finding one true starter at cornerback and two true starters at offensive tackle in this class above and beyond everything else in the final month of recruiting.
Yes, the Irish do need a speedy receiver, running back, another linebacker, blah, blah, blah….
None of that will matter if the Irish can't address the two needs I mentioned above.
If Weis and his staff can find those three players, combined with all the current commitments they currently have, that will be a huge step in the right direction.
We will look more in-depth at the final month of recruiting later this week, but the most important thing right now for Weis and his staff will be to land those three players. Who those three players are, we're not sure at this point, but hopefully Weis has a few in mind, and some we don't currently know about.
Regardless, Tuesday's loss to Oregon State should be a reminder to all Irish fans of the current state of Notre Dame football. One player--Matt Shelton--goes down and the Irish are left to play with one arm tied behind their back.
Yes, coaching does come into play as it has many times in the past three years, but the simple truth is Shelton is the only wide receiver on Notre Dame's roster that any team is scared of.
That lack of speed and depth at wide receiver can also be said for a number of positions currently on the Notre Dame depth chart.