What's Next?

In a season full of negatives, Notre Dame finally started to produce positive results in the final two games. The Irish beat Duke and Stanford to end the season at 3-9. It's still the most losses in a single year in school history. There's still back-to-back defeats to Navy and Air Force. However, the young Notre Dame team generated some much needed momentum heading into a critical off-season.

"There's not one negative that can come from winning the last two games, the last game at home, the last game on the road," Weis said on Monday morning. "There's nothing but positive. You think about going home at Christmas time and being home for a month and everyone is saying, ‘Hey, what's wrong with you, what's wrong with the team, what happened this year.' I mean, that's what these guys have to hang their hat on. They have to hang their hat on they finished out with two wins, and they're getting ready to get this right by starting to work in the off-season, starting today."

Despite the two straight wins to end the year, there's still a ton of work to do before the opener next season against San Diego State. Weis made it clear on Monday that recruiting is the top priority for the next few weeks. Currently, Notre Dame has the top-rated class in the nation, according to Scout.com. A bevy of talent exists in the group and Weis will be hitting the recruiting trail hard to keep the class intact and start building relationships with future prospects. Remarkably, the 3-9 record has not dissuaded any of the commits from switching their mind.

"I took a pretty big backlash last season when I said we were really going to get down to the word commitment and give them a clear explanation of what a commitment was, and I think that the guys that we've gone after have all understood that right from day one, what our stance was," Weis said, who had a few commits switch to other schools last year on National Signing Day. "And we've supported them and they've supported us and their families have been involved and their coaches have been involved and everyone has clearly understood that this was the way we were going to do it.

"And I think that because when you recruit a bunch of high character kids that all are involved with all the other kids that you're recruiting, they do it themselves. I think they've already kind of bought into that. That's the way they'd like it to be done. Really it makes it a lot easier when the players are recruiting themselves. I mean, they've already got relationships going. They can't back out on their friends. They're already close with a whole bunch of these guys."

After flying all over the country to meet with the current commitments and potential prospects, Weis was back in South Bend on Friday and met with the team to put the final touches on the off-season weight lifting program with strength and conditioning coach Ruben Mendoza, which started on Monday at 6 AM. The football banquet is set for this Friday and then its more recruiting for the Notre Dame head coach.

An intense evaluation of this season's struggles is set to start on December 17th. Weis and the other coaches will dissect the year and try to identify the major problems that plagued the team. As far as changes on the coaching staff, the Irish head coach will first attend to recruiting before making final decisions in that area.

"I wouldn't even think about that until after recruiting is over," Weis said. "There's nothing I intend on doing until after recruiting is over. Right now, my main emphasis and everything I'm doing is making sure that we do a good job in recruiting."

Weis let it be known a few weeks back that he'll be making a visit to the New England Patriots in the off-season. The Notre Dame head coach wants Bill Belichick and his staff to give honest opinions on the 2007 Irish football season. Weis was the offensive coordinator of the Patriots from 2000-2005 before accepting the job as the Irish head coach. The trip probably would be made sometime after January as New England, who is 11-0, is the odds-on favorite to win the Super Bowl.

"I'm definitely going to use college resources, but I think you guys greatly overrate the pro system when it comes to Xs and Os," Weis said. "All you're doing when it comes to that, an analysis of your system, is the X and O part. That's one small part of the grand scheme of things. When I say that I'm going to utilize the Patriots as a resource, why wouldn't I? They're the people that have the most familiarity with the Xs and Os part of the system."

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