Weis Talks About Wild Week

Charlie Weis met with the media before Friday's football banquet to discuss what his last week has been like. Weis talked about his meeting with Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick and about his in-home visits with recruits.

SOUTH BEND - Charlie Weis was pretty busy in the aftermath of the loss at Southern California.

Weis went to the airport to see his team off before returning to his hotel for a fitful night of sleep. On Sunday, Weis met with some California recruits before catching a plane to Hawaii to visit with the nation's top linebacker Manti Te'o.

The coach had an answer ready for all of the recruits when asked about his job security.

"When I went into those homes on Sunday, when they asked me if I was the head coach at Notre Dame, ‘I've been sitting in your house. What do you think I'm recruiting for the next head coach?'" he said. "I'm not being a smart guy when I say that. That's the perspective that you had to have and if something happens and you're not the guy then you're not the guy."

Before leaving Hawaii on Monday, Weis found out about Tuesday's meeting in San Jose with Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick from Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins. So Weis landed at LAX before hopping on another plane to San Jose.

Weis broke down his meeting with Swarbrick into three key questions.

"Number one: Was I going to be happy to be here? That is a very subjective question, but I told them without a doubt I would be happy to be here and would appreciate greatly the support of both Father John and Jack," Weis said. "Number two: What would be my commitment to come back here? Especially when you've been avoiding, yourself internally, the public scrutiny. I think it's important that you show that you're committed to getting Notre Dame where Notre Dame wants to be.

"Number three: Would I be accountable to get to that point? Because being committed is one thing, but you also have to have the accountability to go ahead and have that done."

Weis said that he and Swarbrick did not see eye-to-eye on every single issue, but there was plenty of common ground on each of their lists for Weis to come back for a fifth season.

"To be honest with you, most of that list was covered on both lists," he said. "I think that if our discrepancies were more, things might have gone in another direction."

Weis would not address the changes that would be made other than to say that "some of them will be obvious in due time and some of them will be more subtle."

When asked if he knew who would call plays in the bowl game and whether there would be any staff changes before that, Weis said he was not sure.

"I don't know the answer to either one of those questions yet. I just got back on Thursday, so this has been a short turnaround for us. I don't do anything premature, but I'm certainly investigating a lot of things," he said. "Right now they're all in the investigation stage, they're not in the statement stage yet. There's a lot of things going on. I think the timing of a.) where the bowl game is and b.) when I can work through some of these issues, I'll give a better answer to that question."

After making an effort to become more approachable with the players last offseason, he said that kind of change will not need to be as drastic this year.

"Probably the side that I get scrutinized the most for, they know the other side and I don't think that there's any of them that don't. I don't think there's one of them that doesn't," he said. "I think just as long as the new guys coming in always know the other side of you, you'll be OK. Because once the players know the other side of you, it allows you to coach them hard and we're going to need some hard coaching."

After the meeting with Swarbrick, Weis flew down to Oxnard to meet with running back Cierre Wood before Wednesday's announcement from the University.

"Needless to Sunday, Monday, Tuesday leading to Wednesday's statement was rather hectic because there was a number of people waiting for the balance of that announcement however that was going to turn out," he said. "Especially when you're dealing with recruits and/or their families and the coaches and their families and your players and their families. Before you even deal with anyone else, they were the people who had the most vested interest into how this was going to turn out."

When asked to evaluate himself, Weis broke his four years down into a pair of stages, his first two years and his last two.

"Last year we were a crummy team that very often was non-competitive. This year I thought that we were a decent football team that blew three double-digit leads," he said. "You are what you are as Bill (Parcells) always said, but the difference between 6-6 and 9-3 is blowing three double-digit leads. You've gone from a crummy team to a decent team, but decent isn't what Notre Dame is looking for. Notre Dame is looking for a good team and I think that's the next logical step that you're looking for."

Weis agreed with Swarbrick's contention that this season was unacceptable.

"If we were sitting here at 9-3 right now after a 3-9 year, I think everyone would say well that's not great, but that's a pretty darned good turnaround," he said. "But that's not the way it was, it was 6-6. So I agree with him, I don't disagree with him, I agree that 6-6 is not acceptable."

But Weis added that he sees the progress that is needed.

"I think it's important that you're moving toward the BCS discussion. I don't think you can be just a mediocre football team at Notre Dame if you're not in the BCS discussion," he said. "I'm not saying you're playing for the national championship game every year, but you have to be in the discussion. If you're not in the discussion, I don't think that's what anyone who went to Notre Dame or roots for Notre Dame would ever be looking for."

When asked if he could be the difference between winning those close games and losing them, Weis said that we would find out.

"That's one of those deep questions. I think that that question will be answered in a year's time," he said. "I don't think it's going to be five years down the road or 10 years down the road for that answer to come to fruition because you've gone from three wins to six wins, now what's it going to be? I think we'll all have a better answer for that question sitting here at this time next year."

Weis ran down the injury report for the media.

Cornerback Terrail Lambert and linebacker Darius Fleming are ready to practice now, while running back Armando Allen should be ready next week. Wide receiver Michael Floyd and linebacker Brian Smith will get their knees looked at again on Saturday, but should be ready by next weekend.

Receiver Rob Parris will not be back until after exams and linebacker Anthony McDonald will also be out for awhile. Special teams stud Mike Anello will be out two to four months with a broken leg, but will be ready to go if he chooses to come back for a fifth year.

Running back Robert Hughes, who was ejected from the USC game, will play in the bowl game and will serve his suspension in the first half of next year's opener against Nevada.

As for his own knee problems, Weis said that they did not have an impact on his coaching.

"I don't think it affected my mind," he said. "Now, I think several fans might beg to differ, but personally it didn't affect my mind, so therefore it didn't affect what you're able to do as a coach. I think that would be a cop-out on my part."

Weis injured his left knee in the win over Michigan and received a pain shot in his right knee to help him through the final stretch of recruiting.

"My knees are not the answer to why we're 6-6," he said. "I'd love to be able to use that one, but to do that would not be apropos."


IrishIllustrated.com Top Stories