There is no one reason for the Irish looking as bad as they have. Starting in the beginning you can blame two woeful recruiting classes on Willingham. Next you have Charlie sticking with the Patriots during their Super Bowl run rather than leaving for Notre Dame immediately. This decision cost us both in the recruiting class of that year, and in the coaching hires Weis had to make over the phone, on a truncated timetable, with little more than word-of-mouth to go on. I think Weis gets a pass on all that. He had no control over Willingham’s crap recruiting and he did what was right by the Patriots (his current employers at the time). Really the fact of the matter is that for all the reasons, there are simply no excuses for how bad the Irish have been.
However, even during the first two years, this team never seemed like it was firing on all cylinders. Never once did it seem like everyone was doing what they were supposed to be doing. What seems clear at this point is that this offensive line is getting worse not better. Analysts can explain away the problems because of depth, but unless I’m mistaken every player on the two deep was at least a 4* recruit. No excuses.
Experience is also blamed. Sullivan is a damned 4-year starter! 4-god-damned years. Imagine all of sudden being horrible at something you’ve done for 4 years. Young started last year. How many blow outs did this team have last year? Why weren’t Duncan and Turkovich mixed in more often? Didn’t Charlie see this coming on the radar? He didn’t realize that Harris, Santucci, and Morton were graduating? Somebody get this man a freaking matriculation spreadsheet from the dean. Both Duncan and Turkovich have played some minutes, but not enough. Wenger is the only guy who hasn’t played minutes prior to this year. No excuses.
My thinking is piss pour coaching. Look at the game tape. Jimmy takes a 5-step drop, the DEs pursue straight up field, and boom… sack. Nobody should get around these tackles. The tackles should be tagging their men with jabs to the chest and immediately pivoting as deep as they can. Blitzing linebackers on the inside are the backs’ responsibilities. It’s clear the offensive line is creating a 3-step drop pocket and Jimmy’s taking a 5-step drop. That’s coaching. No excuses.
Now information is coming out about Jones’ absence from the team caused a distraction. He was the third string QB. The only people who should have been distracted by Jones ditching the team are Darrin Bragg’s and Justin Gillett’s dates for that night since the boys ended up on the bus to Ann Arbor. I think they’ll get over it. The players on the team are nearly professional athletes; that should not be a distraction. No excuses.
More information comes out about how this team doesn’t “go to the ground” in practice and that Charlie’s NFL background more suited him to take over and be successful with an experienced team. “Charlie’s more focused on X’s and O’s and strategy than on technique.” Are these people telling me the only technique the ’05 and ’06 teams got was from the mall cops know as Tyrone Willingham’s staff during the ’02, ’03, and ’04 seasons? You’re telling me all those teams needed was the right strategist? Are you telling me despite coaching running backs, tight ends, quarterbacks to All-Pro years while a position coach in the NFL, Charlie doesn’t understand how important coaching fundamentals is? I am calling bull crap on you my friend. No excuses.
Something needs to change. Whether it be mentality. Strategy. Technique. Intensity. Motivation. Consistency. Charlie appears to be willing to change any or all of them in an effort to make this season a successful one. The proof remains in the blood pudding. No excuses.