By S.C. Zuba
Notre Dame may be back in the AP rankings after a bye week last weekend, but the Fighting Irish still have a long way to go as the university looks to restore this storied football program that finds itself in ruins.
Since Brady Quinn graduated in 2006, one of the most elite football programs in the country, under the direction of head coach Charlie Weis, has gone down the drain.
The Irish simply aren’t what they used to be. Since Quinn’s departure, the Irish have compiled a record of 10-15 with a winning percentage of .666 during the 2007-2008 seasons. Those figures are unacceptable for a school that used to be one of the top recruiters in the nation.
If a school were to face this type of turnaround in a positive way, then all praise would go to the head coach. In this case, all blame should go to Weis.
Don’t let the record fool you.
This season, the Irish are 4-1 and could easily be 1-4. With the exception of their massacre over Nevada, Notre Dame has yet to beat a team by more than a touchdown. The Irish will only be able to slip through the cracks for so long.
No. 6 USC will come to South Bend, Ind., Saturday, Oct. 17, and my guess is they will expose the weaknesses of the Irish and, it is hoped, make Weis’ seat a little bit warmer. I will count it a moral victory if the Irish can keep the game within three touchdowns.
Ironically, Jimmy Clausen has proven he can lead this team. With the help of running back Armando Allen and Golden Tate, Clausen has been able to put points on the board while manufacturing late-game comebacks.
Notre Dame is averaging 33.4 points a game, but their defense has given up an average of 23 points a game. It is difficult for the offense to thrive when the defense can’t get off the field. When a team is averaging 33.4 points a game, it should be undefeated, and the games should be a blowout—something that has yet to happen consistently for the Irish.
Weis is now in the final year of his contract, and if things continue this way, he will be gone before he can say, “Cheer, cheer for Old Notre Dame.” Weis has done enough damage to this historic football team, and his time with the gold and blue is about over. Besides, if the Patriots’ offense continues to struggle, maybe he can reunite with his good friend Bill Belichick in New England.
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From the October 14-20, 2009 issue