I had to wait at least 24 hours before posting this. I always make an effort to be as objective as possible about the games which is easier said than done. The bottom line is the loss yesterday was brutal. It was a hard one to take. The missed opportunities were just about too many to count. As I was watching the Irish offense effortlessly move up and down the field I was continuously in disbelief at the score. At the end of the day it is pretty simple. You just can’t make that many mistakes and win. That is especially true against Navy who limits you to 10 possessions during the game. I won’t rehash all the missed opportunities in detail. If you are reading this blog you already know what they are. They are seared into your memory in the same way they are seared into mine. I typically re-watch all the games on Sunday but I couldn’t do it today. Too painful. Before I go any further hat’s off to Navy. They didn’t make any mistakes and won the game.
For the Irish the two most obvious issues were keeping Navy’s offense in check and red zone offense. On the defensive piece the Irish were completely out of sorts defending the pitch on the 1st two drives and the fullback got loose on the dive way too often all day. Getting burned for a 52 yard TD on 1 of 3 Navy pass attempts was bad as well. That said if you told me before the game that the defense would hold Navy to 21 points I would have bet my house that ND would win the game. They actually did a pretty decent job of keeping Navy in check from the 2nd quarter on with the exception of the play action pass for six and a few more fullback dives. The red zone offense was a comedy of errors with five scoring opportunities that resulted in zero points. Two missed field goals, a turnover on downs, Clausen’s fumble at the 1 and the interception that bounced off Floyd’s back after he missed a signal were all costly. Convert any one of those opportunities and the Irish likely pull off another narrow escape. Convert 2-3 and it would have been a relatively comfortable win. But that’s why they play the games. You have to show up and do it every week.
So now what? Any shot at a BCS berth is now a distant memory and three teams that look a lot more formidable than they did two months ago remain on the schedule. Pitt awaits an Irish visit this Saturday while sitting at #12 in the latest BCS standings. UCONN just took Cincy to the wire in a 47-45 heart breaker and Stanford just hung 51 points on Oregon a week after the Ducks knocked off USC. All three of those games will be tough.
As a result of Saturday’s loss to the Mids the Weis hotseat is back to being a full fledged inferno. That is at least true in the eyes of the media and the fan base on the message boards. There is no telling how those that will actually make the decision see it. In the end these next three games will most likely be the determining factor. If the team bounces back and wins out I don’t see Weis getting fired. Drop another close one and I still think it’s a coin flip. Drop 2 and who knows. If the wheels come off then it’s a no brainer. In the mean time I’ll continue to pull for the Irish as per usual. I really want to see this team turn the corner. So many of these players were thrust into action before they were ready and have taken so many lumps along the way I would love to see the full 180. As for jumping on the coaching change bus I won’t do it, but as a coach’s kid I have a different perspective than most. It was only Texas High School football but when you’re a kid and it is your Dad it sticks with you. I saw him take heat himself and struggle with hiring and firing assistants. There’s a human element to it all that I’m too acutely aware of. So as long as it’s Weis I’m rooting like hell for Weis. If a month down the road it’s some other guy then I’ll root like hell for him too. If and when a coaching change is announced I'll talk about that slippery slope then.
Of all the things I saw, read and thought about today these two stuck with me. Lou Holtz had several interesting comments in a fairly over the top debate about Weis' future with Mark May on the always ridiculous "Final Verdict" segment of College Football Final, but his last line to May and Rece Davis kind of resonated with me. "This is why people get out of coaching, because of people like you, and you." True statement. I also really liked the HLS post a few days ago with Rocket’s perspective. It still applies. Go Irish!