Saturday, September 5, 2009

With Weis' Unknown Future, Traditional Victory Is Substantial

That isn’t how to describe humanity for a head coach barely managing to survive downcast predicaments among a subpar program.

A new billboard facing the Notre Dame campus isn’t anything close to staring directly at Touchdown Jesus.

It’s more than an insult to coach Charlie Weis, who has taken more scrutiny and insults as the billboard sends a ruthless message on the past two seasons. It reads that he hasn’t measured up to standards. And if he fails to accomplish enough victories this season, assumptions will be to fire the arrogant and ill-mannered Weis.

A famous tradition hasn’t lived up to its values, at a prestigious school where Touchdown Jesus stands and where the spirited band braces tradition with unique lyrics.

The Irish have high expectations each season, but with inferior records of 3-9 and 7-6 in the past two seasons under Weis isn’t acceptable, nor a primary standard at Notre Dame, where demands are undeniable and where skepticism is inexcusable. In two seasons, he has mustered history from a negative standpoint, as Notre Dame suffered from unfamiliar indignities by digesting the most loses in 120-year history of Irish football.

With a 29-21 record, Weis remains the scapegoat for struggles. But he can earn back credibility and possibly remain coaching, if he can clinch another BCS berth. That’s all the Irish cares about, another title to renew idealism among one of the most respected programs in the country.

Weis is face with tremendous pressure this season, and is held liable if the Irish stumble with a fairly light schedule. The rabid fans in South Bend are spirited, weary of excuses and barren recruiting, like persuading Jimmy Clausen to commit and start as the virtuous leader by taken the snaps and heaving passes.

From logical perspectives, Weis’ status is determined by Clausen’s productivity. If he has a dreadful year, it decides Weis’ future and will even disintegrate his coaching qualities.

A solution for positive results was a solid performance from his skittish and lovable quarterback, Clausen. Another solution was an impressive victory in the season-opener to make a vital statement, against an inferior Nevada. It was easily considered to be an upset alert, as many anticipated the Irish to stumble.

Entering the game, there was tremendous pressure on Weis to lead his team to victory, along with his top quarterback. An entire week heralded Weis’ long-term future with the Irish, and heralded the very little success in a brief period of Notre Dame’s shaky tradition with Weis managing, but none of that was much of a worry on Saturday in South Bend.

Bringing back memories of the Hawaii Bowl, Clausen was a fighting Irish. He airborne passes, he scrambled inside the pocket, he brought time and he tortured Nevada with his vigorous throwing arm to give the spirited fans belief that they’ll earn a BCS berth. In a pivotal game, Weis wore a smile as Clausen alleviated tension, and inspired elated fans to cheer during frenzies in the entire game, en route to a breezy 35-0 shutout over Nevada.

It’s definitely a way to maintain momentum in a schedule that favors the Irish. It’s apparently a way for Weis to aloof from worrying constantly about his job security and focus strictly on winning a national title. In the season-opener, Clausen played with Heisman potential and was serious, poise and greatly dominant. If they’re expected to have a superb year and reach a pinnacle, Clausen has to have a phenomenal year. Finishing with four touchdowns magnifies momentum and illustrates the type of season he’s expected to have.

It was never really a competitive contest. From the start, it was Clausen’s cannon arm and urgency to complete 10 of 11 passes for 184 yards and three touchdowns, with a career-long 70-yard pass. And this is a confident quarterback that Weis recruited, and trusted to restore a winning tradition. Giving Weis credit could be a bit too early, but on this day, he can earn some for preparing his team to have the ambition and determination. With a faulty BCS system every win counts, particularly for Weis, a scrutinized coach who can’t afford to have a collapsing year.

With Weis’ recruiting, the Irish are solid and equipped with receivers. That makes life easier for Clausen, able to rely on Michael Floyd, who made sensational catches and most of the highlight reels. Throughout the season, he’ll be a primary target, after catching two touchdown passes for 70 and 88 yards.

It was enough for a swinging party among fans and teammates, in a victory that was extraordinary and meaningful to relive tradition. At least for the week, Weis can wear a smile and not think about coaching next season. For now, he can think about a BCS berth and a longer future with Notre Dame.

Clausen was a brilliant recruit after all.

Let’s hope it last for at least the rest of the season.