SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Amid growing fan discontent, Charlie Weis insisted Notre Dame is on the right path and he is the coach to lead the Fighting Irish out of their latest rut.
“I’m confident that the program is going to go where we all want it to go. That’s as honest as I can be,” Weis said Tuesday. “Because I think we have pretty good players. When you have pretty good players, you have a chance to be pretty good.”
Notre Dame fans, though, aren’t looking for pretty good. They’re looking for national championships, something they haven’t celebrated since 1988. The Irish went 3-9 last season and despite an easier-than-usual schedule by Notre Dame standards, the Irish (5-4) are just a game above .500 and have lost three of their last four.
Weis, who as a Notre Dame student more than 30 years ago called the university president to complain about a loss, said he understands fans being upset.
“I think that I’d be perturbed, too, if I were them, to be honest with you,” he said.
Some blamed last year’s dismal record on Weis’ predecessor, Tyrone Willingham, whose last recruiting class left Weis to rely on a bevy of inexperienced players. But Weis has four recruiting classes – three full, highly rated classes – in place and isn’t showing as much progress as many fans expected.
Blackshirts are back
LINCOLN, Neb. – Nebraska’s defense is back in black.
Eleven players have been awarded the coveted black practice jerseys that over the years have come to symbolize defensive excellence at Nebraska.
Head coach Bo Pelini and his coaching staff had held off awarding the shirts through the first 10 games. Typically, Blackshirts are passed out the week before the season opener.
It might seem an odd time to dole out the shirts. After all, the Huskers allowed 422 yards and 35 points in last Saturday’s win over Kansas.
But defensive coordinator Carl Pelini said the staff met Sunday and decided the time was right.
“We thought the physical nature of the play on Saturday, the great effort our guys made running sideline to sideline, we felt that was a performance where they earned the Blackshirts,” he said after practice Tuesday. “So we put them in their lockers today, and when they came out of meetings, they were waiting for them.”
The recipients were ends Zach Potter, Pierre Allen and Clayton Sievers; tackles Ndamukong Suh and Ty Steinkuhler; linebackers Tyler Wortman and Phillip Dillard; cornerbacks Anthony West, Armando Murillo and Eric Hagg; and strong safety Larry Asante.
Carl Pelini said the defense turned in its best practice of the season.
“There were like 12 interceptions today,” Murillo said. “I’m serious. We were all really motivated.”