Kansas football coach Charlie Weis deserves a share of the credit for Notre Dame revival under Brian Kelly


Third-year Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly has his team undefeated, ranked third in the nation and in contention for a national title.

First-year Kansas coach Charlie Weis, fired by Notre Dame five years into a 10-year contract, can’t be left out of the conversation entirely when discussing the revival of Fighting Irish football. Weis left Kelly with strong talent to develop.

Eight of the 11 starters on offense were recruited to Notre Dame by Weis: Linemen Braxston Cave, Mike Golic, Zack Martin and Chris Watt; tight end Tyler Eifert; wide receivers John Goodman and Robby Toma; running back Theo Riddick.

Eifert leads the Irish in receiving yards (341) and touchdowns (three) and Riddick leads the team in rushing yards and is tied for the team lead with four rushing touchdowns. Senior Cierre Wood, another Weis recruit, ranks second with 467 rushing yards and averages 6.5 yards per carry.

On defense, in addition to high-character Heisman Trophy candidate Manti Te’o, an inside linebacker, defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore, outside linebacker Dan Fox and safety Zeke Motta are Weis recruits.

Weis has some lingering bitterness about getting fired by his alma mater, but that doesn’t mean he’s wishing ill on the Fighting Irish. I asked him at a press conference earlier this month whether he was happy for his recruits.

“I’ll always root for anyone who I ever recruited,” Weis said. “I’ll never, ever root against them, you know, so I find enjoyment in their success.”

Weis won’t have the rich ND football tradition to dangle when he recruits for Kansas, but the ability to judge talent is such an underrated aspect of recruiting.

As well as the Irish offensive line has performed this season, that suggests Weis knows how to evaluate the position. With fifth-year seniors Trevor Marongelli, Duane Zlatnik and Tanner Hawkinson anchoring this season’s line, Weis needs to score big at the position immediately.


canusayduh 5 years, 7 months ago

That still doesn't bode well for Weis...he had the players...he just couldn't coach them.

parrothead8 5 years, 7 months ago

And most of the success he had at ND came with Tyrone Willingham's recruits.

mdlund0 5 years, 7 months ago

Both of these are things I have been saying for years. Unfortunately, my voice isn't very loud and no one is there to listen. To be sure, Weis can recruit... and he can scheme and develop game plans. He cannot develop talent. Willingham could recruit to some degree and he could develop talent like a wild man... but he couldn't come up with a game plan to get himself out of a closet with a flashlight. As soon as Willingham's developed talent flushed through the system, the great Weis experiment went downhill quickly (3-9, anyone? Anyone?). One of the major recruiting coups that Weis managed in his years at ND was that of Crist. How did that turn out?

Tom Keegan 5 years, 7 months ago

True but he had them as freshmen and you can't win with freshmen. He recruited the talent and wasn't around to develop it. Charlie left Kelly with much better talent than Willingham left for Charlie. Willingham's last couple of recruiting classes were not good. Charlie's were.

VaJay 5 years, 7 months ago

Agreed. And its very good to see you respond to us posters every now & then!

Eldergriffon 5 years, 7 months ago

Charlie Weis brought some outstanding talent to Notre Dame, and should be recognized for that. However, this defense of his performance at ND is a bit of a stretch. You can't win with freshmen, but he didn't have to. He was around for five years at ND. He had ample time to recruit his own players and win with them. In fact, it can be persuasively argued that his best performance as a head coach came when coaching players recruited and developed by his predecessor. Weis may eventually show us that he's an excellent developer as well as a recruiter of talent, but I'm skeptical that he has shown this as yet.

PSM 5 years, 7 months ago

We've only been outscored 241 to 138. I'm not sure about last years numbers, but I'm positive that's an improvement.

MoralVictory 5 years, 7 months ago

Through 8 games last year: 211 PF vs. 396 PA. Yes, I would say that this represents a definite improvement. Importantly, both years include games vs. OU, KSU and OSU.

2012 (using PSM's numbers) Avg: 17.25 PF Avg: 30.12 PA Avg: 13 pt differential (to the negative)

2011 Avg: 26.37 PF Avg: 49.5 PA Avg: 23 pt differential (to the negative)

That's a 10-pt. swing to the positive. Also, 2013 will be a better comparison because it will be Weis's 2nd year. Does anyone think that we will give up 50+ points twice next year? I don't.

texashawk10 5 years, 7 months ago

I agree that it's not likely KU will give 50+ multiple times next year, but it's possible. I think the schedule and that KSU, OU, Baylor, Texas Tech, and West Virginia will all have new QB's next year will help KU quite a bit and those are also the 5 teams that happen to be the road games for KU this year and will be home games for KU next year.

Kyle Sybesma 5 years, 7 months ago

This is what we were looking for out of Gill's team last year. Progress through out the season and a desire to be competitive. We should have won the Rice and N. Illinois games. We were competitive with TCU. Hung in there til half time with K-State. (Let's give props to Bill Snyder. The man is a legend. I enjoy watching KSU football. I hope the they have a chance to win it all.) We had a chance against OSU and dominated the run against Texas. It's not unrealistic for us to win 2 of the last four games. Weis is on the right track. I look forward to upcoming KU football seasons.

Any word on renovations to Memorial Stadium or a NEW STADIUM!?

Jeff Coffman 5 years, 7 months ago

The one thing I want from K-State is that they lose...hopefully more than once. I don't see how you can come on this website and actually give props to a foe.

jhox 5 years, 7 months ago

Especially to that foe. With Missery gone to the SEC they're now our primary enemy. I can respect Snyder, but that doesn't mean I can root for him. A Big 12 team in the NC hunt doesn't mean that much to me (to allow me to root for the enemy.) If it was OSU or ISU I could probably pull for them, but I can't pull for Mr. Smug and company. No possible way.

johnnyhrdwd 5 years, 7 months ago

Yea, we should be childish and hate on the cats.

pepper_bar 5 years, 7 months ago

Weis's last three seasons with Notre Dame: 3-9, 6-6, 6-6.

ND is now winning despite Weis. Just like Florida's offense is now good despite Weis failing as their OC last year.

Jeff Coffman 5 years, 7 months ago

I'm sorry, but I can give you credit for Weis' last three seasons, but I don't think you have watched Florida's offense if you think that is even the beginning of the strength of Florida. They've won games only because of their defense. If they had ANY and I mean ANY offense this team would be undefeated.

Clearly 6 count them 6 turnovers by their offense this past week, should clear things up.

kujayhawk 5 years, 7 months ago

Florida's offense is not good. They are winning because of their defense and their ability to create turnovers.

Sparko 5 years, 7 months ago

Weis was only Dayne Crist away from being successful this year at KU. Sure is too bad that Crist cratered so badly.

agko 5 years, 7 months ago

If you believe this you I feel sorry for Kansas.

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