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Turning the page

I’ll attempt to make this my final post on the Michigan game.

I haven’t been able to watch a replay of the game just yet, and I’m guessing that I probably won’t get around to it this week. And it’s probably for the best. Everybody needs to turn the page.

It’s been interesting (and a little disheartening) to read much of the reaction amongst Notre Dame fans about the game on Saturday. I’ve received more than a few emails from people questioning Weis’ head coaching abilities, play-calling abilities, even his motor-function abilities after the excruciating loss. As much as the loss frustrates and still shocks me, I’m still firmly aboard the Charlie Weis bandwagon.

The man is the coach of the Notre Dame football team.

There is nothing easier than second guessing coaching decisions from the comfort of our couch or office seat. Did Weis have his A game on Saturday? Absolutely not. I’m sure that Weis would like to have that final series on offense back, just like Jon Tenuta and Corwin Brown would like to go back to halftime and do a better job preparing their troops for Michigan’s offense.

But they can’t.

I can’t help but thinking about the devastating 2005 loss to USC. If you’re trying to gauge how Weis will handle the game-week preparations for this week, you can look back at his comments from his press conferences following the game four seasons ago:

First thing I said was get your heads up because everyone is feeling bad. And they got their heads up and I very matter of factly said that I was proud of their effort in the game. Because how could you not be proud of their effort? I thought the preparation was good. It wasn’t like we didn’t have errors throughout the game; we had plenty, okay. But I thought that they played a game that put themselves in the position to win and they expected to win.

“I was actually pleased that they were that disappointed, because if they weren’t disappointed, then you really have a problem. But I wanted them to know that you know my party line, that it’s not okay to lose, ever, especially when you have that many opportunities to ice the game.

“But at the same time I wanted to let them know that I was proud of their effort and I also wanted to make sure they understood that BYU represents the first opportunity for the second half of the year. And it isn’t like you just played a game for the National Championship and your season’s over. You hit the halfway mark, so it’s time for us to regroup and that’s what we’ll be doing today.

During his Tuesday remarks three days later, Weis’ first comments echoed the same sentiments:
“As we begin the second half of our season, we’re approaching it that way, the message to the team this week is this is the start, it’s the first game of the second half of the season. As you talk to our players and coaches this week, they’re only going to be talking about the second half of the season; they’re not going to be talking about the first half of the season. So don’t bother asking the questions on that because they won’t be talking about it.

The Irish went out the next week and behind 467 yards of passing from Brady Quinn, rolled BYU 49-23 at Notre Dame stadium. It was a much needed victory that helped reestablish the Irish’s confidence and salvage a BCS season.

That’s the approach the Irish need to take if they want to be successful against a Michigan State team that had a devastating loss of their own to Central Michigan. And for fans of the Irish, it’s probably the best way for all of us to keep our sanity.