While many look to circle the wagons, head coach Charlie Weis turned the page to eighth-ranked Pitt, in a game that might not have BCS ramifications, but now has a much more macabre feel for the embattled coach.
As usual, Weis took questions from the assembled media, and this week fielded questions from ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi and George Smith, a sure sign that the WWL hasn’t deemed Notre Dame irrelevant yet.
Here are a few observations from today’s press conference.
* Weis did his best to keep the focus on Pitt, which I think was a very wise idea. Even while he was baited every which way from some very persuasive reporters the focus was on Pitt.
You already know what my answer is going to be when you ask that question. But I’m really only worrying about beating Pitt. And I’ll never change. I think the day that I walk away from here and I get time to sit back and reflect, I’ll give you a holler and we’ll go over that one. I’m just worrying about beating Pittsburgh. And I put all my energy in the week from the time the last game ends to the time the next game starts and to just beating that opponent. And maybe I’m trained that way, but it’s just a complete tunnel vision way of looking at it. I don’t spend any time reflecting. I only worry about doing all I can to beat Pitt.
Even when asked by Tom Rinaldi a question that included the words “learned,” “muster,” “treetops,” and “journey,” Weis was like a broken record, keeping the focus on the this week’s opponent.
(Note to self: Use more flowery adjectives, and maybe I’ll get some interviews like Rinaldi pulls.)
* Speaking of that opponent, Weis was asked if it was important that they’re playing at Pittsburgh, a top ten team right now on their home turf, after last week’s disappointing loss.
I think it’s probably the same tact that you would expect me to take. That coming into a game, you’re can contend on the road, you’re playing a Top 10 team, I think it’s going to be a raucous crowd. There’s all the reasons for the team to get fired up to get ready to go. I mean, every reason. There isn’t a reason imaginable for the team not to get fired up. They’re ready to go. You go beat a Top 10 team on the road, it doesn’t take much for everyone to be feeling better after that ends up happening. But we’ll know that about 11:30, 12:00 Saturday night.
For all those that have been screaming for Weis’ head this week, I can assure you that at 11:30 or 12:00 Saturday night, we’ll have a better picture of the head coach’s fate by then as well.
* Staying on the topic of Saturday’s game, it’s clear Weis understands how badly his team needs this win, having lost seven straight games to Top 25 teams.
I think I’m worried more about the kids, that’s what I’m worrying more about than anything else. I think for these kids’ sake it would do them wonder to do this. I think the most important thing I have to worry about in the grand scheme of things, we talk about the program and I think that that’s a critical factor. But most importantly, you know, you’ve got a bunch of 18- to 22-year-old kids that after a loss go to class and everyone says: Hey, what happened? What happened? And I think right now the most important thing, when things like that happen, is for me to be there for them. And a situation like that, all we can do is fight together to be in position to go ahead and get this rectified this week.
No doubt a win this weekend would probably silence a few critics and stabilize the situation around the program for the time being.
* Weis was asked about a USA Today piece that discussed the rapidly rising rate of college coaches’ salaries. Weis predictably hadn’t seen the piece, but took the chance to talk about his much discussed contract.
By the way, John, mine is grossly misreported in case you’re wondering. And one step further while we’re on that subject, if you would like to have my tax returns I’d be more than willing to have them just as long as you were willing to pay the difference between what’s been reported and what I actually make... You better have a seven-figure check ready, that’s all I have to say.
I’ve always found it incredibly annoying that people always cite this gigantic contract that Charlie Weis is paid, yet nobody has the faintest clue on the particulars. Depending on the source, Weis is either making $4 million a season, has a $15 million buyout, but really, nobody has the slightest clue. For the record, the reporter wasn’t willing to make the trade.