Saturday, August 27, 2005

#7 - Exorcising The Demons

Speaking of excise, I'm sure the Indiana Excise Police think they're real cool after what they did last night. Trust me, they're not.

On with the countdown...

#7 - Turning The Page

Change is the watchword of the Notre Dame program these days, and with good reason. From the spruced up exteriors of Notre Dame Stadium (celebrating its 75th year), to the brand-spanking new $21.5 million Guglieliemo Athletic Center ("The Gug" as it is known on campus), as well as a few minor tweaks in the coaching staff.

The new look comes at a perfect time for the Irish. They needed a snappy change of direction on a wholesale level, and they've certainly got one. Players have openly talked about the clean slate Charlie Weis brings to the program.

In the end, that could be the most important factor as the Irish prepare for the first year of the Weis regime. The turmoil of the Ty Willingham firing as well as two horrible losses last season (Pitt & BC by a combined four points) as well as an embarrasing one (BYU) and three humiliating blow-outs (Purdue, USC, and Oregon St) took a lot of life out of the Irish. Weis' and his style, which although nobody has come out and said it is truly the Anti-Ty, are the adrenalin shot everybody associated with Notre Dame needed.

A telling moment about Ty Willingham's style came after the 2003 debacle of a final game at Syracuse where the Irish were crushed 38-12. Lineman Jim Molinaro caustically remarked in the locker room, "This team forgets too easily", a subtle dig at Willingham's ridiculously even-keeled, emotionless demeanor which seemed to be rubbing off on players who seemed willing to get pounded week after week. Weis won't be letting his players forgot anything easily; as he told us students when he came to Dillon Hall, he'll take all the heat when the cameras and mics are on him...but as soon as the doors close behind him, "that's when I share the wealth, so to speak."

The Irish program has turned a new page, and playing with a demeanor which reflects that will serve not only the 2005 unit but many others to follow.



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