Almost 48 hours since Notre Dame's latest defeat and the questions still linger about what, exactly, Charlie Weis chose to do in critical points of the game.
He defended his decisions to fake a field goal in the first quarter and then to not attempt a game-winning field goal with 45 seconds remaining in the game.
The first decision -- the fake field goal -- can be somewhat understandable. Weis said he saw something on film that led him to believe the play would work, although he probably should have considered Evan Sharpley's season-long run was 13 yards. Notre Dame's down-and-distance was 4th-and-15. Not exactly the smartest playcalling there.
The other point with the first decision is that had Brandon Walker or Nate Whitaker made the field goal, it would have given Notre Dame a 10-0 first-quarter lead. A two-possession lead against an option-oriented team that runs first, second, third and fourth is almost akin to having a three-possession lead because of the time it takes the Midshipmen to move down field.
Then there is the second decision. This one leaves us a little flummoxed still. Whether your kicker has shown he can make the field goal or not, 41 yards is still a reasonable distance to kick from. With 45 seconds left, the game tied and your team desperate for anything positive to cling on to, kick the ball. I'm not a football coach. Never have been and never will be. But you try to win the game in regulation there, especially since Navy had been gashing the Irish with the option all game long.
Walker had made a 48-yard field goal -- mind you, it wasn't the prettiest kick then, either -- against UCLA. So he has the leg.
"We're trying to get to the 20-yard line," Weis said Sunday. "So what I did is that we also wanted, he felt that the best kick was from the right to the right middle. So that's why on the play before that I ran that stretch to the right, figuring we're on the 24-yard line. If I can get four yards on the play, I won't get the first down, but I was -- instead of centering it, you know, he really wanted it right, right middle.
"So running the stretch play to the right was designed if I didn't get the first down, to go ahead and get us four yards and get us to the 20 on the right, right middle to come out and kick the field goal. But we had no gain or lost yardage on the play."
Armando Allen, the ballcarrier, had gained four or more yards on seven of his eight carries prior to the third down play so there could be some logic there. However, what does it tell your kicker that you -- or an assistant coach -- asked him where he wanted the ball and then because you don't gain yardage, you don't give him a shot. Which scenario is worse for a kicker, confidence-wise? Not going to him for a 41-yard field goal with the game on the line or having him try it and miss it? What do you think?
Keep in mind, too, that Walker had already missed from 41 against BC, 40 against USC and from 40 against Navy. So it's not like trotting him out there and seeing him miss would have further damaged the freshman's confidence. If anything, he makes it, your team wins and there is a jolt of energy in the arm of a team screaming for anything positive to come out of it.
All of this set up a historic day at Notre Dame, one you can relive here.
One other thing of note, initially pointed out by Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune. During Charlie Weis' news conference Sunday, he was asked about his record being close to his predecessor, Tyrone Willingham. Willingham was fired after three seasons at Notre Dame.
The transcript sent to the media and published on Notre Dame's Web site read: "I don't know. I'll be judged by what happens when I leave, so let's see what happens when I walk out the door."
What Weis actually said was: "I don't know. I'm going to be here for a long time. I'm going to be judged by what happens when I leave. So let's see where I am when I walk out the door."
The transcription service could have missed part of the quote, which is a definite possibility. However, what if it didn't? What do you think?
-By Michael Rothstein of The Journal Gazette