Weis names self to run Irish offense
A year after Charlie Weis relinquished his offensive play-calling duties, he's taking them back. Weis announced in a news conference Friday that he would fill the offensive coordinator position that was vacated when Mike Haywood took the head-coaching job at Miami (Ohio).
Weis had given the play-calling responsibilities to Haywood last spring, but started voicing his opinions about the lack of offensive efficiency toward the middle of the season and ultimately served as playcaller during the final third of the 2008 campaign.
"I thought the best chance for us to win this year would be to make me the offensive coordinator," Weis said.
Weis also announced that defensive coordinator Corwin Brown has been promoted to associate head coach and now will be co-defensive coordinator with linebacker coach Jon Tenuta.
New offensive line coach Frank Verducci, a Cleveland Browns assistant the past two seasons, has added the title of running game coordinator, while receivers coach Rob Ianello will be assistant coach for offense.
Tenuta, who joined the team last year and helped change Notre Dame's scheme to a more attacking style, will call the defensive plays in 2009.
"Because I'm now running the offense, not just the playcaller, Corwin is now kind of my second-in-command," Weis said. "There's going to be times where I need input from him, especially during the season, on some matters as it relates to the defense overall and special teams, because I'm going to be spending the majority of my time during the season with the offense."
Weis also acknowledged that he offered the defensive line position, the remaining open position on the Irish staff, to former Cleveland Browns head coach Romeo Crennel, but the two mutually agreed that it was not the right time for Crennel to take the position.
"Most of you guys know that Romeo and I are close friends. When he got let go from the Browns, we started talking about the possibility of coming over here and working with me," Weis said. "Romeo and I set a timetable for this week, because next week he's going to have his hip replaced. Before he went on a little vacation this week, we decided that he wasn't in a position at this time to make a commitment to do this, so we're going to move in another direction."
Weis mentioned the possibility of graduate assistant Bryant Young, who joined the staff a couple weeks ago, eventually becoming the defensive line coach, but said the former Notre Dame All-American and NFL veteran at defensive tackle might not be ready for the position now.
"My other direction will be resolved here within days," Weis said. "I was not going to go with any other defensive line coach until after Romeo made the decision whether he was going to do it or not do it."
Weis also is considering going up to the press box during games after the success the Irish had in the 49-21 win over Hawaii in the Hawaii Bowl, when he was upstairs because he was on crutches with two bad knees.
"I can tell you that it's a subject that we've addressed as a staff. Although I'd say it's definitely on the lower end of 50-50, it's not something that's a 5 percent consideration by us at this point," he said.
If Weis goes to the press box, Brown will be in charge on the sideline.
Weis said he decided to name a running coordinator because it has been a weakness for the Irish since he arrived.
"You look at our rushing average, I think it was 3.3 yards a carry. Most teams on a championship level are over 4.6. That's 1.3 yards a carry. We're not talking half a yard now," he said. "That's obviously an area of concern on my part, and an area that I drastically think has to improve if we're going to play championship-caliber football."
On defense, Tenuta said he expected the Irish will be a little more aggressive with him calling plays.
"My philosophy won't change of making the front five move their feet and getting after the quarterback," he said. "The pressure package is what I've always done and will continue to do."
Graham Watson covers college football for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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