Weis: Tough argument in defense of 6-5

Updated: November 23, 2009, 12:54 AM ET
Associated Press

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Charlie Weis wouldn't blame Notre Dame for firing him.

"If they decide to make a change, I'd have to say I'd have a tough time arguing with that. If they decide to make a change, I'd have a tough time arguing that because 6-5 is not good enough," the Fighting Irish coach said Sunday. "Especially when you've lost five games by a touchdown or less and several three-point games that went right down to the wire.

"My intent is to be here. But if that were the rationale, I mean it would be tough for me to argue with that point," he said.

Notre Dame lost its third straight game and fell to 6-5 on Saturday with a 33-30 loss in double overtime to Connecticut on senior day in South Bend.

He made the comments after being asked about his quote when he was hired five years ago after Tyrone Willingham was fired with a 6-5 record.

At the time, Weis said: "You are what you are, folks, and right now you're a 6-5 football team. And guess what? That's just not good enough. That's not good enough for you, and it's certainly not going to be good enough for me."

Weis' 35-26 record gives him a .573 winning percentage. That's worse than the .583 winning percentage that got Notre Dame's two previous coaches, Willingham and Bob Davie, fired.

Weis declined to answer most questions about how the Irish have done in his five years, saying he's too busy getting ready for Stanford (7-4) to think about that. He said he'll answer those questions in the future.

"I'm going to need significant time to get to that point," he said.

Athletic director Jack Swarbrick said again Sunday, after Weis spoke, that he will decide on Weis' future after Saturday's game at Stanford, saying nothing Weis said had changed that.

"It's still status quo. That's not to say something couldn't happen, but I don't foresee it," he said.

When asked to characterize his relationship with Swarbrick, who was hired in July 2008, Weis said it has been "fair and cordial the whole time we've worked together."

Weis, who has a contract that runs through the 2015 season, said he couldn't envision any scenario where he would resign.

[+] EnlargeWeis
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesNotre Dame players, flanking Charlie Weis before Saturday's loss, say they support their coach.

"No, that's not happening," he said.

Weis conceded that he's responsible for any shortcomings of the program.

"Who else is responsible? Now, I could sit there and try to blame everybody else, but ultimately, it falls on my shoulders," he said.

Weis was generally in an affable mood Sunday. A reporter was talking about his tie when Weis came in and Weis quipped: "a Kmart special." When asked if he was gong to be the whipping boy on Sunday, Weis joked: "Welcome to my world."

He also pretended to be ignorant when first asked about his 6-5 quote from five years ago, saying: "I might have short-term memory here, if you're going to reminisce at this point."

He did get terse when a reporter asked whether coaches or players were to blame for the team's poor defensive play, an area where the Irish have struggled since Weis arrived.

"Do you really expect me to come up and throw people under the bus. Is that what you think?" he said.

Irish players said after the game that they were at a loss to explain how they've gone from being a team with Bowl Championship Series aspirations and two players, Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate, being talked about as potential Heisman candidates, to losing three straight.

"You kind of step back and look at it all and you don't think this is where we should be. But it is," linebacker Harrison Smith said. "We can't change anything now."

The Irish players say they support Weis. The captains stood beside Weis as they led the team out of the tunnel Saturday with their arms linked in a show of support.

Tate said he wants Weis back because they have such a good relationship on and off the field, saying he wouldn't be the receiver he is without Weis.

"But it's not up to me," Tate said.

Swarbrick said he couldn't speculate on whether Notre Dame will go to a bowl until he knows the team's final record and what bowls are available.

"There's a myriad of factors," he said.

Swarbrick said what players want to do "will play a big role in our decision."


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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