January 9, 2010

Jason Whitlock of the KC Star wrote about the reemergence of Charlie Weis.      
 “There is little doubt that Charlie Weis is an excellent NFL offensive coordinator.
There is even less doubt that Weis’ awareness of his rare ability to design game plans and call plays created a bloated ego that undermined his ability to
sustain success while the head coach at Notre Dame.
Weis and his bruised-but-still-swollen ego are headed for Arrowhead Stadium. Before we celebrate, let’s take a moment to ponder how The Great Weis Hope’s and Todd “The Hothead” Haley’s hubris will coexist inside one offensive meeting room.
Hear me out. I’m not dumping on Kansas City’s decision to hire one of football’s brightest offensive minds because it’s another sign that general manager Scott Pioli would eventually like to relocate the franchise to Boston.
Weis, I believe, is a Haley decision. They worked together in New York for the Jets. They shared the same office, a love of Bill Parcells and offensive
philosophy. It’s a match, on paper, made in football heaven.
Down here on earth, Haley-Weis has the potential to be Kirstie Alley vs. Conan O’Brien, Ali vs. Frazier, or Gilbert Arenas vs. Common Sense.
It’s just too much ego for one playbook.
Charlie Weis made his bones as an offensive play-caller working for Parcells and Bill Belichick. You know what Parcells and Belichick have in common?
They’re defensive-minded football coaches.
Parcells with the New York Jets and Belichick with the New England Patriots turned their offenses over to Weis. I’m sure they had suggestions and input, but they hired Weis for his expertise, and within reason they let Weis do his job with autonomy.
Early in the week, Weis expressed interest in becoming Lovie Smith’s offensive coordinator in Chicago. Smith is a defensive-minded head coach. Weis recognizes the kind of room he needs to do his job.
Will he get it in Kansas City?
For the first time as a coordinator, Weis will report to an offensive-minded head coach, a head man with a very high opinion of himself as a play-caller, a
coach who will find it difficult to leave his offensive coordinator alone.
Haley fired Chan Gailey, a highly qualified offensive coordinator, just days before the start of the 2009 season, scrapping an entire offseason of preparation.
Yes, Haley-Gailey was a shotgun marriage. But marriages born of love end in bitterness just as frequently as arranged ones.
Haley and Weis were BFF in the mid-1990s when Haley was the eager kid the Jets gave a job in the scouting department because Haley’s father was a
bigwig in the personnel department. Haley and Weis got along splendidly when Haley was fetching donuts and coffee and trying to prove he wasn’t some unqualified, country-club golfer who got an NFL job solely because he was Dick Haley’s boy.
How different will the Haley-Weis chemistry be now that the power and leverage have turned?
It’s like dating a girl who never uttered a word of complaint when you spent every Thursday night drinking and playing poker with your boys, but once you walked down that aisle and said “I do,” Thursdays became “Grey’s Anatomy” night.
I just don’t see Haley and Weis as equally yoked.
Weis is a self-made football coach. He coached high school football in the ’70s and early ’80s. He did four years at the University of South Carolina. While
coaching a New Jersey high school team to the state championship, he moonlighted as an assistant in the Giants’ pro personnel department He spent 15 years as an NFL assistant and won three Super Bowls before he landed the Notre Dame job.
After completing his college golf career, wandering around and shadowing his dad, Haley became an NFL position coach for the Jets in 1999. He became a
play-calling offensive coordinator late in the 2007 season at Arizona.
And now he’s Charlie Weis’ boss. Wow!
Again, Weis’ previous bosses were Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick.
If Haley decides to F-bomb and belittle Weis the way cameras caught Haley chewing out his “respected” friend Maurice Carthon, I just don’t see Weis taking it without complaint. Notre Dame owed Weis $18 million when it fired him.
Weis doesn’t need money. He doesn’t need Todd Haley. And that’s just how I expect Weis to treat Haley, like someone whose suggestions and interference
are unnecessary and unwanted.
Short of Haley swallowing a gallon of humility, this is going to be a short-lived love affair.”

Bill Plaschke, of the LA Times, wrote about Pete Carroll’s rumored departure to the pros.  “As a befuddled city staggers around today with Pete Carroll’s
footprints on its back, we need to get something straight.

Why would arguably the greatest football coach in USC history leave the team at its most desperate point in a decade?

Or is he leaving precisely because of that?

Is Pete Carroll running to something, or from something?

In trying to figure out Carroll’s apparently imminent departure to the Seattle Seahawks — a coaching move that could rip out the current Trojan mystique
down to its ugly Hacketts — only one thing is beyond debate.

Pete Carroll owes USC nothing. He owes this city nothing. He owes you nothing.

In nine years, he has more than earned his millions.

Two national titles, seven Pac-10 championships, seven BCS bowls, three Heisman Trophy winners, 97 wins in 116 games.

He’s not leaving in the middle of a season. He’s not leaving after lying about staying.

He’s no traitor. He’s no quitter. He deserves no boos. He was paid to do a job, he did it well for a long period, his performance gave him a chance at what he
considers a better job, and so he’s taking that chance.

That’s not sleazy. That’s America.

If you see Pete Carroll today, you do not scold him, you thank him.

But could you also, you know, ask him the question that is following him out of town like a scrap of tissue on the heel of his shoe?

It is not “Why?”

It is “Why now?”

You knew he would eventually leave here for the NFL. I’ve been writing it for five years, many of you have repeatedly mocked me for it, but, c’mon, you

He coaches games as if he’s in the NFL. He runs his program as if he’s in the NFL. His last remaining football challenge — proving that he’s better than a
33-31 career record — is in the NFL.

You knew that one day he would leave.

But why, exactly, now? After turning down at least four other NFL offers in recent years, after turning down a chance to leave on the shoulders of a national championship team, after his most disappointing season, why now?

Is Pete Carroll running to something, or from something?

The answer appears to be both.

He is running to an organization that can give him the superstar money he desires and the complete control he requires.

He is running from an organization where his star is dimming and his influence is waning.

He is running to his dream.

He is running from his nightmare.

Stained with four bad losses, this USC season not only aged Pete Carroll in the face, but also the shtick.

His loose attitude suddenly played lackadaisical. His fun approach suddenly felt undisciplined.

Where once he was lauded for his concern for individual players, now it seemed he was playing favorites — just ask quarterback Aaron Corp, if you can track him down in Richmond.

Carroll seemed weary of the team, and the team seemed weary of him. His revolving door of assistant coaches acted as if they didn’t know him, his players acted increasingly as if they didn’t trust him, and Carroll just acted plain distracted.

The reason for this distraction is unknown. Was it personal? Was it something else professionally?

Whatever, his distance from the culture he created was never more clear when, with fans chanting his name and cheering him from the stands as he came off the field at the Emerald Bowl, he ignored them all to put his arms around me so I wouldn’t ask questions of nearby Joe McKnight.

After that game, for the first time in Carroll’s tenure here, he openly questioned the USC administration, criticizing them for essentially suspending McKnight because of the Land Rover controversy.

“I know those quotes are going to make some people mad,” Carroll said afterward.

He was talking about Athletic Director Mike Garrett, and he didn’t care. It is the worst secret in town that he and Garrett have quietly feuded for years,
Carroll bristling when the athletic director would stick his nose — and his ego — into a program that was clearly built and owned by the coach.

It is easy to say that Carroll is leaving now because of impending NCAA sanctions surrounding the Reggie Bush house and McKnight car issues. But in
conversations with me, he never truly believed the Trojans would get whacked.

He wasn’t afraid of NCAA jail, but he was tired of NCAA laws.

He hated worrying about amateur compliance when he was trying to fashion a pro defense. He hated dealing with a player’s college transcript when he was
trying to prepare him for the NFL combine.

And he hated that suddenly, athletic department officials were smartly growing wary that he could handle it all. If they took McKnight off his team before a bowl game — a good move, by the way — Carroll wondered what was next.

It was as if Carroll felt he was too big for a department that suddenly realized this giant could eventually squash them all.

There is no compliance department in Seattle. There is no Mike Garrett in Seattle. There will be no increasingly dubious boosters, Pete Carroll can start fresh in a league that is his football home.

And USC will do . . . well, who knows? Truth is, Carroll was not only the leader of the program, he was the program, resurrecting it from embarrassment and
seemingly single-handedly pushing it to glory.

Don’t forget, USC endured some lean times before Carroll arrived. He coached the Trojans to their first national title in 25 years. With the current
competitiveness in the college football landscape, the wrong coach could bring the beginning of another drought.

But can they bring in a top coach with the NCAA looming? More important, can they bring in a dynamic leader with Garrett looming?

Because Garrett’s received all the plaudits for Carroll’s hiring, will he now be held accountable for Carroll’s leaving? Will USC be able to truly move forward if he is not?

For now, perhaps, it is enough to lament the loss of one of the greatest sports leaders to ever grace our city.

And, as with seemingly every other great Hollywood partnership, to wonder why it couldn’t last.”


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