SEC Bloggers: 5 Thoughts On Weis
Who's our RB again?
CFN's SEC Bloggers give you five different perspectives on the hire of Charlie Weis as offensive coordinator at Florida
Billy Gomila: On what this means for Florida
On a positive note, Florida is obviously getting an excellent offensive mind. Charlie Weis didn't necessarily grasp everything necessary to recruit and develop talent at Notre Dame, but with veteran players he put together quality offenses that blended spread and pro-style principles in a way that could be very tough to defend. And as a bright guy, we're sure he's learned from his South Bend days.
However, it also means a first-time head coach just hired the recently fired Notre Dame head coach known not-too-nicely for having "a strong personality", which is the diplomatic way of saying he's a bit of a jerk and difficult to work with. While one has to believe both sides are aware of this fact, the last thing a young coach needs is any sort of internal friction. And the Gators are coming off a five loss season.
It also means Florida may be in for a bit of transition. The Gators are built for the Spread option, with only one proven passing quarterback (and we use the word proven as liberally as possible), and not much in the way of proven tailbacks to run a Weis offense.
The question remains: how does Weis handle that transition, and will there be any patience in Gainesville for growing pains? On one hand, Weis hit the ground running at Notre Dame and tricked the world into believing Brady Quinn was a first-round draft pick. You have to believe he can make John Brantley look a lot better. Don't you? But just as importantly, can he transition the rest of the Gator offense so seamlessly?
This is a bit of a big swing for the fences for young Will Muschamp; but then that sort of describes his hiring in the first place.
Barrett Sallee: On what this means for the SEC
It means that the coaching talent in the SEC just got ratcheted up a notch. Forget about Weis' time at Notre Dame. All that proved is that he's not head coach material. But offense wasn't the problem at Notre Dame, it was defense - and he won't have to worry about that in Gainesville.
In his five years as head coach at Notre Dame, Weis' average recruiting class ranking was 13.6 according to Scout.com. Considering the wealth of talent that's available in the state of Florida, and Weis' NFL pedigree, he should have no problem racking up players to run his system.
We all like to wax poetic about players wanting to play college ball, but the ultimate goal is to make it to the NFL – and under Weis' system, you can absolutely do that at Florida.
SEC coaches should be worried. Just like Gene Chizik at Auburn, Muschamp appears to be surrounding himself with a solid staff, which would negate his inexperience as a head coach.
Gabriel Harris: On what this says about Muschamp
Muschamp's name is rarely brought up without mentioning he is a Nick Saban disciple (or more negatively, clone). The hiring of Weis tells us that he is in fact more different from Saban than many perceive.
Saban has a hand in all things Alabama football. Weis would not have come to Florida without complete assurance that he'd have absolute control of the offense, and Muschamp is going to give him just that. Given Weis' success as an offensive coordinator, that may be a brilliant move by the new Florida coach.
Muschamp is also serious about returning the perception of Florida football from an offense that doesn't work in the NFL (even going back to the Spurrier days, really) to a pro football factory that can attract more top shelf recruits than even the Gators are accustomed to getting. While Florida defenders have thrived in the NFL, most of the offensive skill positions have not been as successful.
Even though Muschamp is a defensive coach, I think he sees the trending up of high-scoring QB-friendly offenses in the NFL, and feels that creating the Florida Gators in that image will bode well for the program's future.
Russ Mitchell: On what is Weis thinking??
Sure – we get it. You don't like Todd Haley, the Kansas City Chief's "I'm taking my ball and going home" head coach. But there are a half dozen NFL towns turning over their coaching staffs this week – we find it difficult to believe that a bidding war wouldn't have quickly ensued for your services.
So why the step backwards?
And this is absolutely a step backwards for a man with Weis' pedigree. To go from the NFL to a university for the same job – any university, even Florida – is a step in reverse. So why?
Clearly this isn't about money, as even the SEC is hard pressed to match NFL salaries. Besides, Weis has enough of the Pope's coin to do whatever he wants.
On the radio Monday, Arkansas's great ex-tailback Michael Smith suggested to me that Weis can actually get more of a spotlight as the OC of Florida than a pro team, ala Auburn's Gus Malzahn. A notion which I at first scoffed, but perhaps Mike's right. And it's not exactly a carefully guarded secret that Charlie craves the spotlight.
But professionally, there are few if any examples of a college OC making the jump to a pro head coach – so is Weis trying to improve his reputation at the college level in the hope of another run in that direction? Perhaps. Though at this point we think that ship has sailed. Weis is a great tactician, but he's not really cut from the CFB head coach, press the flesh, dazzle the boosters, cloth. And he has to know that by now.
Some are suggesting this move has more to do with Weis' desire to be close to his son in Florida, and we wouldn't be at all surprised if this in fact turns out to be the primary reason – though at this point we caution it's simply a rumor. For Florida's sake we hope this is the case – as it's hard to expect a man of Weis' CV to be content sticking around as the #2 in a college town.
As for Muschamp, he's in no danger with the hiring of Weis – and this move says far less about his onions than (perceivably) his ability to bring in quality coordinators. Short of a collapse of biblical proportion, which is quite unlikely given the bench and Muschamp's experience, Foley's not firing his new head man for at least three years – by which time it's more than likely Weis is long gone. Weis is a promising hire in the short run.
And if it wasn't already a fait accompli, to anyone still suggesting that the gap in coaching talent between the SEC and every other conference is not in fact a chasm, please step off here.
Brian Harbach: On second chances
Here we go again – a second school takes a shot on Charlie Weis, and I am not really sure why. There may be some reward in bringing in Weis, but there is absolutely quite a bit of risk associated with it.
Weis is not a likable guy, not by players, not be colleagues and not by fans. He already has a scarlet letter etched on his chest from Notre Dame, and Gator fans will not have a very long leash for a coach they already do not respect.
That brings us to the biggest problem… Florida's current offensive personnel. Weis needs a few pieces to succeed: an accurate quarterback, a passing catching tight end and a pro-style running back. Florida has… none of these things. Which means the offense has a very good chance to struggle next year.
If the Gators' offense struggles, it will not get the same benefit of the doubt that Meyer got this year. Not with Weis, THE "offensive mind" running it. And that would be ugly. There are no longer two head coaching BCS Championship rings roaming the sideline to soften poor execution; all you have is Muschamp and Weis.
If the offense even remotely resembles what Florida did in 2010, Weis will be torched. While it isn't fair, fair doesn't actually have a lot of turf in big time CFB. And we all know how well Weis does when he's getting torched. Moreover, Weis has no track record at the college level to suggest he can right the ship. Instead, he was fired in the middle of a 10 year contract, and that's not easy to do.
However, for all the negative that comes with Weis, there are certainly positives. He is a proven offensive coach, and while Notre Dame was not great with him as the head man, the offense wasn't really the problem. Like Notre Dame, Florida has a name that recruits for itself, so Weis won't be asked to outwork every other coach on the road.
If John Brantley can get excited about this system and be the quarterback most SEC fans expected him to be, Weis could end up being a very good hire. Much like the hiring of Muschamp, there is a lot of potential. Now we get to sit back and watch...
Billy Gomila, Brian Harbach, Gabe Harris, Russ Mitchell, and Barrett Sallee.