At the time, the Fighting Irish were 0-2 and had been outscored 64-13 by Georgia Tech and Penn State. The Spygate query was, at that moment, a welcome respite for Weis, an invitation for levity.
Question: Are you surprised about the allegations against your former team this weekend? Or is gamesmanship part of what goes on in the NFL?
Weis: I'm glad I'm not involved in that scenario at this time (laughter). Though I have placed a couple of phone calls that said, "You brightened up my day and brought a smile to my face." But other than that, I'm not touching that one with a 10-foot pole.
It is time for Notre Dame, and/or Weis, to brandish an 11-foot pole. The 52-year-old head coach has flatly refused to discuss Spygate since that first comment almost 10 months ago. In May, then Notre Dame athletic director Kevin White, who has since accepted the same position at Duke, told the Chicago Tribune, "It's just not a Notre Dame matter."
It most certainly is, and White's exodus does not alter that. Character is always a Notre Dame matter. So why would it not be for the university's highest-paid — and highest-profile — employee? Last April, Weis, addressing an alumni gathering in Gettysburg, Pa., said as much when he told the audience, "I could get hoodlums and thugs and win tomorrow. I won't do it that way."
Last May, for the first time, Weis' name was directly linked to the illegal video machinations of the New England Patriots during the Bill Belichick era. Former video assistant Matt Walsh, speaking to Greg Bishop of The New York Times, mentioned Weis by name half a dozen times. The most incriminating of Walsh's statements was: "I know that we had a quarterback learning the signals and then relaying that information to Charlie, and Charlie would then call it in to the quarterback on the field, through the coach-to-quarterback communication system in the helmet."
It could be that Walsh, who was fired by the Patriots in 2002 after two seasons, was lying. Or maybe he misinterpreted the role that his footage played in New England's game preparation. As Stacey James, the Patriots' executive director of media relations, declared in a statement later that week, "Matt Walsh was a video operator. For him to attempt to speak with any authority on the process of coaching, play-calling, or the decisions made by offensive or defensive coordinators is an embarrassment."
Then again, what if Walsh was telling the truth? And what if his rudimentary understanding of his role in this process is accurate?
First of all, Spygate is not a matter of gamesmanship. It is not a question of allowing the grass to grow unchecked to Everglades-length for two weeks before Reggie Bush and Southern Cal visit. Of concealing a surgical procedure performed on the No. 1 high school recruit in the nation. The NFL does not dock a franchise and its coach a cumulative $750,000 and a first-round draft pick for gamesmanship.
Then again, Charlie Weis was not the head coach during his 2000-2004 tenure with New England. Bill Belichick was. Weis was only the offensive coordinator. In an interview with CBS News' Armen Keteyian back in May, Belichick made it clear that he alone should be held responsible for "misinterpreting" the NFL's rules regarding videotaping.
There exists no smoking gun, no tapes, no evidence that might link any video shenanigans or obviating of NFL rules that Weis allegedly benefited from in New England with any of his or his staff's actions in South Bend. However, by refusing to address the issue, Weis and the Irish allow room for scrutiny. To quote Thomas Cromwell in A Man For All Seasons, "This silence was not silence at all, but most eloquent denial."
Brian Kelly hasn’t been comfortable naming a starting quarterback after the unexpected exit of Everett Golson, but Keith Arnold writes that Kelly has made a final decision and Tommy Rees will be the Irish starting quarterback, at least heading into fall camp.
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