This weekend was a rough one for die hard fans of the Fighting Irish. Like your humble blogger there were screams of frustration, utterances of profanity, and maybe just maybe a tear or two shed.

As the midshipmen of Navy visited South Bend and for the second straight time playing in Notre Dame, beat the FIghting Irish.

… and the hater’s rejoiced.

Not just the Notre Dame haters who revel in every hiccup and misstep the blue and gold take. The people who go out of their way to shit on Notre Dame, and root against them at every turn. Which is fine. This blog, is actually not about them. I understand that a program that is as popular and followed college football teams who has a national TV deal is going to draw people’s ire. In the same vein as the Cowboys, Yankees, Lakers, or Red Wings.

so keep hatin’ haters. Its your right.

But what about the haters who are calling for Charlie Weis’s job? And have been for the past 3 years? People who consider themselves fans and are diehard Notre Dame supporters are again firing up the “Hot seat”. They want his job. And that’s where I differ as an ND fan.

This loss to Navy? Not Charlie’s fault. Not by a long shot. They couldn’t stop Navy’s Triple Option, which gained near 350 yards on the ground. They moved the ball offensively (500 yards of total offense for ND. 440 yards passing for Jimmy Clausen – who set a completions record in the game).

But there were three turnovers inside the 5 yard line. A fumble from Clausen who was scrambling for the goal line and took a helmet to the wrist, and dropped the ball… and made me hold my breath as I feared an injury and an appearance from third string QB Evan Sharpley. Not Charlie’s Fault.

Turnover 2 – an interception that hit reciever, Michael Floyd, square in the back. Literally in the middle of the number three on his back… Floyd looked like he was run blocking on the play. Thwack… ball to the back. Pops up, and is in intercepted. Looked like miscommunication. Jimmy clearly threw a timing route… Floyd had his hands up engaging the defender in a block, had he turned? Catch down to the one, and maybe a TD. Instead? Ball goes Navy’s way. And again? Not Charlie’s fault.

The third one. Notre Dame turns it over on downs at the one. They got the ball down there and get stopped. They were down 14-0. ANd when your offensive line outweighs the defensive line by an average of 30 pounds? You figure you can get a yard. They didn’t. Charlie is aggressive. He likes to go for it on 4th down, and his kicker had already missed a field goal. **Nick Taush ended up missing 2 field goals in the game** Partially Charlie’s fault, but I liked the call at the time. Its easy to look back and see them lose by 2 and go… ARGH!!!!

But in those three paragraphs? Two missed field goals. A fumble inside the 2. An Interception near the goal line. And the turnover on downs.

As devastating as this loss was. And it was. Potentially cost ND a BCS birth. (which still hinged heavily on them winning out – they have a huge game at Pitt this coming weekend) Plus its a team they SHOULD beat. Even tough Navy nearly beat Ohio State this year… is a perennial bowl team… and regularly leads football in rushing… But still should be a team Notre Dame beats… Hell, the Temple Owls beat Navy 2 weeks ago. Which… just… hurts to type.

And yet now all I hear is “Charlie on the hotseat”. Which to me isn’t the problem.

I’m not saying he’s the best coach, but I’ve seen improvement. He has done a good job recruiting. The offense is good. The defense is… well… not. That will probably take another season or two.

and really? Who else are they going to get?

Popular names are:

Urban Meyer (Florida) … after what he did to ND last time? Why would they even ASK? He dicked them over, hard. And why would he leave Florida to come to Notre Dame? He’s annually a National Championship contender who just reloads with top tier recruits with ease. And again, why chase after him? Its like chasing that girl in high school who turned you down, and you still think there’s a chance.

Brian Kelly. Head coach at Cincinatti. Guy has done amazing things with the Bearcats. But this is a step sideways, really. He’d probably get paid more. He’s on national TV for every home game. With way more pressure and ridiculously high expectations. I don’t know if he’s the right choice, but I can’t see him being “the answer”.

John Gruden. A knock on Weis is that he’s too much in the “NFL mode”. Well Gruden would be the same. He’d probably be very similar to Charlie. Very intense. Would work hard. But again is it going to be an “answer”? Will it be some drastic improvement over Charlie Weis?

It sucks to have weekends like this, and to be crushed by a loss you feel your team shouldn’t have on their record. But I’m preaching patience. He deserves at least one more season. Lets see if he continues to recruit. Lets see if the defense can take the necessary steps to get better. Lets see what one more year in the offense can do to Jimmy Clausen, Golden Tate (wr), Michael Floyd (wr), and Kyle Rudolph (te) – If Clausen stays (another blog for another time, but if Charlie is fired, I’d bet dollar to donuts Clausen leaves, and Tate leaves. Floyd and Rudolph are sophmores).

I am willing to see what one more year brings. I think Charlie has room to improve.  But I don’t think he’s doing a poor job.  I also don’t see anyone out there that will be some drastic improvement.     So I am a Notre Dame fan who is more than willing to give Charlie at least one more season. Hopefully things turn out well, and Irish Eyes will be smiling, but truthfully? If he does end up fired? I won’t be surprised.