Double Talk; Weis Juggling Patriots, Irish
Byline: Jody Foldesy, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - His hair still damp from a quick post-practice shower, New England Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis hustled to a table ringed with waiting reporters and huffed out an apology.
"Fifteen so far," Weis said. "That was the first thing I had to take care of. Sorry I'm running a little late."
Fifteen was the number of signings Weis just had collected in his other job, a side gig known as coaching Notre Dame. With college football's national signing day and Super Bowl preparations coinciding yesterday, Weis darted from one press conference to the next, first discussing high school seniors with Fighting Irish beat reporters and then discussing, well, high school seniors with the assembled media masses for Super Bowl XXXIX."Can we talk something about the Super Bowl?" Weis griped after a good dozen queries about Notre Dame. "Can we talk something about the Eagles here?"
In three more days, Weis finally will finish straddling two of football's most high-profile posts. After 71/2 weeks of burning the candle at both ends, the offensive architect of an ostensible NFL dynasty will shift his focus once and for all to rebuilding one of college football's most tradition-laden programs.
Weis' workload hasn't been envious since he accepted the Irish job Dec.12. Logging more hours than a campaign staffer in late October, he has shuttled back and forth from South Bend, Ind., to Foxborough, Mass., orchestrating recruiting strategies and plotting Patriots offensive schemes late into the night.
Amazingly, if the Patriots beat the Philadelphia Eagles this weekend and his modestly rated recruiting haul pans out, he will have pulled off this bold balancing act.
"Hopefully, things go well for us on Sunday," Patriots assistant head coach Dante Scarnecchia said. "I think it'll be the culmination of everything he's wanted out of this deal."
"An incredible job" is how Scarnecchia described Weis' performance in recent weeks. And it's tough to argue with the Patriots' side of the equation: Since a Dec.20 clunker against the lowly Miami Dolphins, Weis' offense has averaged 356 yards and helped propel New England to the brink of a third title in four years.
"He's still putting us in situations," wide receiver David Patten said. "He's still coming up with great game plans. He's focusing on the here and now. He wants to go out with a bang."
But how will Notre Dame boosters remember this stretch? …