Churney first to criticize coaching, last to understand how it works
Letter to the editor
I am replying to Brian Churney's recent criticism of Bob Davie which ran in the Observer. As a proud alumni and die-hard supporter of Notre Dame and her proud football tradition, I must admit that I am repulsed by Mr. Churney's statements. While it is true enough that Davie has made mistakes in the area of time management — most notably the LSU safety — footage shown on ESPN tonight indicates that Big Ten officiating, not Davie, was the primary cause of the Purdue loss.
Mr. Churney criticizes Davie's late-fourth-quarter decision to punt, yet doesn't account for the fact that Purdue had too many men on the field, which should have resulted in an Irish first down. In all reality, this was the smartest call Davie could have made.
Mr. Churney bases his criticism on the fact that Notre Dame could not stop the Purdue offense, which then begs the question: Why in the world risk coming up short on fourth down and placing that dangerous offense in great field position — especially when a Purdue field goal would place victory out of reach!
Were that not enough, he downplays the blown fumble call in which an official 25 yards away overturned the decision of his co-referee, who was four feet from the play.
Finally, Churney accuses Davie of letting the clock run down too far after being stopped on the goal line. However, the ESPN footage clearly demonstrates that a Purdue linesman was motioning for a time out, again in close proximity to an official! The Davie staff, in my opinion and ESPN's, was on top of things by waiting for Purdue's officiating staff to call time out. That the officials neglected to stop the clock for approximately 10 more seconds does not speak poorly of Davie but rather the officiating of the Big Ten Conference.
Mr. Churney, like so many other fair-weather Notre Dame "fans," is the first to criticize and the last to understand the complexities of running a football program. Davie can't stop our running backs from fumbling. He can't do anything more than he's done to help a young team adjust to a complex and promising new offense. He didn't recruit the players who "aren't getting motivated" on Saturdays. And he surely can't do anything about officiating that seems smitten with Notre Dame's decision not to join the Big Ten.
I'm sure that Mr. Churney's voice was one of the loudest in the stadium a few years back, chanting derogatory statements about Ron Powlus and calling for Lou Holtz's head during my tenure here. If not, sadly he was not the only one. The victories will come, in time, but only if the Notre Dame family allows a dominant squad to matriculate.
However, Mr. Churney, should people with your viewpoint bring about Bob Davie's resignation, then I hope you apply for the coaching vacancy. You might discover that you, in all your wisdom, might need a little more time to bring a National Champion to South Bend.
Notre Dame Class of 1998
September 16, 1999
All Viewpoint Stories for Friday, September 17, 1999