Pete DiPrimio, sports columnist and college beat writer for The News-Sentinel of Fort Wayne, Ind., takes his best shots on the world of Notre Dame football.

Tuesday, September 5

ND Braces for Penn State "Event"

Let’s make this perfectly clear. Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis has no intention of matching Joe Paterno’s longevity.

“I’ll be dead by then,” he said

Consider the 79-year-old Paterno has been Penn State’s head coach for 41 years. The 50-year-old Weis has run the Irish for just over a year. New math suggests Weis would have to coach until he was 90 to tie Paterno. Of course, by then, Paterno will be in his 82nd season, and if you think we are joking, well, don't underestimate Paterno's will to coach.

Paterno still has no intention of retiring. He has four years left on his contract. He survived a rough few years to return to prominence with last season’s 11-1 Big Ten championship squad.

Weis, for one, can appreciate the accomplishment.

“He took the job in 1966. Think of all that’s happened since then, The Vietnam War, everything. You go through all those cultural changes and you’re still dealing with 18 to 19 year olds and you keep on winning. That’s not by chance. That’s by design.”

So Paterno will show up at Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday for the most anticipated home game in school history if you base it on ticket requests. He will stalk the sidelines and yell at players, yell at officials and maybe, when it’s over, yell at the media.

Weis, meanwhile, tries to do what he didn’t do in last year’s home-opening loss to Michigan State. He does not refer to the huge crowd and surrounding hoopla as “a circus.” Instead, he calls it an “event.” He wants the Irish focused and ready. He wants them playing to their potential as they didn’t in the Georgia Tech win.

Will he get it? We’ll have to wait for Saturday to find out.


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