IBG – (Sham)rocking Some New Headgear Edition

This week’s Irish Blog Gathering, hosted by We Never Graduate,  looks at the new uniforms and helmets Notre Dame has been introducing and looks at possible other enhancements Brian Kelly hopes to make to the program as well as a what if Notre Dame hired Randy Edsall instead of Brian Kelly.

1. This year more than most, there seems to be an inordinate amount of attention spent on peripheral topics like the jumbotron, field turf, and apparel. Kelly is responsible in large part because he’s so candid about his take on them during his press conferences, making it perfectly clear his preferences that stoke the NDNation’s ever-burning fire. Do you think he’s going too far to push for these “enhancements” or do you think he’s doing what’s necessary to push Notre Dame’s program into the modern age.

I have no problem whatsoever with Kelly making his opinions on the matters known.  As much as some fans may want to dismiss the notion that high school recruits are impressed with things like Jumbotrons, we read quotes every year from recruits who make note that Notre Dame Stadium doesn’t have one.  I don’t think he is going to far – I think he is doing what he feels is necessary to get Notre Dame back amongst the nation’s elite.

Some of his ideas might not be that popular amongst some fans, but Notre Dame has had three coaches in a row who kept their opinions on such matters out of the media and didn’t make a strong push for them.  Take the training table for instance.  There have been reports that Charlie Weis wanted one, but I don’t remember hearing him talk about it much during his time here.  Before he even coached a game, Kelly had one set up and in use.

I think it’s fair to argue whether or not Kelly is right in trying to make the enhancements he wants to be made, but I don’t think anyone should argue with his efforts to do what he feels is necessary.  If anything, every Notre Dame fan should be pleased that Kelly is willing to make some changes he knows will be unpopular for the sake of building a winning program because he shows he is willing to do whatever it takes to get Notre Dame back.

Whether or not these enhancements are actually needed to bring Notre Dame back is a whole other story.

2. Coach Kelly made it clear today in his press conference that he couldn’t care less what you think about the helmets and uniforms…but I care what you think. Give the world your take on the helmets we’ll be wearing this weekend.

First off, I’ll say that I loved Brian Kelly’s response to the question about the uniforms.  By all accounts, his players do love the uniforms and they are the ones wearing them.  A lot of people tend to forget that the players see things like alternate uniforms as rewards for all of the time and sacrifices they make by being on the team.

All of that said, I’m not going to lie.  I kind of like the helmets and yes I am going to reiterate that part of the reason is because recruits see this kind of stuff and eat it up.  As long as Notre Dame wears these helmets once a year in the off-site games, I have no problems with them whatsoever – especially if it means that Notre Dame will be wearing the classic blue/white and gold uniforms and gold helmets every other week so we don’t have to read the obligatory “are we going to wear green jerseys?” posts leading up to every big game.

3. The Irish are starting to incur some injuries that are forcing new players to emerge and contribute. Identify one guy who hasn’t made a big contribution thus far that will show up big over the next three games.

This one is pretty easy.  Mike Golic Jr.  Golic stepped in last week and played much better than anyone could have expected.  On his first play in relief of the injured Braxston Cave, he blew up the interior of the Wake Forest defensive line to open up a huge hole for Cierre Wood.  After not playing much over the last 3+ years, I didn’t know what to expect out of him but he was a very pleasant surprise last week.

Ok, I’m going to cheat and name another.  Robby Toma.  Every time I’ve seen Toma play, I’ve been impressed.  He isn’t as fast as some oft he other Notre Dame wide receivers, but he just gets open, catches the ball when thrown his way, and makes plays when given the opportunity.  I think we will see a big game out of Toma this weekend.

4. There was a short time during the Notre Dame coaching search when it appeared current Maryland head coach Randy Edsall was the front runner. How different would things be for the Irish program right now if he was chosen in front of Kelly?

That is a really tough hypothetical.  I don’t think we would have seen the spread given Notre Dame’s personnel.  We probably would have seen a more traditional power offense given Notre Dame’s offensive line and running backs.  How would that have translated into additional wins or losses?  I don’t know.  Edsall certainly hasn’t lit the world on fire so far at Maryland.  He inherited a 9-4 football team that won a bowl game a year ago and has turned them into a 2-7 squad so I would venture a guess that his record at Notre Dame would not have been any better than Kelly’s this far.

The one area where I really thing there would have been a difference between Kelly and Edsall is on the recruiting trail.  Kelly has done about as good as we could have hoped for on the recruiting trail so far and I just don’t think Edsall would have done nearly as good has he been hired as Charlie Weis’s replacement.

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  1. Would prefer BK would work on his play calling rather than what they
    look like. When he had the ball handed off against SC a totel of 9 times
    it was the worst game plan I ever saw. I do think he is the right man for
    the job if he gets better assistants. Show me a great coach and I will
    show you a coach who has great assistants.

  2. The training table was initiated by Jack Swarbrick and Charlie Weis, during Weis’ last season. It was agreed-upon before Kelly was hired, and implemented about a month after Kelly was hired. Though he supported it completely, Kelly had nothing to do with it.

  3. Well, all the toys won’t guarantee a win. However, so called “enhancements” as a reward for winning may be a motivating factor? As far as “what if” Edsall would have been our pick? More than likely Crist would have been Edsall’s QB. Not a big fan of Edsall nor thought he would be a great choice.

    The real problem is it’s easy to get mesmerized by top recruiting lately that has not translated on the field seamlessly. From CW in three short years to BK recruiting has certainly been terrific. But, recruiting for two different approaches has been an arduous ritual that has clearly handicapped the team.

    Every time a coaching change occurs there are definately winners and losers. In many cases not the players fault. Successfully converting existing players into a new system will determine the outcome of any new coaching staff not toys.

  4. 1. Love the changes-if we are ever going to compete than we need an edge with the recruits that are athletic and smart. ND’s admissions are tough and to have an extra edge would help.
    2.I like changing up the uniforms also giving us another edge.
    3. I agree with Toma, he reminds me of Wes Welker from the Pats, just smart and knows how to get open. I also would like to see Ishaq some more.
    4. Edsall would have been a wash. I do think he is a good coach, but he is not a coach that will give you a shot at the title.

    5. Here is a question for everyone. If you where head coach and you knew that you could end up in the 8-5 or 10-3 range with either Reese or Golson while burning a redshirt and possibly ruining a freshmans confidence. Which QB would you start?

    Me I would start Reese because I know that I am building for a title run. I am not just trying to please the fans that think I should do things differntly. Also I would pass the ball to get the rest of the team ready for the style of play that will be on display with the right kind of QB in the system. Seeing as though we need to develop the team and get them ready to play at a high level.

    Go ND!

  5. Off topic, here in Detroit South aka Chicago, on the AM program 670 The Score some ass hat called up the show and made a comparison to whats happening at Penn State to what happened to Declan Sullivan at ND. Thats about the dumbest thing i have ever heard. The radio jocks on Chicago sports radio are no ND fans by any means and theres alot of people here who really hate ND and it shows when you listen to the programs. I wasnt in a position to call myself but theres no way the institutional failure at PSU can be compared to what happened at ND. What happened at ND was a tragic accident. What happened at PSU was pure evil. I dont wish what happened at PSU on ANYONE or ANY place, but can you imagine how much worse it would have been had it happened at ND?

    1. CTC,

      It has been mentioned here before by a few, and many others like to call it making excuses.

      But football is not the top priority at ND.

      There are many things that top the list long before any player or coach runs out of the tunnel.

      In light of what’s happening at PSU, I for one am glad about that.

      I, like many, always admired PSU football and their legendary coach.

      For the majority of his coaching career he preached “Winning with Honor” and I liked that.
      I think that is what college football should be about.

      With that gone, and PSU having to starting over,
      (like so many others) where can those fans turn, who still seek such values from the college football experience?

      While I can’t speak for them, I do know where I still look, and it’s one tradition that I hope never changes or is ever tarnished here.

    2. Absolutely fricking crazy,CHI-TOWN. Those 2 incidents are not even close in comparison (I just say, consider the source as something as dumb as that). If what allegedly occurred at PSU happened at ND, they’d be calling for an end to the football program. I feel for the victims of that issue regarding PSU.

    3. This PSU grad student (who remains on the coaching staff as a WR’s coach) who was 28 yrs old when he walked into the showers and saw what was going on, and turned his back on that young victim, instead of stepping in immediately should be gone!
      Can you immagine being in dire need of help, and then being lucky enough to have someone come along, only to have them turn their back and walk away?

      But as I understand it, he is also their football recruiting specialist.

      It was mentioned that he won’t be at their final home game because of some death threats.( Threats, not because he didn’t step in and stop what was going on, but because he caused the head coach to get fired)

      That says a whole lot about the twisted priorities that they have over there.

      It would also be a cold day in hell before anyone EVER saw a riot by the ND students!

      1. As much as I don’t like Mark May, I thought he was DEAD ON TARGET, IN THE 10-RING yesterday with his comments about the PSU scandal. He called it like it is without any hand-wringing. Very black and white about this almost unimaginable situation.

        To everyone and anyone who had anything whatsoever to do with this complicity, burn them down. Now.

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