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.