Brian Kelly Under Fire

Brian Kelly - Blue and Gold Game
Brian Kelly – Blue and Gold Game

To say the Spring and early Summer time-frame has been a tumultuous one for Irish fans, is a complete understatement. From the Manti Te’o hoax, the loss of Gunner Kiel, Davonte Neal, Justin Ferguson, and Eddie Vanderdoes, and the exile of 2nd year quarterback, and BCS championship game starter Everett Golson, Irish fans and coaching staff have to be asking what is next – and would have every right in doing so.

As the luck of the Irish continues to seemingly run out, fans are left searching for answers and wanting to know why this is consistently happening to their program and who is to blame? It is easy to believe that this is only happening to the Notre Dame program, and that all 123 other FBS schools are impervious to this type of turmoil, but the actual truth of the matter is, it does happen at every major football program, only every major news outlet doesn’t cover it like they do when it happens at Notre Dame.

When a string of negative events take place like the ones that have shrouded South Bend for the past six months, fans and media start looking for answers as to why, and are willing to listen to anyone who has a perspective. Some will look at the coaching staff and possible loss of program control, and others will chalk it up to the fact that when you recruit a higher caliber athlete, they tend to be coddled and have trouble dealing with the pressures that are placed upon them during the recruiting process. A smaller contingency of Irish fans will flock to their favorite online forums and message boards and claim the program is cursed, as if a 2012 undefeated season and a trip to the national championship game never occurred.

As a life-long fan of the Notre Dame program, I am here to reassure you that the program is not cursed and that the current coaching staff that man’s the sidelines on Saturday, at least from our point of view, seems to be a great fit. In many conversations that we have had with current and former recruits, the one absolute consistency in their reason for choosing to play football for the Irish has been the coaching staff, and its professionalism and honesty. Mind you, these statements were not casually suggested in the form of a pleasant conversation, but rather strongly emphasized as the deciding factor in most choices.

Brian Kelly has been no stranger to controversy

Since the arrival of Brian Kelly in 2010, the Irish have had their fair share of controversy on and off the field, and most Notre Dame fans would even admit so, but with that said, coach Kelly has made personal and professional changes for the better. If we are being honest, coaching at Grand Valley State, Central Michigan, and Cincinnati is quite different in regards to pressure, prestige, and of course scrutiny, than walking the sidelines in South Bend. Kelly had been heavily criticized for his tantrums and outbreaks towards his players, and his high expectations, but realizing the error of his ways, he turned a quite volatile situation into an opportunity to teach and help the maturation process of the young men under his tutelage. He also realized that he needed a more hands on approach, and changed his coaching style to include more one on one time with certain players, instead of solely relying on his position coaches. Kelly understands that when you are the head coach of Notre Dame, you are not only representing yourself, but you are also representing the university, the players, and the tradition, and not just on Saturday afternoons.

While we are not ready to anoint Kelly as the next Knute Rockne or Ara Parseghian, we are able to recognize a man, even with his current and past successes, who has the ability and desire to change for the better. He doesn’t cast-off criticism, but instead betters himself from it, all while staying true to himself. Most of us are not privy to what truly goes on in these situations, and heavily rely on the media and rumors for our news, and that can be a dangerous path of education. We do know that Brian Kelly has modified his approach, and his players recognize the fact and speak of it often. We also know that when you recruit on a truly national level, there are going to be circumstances that just are out of the coach’s control, and we feel like most, if not all of these situations could not have been salvaged, no matter what Brian Kelly’s approach was.

Whatever faults Kelly and his staff have publicly displayed in the past, they have worked on correcting, both superficially and internally and recruits have taken notice. The winning tradition is seemingly back in South Bend, and with recent verbal’s from Elijah Hood(ATH) and now 4-star quarterback DeShone Kizer, it appears it will continue. With the losses of Kiel and now Golson, it was imperative that the Irish coaching staff add depth and talent behind the center, and that’s what makes the verbal from Kizer so important. With Kizer on board, The Irish now have what most would consider a lethal 1-2 punch for the next few years with himself and early enrollee Malik Zaire. Just further proof that instead of dwelling on the negative, Kelly and his staff look at the positive side and continue to move forward and Irish fans should do the same.

A coach and his staff cannot control every move and decision a recruit makes, and fans and media need to stop pretending they can monitor every situation, every day.  It is time to start placing blame on where it belongs, and that is back on the recruits, the opposing coaches who break the rules and keep recruiting, and the parents of these sometimes coddled Prima Donnas. It is also time to start putting faith in a man who understands he is not perfect, who understands everyone one of his decisions are not correct, but still stands up and takes responsibility for the negative, as well and claiming credit for the positive – which actually coach Kelly always gives the credit to his players and assistant coaches.

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  1. Amen Woodrow,

    Let the Nix & Tuitt Show begin! I’m with D-Train 65 – “Moms rule!” Nix & Tuitt will be here also for their senior season to kick somemore A$$!!


  2. IMO, Kelly is doing a great job. He learned a lot from the Aaron Lynch drama roller coaster. He puts team before individual and recruits incredible talent….expect a lot of turnover.

    Watch ND kick some serious ass next year….count on it!


  3. The concluding paragraph said it all- but one phrase caught my attention . . .

    “the opposing coaches who break the rules and keep recruiting”… Is this a reference to EV’s trainer who played for UCLA’s recruiting co-ordinator? Difficult to prove- but highly suspicious INDEED!

    It might not have been a sudden change-of-heart or an ill relative at all as the ultimate reason for EV’s no-show- but a slow wearing down of EV by the recruiting co-ordinator’s former player and EV’s current trainer . . .

    I know! I know! Let it go and refocus on those who want to be at ND . . . so welcome DeShone and Elijah

    Go Irish! And to the new recruits- stay IRISH!

  4. C’mon guys, step up your verbal sparring!

    These daily catfights are for more entertaining to the rest of us when they include the following:
    – Use of multi-syllabic words that require us simpletons to google in order to understand.
    – Racial and/or religious slander
    – use of latin phrases
    – at least one rant demeaning the others orientation
    – non funny quote or joke followed by self laughing

    You may continue, onward and upward.

    1. Not to go all Wes Mantooth on this, ron, but I find it odd that someone who professes to be a Notre Dame fan would intentionally lie about kelly.

      It’s funny about free speech. I actually feel that our alleged first amendment freedom of speech is compromised by the very existence of libel and slander laws.

      Nevertheless I don’t think that ‘cheap grace” applies to being a Notre Dame fan.

      To criticize accurately is one thing.To lie is different.

      If you despise someone it would be sufficient to so state. But why tell lies? What does it gain one?

      1. For the uninitiated duranko, the minute BK steps on the field especially at Notre Dame the media is recording every word and every movement of the game. So “name calling of the players in the media” in this techie world includes sideline profanity, personal diatribes and raging red face anger. Just ask Bobby Knight and think of Woody Hayes if he were alive today! And sadly, the recipient of BK’s wrath in public T.J. Jones! Why?

        1. Smile! You’re being recorded on our beloved fans personal media video cell phones!

        2. Smile! You’re immediately on our beloved fans facebook media whether you like it or not!

        3. Smile! Professional media Camcorders are rolling!

        4. Smile! All reporters now have media video running on their Digital Nikon or Canon Still Cameras! Sun Times ring a bell?

        5 Smile! Not to mention your on National and International media TV! Because WE ARE ND!

        6. Smile! We now know the NSA is recording every word or move you make!

        So BK’s unfortunate teaching moments are well documented in the media whether you choose to believe it or not! If you really don’t have a clue just visit your proctologist Mr. Specific, he will be happy to get out crayons and draw pictures for you. Hmm…why do I have this vision of a person wearing a pilgrim hat attacking anyone and burning them to a stake, who doesn’t share duranko’s BK-love-ophobia to the 9th degree! Hahahaha! Like I said earlier duranko, your to be pitied with your misguided rage. Again, I’m sure Swarbrick reprimanded BK for practice!

        Here come our beloved Irish! Foxsports 1 Regis & Lou & Allen Pinkett!

    2. Ah Come-on Ron,

      Did I ever call you a prevaricator? That’s our inhouse expert’s wheel-house.

      Please add prevaricator to his exclusive list of words.

      Hahahaha! Thank you! Ron!

    3. RB,

      Who you callin a “simpleton”?

      By the beard of Zeus if you want to throw down I’ve got Jack Johnson and Tom O’leary waitin for ya right here!

      I’ll smash your face into a car windshield then take your sister out for a nice seafood dinner and never call her agian!

      Check it out Ron… I’m ridding a furry tractor!

      1. RB,

        You know what else would make some of these catfights more entertaining?

        If, like in the old Batman TV series, where the poster added a “BIFF” or a “ZONK” or a “ZAP” when someone got snockered with a haymaker!

        Check it out…
        “I’m not your nurse, get off your dead ass and look it up yourself” … KAAA-ZOINK!

        “Real Men back up their factual allegations” .. ZING-ZING-ZOWIE!

        “If you despise someone it would be sufficient to so state” KLUNK!

      2. Yeah like, ‘double Whammy’ the way the both of you hammer bj. Hahahahaha! Such Angels around here? Talk about the pots calling the kettle black! Hahahaha!

        Come-on guys, you know I’m an angel too! Hahahaha!

    1. Sorry, you will have to google it, thread is correct and does not come up.

      The media (Sun Times) picked up the anger and profanity. And someone was reprimanded by Swarbrick. Hmmmm….I wonder who that was?

  5. I look at the coaches who were here before Kelly (Weis, Willingham, Davie)
    and I don’t think any of those guys, at that point in their careers, really understood today’s modern players. Understood how to relate to them, how to develop them, or how to inspire them efficiently.

    When you dig a little deeper, look at the entire work in progress, and have the benefit of hindsight, a clearer picture of Kelly emerges.

    -Going balistic on the sidelines, and screaming at his players.
    This is nothing new in coaching circles. It was a side of Kelly that was important for the players to see and feel. Being embaressed on the sidelines by a screaming head coach can be an invaluable tool, and one that all good coaches employ at least once in a while. That memory of him is now engraved in the back of every players mind… they know it’s still there…. and that’s a good thing!

    -Todays modern players have more access, more media intense devices, and more media choice avenues in which to travel, so that most good, modern day coaches, have adapted in utilizing these assets in managing their teams.

    At the time, nobody liked hearing Kelly call out some players via the media. But what happen next had the desired effect. Manti Teo took a stand, came out in the open, by way the media, on the record, and voiced his loyal support for his team mates.

    Was this the button that Kelly pushed that lead Teo to become the true team leader that he was destin to become? Whould he have had the type of season necessary to help lead his team to an undefeated regular season without it?
    At the time, Teo took a stand in the media…. later on, it would be the goal line where he took his next important stand.

    Sometimes actions speak louder than words.
    These other coaches talked a good game, but after a while, their words fell on deaf ears.
    Kelly has done the dirty work now. He has gain the respect and full attention of his team.

    It’s something all good coaches have.
    And rest assured, Kelly has it too.

    1. OK, Shaz where’s your theorem documentation? Hahahaha! I’m just a neophyte, what’s your excuse?? Hahahaha!

      1. All-right! Pass-the-beer! Here’s the popcorn!

        I can’t wait for duranko’s diatribe on the Holy Quraan. I wonder if it will be like his infamous mormon heretic speech?

        Surely, I will need more theorem documentation? Especially, for this temerity event?

      2. You want a drink?

        Drink to your leg??

        Okay, so we drink to our legs!

        “Show me the way to go home..
        I’m tired and I wanna go to bed…
        I had a little drink about an hour ago and its gone right to my head…
        Wherever we may roam, on land or sea, or Dome..
        You can always hear us singing this song,
        show me the way to go home… bome, bome, bome…

  6. Good read Bob,
    I always felt the successful ND teams were a reflection of their coaches ability and personality, I would guess most teams would have this character. My dad was a 33 or 37 grad, he used to bring up your point that very few football articles were written where there wasn’t, a reference or a comparison to ND. Guess that still holds true today .Gee that’s ironic.

  7. I give Kelly full credit for becoming a player’s coach LAST year. Howbeit, too many people have had this bromance going on since he got here. Quite frankly, there were many FACTUAL examples in the media during his 1st two years, demonstrating how he continuously bad mouthed his players. An undeniable FACT! Definately set a NEGATIVE enviroment!
    Having said that, I suspect there is still bad BK jet lag concerning the 1st two years with many fan/alums to this day. Unfortunate, but when things go wrong everyone remembers all the bad. So 1st impressions are key whether we like the truth or not!

    On the other note, yes, prima donna 5 star recruits are indeed difficult to live with. Hopefully, I think there’s a great opportunity if Kizer signs, the QB position might settle down finally. Also, I would be remiss not give Kelly & Co credit for the positive transformation that occured last year. The name calling of players in the media had to go without question. Otherwise, we would have never seen 12-0.

    Lastly, I am happy with where we are now, tremendous progress has been made. However, the bromance on this site for BK is definately over-the-top! Show me three National Titles then maybe I’ll let you guys drool all over yourselves with no rebuke. Hahahaha! Maybe!

    Here come our beloved Irish! Foxsports 1 Regis & Lou & Allen Pinkett

    1. JC

      You wrote “The name calling of players in the media had to go without question.”

      Please provide documentation, citation, evidence, facts.

      1. duranko,

        I’m not your nurse, get off your dead ass and look it up yourself. Sorry your sometimers over-whelmed you for BK’s 1st two years.

        Besides, Mr. Perfect your not so perfect nor do you sign my pay-check! Hahahaha! Stop playing out-to-lunch and get a life!

      2. No, JC, you are not my nurse, nor would you ever be.

        You made a specific allegatiion stating the following:

        “the name calling in the media
        had to go without question.”

        Men back up their factual allegations. I am merely requesting that you back it up. You averred it, now provide your evidence.

        If you can’t then so state.

        If you won’t then why not?

        By the way, what is your opinion on accountability.\

        Do you feel an obligation to back up what you write?

        You may wish to consider providing the documentation of your accusation.

      3. Jc, you are getting tedious. Your reply is struck as non-responsive to the question.

        You made a specific allegation:”Name calling of the players in the media”

        That’s fairly specific.

        You have provided not a shred ofevidence, not one scintilla of
        “name calling of players in the media.”

        Why would you trash kelly with a false and unsupported


      4. Depends on your definition of a name? Any jester can be considered a name.

        Keep rearranging the chairs on the Titanic, your an expert at it.

      5. Nice JC! Rational thought normally eludes irrational people. BK has moved the program forward but has also made some major mistkes (no duranko I won’t give you the answers). This season will be the true testament of BK as a coach as most of the players on the field will be his recruits. I always want to see ND succeed but again I think everyone’s lofty expectations will be disappointed.

  8. Every program has its problems and ND is no exception. When all is said and down Kelly has done one hell of a job taking a dead program, yes I said dead, and rebuilding it to the point where it is again a top notch contender. He has corrected almost all the damage the likes of Weiss,Davies,Willignham and the rest of the wanna bes did in their tenures at ND! Unfortunately a coach can’t be everywhere all the time and as the expresion goes sometimes “shit happens”. Go ND!!!!

  9. “To say the Spring and early Summer time-frame has been a tumultuous one for Irish fans, is a complete understatement. From the Manti Te’o hoax, the loss of Gunner Kiel, Davonte Neal, Justin Ferguson, and Eddie Vanderdoes, and the exile of 2nd year quarterback, and BCS championship game starter Everett Golson, Irish fans and coaching staff have to be asking what is next – and would have every right in doing so.”


    1. Toulmin – You are absolutely right. But now I ask: “Is there a team with BETTER discipline than ND who plays at ND’s level?” And now I’ll answer: “Perhaps. But they’re not NotrDame.” Kids-these-days… It’s the kids who must develop discipline. By the time they land on campus, it is wicked-hard to change a young man. So how do we resolve this problem? That is a sociological issue that is way-too-vast to address here. But I agree with you. DISCIPLINE IS MANDATORY TO SUCCES.

  10. Only the loss of Golson will affect the upcoming season. The other losses pricked the balloon of our expectations but will not make a difference in the 2013 record. And the Manti hoax only casts an unfair shadow on a brilliant career.

    This team still looks better on both sides of the ball than it did at this time last year. And psychologically the mix of bad news and disrespect may give the team a sense of mission. Even after an undefeated season, they are anything but complacent.

    We will know early on, when we see how they react to Brady Hoke’s ‘chickened out’ comment.

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