Bright Days Ahead for Notre Dame Football

Tarean Folston - Notre Dame vs. Stanford
Tarean Folston stiff arms Stanford Cardinal linebacker James Vaughters on a run during a NCAA football game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, CA. (Photo: Tommy LaPorte/Icon SMI)

There are no moral victories in football.  The sport is a zero-sum game with a clearly defined winner and loser.  The Michigan Wolverines won’t receive an asterisk by their name for taking their undefeated rival, Ohio State, to the wire and losing by only one point, just as Alabama, arguably the best team in the nation, won’t receive a free pass to the national championship game simply because they fell victim to an improbable, last-second, never-going-to-see-it-again kind of play that resulted in their only blemish of the season.  The same can be said of Notre Dame’s 27-20 loss to #8 Stanford on Saturday night in Palo Alto.

Yet, why does it feel different?  Why, after Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees threw an interception to Stanford cornerback Wayne Lyons to end the game, was there a feeling of optimism rather than the usual frustration after a loss?  Why did head coach Brian Kelly choke up when telling the team how proud he was of them during his post-game locker room speech?  The answer goes far beyond the impending return of former starting quarterback Everett Golson.

Notre Dame had every reason to be the 14-point underdog they were tabbed as heading into Stanford Stadium.  The Fighting Irish were likely to be underdogs even at full strength, let alone with the rash of injuries that have swept over the program in recent weeks, including a crushing season-ending loss of All-American nose tackle Louis Nix.  To add to Notre Dame’s woes, safeties Eilar Hardy and Elijah Shumate did not travel with the team due to a violation of team rules, and a flu bug also made its presence known within the squad’s ranks, leading to Rees receiving an IV 24-hours prior to kickoff.

What created an aura of optimism despite defeat is how Notre Dame played.  The Stanford Cardinal have one of the most physical defenses in the country, ranking 9th in sacks with an average of 3.5 sacks per game, a bad sign for an Irish offensive line that would be forced to play three first-year players with starters Chris Watt, Christian Lombard and Nick Martin out due to injury.

The inexperienced Notre Dame line more than rose to the occasion, leaving Trent Murphy, the nation’s leader in sacks with 13, with a goose egg in the sack column.  Stanford’s complicated blitzing schemes accounted for only one sack against the Fighting Irish’s green line.  Late in the 4th quarter Stanford sent two blitzers off the strong side edge, a well-designed scheme that left true freshman running back Tarean Folston at a 2-1 disadvantage that ultimately ended with Cardinal linebacker Shayne Skov recording Stanford’s lone sack.

Notre Dame’s young offensive line also did very well rushing the ball, a surprising notion considering the Irish managed only to gain 64 yards on 24 touches for a pedestrian 2.7 yards per carry.  Stanford’s 3rd ranked rushing defense has a way of making numbers deceiving, however.  In Stanford’s previous five games the Cardinal allowed only 1.9 yards per carry.  To put Notre Dame’s numbers in perspective, the Fighting Irish and its novice offensive line rushed the ball against Stanford better than the top-ranked Oregon Ducks, and also better than USC, who only mustered a measly 0.9 yards per carry despite defeating Stanford.

The Fighting Irish defense also offered glimpses of the future.  Redshirt freshman defensive lineman Jarron Jones allayed many fears of life after Louis Nix with his unexpectedly impressive play in Nix’s stead.  Jones burst onto the scene against BYU, recording seven tackles and a critical blocked field goal.  Jones continued his solid play against Stanford, contributing four tackles.  Notre Dame linebacker Romeo Okwara also flashed his potential on a critical 3rd and 5 in the 4th quarter, utilizing his speed to fly past a Cardinal blocker to wrap up Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan.

Despite the injuries, the inexperience and flu symptoms, Notre Dame’s annual battle against Stanford came down to the final drive of the game, an impressive feat against one of the most physically grueling teams in the nation.   And although Tommy Rees’ arm strength was not enough to reach wide receiver Will Fuller – who had beaten his defender – on the final drive and ultimately resulted in an underthrown ball and interception, Rees kept Notre Dame within striking distance all game long.

As Brian Kelly put it to the media during his post-game interview, “He [Rees] threw that ball as far as he could throw it to Will Fuller.  He can’t get it any further than that.  That’s just Tommy.  He gives you everything he has.”

And that “everything” has landed him the distinction of being 2nd all-time in career touchdown passes at Notre Dame, surpassing former 5-star recruit and #1 high school player in the nation, Jimmy Clausen.

Notre Dame’s youth was on display in Palo Alto last Saturday night and it managed to take one of the most physical teams in America down to the wire, a showcase that should have all Irish eyes smiling toward the future.

Scott Janssen is a blogger for the Huffington Post and has authored several nationally-featured articles, as well as appeared on MSNBC as a sports contributor. In his spare time he takes his NCAA Football ’13 online dynasty way too seriously and alienates those around him by discussing football 24 hours a day. Scott can be reached at 

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  1. I truly believe that we need a coordinator outside of the program. I really like Denbrock ad Alford at their respective positions. I also believe that we need better coaching on defense, our safeties were always gtting burn and our linebackers never filled.It also didnt help that we lost Nix and Tuitt wasnt 100 percent.

  2. RIP, brother Capaletti. Prayers for your eternal rest and for your grieving loved ones. God bless them all!

    From someone who is still hurting, esp. this time of year, from the loss of my beloved mother 2 years ago.

  3. A great offensive OC wont come here because Kelly wont let him coach.
    His ego thinks it is just him. We need a new DC and special teams coach
    We lost a great ND fan last week in Dave Cappaletti. He was a great person
    and will be sorely missed. Our prayers go out to him.

  4. “Bright(er) days (will) be ahead for ND football if we :
    1) establish a physical offensive presence, thus able to run the ball more consistently and
    2) get our back-ups more playing time not because of injuries,
    but because we dominate vs. our weaker opponents. This requires playing aggressively
    as if determined to score a TD on each possession
    rather than playing not to lose (either the lead and/or field position),
    both offensively and defensively, which too often seems to be the plan.

    Three other keys IMHO:
    * better maximize red-zone scoring opportunities with TDs rather than FGs,
    ** pressuring opponents’ QBs (even if it requires more stunts and blitzes) forcing more TOs than committing,
    *** implementing better special teams play both on kick coverage and kick-off returns.

    With the presence of and further development of our improved talent level, and us better achieving
    the above, we will match up competitively with any team on our schedule, and be dominant over most.

  5. Now that the OC position is open, Kelly could make a real statement and hire a top notch OC (and maybe a ST coach also) and let the coordinator BE THE COORDINATOR. Great coaches are those that surround themselves with good assistants and let them do their job. I would like to see at least high level of competitiveness be maintained. 9-3, 10-2, 11-1 type records achieved over time would be nice with some legitimate shots at a NC NOT WITHSTANDING IN HAVING TO WAIT 20+ years for it to happen. We need to be strong on both sides of the ball, not just great on O and less great on the D. I am not calling for BK’s head, at least not yet. I want to see an offense with a mobile QB. I see Golson may be re-enrolling with an announcement. So, trying to stay focused positively even though the fair hair wonder boy will play in the Pork and Bean bowl we’ll end up in I am hoping we move in the right direction. I am tired of seeing coaches in their 2nd or 3rd year going to a NC title game. I will be surprised Urban doesn’t make it to the NC game as much as I can’t stomach him. Hey anyone, are there any NFL OPENINGS, don’t tell BK.

    How about the job Chip Kelly is doing at Philly and I see USC hired Sarkesian from Wahington. I thought that was an interesting hire.


    1. “Tired of seeing coaches in thier 3rd year going to a NC game”???? Really? …. you mean like Brian Kelly did last year?

      You sound a bit over-tired.
      Maybe it’s nappy time?
      You know, so you can stay positivly focused!

      1. You mean how they lost and how BK thought looking into the Eagles job during the time ND was preparing for one of the biggest games it was involved in since 1989 Fiesta Bowl. I am fully rested Shaz, but, thanks anyway for the encouragement to rest.

        I think I have it made it pretty clear here in many previous postings that I haven’t suggested fire Brian Kelly. I have offered critique of certain decisions he has made as a coach, as MANY have done on this blog. I think the book is still out on him. Hopefully he picks a good OC and lets that person do the job. Hiring a an effective ST coach would also help considering ST play has been dreadful under Kelly.

      2. I agree with the need of a ST facelift and a dynamic coach to make it happen…I also agree that we need a hands-on OC to run the O 100% of the time…However, I cringe at the thought of losing BK(and I can’t blame him for sticking his toes in the NFL waters at any point in time). Without BK, we wouldn’t be any where close to where we are as a complete team (competitive, depth, athletic). Obviously the Pitt game was disgusting, but it could also be considered an outlier. To say the jury’s still out on BK’s effectiveness and worth to the Irish program is nonsense…We’re 1 season removed from the BCS NT game! We’re not going to play for a title every year as a non-conference program…We’ll be in the playoffs next season and BK will be hyped for the NFL again. I hope for the sake of continuity and long-term success that he stays…we don’t need the Urban Meyers of the world to tarnish a program that is finally worth its weight in gold again!

  6. Now I believe Kelly should go out and hire the best offensive coordinator in the country. If you want to win national championships you need an unstoppable offense capable of scoring 40, 50 points against anyone. Look at Ohio State, Florida State, Auburn, Missouri, Alabama. These teams put up a ton of points every week no matter who they play. College football today is an offensive game. True you can’t have a bad defense, but you can win big with an above average defense and a unstoppable offensive.

  7. I think this seson could have been much worse. Florida went through many of the same things we did look how there seson went. One good thing about goin through all the injuries is that it gets guys some reps that might not have before. Really like where this team is headed Coach Kelly is building a program not a one hit wonder.

    1. I agree, but the benefit that comes from injuries also comes when you don’t let inferior competition stay with you to the bitter end so you can’t let the young guys in there.

  8. I’m really disappointed at the ILB play.
    Jarret Grace is the Tommy Ree’s of LB play. lol

    Hope this gets fixed in 2014, we desperately need Nyles Morgan.
    Actually, we need 4 Jaylon Smiths, and 0 Carlo Calabreses.

      1. Yeah, I think so. I think BK can not have any Mulligan’s on his next hire. Measure twice, cut once.

      2. It’s hard to say whether one assistant or another is too key to lose. Kelly has gotten decent replacements for coaches that have moved to other opportunities. Who knows they might get a really good teacher type and Kelly could take on more of the coordinator duties again.

  9. To what degree, can fault be assigned for, Ronald Darby to FSU, Eddie V to UCLA, Greenberry to Houston, Lynch to USF, Tee Shepherd meltdown, Kiel to Cincy, etc, Not a rhetorical question – is systemic or bad luck? You have those players we are not the best team but probably undefeated. Is the rash of injuries from a crappy field or our strength and conditioning guru?

    I think you have to like the trend, if not the speed, we have a lot of potential in the QB pipeline, we are epic at offensive line recruiting, I don’t know why we can’t get a nose tackle or a middle linebacker. Jarron Jones seems awesome and Sheldon Day does as well, but we will once again not have much D-line depth. Shame about Kona.

    Well, I am glad the Buckeyes won, so they will get decapitated by FSU in the title game and FSU will be ranked number one in the land as returning national champs and we will be 17 point underdog when we meet the first week next year. Oh, and I think Louis and Stephen should return just to play in that game.

    Who are we potentially bowling with?

    1. I don’t think it’s really black or white for many fans. Not every fan critical of BK wants him fired. And not ever defender is going to give him a free pass forever.

      I think things will improve with the proper QB for BK’s system, whether that’s EG or Zaire. I believe this year will prove to be an anomaly. I’ve been a defender of BK this year for that, and he is recruiting where ND’s needs are, and he has a good history of developing players.

      But if they stagnate, or regress, yes I will have concerns. I’m just not using this year as an OMG, BK is back to the Willingham-Weis mediocrity. ND has closed the gap. They just need a little something more to push them over that hump so those L’s become W’s. But if you look at this year’s records, they are sometimes 1 play away from a win. That’s an improvement over where ND’s been the last 10-15 years.

  10. I sure hope no one thinks I am one of the fans calling for Kelly’s head. I do not think he is on the hot seat, nor do I think he should be on the hot seat. Unfortunately, some get riled up in simplistic black and white, all or nothing thinking when participating on blog sites. Bad habit.

    He’s a solid coach and will keep the team typically between 7-5 and 10-2 with a once in a while shot at something better. He will go about .500 in bowl games.

    No, I don’t think there should be any consideration of getting rid of Kelly. They have done so much worse. I just don’t expect Notre Dame to be the Notre Dame of legend anymore. I think that dream that was reality died when Lou Holtz was run out. Notre Dame stopped being a University for Catholics or other minorities to achieve and demonstrate those achievements to the world, and became an elitist institution for the 2nd and 3rd generation rich, with a few from lower economic echelons to use for marketing purposes. The ND administration went from family to business entity.

    I don’t think you will find a coach who wants to do what Rock, Frank, Ara, Dan and Lou did. They may exist but they may or may not even want to operate in the corrupt FBS world.

    My reasons for cheering on Notre Dame go well beyond football and back into the history of Catholics in this country, including those forced out of Ireland in the 1800s. But had Notre Dame not existed before 1996, I am not sure what would have drawn me to care about the school and it’s teams over others. There certainly is no other team that I truly care about. A good majority of football players are the biggest jerks on the planet. Thankfully, ND has far fewer of those than others, but even so, I’m not sure what would exite me about that program versus casually watching football for some entertainment. Truly the Alabama Auburn game was exciting, but were any of you invested in the outcome or either team. I couldn’t have cared less who won.

    So my argument isn’t for Kelly or against Kelly, it isn’t even about Kelly. My question is if Notre Dame isn’t making a statement about excellence that uniquely reflects our tradition and history, what is the purpose? I don’t want us to be some bunch of delusional fans pretending that the past will return, or that we’re about to return to the glory days. I don’t want us to be what the haters say we are.

    And I feel like my eyes are open to the prospect of Notre Dame being a good team that sometimes gets close. I hope I am pleasantly surprised, but the patterns over the last 4 years indicate a not completely stable program or mix of coaches and players that will make the leap. I just don’t expect better outcomes that this year’s result.

    1. right C-Dog. We have seen your posts in the past,
      your denigration of the offensive line and its pass protection (some time, son, check out the sacks allowed stats)

      then your “don’t confuse me with the facts and watching the game” rant after the great win over SC.

      No your argument isn ‘t for Kelly or against Kelly.

      It’s about C-Dog.

      And I am glad, with apologies to Pramahansa Yogananda, that your love for Notre Dame dates back to your previous incarnation as an Irish potato farmer singing “Rising of the Moon,” in the 1800’s.

      And your piece de resistance was “The good majority of football players are the biggest jerks on the planet.”

      Son, that just isn’t true.

      Nor are you.

      1. What is your beef son? You have some real problems Duranko.

        “Denigration of the offensive line” ?? Where are you pulling that from?

        Rant after the USC game? I made some points, but I’d call what you typically do more of a rant? You need to tone it down.

        So Duranko, just how old are you and what you you know about Notre Dame, other than it has a football team?

        Frankly you sound more like you should be a Michigan fan or some SEC fan?

        You got some problem with me in another life or something?

        Really dude, get over it. I don’t know who you are nor do I care to. You have some real issues. Why don’t you keep whatever sticks in your craw about me or my family to yourself. If I’ve ever met you on the street, I’m sure I don’t remember so take your obsession with hate for me to your therapist.

        Go Irish!

  11. I don’t understand those calling for Brian Kelly’s head. Have we forgotten the 20 year run at mediocrity? ND was nothing more than an over-hyped team following the 1993 season. I remember the losses to Syracuse, Pitt, North Carolina, Air Force back in the 90’s, the perennial Top 10 preseason rankings that gave way to 7-5 teams.

    The man is one year removed from the National Title game. Rees held the fort down, but with a more talented QB, the four losses this year would more than likely have turned to 1 or 2. As others have mentioned, Oklahoma soundly defeated ND. Other than that, they had a chance against Michigan, should have beaten Pitt – and Stanford would have been a toss up.

    The challenge is, the schedule doesn’t get easier, especially adding FSU in the future. But I like Everett Golson (or another more talented, athletic QB) in this offense. We’ve got talent at WR, RB, TE and on the OL. The defense needs leadership to lift the talent.

    I’m optimistic that sometime in the next few years, ND reaches the NC game again.

    1. It’s like BK said about Tommy. Fuller was open 50 yards down field, Tommy threw the ball as far as could, which was 45 yards. He doesn’t suck, he has limitations, and was frequently put in a situation where he could not succeed. He had an impressive career for someone who should have been an awesome and revered back-up. He didn’t make Everett cheat and he didn’t make Kiel bolt. The 50 yard pass that traveled 45 sums it up. So Tommy go reap the reward of being an ND grad with a lot of name recognition.

  12. It is unbelievable that Rees will end up third on the ND QB TD list. What does that say about the other QBs. As far as Kelly leaving….not going to happen, right now. They have enough coming back especially if Golson is readmitted…..and of course he will be. The future appears bright, but you never know! Go ND!

    1. Well, Rich, with the increase in number of games, and the increased emphasis on passing, at nearly every school, the great ones are getting shoved down the list and the more recent, more mediocre ones are moving to the top of the career records. It is less to do with talent than the devolution of the game.

      1. It’s becoming less evolved just because it focuses more on the pass?

        And I disagree with those who say Rees is 2nd all-time in career touchdowns just because of the spread offense. While that’s true in some parts (obviously ND throws the ball more now than in Rick Mirer’s time), you have to give Rees credit for surpassing Jimmy Clausen. All Weis did was throw the ball too, and Rees has now passed Clausen.

      2. True enough. And Rees did have a hand in helping them get to the NC last year.

        I think with Rees, though, the interceptions will follow his legacy as well, esp. since many times they happen at the worse possible times.

        I’ve always believed this was an issue of ability. I give Rees credit for never quitting on the team. He gave as good as he had. It just wasn’t always enough.

        But I’ll never knock Rees for his commitment. He was knocked back to back-up QB last year, but he still played the best he possibly could. Can’t fault him for that.

      3. Jimmy Clausen left as a junior. If he stayed as a senior, he probably would have had another 30 TDs, especially in a Kelly spread offense. Clausen was very accurate.

  13. I think BK did a better coaching job this year than any of his other years. He had an immobile QB who he couldn’t afford to have run only on occasion for fear of injury and no backup, and won 8 games with him. People talk about elite coaches bu other than Saban or Meyer, whose is more elite than Kelly. I can’t think of anybody. Maybe Malzahn? Nobody else. Look at USC’s new hire and you can see available coaches are not so elite.

  14. Well, another football season, bowl game not withstanding, ahas come to a conclusion. 8-4 not what most fans expecting after an undefeated season, or should we say hoped for. What this team overcame this season, defections, injuries, suspensions, was phonomenal. BK and the rest of the staff have done a wonderful job of building our depth to the point that our expectations remain high regardless of what happens. On a negative note, I felt coach was very stubborn in is play calling and his refusal to rely more on the running game cost us the Pitt game, but he is the coach and I am no where near as knowledgable as he is. Our future is very bright, and I for one hope that BK wants to stay for a long time. It will not be long, maybe next year, that we will we see the offense BK was famous for at his previous stops. That coupled with the type of defense that has been developed over the last four years will make Notre Dame a force to be reckoned with for a long time. So Notre Dame 2013, hold your head up high, be proud go what you accomplished, look to a very bright future, and always remember, GO IRISH!!!!

    1. Agree about the lack of rushing. I thought our best chance with Stanford was running the ball, limit Rees’ chance to throw interceptions and limiting the chance of him being pressured. I was taken aback at the lack of rushing in this game.

      As a fan, I love to see completed deep passes as much as the next guy. It’s exciting to watch. But sometimes it’s the basics that win games. I’m just not sure why BK was hesitant to run the ball more. Hopefully with a talented stock of RB’s next year, we’ll see a more balanced offense. If EG comes back, that should allow BK to open up the playbook more and maybe see a more exciting offense.

      1. It wasn’t that Kelly was hesitant to run the ball — it’s that Stanford has the 3rd best rush defense in the country. The Oregon Ducks averaged one yard per carry againt Stanford. USC averaged even less than one yard per carry against Stanford.

        ND, with three inexperienced offensive linemen, averaged nearly 3 yards per carry, much better than either Oregon or USC.

      2. It just seemed to me that he gave up on trying to pound the ball at times (not just against Stanford). As NDinBama noted, I’m not one of the coaches. I’m perfectly willing to concede they see things I don’t. But I just thought throwing the ball as much as they did against Stanford exposed Rees more than maybe they needed too.

  15. Sounds like this guy is a publist for Brian Kelly. Typically overly optimistic about the future; “wait until next year” is getting very old.

    1. “Wait ’till next year is getting old”? What planet are you on?! NotaDame has not had a failure of a season since BK arrived. Accounting for injuries to starters is “overly optimistic”? You need a visit from reality. (reality just reminded me that “publist” is not a word, you rocket-scientist)

      1. I don’t know what your standard of success is, but winning NCs should be in there somewhere. The wait til next year trope is getting old for those of us who want to see ND do better than win 8 games and call that a success. We can make all the excuses we want. All teams have injuries, people leave, graduate, etc. If your team is good enough and deep enough those things don’t matter. Great teams still win 10 games and play in a BCS bowl and win it. They don’t struggle against the likes of Temple, Purdue, and Navy, and outright lose to a bad team like Pitt.

        BK has certainly been more successful than Bob Davie, Tyrone Willingham, and Charlie Weis. But are those the yardsticks for ND coaches? No. If we measure BK against the gold standard of ND coaches, even just the more recent NC winners like Devine and Holtz, then he falls short of the mark.

        How is playing in the Pinstripe Bowl not a failed season? My God how times have changed! At one time ND fans expected and demanded NCs. Now we call making it to the Pinstripe Bowl a successful season.

        But there’s indeed always next season. Perhaps the Irish and Cubs can joint trademark that jingle.

      2. I’m with you Steel, how some people just accept mediocrity. Just makes me sick. Winning 8 games sucks. Sure it’s better than some coaches did but it still sucks.

        My how times have changed. There are so may damn excuses. Here’s another one for next year. Our offense sucks because we will have a new offensive coordinator. I can hear it now. Excuses year after year!

      3. I don’t see the OC being an issue.. I want BK to go outside of his current staff. Had we had Golson, or even Kiel, no pun intended, could have won more games, and aside from that I can point to 1-3 plays in each loss that would have flipped the outcome. Kelly neeeeds to start managing the depth chart better. Sometimes I see a “can’t see the picture when you are inside the frame” deal with Kelly on that. Season was is full of excuses, but the team is physical and getting faster, need to land more top 100 recruits now though. I am glad that we actually have good wins with no real bad losses.

      4. But how many of those Gold standard coaches are out there these days, and willing to coach at ND?

        I haven’t given up on BK yet. I think he still has a chance to get ND there. We were so close in those 4 losses this year. Having a mobile QB like EG that can play BK’s system could have flipped the result on 2, maybe 3 of those games.

        I really don’t think an new OC would lead to any problems. BK more or less manages the offense anyway.

        I’d like to see new coaching on special teams though. Our problems on offense can be attributed partly to an immobile QB who doesn’t play BK’s system, and defense to health issues, both of which should be cleared up next year (new, mobile QB, either EG or Zaire and more depth on defense), but special teams needs work.

  16. A bit more optimistic than many ND fans are feeling. It’s not so much the loss to Stanford. As noted, even at full strength, this Stanford team would be hard to beat. I think the real browbeater is the loss to Pitt. More than any other loss, that one stings the most. This team has far more talent than Pitt. With the loss of EG and the injuries, I can live with the loss to Oklahoma. They too are a solid, if not a great team. Even the loss to Michigan, I can swallow. They are not a great team this year, but it was an early game with a lot of changes on the team, and they always play ND hard. But Pitt was just a bad loss all around.

    I’ve had patience with BK this year mainly because of all the adversity. Starting the year, I kind of knew a BCS bowl was out of the mix. They had chances to win every game. The losses really weren’t blowout losses. ND was in the game into the 4th quarter. That in and of itself is an improvement over the last 2 coaches, who got blown out numerous times.

    But next year, things have to be better. I don’t expect them to go undefeated every year, but they need to turn some of these close losses into wins. Hopefully a return of EG will help push them over that hump.

    BK is not going to be fired this year. Getting to the NC last year bought him some time. Not to mention, as Steel Fan Rob noted in another post, ND is still paying off Weis. They can’t be paying 3 coaches at the same time.

    Not to mention, as an ND fan, I really want BK to succeed. We need BK to work out at ND. I really don’t know what will happen to ND football if BK doesn’t work out. Despite what some dreamers out there may think, Urban Meyer is never going to come to ND (first of all, ND is not going to put itself in a situation to be embarrassed again). The “elite” coaches out there are not coming to ND because they don’t like what they see as the “limitations” ND has. ND expects it’s players to graduate (something I’ve very proud of, BTW), and ND does not allow for “grayshirting” or the other methods some schools use to pad their teams. I think it says a lot for ND’s standards that they kicked out their starting QB for cheating. How many schools would have done that? Not to mention, what does it say for ND that he wanted to come back to ND. He could have went elsewhere, but ND is where EG wants to be.

      1. I agree, CJ. Standards. Limitations. Expections. This is why we are NotaDame. (and in case you couldn’t guess, I’m from Boston) These do not compromise us – OUR STANDARDS MAKE US BETTER. Go Irish – beat WolverSpunk.

      2. Request: I forgot to click the “notify me if anyone responds” box, above. kindly respond to this as well. Thanks.

    1. Brian Kelly isn’t going anywhere. He just signed a five-year contract extension. I don’t know how others measure it but I’ve always used a simple rule when evaluating a coach’s performance: how has a coach done with his own quarterback?

      Brian Kelly has only had his own QB (and in Kelly’s offense the QB is everything) for one season since being at Notre Dame, and his QB was a redshirt freshman that year. They managed an undefeated regular season.

      There is no doubt as to Kelly’s ability, and there is no doubt that he’s not going anywhere for the foreseeable future.

      Everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion, but I don’t know how anyone could watch how our offensive line performaned against Stanford and not be excited about the future.

      1. I agree. Despite what a couple fans say, ND is not going to fire BK. One year removed from a run at the NC, the simple economics of the paycheck going out to both BK and CW, and even the losses there has been improvement. ND is not getting blown out anymore.

        BK has work to do. This season was by no means perfect. There are some things BK needs to work on. He has a history of developing superiour teams and developing players. The one knock on BK when he was hired was could he recruit on a national stage. Overall, I think thats a yes. This year has been a little lighter, but it’s not over yet. If ND wins their bowl game, that could help recruiting more this year.

        He’ll get at least another 2 years. Next year, if the team doesn’t improve, you may see some assistants be let go, but BK will get at least one more year. But I don’t think it will come to that.

        At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter what any of us thinks. Swarbick is not going to pull the plug on BK this year or next. If for no other reason it makes absolutely no economic sense.

      2. “He’ll get at least another 2 years.”

        I respectfully disagree. Brian Kelly will be at Notre Dame for the entire length of his five year extension barring his taking another position (which I don’t think he’ll do). But there’s no reason for it to be any other way. Brian Kelly is as far from the hot seat as possible. Should ND win its bowl game he’ll have a 9-4 record with his back-up quarterback. Who could honestly be unhappy with that?

      3. I agree. Despite what some fans think, I get absolutely no impression he is currently on the hot seat. I personally think next year will be better. I was just taking a minimalistic view that he’s got at least 2 years before being on any sort of hot seat.

        Now if they regress, that could be a different story, but I honestly don’t see that as a likely.

      4. Something about Kelly that could be relevent in the near future….

        He has experience in a college football playoff system.

        He went 11-4 during his time in the NCAA Division II playoffs.

        While I don’t know if that college football playoff experience will ever
        relate to ND and the upcoming Division I playoff format, I doubt it will hurt.

      5. Scott:

        I agree with you 100%. I felt the same way after the game. I think your assessment is spot on. I wrote a piece for RANT Sport before I saw this and drew the same conclusions.

      1. Ditto, Mike. True, my friend (and I’m serious) Jerry Faust was good at a lower-level school. (still D.1, but nowhere near ND’s level) ND took a chance on him and lost. Enter Lou. (my friend, also) No excuses for success. His waning success was just his style no-longer being new. BD/TW,CW – I won’t even mention names. BK KNOWS SUCCESS. WHEN SUCCESS BECOMES A HABBIT, IT’S ABOT SUCCESS – NOT THE LEVEL OR THE COMPETITION’S QUALITY OR ANY SPIT. Go Irish. Beat WolverSkanks.

    2. I agree with most of your statements; the ONLY thing I don’t agree with is the Urban Meyer comment. I DON’T like Meyer as a candidate for ND football…EVER. Meyer has a track record of leaving his teams in disarray (behavior issues, low graduation rates, felony charges, etc) and ND does not, should not, will not sell out for a coaching genius that will sell out any university he coaches at. Go BK, Go EG, Goo Irish!

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