The Beginning of the End for Brian Kelly

Photo: Logan Bowles // USA TODAY Sports
Photo: Logan Bowles // USA TODAY Sports

The only thing I felt was numb when Connecticut running back Andre Dixon rushed into the endzone to secure a 33-30 triple overtime victory.  The fact Connecticut had only been a Division I football program for less than a decade made the deafening “U-C-O-N-N” chant I was hearing from the Huskies fan base inside a deathly silent Notre Dame Stadium much, much harder to take.

“Are you okay?” my then-girlfriend kindly asked, squeezing my hand on that dark day in 2009 while we watched the Connecticut sideline celebrate, and all I could muster was a quiet, “No.”  It was at that moment I knew Charlie Weis was going to be fired.  I didn’t know where or when it would take place but I knew it was a certainty, and the thought of yet another coaching search and an endless horizon of futility was simply too much to bear.   The lone holdout of hope I allowed myself was with then-Cincinnati head coach Brian Kelly.  As a Michigan native I had followed his career for decades and I knew he was the man for the job if Notre Dame could somehow get him into the fold.  He had to be.  If he couldn’t turn Notre Dame around, who could?

On Saturday, as I watched Navy wide receiver Jamir Tillman convert on fourth down to win the game for the Midshipmen, a feeling I recognized from long ago settled in, and I knew.  Even as someone who has been the definition of a Brian Kelly loyalist, I knew it was over.  Brian Kelly will be fired from Notre Dame.  It’s doubtful it will be any time soon but the countdown clock has officially begun, and for a coach like Kelly who has never failed in his career, it’s impossible to not try and decipher where everything went wrong.

Perhaps it’s not making the most of available talent.  It has been baffling to watch DeShone Kizer, a prospect NFL experts were discussing as a potential No. 1 overall draft pick, regress as a passer this season to the point he is missing basic throws.  And it has been difficult to watch Notre Dame’s highly-touted offensive line struggle, such as left guard Quenton Nelson, a former 5-star recruit, getting absolutely pancaked by a Navy defensive lineman half his size on a critical third and eight.  Or it could be a stubbornness with his staff and refusing to part ways with coaches who are not producing results (e.g., yet another costly special teams penalty that played a large role in Notre Dame’s loss to Navy).  Perhaps the criticism that Kelly is not as dedicated to recruiting – a criticism that has been levied against him for years – as his counterparts in Ann Arbor and Columbus has merit.  Whatever factors may have created this path Notre Dame currently finds itself upon, there is no denying where it leads.

The difference between the numbness I felt this past weekend and the one I experienced in 2009 is this time I see no hope on the horizon.  Irish fans have become enamored with energetic Western Michigan University head man P.J. Fleck without paying attention to the danger of such a move.  Brian Kelly had 15 more years of coaching experience than Fleck and had won at three separate locations before accepting the Notre Dame job and it still wasn’t enough.  Are Notre Dame fans really willing to bet their future on a man with only 4.5 years of head coaching experience and an overall career record of 26-21 as a coach?  That isn’t to say Fleck couldn’t succeed at Notre Dame but are Irish fans willing to take that chance with such a small sample size?

A similar argument can be made against University of Houston head coach Tom Herman, another popular selection of armchair athletic directors everywhere.  While Herman has been impressive he only has 1.5 years of experience as a head coach, and are Irish fans really willing to hire a replacement for Kelly who also lost to Navy?

It’s crucial the Brian Kelly era only come to an end at Notre Dame when a clear and worthy successor becomes available.  Whoever that individual may be, it has to be someone as close to a sure thing as possible.  Notre Dame simply cannot afford to swing and miss again, as the memories of 1988’s national title continue to grow hazier and hazier.

Perhaps Irish fans can draw inspiration from their neighbors 100 miles to the west that eventually all championship droughts come to an end.  Let’s just hope there isn’t a 108-year wait.

Scott Janssen is a blogger for The Huffington Post and has authored several nationally-featured articles, including an appearance on MSNBC as a sports contributor.  He talks football 24 hours a day, much to the chagrin of his wife and those around him.  Scott can be reached at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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  1. ND has a plethora of NFL talent. Jones, Adams, Folston, Kizer, Zaire, O line (all), Sanders (possibly). The pre season suspension of so many defensive athletes gutted the pass defense. Hats off the decision makers it takes balls to do it.

  2. Even when USC was bad, the Irish were on upset alert. It is very seldom an easy game for the Irish, but forfeit it, no way. As long as ND can put points on the board they have a legitimate shot against the Trojans! My comment “Look out for the Hokies” has meaning only if the Hokies show up regardless of their 7-3 record, which realistically could be 9-1 they do have a tendency to not show up every so often.
    Prime example against Syracuse and last week against GT. Two games that they on paper should have won. ND could put a whipping on the Hokies if they play back to those two losses. Their defense at times is magnificent then other times looks like a Pop Warner defense. Kizer could light them up but on the other side if the ND offensive line is not at their best, you better get Kizer a knights armour to protect him. One thing for sure a doubt it will be a defensive battle. Even though my boys attend VT I’m going with the Irish 38-33. Sorry Hokies! Go Irish!

  3. I wouldn’t coach ND for 1.6 million! Kelly could get more than that coaching in about 20 other places.
    That’s a joke! ND should be ashamed of themselves! They’ve got the money, dig into those pockets and try and get the best coach available, whoever that might be. Good luck!

  4. The inability to be consistent for this ND team has been amazing. As we all know, you can’t fire the team so the coach will eventually take the hit. You know how desperate the Irish are when they become cheerleaders on the sideline. Give me a break! Like that’s going to help them win. Get a grip man! This isn’t Pop Warner or high school football. Leave the cheer leading to the cheerleaders! It disgust me to see the Irish stooping to a new low. Time for a change at the top, no doubt about it, but who? I’ve said before they might want to look at the VT defensive coordinator, Bud Foster, I’m not sure he would be available but he’d be a good place to start. They really need an experienced coach with a great recruiting ethic. Of course part of the blame must be put on the players or lack of players. I keep reading about the new recruits, great classes, but lately the results haven’t been living up to the billing. Depending on who goes pro, it could take the Irish 2-4 years to recover from this debacle. One thing I’m sure of BK will not be doing the rebuilding, I hope! Lookout for the Hokies, coming off an embarassing loss. Two teams going in opposite directions!

    1. Lookout for the Hokies? That goes without saying. This 4-8 team needs to lookout for everyone. ND would be better off just forfeiting the USC game.

    2. Meyer, Saban,Harbaugh don’t have to recruit all that much. Players naturally gravitate to them on reputation alone. But, you are only talking about 3 coaches. #2 Clemson,#3 Michigan #4 Washington all lost this past week-end. So a lot is still up for grabs. There is a chance that a 2 loss team will get in. College football is very volatile because there are so many teams. Washington hasn’t been very good in a long time. Florida, LSU, Auburn haven’t been very good lately. USC hasn’t won an NC since 2004.
      I think ND needs to loosen the academic requirements, play a more reasonable schedule, join a conference, add more minority presence on campus. The only 2 coaches i see being game changers are John Harbaugh and Jon Gruden. Anyone else would be taking a shot and hope they catch lightning in a bottle.

  5. If Kelly would make some changes with his staff and scheme,philosophy I think he could have Notre dame in the playoff hunt in 2017. He needs to hit a homerun with a d coordinator. Also needs to hire a really could special teams coach. No more Booker and coaching by committee on special teams. Also on offense, move denbrock to full time receivers coach. Kelly gets completely out of the offense. Give Sanford complete control. Change scheme to a more I formation prostyle offense but also keep spread principles like what Michigan runs.

  6. Wait, the author didn’t realize Weis was going to be fired until the UConn loss? Was he living under a rock in 2008?

    We’ve seen this movie before. We all know how it ends.

    And for Pete’s sake, what ND fans are enamored with Fleck, at least qua next-ND-head-coach? I’m sure he’s a great guy and he seems to get a lot out of that Western Michigan team, but both he and Herman are Brian Kelly v.2.0: spread-offense guys coming from small-time programs and provide little to no basis for believing they can handle a big-time program.

  7. After Saban, Meyer, and Harbaugh(s) all apply for the ND job, ND will then be able to decide which of the three will best work for ND. All of you need to relax. If that doesn’t happen,Donald Trump will fix it.
    He’s going to fix everything. He assured us he would.

    Now, if you don’t mind, I’ll return back to my Disney movies. They all end happily ever after.

  8. Regarding BK, for me it’s been risk vs reward. Namely, what are the chances we get someone better than BK? Up until this year, I thought the chances were slim and therefore wasn’t worth the risk of firing him.

    However, this year I see the reward worth the risk. This season has been a microcosm of his biggest shortcomings. BVG should’ve never been back but he was. Not choosing a QB to start the season. Throwing his players under the bus after embarrassing performances. Disappointed that his AD had to give him the vote of confidence (this tells me seems out of touch with reality). Bad losses to Texas, Duke, NC and Navy. His worst record of his ND tenure playing probably the easiest schedule of his ND tenure.

    All of this tells me that I believe there are coaches out there that would be a better option then BK. I’m not expecting them to get Urban, Saban or Harbaugh either. Even the tier below these guys would be a step up from BK now.

  9. No good coach is going to come to a university who has de-emphasized football. These guys are alpha dogs and want tools so they can succeed.

    BK isn’t going anywhere unless he quits and whether you like him or not the risk of getting someone much worse is high.

      1. You disagree about the University deemphasizing football? I don’t think that’s even debatable.

      1. I’m not confusing a thing. It is their indifference that causes their incompetence. The two are often related. And if you think Jenkins and Jack go home at night and cry about all these historically bad 3 and 4 win seasons, then you’re even more naive than I thought. And that’s really saying something. Again, the university deemphasizes football. The evidence is abundant. Open your eyes. If ND is genuinely trying to be an elite football power right now, then these results are really, REALLY sad. The truth is they just don’t care that much.

    1. Urban Meyer
      JOHn harbaugh:ravens
      Les Miles
      No coaches without many years of pro or top ten college footbal experience
      My pick go get Meyer I won’t be alive for the next nd nc if we dicker around

  10. david
    October 8, 2016 at 4:41 pm
    Well, you don’t get that many moments of crystal clear clarity in life that force you to reassess things you just might have very wrong.

    For a lot of confused Americans, one came along last night in the form of a 2005 Donald Trump audio tape.

  11. Folks…3 and 6 trending to 4 and 10. Does it matter any more for this season? Can anyone cite a Malik sighting? Let this kid play…especially to start against Army. He earned a shot to re-display his talent before he leaves ND. Kelly has shredded his confidence under the guise of winning. Was it worth it?

    I’m not saying he’ll make a difference (altho I once believed he would), just saying…reward him for sitting nearly a year watching Golson turn over the ball 21 times before Kelly ‘allowed’ him in a game, for working hard to keep grades up in a difficult academic environment, for getting himself back from a devastating injury to “be ready” as Kelly advised him at last season’s end. Kelly, regain your soul, start Malik. If nothing else, IF you should lose to Army, you can say that the kid earned the shot. ND Nation will not look harshly on you for that.

    1. Kizer deserves and will still be the starter. Kizer and a couple of receivers are the only bright spots on this brokedick team. Zaire was given a few chances and he looked lost at best. Im all for Zaire getting some reps when the situation is right but with the defense playing so poorly the opportunities just arent there.

      1. Jeff…you know ND is 3 and 6, right? No bowl likely, so why not? This is not a Kiser v. Zaire post. This is a ‘Kelly: make up for being such a jerk” post.

    2. Kizer was 19 of 27 for 223 and 3 tds. He ran the ball 9 times for 52 yards. ZERO TURNOVERS. What part of those numbers say bench Kizer and put in Zaire. Coaching, Leadership, running game, defense, and special teams are the culprits of a dismal season not the play of Kizer.

      1. Jeff, I get that you like Kizer over Zaire, but what part of my “I’m not saying he’ll make a difference…” didn’t you get. I’m troubled for Kelly’s soul. How could he look Malik in the eye today and say I’ve given you every opportunity to showcase your talent, now that his team is 3 and 6 with 2 more very likely loses upcoming even with Kizer as QB.
        Here’s a thought, doesn’t K have another year of eligibility remaining after this season? Put him on the bench, destroy his confidence also, then convince him that he must return next year to regain it. Then you’ll at least have Kizer back.

        What would be sweet is to have Zaire picked in the 7th round by the Jets, who are in need of a QB, and turn out to be a ‘find’. How about this, Zaire enrolls in a Graduate Study Program, starts for a team on ND’s 2017 schedule and kicks Kelly’s butt. Yeah that’s way more sweeter…

      2. Question is why has Kizer regressed ? I think his confidence and team morale is way down. Losing does that to any team. Can they turn it around. The next 3 games will tell the story. if ND plays well and wins; Kelly will probably return. if they lose or play badly Kelly should be gone. ND cannot wait until they start 0-2 against Temple and Georgia to make a change.

      3. Regardless of Kizer’s stats, something is missing this year in him. I think it is the poor decisions in crucial situations. We have been in every single game this year and Kizer has NOT come through whereas last year he did. Also, not keeping drives alive which are also driven by poor decisions to sit in the pocket and pass rather than taking what the defense gives you. Sometimes there are 5 to 10 yards he could walk and get the first down but decides to pass. It doesn’t keep the chains moving and with our defense, not keeping the ball really hurts.

        Zaire may have looked bad in his chances to play this year, but lets see what he does when he gets a full game where he can really get into a rhythm.

    3. Kizer gives ND the best chance to win. I believe Zaire will transfer regardless of what happens the remainder of this season. And if he does go elsewhere I would support that decision. Normally i am pissed when a player decides to leave but in this situation i would like to see Zaire go elsewhere and have a successful senior year leading another team to a bowl eligible season. Zaire was unfortunate to get injured and the next man in turned out to be better. Tough decision for Kelly and he didnt handle it very well imo. But in the end Kelly got it right in choosing Kizer over Zaire. One of the few decision he got right this year.

    4. Your post below about destroying Kizer’s confidence to bring him back was one of the most poorly thought out ones i’ve ever read.

      I try not to be that guy on msg boards but that post was just silly.

      And Zaire has played exactly one game well, a worthless bowl game vs an SEC team that punted. Otherwise he’s done nothing to warrant starting.

      1. Scott,

        Agree that was a really stupid post from Sub.

        But disagree that Zaire has only played one game well. He had one of the best games, if not the best game ever, for an ND QB against Texas in the opener last year and while he had a rough start in the VA game, he just threw a PERFECT bomb to Fuller right in stride and then was about to score again before his injury. The kid is a gamer and I would love to see him play a full game.

    5. No George , Kizer has not been awful. He has not been great either. He has been average for his skill set which i admit is a little disappointing but i believe that is more due to a lack of a running game, poor defense, special teams, and young receivers none of which can get behind the secondary like Fuller.

      1. Jeff,

        Kizer may have been the worst ND player on the field against Navy. I don’t feel like rehashing the game for you, but you should really try watching it. If using more PC terms such as “not great,” “average,” and ” disappointing” help you sleep at night, then good for you. The whole team is a dumpster fire, and I agree if things were going better then Kizer would be better, but that goes without saying. But as it stands right now, Kizer is in a serious nosedive.

  12. Brian should make a Knute Rockne speech at halftime vs. Army”Win one for the Gipper” I wonder if any of the players on this team ever heard of “Rudy” In an interview with John Huarte He said He went around the campus as a garbage collector. Todays players are wearing gold plated shoes!

  13. All of you are missing the glaring answer at head coach. I wanted him years ago instead of Kelly.
    Chris Petersen. However, now that he has a defense and a QB that could take them all the way in the next couple of years, we may have to wait or have missed the window to ever get him.

  14. I can accept losing to a D1 school that actually recruits D1 players but to lose to a school whose only option is coaching players who are accepted in as future Navy midshipman, simply blows my mind. Not once in awhile , but 3 times in recent history. How does BK actually keeps his job is beyond comprehension for me. I can reasonably assume if ND were to lose to USC on a consistent basis, there would be a coaching change but not at ND, where overpriced tickets have become the norm and over-inflated ego’s control the program. Deal with it Irish fans. This is the new norm. The only voice’s that matters any more for this program are those of JS and BK.

    1. Navy has beaten a number of quality teams over the years. When they run their system perfectly it is not easy to stop. They had Ohio State beaten a few years back until their coach inexplicably called a pass play at about the 2 yard line on first and goal and it was intercepted and returned 98 yards for a touchdown, a 14 point swing when they were going to go ahead with about 4 minutes to play by more than one score.

      1. Go ahead and make your case/excuse for losing to Duke now. Hell, all the teams ND has lost to are garbage this year. So enlighten us.

  15. who should Notre Dame get as a coach that could return them to glory. I don’t know. I do know that the new coach should have d1 level coaching expeirence. If I am Swarbrick I am evaluating all 3 areas recruiting, game day preparation, game day coaching. Included in game day coaching are a high level of fundamentals in all 3 units, special teams, offense, defense, in game adjustments, motivation, playing consistently with emotion/fire and a team with an identity. The top teams have an identity. Notre Dame under Kelly has no identity. One week they come out throwing all over the place, the next week they come out running, the next week a mix of run and pass. The way I always evaluate a coach in any sport is I look at the talent and say to myself what would this team be like with the best coaches in football . Notre Dame in my opinion on offense has comparable talent with the best teams in the country yet they average 29 points a game. Meanwhile the top 6 teams are all averaging over 40 points a game. This is coaching. Kizer- projected as one of the best half dozen quarterbacks in the country. An offensive line rated by most experts as one of the best in the country. 3 really good to great running backs, young receivers who are fast and explosive. With a top coach, meyer, Harbaugh , petrino,etc, this offense would average over 40 points a game.

    1. Defense wins championships!! We need D-Line and lots of it..
      We need the fans in the stands to get crazy for the defense.. HYPE.. up the kids!!
      Can ND come together as one color! can we have a “Gold Out”, “Blue Out”, “Green Out”??
      My opinion, if we can bring defensive lineman to ND, you can’t win a championship? We do not have the talent to play with the elite teams. Stop kidding yourself.. This is a game that is won in the trenches. Unless you have played this game at a high level, you would not understand what that means and where that starts.. River Pigs, they cleared the waterways so the logs could run free and not jam up. Nice guys finish last.
      Bring in the “Beef”… play from the trenches out..
      Kelly is pass happy.. he is never happy unless he is passing the ball.. you don’t have to pass the ball to win.. if you don’t have a number one defense.. DON’T pass the ball!!!

  16. I disagree with about the talent ND is recruiting. Sure there have been some misses, but generally ND is pulling in top 25, even top 15 classes every year. ND is not losing because they don’t have the talent. They are losing because of coaching, plain and simple. They are losing games they have no business losing. Also, I don’t want to see ND join a conference or cupcake its schedule. They need a better coach, plain and simple.

    I do agree with Scott, that while BK needs to go at this point, I don’t know where ND turns to next. Shaz pointed out that ND does low ball it’s head coaches salary compared to other schools that ND wants to compete with. That will handicap ND considerably. Also, its safe to assume their assistants don’t make as much as their peers at other schools too, and you have to have good assistants to have championship caliber teams. If ND wants to have HC’s that can help get them to elite level, they’re going to have to put out more money, plain and simple. In this day and age, you’re not going to get a Saban-like coach to come to ND for the money they are paying.

    But ND can’t afford to strike out again. I thought when Weis was fired, the next coach had to be a hit or ND would become forever irrelevant. 2012 may have bought us one more chance at getting a hit, but fail again and I think ND football is through as an elite brand name. As Scott noted, 1988 is quickly becoming a hazy memory.

    1. Throwing more money at a problem never works. There are inherent structural problems in the program.
      1) Stringent academic requirements 2) lack of a strong minority presence on campus 3) lack of roster depth- they don’t have the ability to reload yr after yr 4) schedule- ND needs a conference schedule not a brutal national schedule- those days are long over. 5) coaching-who does ND bring in ?…..whoever they bring in will need a different field to play on…..keeping the status quo will only bring the same results.
      A systemic change is needed otherwise you are setting up the new coach for failure.

  17. Barry, you are spot on about the schedule. I am 60 years old and have not liked the way Notre dame has been scheduling since 1980. I,m not saying I want Notre dame to play a Boise state schedule. Or play the schedules Penn state played before they joined the big 10, but you have 8 games already why not soften up some on the other 4. Also Notre dame needs more home games and the first 2 games should be easy tuneup games. You have to get your backups meaningful playing time and new starters need 2 easy games to get up to speed. Look at Ohio state. They had many new starters to break in this year. They opened with bowling green and Tulsa. Blow out wins that prepared them for Oklahoma week 3. Also, like many I’m not sold on Kelly. I can’t understand either how he doesn’t get rid of some of his assistants. Notre dame needs at a minimum a really good special teams coach., a big time d coordinator and the offense needs a new structure, scheme,etc.

  18. Here are a few facts and figures to contemplate when considering the
    Current or possible future Head football coach at ND.

    The current top 5 head football coaches.
    1.Harbaugh: $9 million Michigan
    2. Saban: $7 million Alabama
    3. Meyer: $6.8 million Ohio St.
    4. Stoops: $6.5 million Oklahoma
    5. Fisher: $5.25 million FSU

    65. Brian Kelly: $ 1.6 million Notre Dame

    Other Notables…

    6. Strong: $3.2 million Texas (lost 50-47 2OT)
    14.Dantonio: $4.3 million Mich St. (lost 36-28)
    19. Shaw: $4 million Stanford (lost 17-10)
    32.Fuente: $3.2 million Virginia Tech ( ? )
    49.Cutcliffe: $2.3 million Duke (lost 38-35)
    51.Doeren: $2.2 million NC State (lost 10-3)
    58.Niumatalolo: $2 million Navy (lost 28-27)

    28.Fitzgerald: $3.5 million Northwestern
    63. Diaco: $1.7 million UConn

    In my opinion, Harbaugh is Michigan. Period.
    Saban, when his time at Alabama is complete, will probably retire from coaching.
    That leaves Meyer. Figure the starting price with bonuses, buy-outs, and incentive to come to
    ND, at somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 million for 4 years.

    Why in the world is the Notre Dame Head Football coach ranked 65th at only $1.6 million?
    Maybe its because he LOVES Notre Dame and that is more important than money.

    Love him or hate him, any halfway decent person has at least got to respect the man for that.

    1. Shazam paying Meyer the ten million is what we have to do
      A return to glory would pay for the expense

      Kelly just didn’t have the personality or the top
      School experience

      I don’t want a bargain I want the best for nd

      1. That’s great Bruce.
        You make it sound so simple.

        Except for one small thing….

        It’s not your money.

      2. I didn’t say don’t try. I just don’t think the end result is Urban, Harbaugh, Saban roaming the ND sidelines, regardless of the cash on the table. They can make a lot of money and win where they are currently coaching.

        Let’s go after several high profile coaches, get turned down, then see how prestigious this job looks.

      1. Gee let’s quit before we try
        Maybe you didn’t go to nd
        Never saw the movies Rudy
        Never been to the Rock

      2. I don’t think money is the issue. A call to Stepan or Debartolo gets the cssh. He gets a tv show endorsements
        My god just send Lou to convince him.

      3. I can see why you don’t think money is the issue.
        Mostly because it’s not your money.

        It’s also becoming clear that soulless Jack Swarbrick isn’t going to do anything, so on your behalf so I contacted Lou directly via his tweeter account, explained the whole situation, told him how upset you are, and asked him if he would please, please, please come back as a consultant and a fund raiser.

        He said thanks, and to tell you that he was flattered, but that he is happily retired and plans on staying that way.

        (But hey, we tried right!)

        I also don’t think we can count on Eddie either, last I heard he had the majority of his available capital tied up in some kind of election campaign.

        Is there anyone who owes you a favor and would be willing to lend you $10 or $20 mil ? You know… just to get the ball rolling?

    2. You unfaithful ND bashers or fair weather fans pull your head out of your ass. BK only 2 losing seasons ever and you want to run him out of town and the next coach also??? Really wake the hell up as the problem is no conference affiliation is the problem. Join conference get 5 star recruits and u will be like OSU. Get off BK back until you’re good enough to coach outside your kids pee wee league

    3. First off, $1.6 mm for a guy who shows his aptitude for coaching on gameday is abject larceny. Forget the “relativity” to any list of other coaches. $1.6 million for a weekly shi+tshow is egregious.

      Second, Kelly enjoys multiples of the base salary amount from the endorsements and side-deals arising directly from holding the ND job…making his fraud even more galling.

      Third, the ‘other notables” list…every one of them is in the mix for any high-profile job that comes up, based on their performance.
      Sad truth is, their agents should be referencing the salary that a sadsack like Kelly makes to demand improved contracts.

      1. I bet if Kelly left ND today he would have another job, job offers, and for more money.

        What say we keep this one open for further discussion at a later date?

  19. I am ok with looking into Fleck. Have you heard that guy talk. He is uplifting and a real motivator. Coach Kelly has that Boston mindset where he is almost talking down to people. That is why he doesn’t get more out of his talent and relies solely on the talent level that the ND brand helps bring in. Besides, we have a few contracts to to pay off because the admin makes ill advised decisions on extensions. This all started when a “Catholic ” university brought in Obama to speak

    1. Evan, Obama has nothing to do with the football program. Good to know that you are good at jumping to conclusions.

      1. Evan,

        What an absurd statement! ND hasn’t won a title since 1988. Was Obama president in 1988?! In fact, if we wanted to apply your (poor) logic, we could say ND’s football decline was due to the Republicans in office. In fact, the last two times ND was close to a title were under Democrats in the White House.

        Of course, none of this has anything to do with ND football!

        Can we take a break from the political posturing today of all days?

    2. You don’t hire an amateur I don’t need another Gerry Faust
      I want a proven winner go get urban Meyer

      Pay him the 10 million

      And the n we have a prayer

      1. Meyer won’t leave Ohio St for a job he cannot win at. Thats why he chose Florida over ND when he left Utah. He can get any player he wants at OSU. At ND, every player has to pass admissions, be able to do college level work, maintain passing grades, write their own papers, go to class, maintain a certain GPA, be on schedule to graduate, take calculus their freshman year. etc. . OSU players take whatever classes they want. There are no restrictions placed on scholarship players. Meyer is preparing his players for the NFL ; not to graduate in 4 yrs. There is a HUGE difference in the culture at ND than there is at OSU. Its like being in 2 different universes or universities if you choose. Just like what Pete Carroll did at USC. Carroll built a minor league farm system for the NFL.

  20. Charlie Weis was a fraud. He gained his reputation working for convicted cheaters, The Patriots. ND should never have had to pay out his contract since he misrepresented his skills. Predicting Kelly or any other coach will eventually leave the head coaching job at a college is not exactly insightful or newsworthy. You people don’t appreciate what you have in Kelly, the players you lost last year and certainly are not giving the new and current players the credit and respect they deserve. ND is in the national championship conversation every year now yet like all fair weather fans you whine and walk away at the first rebuilding year that comes along due to some extremely close, difficult loses. Defend your team, the players and coaches instead of always criticizing them. I’m as proud of this team as much as the one that played for the national championship.

    1. Wow!

      ND is in the national championship discussion every year?! Really?! How many times after 2012 has ND finished in the top 5? Top 10? I guess we’ve missed the Irish under BK playing for the title the last 4 years.

      You’re really proud of all the penalties, poor STs play, bad red zone O, losing to Duke at home, losing to the juggernaut of MSU at home, etc.?!

      BK is proving to be as much of a fraud as CW. Clearly winning at the Pop Warner level of college football doesn’t translate into wins at ND.

      Now, Shaz makes a good point about compensation. If ND wants to bring in an upper echelon coach, they’re going to have to pay up.

  21. Inquire if Pat Fitzgerald has any interest in leaving Northwestern. As I have stated earlier, he is a coach who gets WAY more out of less caliber athletes and he understands high admission standards. Oh, the guy can coach too. If given an opportunity to recruit better student athletes than even what he has at Northwestern, makes me wonder how he would do. Ara did well at ND after coming from Northwestern. I can say I am getting tired of seeing ND lose to teams they have no business losing to at all.

  22. I think Kelly has hit his ceiling at ND. He may even leave on his accord. The loss to Navy is inexcusable, no intended insult to Navy, but this crap should not be going on after 7 years of being here. No great coaches are lining up to come here if the opportunity presented itself anyway (BJ, quit dreaming about Meyer coming to Irish land). Play on the field is horrible, coaching horrible, ST’s horrible. Sanford should run and call all offensive plays. I see ND football slipping away to complete irrelevance and it seems the Administration is OK with this. As fans, I don’t think we are.

    1. re: “ND Admin. is OK with this”
      If/when ticket prices start going for a Hamilton at the new stadium facility, and they have to throw in free parking, changes will occur. Follow the money. We are talking about the ND Admin., after all!

  23. Digger Phelps said he only wanted to play the best. He beat ucla twice. No conferences no bowling green Toledo or conn. Excuses for failure at every turn.
    Hire the best coach in America.
    Get a great staff. Saban probably has the best staff in America. Kelly learned nothing from him. Swarbrick and Kelly have to go. Again hire Lou to help us get a great football ad and yes urban Meyer or a harbaugh or a chip Kelly. No unproven Mac level fantasies

    1. No thanks on Chip Kelly. Dude can’t coach and would never get the type of athletes at ND to do what he did at Oregon. Keep dreaming on Urban, Harbaugh, or Sabah. Those guys aren’t coming. Literally no big time coach would come here

  24. Kelly will get paid like “King Weis” when the day inevitably comes.

    For now, he continues to get paid like a prince for producing a weekly shi+ show.

    Enjoy more miserable Saturdays in front of your TV…I’ve got better things to do.

  25. Let’s talk about a new coach when we don’t have one.
    No way BK is leaving this season.
    And unless Swarbick is leaving too, we’ll see BK as head coach next season.

    I saw the writing on the wall for BKs inevitable departure last week, but it had nothing to do with the loss to Navy. Tickets could be purchased on game -day for $22 in Jacksonville.
    I spent more money than that going to a movie.
    Gate price down- now that’s something the ND Admin notices!


  27. The seeds were sown in year 1. Many chalked it up to a coach pushing ND to get with the times but football is a simple game. It’s not about exotic defenses and 7-on-7 drills; it’s not even about turf fields. It’s about controlling the LOS and winning a brutal game via blocking and tackling. ND has done neither, save for 2012, under Kelly, and this year is the cherry on top of a house of cards.

    1. Spot on statement about controlling the LOS. Instead of drive blocking and owning it he’s determined to zone block which isn’t his lines cup of tea. Give me ball control over anything.

    2. I wonder if Kelly has ever notice that every team in this pass happy era of spread offenses that has won the made for television post season tournament has had a solid running game?

  28. Where do you begin to describe the situation of Notre Dame football? Coaching is only one part of the problem. In today’s day and age, drastic changes need to be made in order for ND to begin to come back to where it once was.
    It once was a given ND would be able to recruit the top Catholic kids in the country. That, for whatever reason is not the case. With the very high academic standards the school has, they have to be PERFECT in their recruiting of five star athletes which are also “five star students.” There is no margin for error. Yet they miss on many. So what they are left with are some four and mostly three star players that perhaps are just not good enough to beat the top teams in the country. Yet Notre Dame still wants to play an A-1 schedule. Something has to give. They need to better in recruiting or give the coaches some exceptions with students or eliminate some of the teams they schedule. Did they really need to put Michigan back on the schedule? Did they need to schedule Ohio State or Georgia? Hardly. They are setting themselves up for disaster.They already have Stanford and USC on the schedule every year. They are also playing five ACC teams each year. Enough.

    Next, again in these times with the playoff situation, Notre Dame, being an independent, needs to be undefeated nearly every year to considered. They have a very small window to make it. OK, I’m going to say it, NOTRE DAME NEEDS TO JOIN THE ACC FULL TIME IN FOOTBALL!! Many details would have to be worked out however it must be done. The must have a second chance at the top. They could still play traditional rivals Stanford and USC home and away. They could also schedule a shared game vs. Navy each year. An even better scenario would be if the could have Navy join the ACC with them. But now I’m really dreaming!!! They could establish a home and away rivalry with Miami, which would give them some recruiting exposure in Florida.

    Overall, like it or not, Notre Dame needs to get with times and make changes. They to look within themselves and understand, teams are passing them by. If they don’t make the changes necessary they will never be back to what we knew as ND football. Perhaps they don’t care. But ND fans do.

    1. Could not disagree more about the talent. I’ve watched too many teams with lesser talent kick ND’s ass all over the field. Great players will help, but there is something amiss when 4 and 5 star players leave the program as 3 star players and lower.

      1. First thing. Who do you hire as coach ? You’re not going to get Saban,Meyer or Harbaugh. I don’t see a true game changer. ND would have to take a chance and roll the dice. Second factor. Ohio St loses 16 players and they still reload. ND loses 3 or 4 of their best and its a down year.They don’t have a large pool of players who want to come to ND and who can pass admissions.. ND does not have a large minority presence on campus. This hurts recruiting. The structure of the academic requirements hurt recruiting. I believe the Catholic underpinnings hurt recruitment.Its not a negative but, its not a positive either. The weather. The schedule.I agree w/ the Barry Lefkowitz post. ND has to take a totally different view of the football program and align it w/ today’s world of college football. The new coach will need a totally different playing field to play on. Otherwise expect more of the same.

      2. westcoast…another insightful comment. I remember when kelly deflected the laudatory comments directed at MT when he said “wait until you see the talent I bring in”. To your point, he does bring in talent but they leave ‘less’ talented.

    2. Barry,
      Not too many correct facts. Notre Dame has had many non Catholics on he team since the beginning. Only using the Leahy era might have one been able to make the statement about its stars being Catholics only. Otherwise certainly since
      Paresghian they’ve had plenty enough of diversity.

    3. ever notice how many of those “students” at the big-time catholic high schools are non-Catholic? that knocks the catholic connection out of the box.

    4. You’re absolutely correct in that ND is “just not good enough to beat the top teams in the country.” But ND sure as hell SHOULD be beating Duke, Navy, and the rest of the rubbish teams on their schedule. MSU is just awful this year.

  29. You win with Defense, Running the Ball and Special teams and until we get someone you commits to that Notre Dame will always be on the outside looking in. There has to be a coach out there that can bring this school back to the glory days. Go N.D.

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