Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly Has a Personnel Problem

Dexter Williams - Notre Dame RB

Football is a hard game. I played in high school and in junior college. I know what its like to lose or win a game for no good reason at all. Brian Kelly has lost games like that at Notre Dame. He lost at Florida State in 2014 because an official decided he wanted to call offensive pass interference. He lost at Michigan State in 2010 on a 44 yard fake field goal in overtime. He lost at Michigan in 2011…well, the way he lost to Michigan in 2011.

Football is a hard game.

And it is made even harder when a coach is actively handicapping his team in there preparation and in their personnel. Kelly has done it in the past and he’s doing it again this season.

There is so much to like about the changes the program made in the offseason. New defensive coordinator Mike Elko looks like a great hire, the special teams under Brian Polian is no longer cringe worthy, and gains were made in the weight room. The jury is still out on offensive coordinator Chip Long (didn’t love the Georgia plan coach). But, while some things have changed, many things have stayed the same.

Camp Battles And Roster Management

The concept of camp battles are nothing new to the game of football and they are by and large a good thing. You want guys competing for playing time. It often brings out the best in their abilities. But, it can, if mismanaged, affect the football team in a negative way.

Case in point being the quarterback competition from last season.

Lots of teams have quarterback battles and those teams turn out just fine. But, Notre Dame’s carried over into the first game, where two quarterbacks, Malik Zaire and DeShone Kizer (for those who erased last season from memory), split reps in the first half with one quarterback doing great (Kizer) and the other doing nothing (Zaire). Kizer was named the permanent starter following the game, but the damage was done. He had purged reps to Zaire during the lead up to the season, and never got fully in sync with his receiving corps. It was one of many reasons Kizer floundered at times in 2016.

It appears a similar dynamic played out this season, but the other way around.

There was no question who Notre Dame’s quarterback was going to be, but there were questions at wide receiver, one of the deepest positions on the team in terms of numbers. After #1 receiver Equanimeous St. Brown, there were spots to be had. As it did last season at quarterback, this situation carried into summer camp following spring practice, and the jobs opposite of St. Brown were ultimately won by the two graduate transfers who arrived in the summer, post spring ball. If you count tight end Alize Mack in the slot, Notre Dame had 12 guys fighting for wide receiver reps throughout fall camp. Wimbush can’t take all the snaps in practice and therefore he can’t get in sync with all the wideouts.

If you wonder why Wimbush is staring down St. Brown and forcing him balls that end up intercepted (a la Temple) it’s because that’s the guy he knows best. He’s the one constant receiver in the lineup.

This is the problem when you take in graduate transfers to an already deep position. The reps are limited. And for a first year quarterback, familiarity is key. With his line, with his backs, with his receivers. And that doesn’t appear to be something Wimbush is going to get outside of St. Brown.

Getting The Most Out Of The Roster

In the offseason, NBCSports.com polled 12 Notre Dame beat writers on the top 25 players on the Irish roster in 2017. When the votes were tallied Dexter Williams (15), Chase Claypool (18), Kevin Stepherson (19), and CJ Sanders (21) all made the list. I will note Stepherson appears to be suspended, so he obviously won’t have any numbers. Here are the combined offensive touches for the three who are eligible to play, through two games: 7. None of the those guys registered a reception or carry against Georgia, with Williams or Sanders not getting into the game on offense at all.

This isn’t your standard call for the backups to play because the starters aren’t performing. We’ve seen Williams and Sanders perform in competitive games for Notre Dame, we know what they can do. Heck, we’ve even seen Claypool out there make big catches in the comeback against Michigan State last season.

RELATED
Beyond the Box Score: Notre Dame Football's 33 Point Opening Victory

Sanders has returned four kicks for touchdowns (with a 5th called back) in his career. There is no role for him in the Notre Dame offense? Is there a similar player currently playing who brings what he has brought to the field the last two seasons?

The line we hear constantly about Claypool is his inconsistent hands and he did drop a screen pass against Georgia. Did Corey Robinson not also suffer from a bit of the dropsies in 2014 and 2015? He was given chances to work through his issues, why hasn’t Claypool? He might be the best athlete on the team. Be creative, get him the ball. You’re doing Georgia a favor by sitting these guys.

And the case of Dexter Williams is the strangest of all.

The Georgia Game Begged For Dexter Williams

One thing was clear in the first few series against the Bulldogs: the offensive line was having trouble blocking these guys. It wasn’t that they were getting to them, they just couldn’t sustain it. Therefore, whatever holes were created closed awful fast. And sometimes the difference between a mediocre play and big play, or a good play and no-gain, is one step, and it’s one step Williams could have provided.

Maybe the best thing about Williams is his initial burst combined with power, and he displayed it on both of his long runs against Temple.

On the first you’ll notice an unblocked player, right in the middle of the formation. Unblocked and unhindered. Williams just blows right by him after making his initial cut. If he’s a step slower, the defender might be able to get to his legs and bring him down. But, Williams was too fast.

Something similar happens on his 66 yard jaunt. He receives the ball, makes a cut, and explodes through the line, with an unblocked linebacker just grasping at air.

Obviously, the holes were not going to be that big against Georgia. But there were instances where a hole opened and closed before Josh Adams could totally get through it.

On the second possession, Adams runs on the zone read for six yards on first down, a solid gain. But, he’s just a little bit slower through the line than Williams, and the backside linebacker is able to come off of Alex Bars and make the play before he could get into the secondary.

On the very next play, Adams appears to have a hole going to the left side, but he is again a little slow getting to it and the defensive end comes off of Nelson and makes the play for a one yard gain.

There was a role for Williams against Georgia’s fast and strong defense with the offensive line struggling to maintain their blocks. Instead he was left to the sideline because of an apparent lack of ability as a pass blocker. Meanwhile, Georgia was giving six different players carries against the Irish with one of the biggest, a 40 yarder to set up a touchdown, by a freshman who may or may not be good in the passing game.

Play the players you got.

You may also like

66 comments

  1. Bruce Johnson 6 days ago

    Good article but the problem is the same, Brian Kelly is still here.
    https://goldendomerdaily.com/taking-a-realistic-look-at-the-state-of-notre-dame-football-c87dce8e9982

    Reply Like Dislike
  2. PJ 1 week ago

    Stepherson is in the doghouse but his speed means he draws some heat away from St. Brown. In a blitz environment, sometimes a QB like Ian Book can be very effective due to quick recognition and better accuracy. Coach Kelly seems to have a penchant for ending up with a starter QB getting every snap in situations like Temple and a backup getting zero or a snap or two over the season.

    Reply Like Dislike
  3. jeff Moreno 1 week ago

    So many great comments here….Could someone please list the excuses kelly has used for the mediocrity of Notre Dame football under his direction..or are there too many!He has been the Head Football Coach for almost a decade and I have never heard a big time Coach use so many excuses and blame so many others,passing in a tropical storm,tricked on a field goal,beat by Tulsa. Who of you get to make as many dumb,foolish decisions over almost a decade and gets an extension.He personalizes fault and doesn’t want it personalized in his dieection.What I hope for is ,reporters not intimidated by this cry baby.Reporters to question his hypocracy,his poor decisions,his bullying and refusal to accept reponsibility for this average football team.BC will come to play but having watched them Notre Dame football should shut them out and score pretty much at will without a Coach named Kelly.I will be there thanks to some of Notre Dames loyal sons!

    Reply Like Dislike
  4. Ku Da MAN 1 week ago

    The Irish offensive mediocrity simply boils downs to Kelly’s phobia to using the middle of the field on pass plays. EVERY team blitzes us from the edges and rolls up on the WO’s in press coverage. They commit 7-9 in the box. The offensive line is simply outnumbered and the WO’s have no time to get off the ball. The pressure release to this is 7-12 yard dumps over the middle to our HUGE TE’s who will have a much smaller safety on them. Just release to the middle and sit down. Wonder how its done just watch the NE Patriots. Instead Kelly expects his O-Line to protect and open holes against eight.
    Complete 4 or 5 passes in that range and the blitzes and edge pressure are gone as they must respect it. Think of it like a basketball team that full court presses. Score a few quick layups and dunks on them when they start pressing and they will take the press off. The ND players did what they could with the game plan they were given but the failure is on Kelly and the coaching staff for not putting them in the position to be successful

    Reply Like Dislike
  5. Alley O'Cat 1 week ago

    Let’s hope the Irish roll against BC and that we see better player personnel moves as well as better play calling on offense.

    GO IRISH!

    Reply Like Dislike
  6. Christopher Basker 1 week ago

    All this hype around Alize Mack being a great tight end and I think he has dropped more passed than he has caught! Catch the damn ball guys! Sanders should no doubt be in the offense at least some of the time. Not sure what else Williams can don to prove he is worthy of PT because he should have had some reps. Does anyone else want to see what Ian Book can do? He had a fire in his eye when he got in for that play. Wimbush doesn’t ever look confident. He can’t settle his arm down. If Stepherson us dressing than they need to get him out there. He proved himself last year. Back up QB or not, defense looked really good. They did get burned on the deep ball that the GA WR dropped but I felt like they have are much improved physically and schematically.

    Reply Like Dislike
  7. Bruce Johnson 1 week ago

    They have made the only motivating money. I just got my Hammes Notre Dame catalogue and a solicitation
    Notre Dame win fell out. Swarbrick has traded our version of success for a a group of actors that go through the motions and pretend it’s Notre Dame football. Kelly is a joke. Swarbrick is a bigger joke for continuing to prop up
    his actor for marketing Notre Dame football. To him it’s a brand, to me it’s
    a sacred trust. Jenkins moves from one moral outrage to another. The largest moral outrage is how he has hallowed out our tradition, and integrity for the facade of wealth, money and
    and image.

    Reply Like Dislike
  8. jeff 1 week ago

    Anybody working on a Plan B for this weekend.

    Reply Like Dislike
    1. Ron Burgundy 1 week ago

      There’s only one man strong and wise enough to have a Plan B

      Reply Like Dislike
    2. George 1 week ago

      Hit the links

      Reply Like Dislike
      1. jeff 1 week ago

        Now thats a solid Plan B

        Like Dislike
  9. southside 1 week ago

    I’ll say it again since I joined UHND in 2011 with my first comment ever , “All I want for Christmas is 10 win season.” The debate on Kelly , the game to game analysis , the fun of praising players , the critique of players , the articles from authors and even the “Debbie Downers” I have chastised — UHND is still the best Notre Dame web site to debate , converse , disagree , argue , fight and we sometimes get nasty. Hey , it happens , we all are not perfect , we all have flaws. Fact is , my best friends have flaws — and it’s why they are my best friends. Okay , getting carried away I guess — but I sincerely hope the Irish Nation fans will not accept a mediocre 8 or 9 win season as an improvement under the current coach. Not after 8 years of him being at the helm of a storied , legendary football instituition going back to Rockne , Leahy , Ara , Devine , Lou. Hey , Dan Devine I’d take–he won title in ’77. I think Kelly’s reign in South Bend should end if Irish don’t win 10 games. Enough is enough on the mediocre less than 10 wins a season. A coach from Nebraska a few years back — forget his name , was doing well trying to bring back the storied legendary program — and he was averaging 9 wins a season first starting out. Not bad , but after averaging 9 wins for 10 years—Nebraska finally let him go. He just never brought power house Nebraska back to their glory day. Texas , power house legend –is going through coaches trying to get back to their glory days. And don’t forget Alabama went through 12 year drought before getting Saban. Power house Michigan hasn’t won a National Title since ’97 — and Harbough might not do it under his helm. As good as Stanford coach Shaw is —he hasn’t won a National Title. But , these coaches I mention are winning 10, 11 games a season. That’s the barrier , the bar —win 10/11 –even if shy of making play-offs. What’s most important is to put a string together of double digit wins. Kelly has not done that in his 8 years. Coaches , so long as producing double digit wins — will hang on in longevity more than coaches averaging 8/9 wins a season.

    Reply Like Dislike
    1. Christopher Basker 1 week ago

      To be fair, he did go 12-0 in 2012 only to be beat by Bama. GO IRISH

      Reply Like Dislike
      1. George 1 week ago

        Yep, everything’s fine. You nailed it, dude.

        Like Dislike
      2. jeff 1 week ago

        That was a fun year but it was also a lot of Smoke and Mirrors.

        Like Dislike
  10. Jbirish 1 week ago

    I’ve seen/heard enough from BK. It’s time for a change. What about bob stoops?

    Reply Like Dislike
  11. Bo Scott ND '73, '75, '80 1 week ago

    Make that “2” seconds not 32!
    Sorry. Fat fingers

    Reply Like Dislike
  12. Bo Scott ND '73, '75, '80 1 week ago

    S o why not go under center and have the running back take the ball on the “run” instead of having the QB take the snap and then run back to the RB? Save a second and a half or 32 seconds. Holes don’t last forever?

    Reply Like Dislike
  13. George 1 week ago

    The more skilled WRs are probably on the bench because they’re not cutting it in the classroom. BK uses GPA to determine who should play.

    Reply Like Dislike
  14. Tim 1 week ago

    N D’s Brian Kelly has a COACHING AND RECRUITING Problem…

    But it’s actually your incompetent A D. That keeps an very average coach , making ng ND a very average team

    Reply Like Dislike
  15. Joey 1 week ago

    I have to agree with the personnel issues. Why were the 2 transfers brought in at all?? They recruit all this talent at WR, but then bring in less talented guys and start them. I was so excited about the RB and WR depth and instead of taking advantage of it Kelly uses 1 back and 2 wideouts that should never have been brought in. How many of these guys will now transfer after the season because they feel like they won’t get a shot ever to make an impact here. Don’t even get me started on martini. I’m absolutely stunned that we recruit so hard only to keep the scrubs on the field. The best players should play, period. Kelly sticks with the guys that have been here the longest 90% of the time out of some misplaced sense of loyalty it seems. It’s about putting the best team possible out on the field and winning as many games as possible. I know it’s easy to criticize from afar and be a Monday morning quarterback but this has been going on for YEARS now! The guy can’t get out of his own way. I’ve been a Kelly fan for a long time but I’m done. He has the talent to field a very good team but doesn’t. Canteen and Smith when we have so many other more talented receivers? What a joke. All the talk of run the damn ball and the 3 headed monster of a running game but by week 2 you completely abandon it and basically bench your fastest running back. I love Notre Dame and want to see them get back to being a consistent winner, but I know now that it’s not possible with Kelly as the coach. He’s too stuck in his ways to ever really change which is why they need to move on from him. He has recruited better than most since the days of Lou Holtz but he squanders that talent year after year after year…….

    Reply Like Dislike
  16. NC Irish 1 week ago

    I like to rant after a loss just as much as everyone. Sunday morning coaching is easy to do. If the GA kid doesn’t make a spectacular catch in the end zone and we hold them to a field goal there and the rest of the game plays out the same (not that it would), we’re talking about how awesome the defense played and that sticking to a conservative offensive plan and not swapping out so many players ended up working in the end. If Williams is inserted and fumbles, we’re talking about why we just didn’t kep it in Adams hands and play good defense.

    Again – I’m not saying that all of the comments here are off base…it’s just easy to say “it could have been better if” when you lose. And in this case the difference between a win and a loss is very slight (but yeah, it’s getting old).

    Reply Like Dislike
    1. Damian 1 week ago

      If this were year 2, or even 3 of BK’s coaching, I’d probably be less critical. At that time this would have been a huge improvement over the D/W/W years where we lost these kinds of games by 20 pts.

      The problem many of us have is we’re now in year 8. These things shouldn’t continue to be a problem.

      I see 2 major problems with this game. One, our offensive line continues to falter in big games. We keep hearing how elite they are and when it’s time to prove it they fall flat. Our O-line got manhandled.

      2nd, as Greg points out in his article, bad personnel usage. I keep going back to Williams. I can maybe buy his lack of run blocking may have kept him out of the game at the beginning of the game. But as it became more obvious our run game was completely ineffective, why not put him out there. BK was actually better earlier in his tenure at making in game adjustments when something wasn’t working. Now it’s like they have a plan and they go all OCD about it. “We’re sticking to the plan no matter what.”

      Reply Like Dislike
      1. Tim 1 week ago

        You all leave out 2 important points.

        1. BK recruits as if he’s an affirmative action paid recruiter. ND should be fielding the Nations best QB’s EVERY YEAR. With all the advantages that team/ school has over other schools.
        Your QB’s suck and suck all season.

        2. Football knowledgeable people KNOW a coach makes All the difference in college.
        So parse and slice apart areas of the most recent game or practice techniques but THE REASON Norte Dame will have ANOTHER Dismal season is because BK is NOT A championship coach

        Like Dislike
    2. EJS 1 week ago

      I was first guessing about Dexter Williams, wondering while the game was going on why he was MIA. I don’t think ND really tried to establish their run game against Georgia. They were officially credited with 37 runs and 40 passes, but 3 of those “runs” were sacks and another one was the Ian Book scramble on a pass play. That makes the breakdown 33 runs called and 44 passes called. I think Wimbush must have scrambled a time or two on pass plays, which then makes it more like 31 runs and 46 passes. That’s a lot of passes for what purports to be a bring your lunch pail run the ball down their throats team. Many of the runs went east and west instead of north and south. where were the 2 and 3 tight ends and fullback from the I-formation plays they ran effectively against Temple?

      Reply Like Dislike
      1. Joe Scott '77 1 week ago

        I totally agree.

        Like Dislike
  17. George 1 week ago

    It’s really not too amazing that this ND squad only has ONE wide receiver with any production. It’s pretty much the same as last year.
    Nice to dream about Claypool, McKinley and Boykin becoming superstars overnight and all, but obviously that’s not too realistic. But I know, I know, they tore it up in summer practice, blah blah blah.

    Reply Like Dislike
  18. George 1 week ago

    Sure, it would be nice if all the best players weren’t sitting on the bench, but ND would still find a way to lose to any and all worthy opponents.

    Reply Like Dislike
    1. Joseph Wells 1 week ago

      I’m sick of Kelly using the same lame excuse for his failures – ” It was a head coach’s decision”- and then saying he has to do a better job coaching. Well, I think this is the best he can do, and it’s not good enough for Notre Dame,it’s students and alumni,nor for Our Lady who sits atop the dome and watches over us.

      Reply Like Dislike
  19. Old Domer 1 week ago

    I agree their are some personnel questions I don’t understand from afar. However when the team is trying to run a “tempo offense”, I understand how a poor blocking running back can get left out. I also remember how many times C J Sanders has put the ball on the ground and also contributed to several punt team errors last year.
    What I don’t understand is the lack of multiple tight ends against a defense like Georgia. This year’s tight ends are reported to be multi-talented. Couldn’t they chip block before going out 5 to 7 yards, where a short but productive completion would keep our offense on the field and also move their linebackers back?

    Reply Like Dislike
    1. George 1 week ago

      Do you also remember how many times Freddy Canteen has made a play?

      Reply Like Dislike
    2. Joe Scott '77 1 week ago

      Exactly

      Reply Like Dislike
  20. Greg Kelly 1 week ago

    My long gone , wise, sage, Philly Cop, USNavy , Irish grandfather would always say”let the lad defend himself” Are Irish players allowed to talk to the press for their side of the story?

    Reply Like Dislike
  21. david 1 week ago

    Put player names on the jerseys, pay ’em a few bucks, and let the Irish play in the CFL. With his devotion to passing, Kelly might even win a game there.
    There are more than enough very well-coached college teams and games to watch on TV.
    End the torture.

    Reply Like Dislike
    1. southside 1 week ago

      David , I pretty sure you’ll be watching the ND games and not switching to other games on TV. You , you , you silly goose.

      Reply Like Dislike
      1. david 1 week ago

        “You” be wrong. Honestly.

        Like Dislike
  22. L Hansen 1 week ago

    Brian Kelly has three coaching issues which prevent him from ascending to the next level of success.
    1. He has had a personnel problem from the moment he stepped foot on campus. Invariably he makes the wrong decision on when to commit to certain players, which, as you point out, was a major factor in last year’s debacle.
    2. He has invariably made the wrong call in a game when a decision needs to be made whether or not to play it safe, such as was demonstrated in the Duke and Navy games last year, and, in the South Florida game in his first year.
    3. He sometimes perceived as arrogant, and though this past off season he showed signs of improvement in this matter, the recent event with the reporter shows he still doesn’t get it. What a good PR move it would have been for him to make a public apology to the reporter; instead there are negative vibes surrounding ND. Again. Feinbaum calling him a jerk is truly the pot calling the kettle black, but why feed the fire that you know the fire exists and will always exist.

    Reply Like Dislike
  23. Ryan Reese 1 week ago

    Not only has Kelly been known for not playing certain players at crucial times or in games, but he is also known for sticking with “his guys” for far too long and playing them despite their lack of performance. Case and point this year “Greer Martini” all while subbing out of the linebacker rotation Nyles Morgan and Tevon Coney. Kelly’s in-game managment skills or lack there of will be final nail in his coffin at Notre Dame.

    Reply Like Dislike
    1. Damian 1 week ago

      He’s the same way with coaches. Look how long he held on to BVG. He finally made some significant changes on that front last year, I suspect because his back was to the wall. But that’s the only time he makes changes. A shame in a way, because I think Elko and Polian may very well be good assistants and they may be dragged down by BK (though if they do turn out to be as good as advertised they may survive a coaching change). Chip Long, well, not sure about him yet.

      Reply Like Dislike
  24. Les Edgerton 1 week ago

    Finally! A ND reporter who is not afraid to talk about the elephant in the room! I’m still hoarse after yelling at my TV for the entire game to put Dexter Williams and Stepherson in the game. I have tried to support Kelly for years but no more. If the Irish are ever to return to being the Irish they have to get a quality coach who doesn’t let his ego get in the way. I also wonder how much he allows Long to run the offense. I suspect when Long leaves we may find out the truth there. I have been a fan for most of my 74 years. It’s hard to remain one these days.

    Reply Like Dislike
    1. Christopher Basker 1 week ago

      I wanted them to go after Les Miles

      Reply Like Dislike
  25. DD 1 week ago

    I doesn’t matter what RB gets the ball. The fact is the O line was struggling. Early on we should have kept St. Brown as the only WR and filled in the rest with TE’s an just ran the ball down their throats. Trap plays and counters would have worked especially since the defensive line was doing crossovers.

    Reply Like Dislike
    1. Bruce Gregory Curme 1 week ago

      DD, A trap play is a beautiful thing to see, especially when a defender is coming in at warp 9, like Georgia was. When done properly, the guy never sees it coming, his earhole hits the ground first (also known as a ‘decleater’ back in the day) and in modern college football he only gets 30 seconds or so to pull the grass out of it. After that, his head’s on a swivel. But that is not zone blocking…it is a completely different type of blocking…and I am not sure if any college team can master both. I mean there are NCAA rules that limit practice time.

      Bruce G. Curme
      La Crosse, Indiana

      Reply Like Dislike
  26. Damian 1 week ago

    Personnel usage has been a huge problem for BK and it’s one thing that seems to be getting worse actually. I can’t fathom why Williams was not used. Especially, ESPECIALLY when we were having no success running the ball. Adams and Wimbush couldn’t get any breaks. Even if you had concerns about his blocking abilities, wouldn’t you put him in to see if he could provide a spark? I mean, we had -132 yards rushing at that point (ok I exaggerate, but you know..). Maybe his elusiveness would have provided that one drive. I mean, we lost by one freakin point. One drive for a FG (not even a touchdown, a FG) would have won the game.

    To be perfectly honest, all these “close” losses ND’s had the past few years is, I think, an indictment of BK more than anything else. If you’re losing most of your games by 10+ points, that probably means you don’t have the right players. That can likely be fixed with better recruiting. But when you’re continually losing close games like this, it means you probably have the right players, your coach just isn’t putting you in a position to win. Right now I blame BK for that. Elko and Polian have clearly taking their respective units in the right direction, and I’ll give Long a pass for now because we’re not sure how much BK interferes with the offense yet. Plus, this is an ongoing BK problem, started long before any of those coaches set foot in ND.

    Reply Like Dislike
    1. Bruce Gregory Curme 1 week ago

      But Damian, we were in a position to win. We had a first down, enough time, especially for a passing offense, and Yoon was totally on his best game. We only needed to move the ball about 50 yards! Blair Kiel did that (with Tony Hunter’s help getting separation) in only TWO plays when Dan Devine brilliantly threw him in there for the last minute against Michigan as a true freshman!
      Oliver knocked it through for a great win! GAME OVER.

      But BK seems to have no such instincts like ARA, DAN and even LOU had. He’s like Moses – he keeps getting to the east bank of the Jordan, so we can see the Promised Land – but he never crosses it.

      Bruce G. Curme ’77 ’82

      Reply Like Dislike
      1. Damian 1 week ago

        Yes, that’s exactly it. BK’s teams manage to do just enough….to lose games they should win. BK has yet to prove he can be an elite coach. With the exception of last year, BK does enough to be an 8-4 coach. Good enough to beat the teams we should beat. But when playing elite teams (and frankly the jury is still out on whether UGA is elite…though their defense does seem to be the real deal) they consistently fall flat. This was a game ND could have one and that’s what stings the most. And the fact that there were things they didn’t try, esp. not using Dexter Williams. If you do everything you can and you lose, well, that stinks but you tried. But to leave things like that out on the table and lose, that’s shameful. If Williams was used and got 0 rushing yards, well, at least you tried. But they didn’t even try.

        Like Dislike
  27. Terry Bridges 1 week ago

    Thank you, there are things a coach
    can do to enhance the running game
    rather than abandon it. Maybe divine
    Intervention is necessary to penetrate
    Kelly’s rather thick skull (and relay the
    Message to Chip Long): The 2017
    Fighting Irish should win or lose
    as a result of the offense’s ability to
    RUN the ball.

    Reply Like Dislike
  28. Ralph 1 week ago

    Formed my opinion of Kelly first year against Michigan state.four seconds to go at half time. On four yard line. Ran the ball and got stuffed.they lose game by two pts. Field goal at half. Victory. Kelly has pulled other boners through his stay inND

    Reply Like Dislike
    1. Frank Vitovitch 1 week ago

      Notre Dame did not get stopped at the 4 at the end of the half and they lost by 8 points so even if that scenario did take place, the FG would still result in a 5 point loss.

      Reply Like Dislike
  29. Dennis 1 week ago

    Any fan who has watched the Irish the past 2 years knows Dexter Williams is much quicker than Adams. While Adams may be their every down back there was a huge need for more quickness in the GA game. I mean any fan saw that – why doesn’t our coach?

    We recruit WR’s almost as well as we recruit O Linemen. That said, why are 2 out of 3 starters graduate transfers who weren’t good enough at their former school to play? I mean c’mon Kelly – not even to mention how that affects morale.

    Kelly has always got an excuse on why they are not playing … bad hands, pass blocking, etc. Well your getting paid to coach them up – so is this their fault or yours?

    Reply Like Dislike
  30. Dave Deeb 1 week ago

    Your comments I believe touches on the most important role for any coach. That is know your talent. Which leads me to point out that I believe Book is the better passer with a quicker release and more accurate. Wimbush tends to hold the ball too and many throws are high or low. At any rate Book should have gotten minutes in the Temple game. Just another questionable coaches decision. By the way is Long making these calls or is Kelly deciding who gets on the field.

    Reply Like Dislike
    1. Domed 1 week ago

      My questions as well. Who chooses who sits?

      Reply Like Dislike
      1. Ron Burgundy 1 week ago

        They conduct an internet fan poll before the game to determine playing time.

        Like Dislike
    2. Bruce Gregory Curme 1 week ago

      Polling mostly Georgia fans I suppose, since that’s mostly what they could find.

      Bruce G. Curme ’77 ’82

      Reply Like Dislike
  31. Rayjay 1 week ago

    I disagree with a few things. Kizer had 7 count them 7 chances to bring us back and failed on every one. It wasn’t due to lack of reps. Claypool has dropped more passes than he has caught. Were we supposed to expect it would be time to give him more chances in the Georgia game? I still don’t believe Williams is faster and we know he is not better than Adams. Alize Mack should sit if he continues to drop easy passes, which he also did his freshman year.

    Reply Like Dislike
    1. ChrisJ 1 week ago

      What sample size has Williams been given to determine if Adams is better? I would argue that Williams is the best back on the roster.

      Reply Like Dislike
  32. Tim Murphy 1 week ago

    good points all. Thanks for the comments. Murf

    Reply Like Dislike
  33. Greg Kelly 1 week ago

    Paddy, With the new NFL like Stadium, NBC contract, super name identity, I think Notre Dame can go out shopping and lure in a bona fide coach. You get what you pay for. We have been a mediocre football team for years now, living off the ghosts of the past. We have to ante up the going rate to get back in the game.

    Reply Like Dislike
    1. mzipprich 1 week ago

      Not going to happen unless you relax the academic standards for athletes as well.

      Reply Like Dislike
  34. Phil Loscoe 1 week ago

    Ah, the classic second-guess on personnel decisions. Gee, that’s never been written before…

    It makes absolutely zero sense to assert that a coach would somehow intentionally decide to put players on the field who give them LESS of a chance to win. None.

    Every single coach knows that if they don’t win they get fired. And no one wants to get fired.

    It is, therefore, monumentally idiotic to assert that Kelly is holding back players who might help him win.

    Honestly. The whole idea makes not one iota of sense to me. I happen to think the people who watch prarctice every day are in a better position than you or me to decide who should be playing on Game Day.

    Reply Like Dislike
    1. Bruce Gregory Curme 1 week ago

      Phil,
      Except that Dan Devine, who knew a lot more about football than many people ever gave him credit for, did exactly that until he literally ran out of other QB’s to play! (I mean you have to know at least something about football to beat Alabama 7-0 at Alabama when the Bear was coaching…right?)
      Was Dan unprofessional in this? Absolutely.
      Did it have anything to do with football…anything at all? No, nothing.
      Was it personal? Nothing but.
      What was it about? None of your damn business (nor mine, though I do happen to know the personal issue).

      Is this the same as BK? Not likely, but I have no clue!

      Bruce G. Curme ’77 ’82

      Reply Like Dislike
    2. EJS 1 week ago

      No second guess. First guessing while the game was going on.

      Reply Like Dislike
  35. mzipprich 1 week ago

    Good, straight forward article, but I doubt if it matters when all said and done. Kelly is going to do what Kelly thinks is best, and learning from his past mistakes either takes WAAAYYYY to long for him to recognize, or he says “fuck it, I’m doing it my way”.

    Reply Like Dislike
    1. Paddy Irish 1 week ago

      he told us to “get used to it” after the tulsa game. I am used to it now and it makes me sick every time. He can’t win the big games and he makes horrible mistakes time and again. I have been going to games for 37 years and the Georgia game was just disgusting, being completely surrounded by red. But, that is the state of the program I guess. With each big game loss I feel us slipping further down the path away from the greatness we once had. I wonder if ND will ever go get a big time coach to revive us?

      Reply Like Dislike
      1. Rayjay 1 week ago

        It has happened before at the Nebraska game. As we get a more liberal and liberal university it will happen any time a visiting team wants to make an impact.

        Like Dislike
      2. David Knight 1 week ago

        Loyal ND fans sold their tickets. I understand they are expensive, but if that is the case, let someone else buy them. Maybe, I should have said unloyal.

        Like Dislike