For Notre Dame Football Fans, That Dissatisfaction You Feel Is Progress

2019 was a very strange year for Notre Dame football. First, almost everyone was wrong about everything. The sure things at quarterback and defensive end were not. Jafar Armstrong was not the latest version of Theo Riddick. The linebackers, viewed by many as the weakest position group on the team, may have been the strongest. The defense was supposed to take a step back after last season, but the points per game allowed from 2018 to 2019 moved all of .5 points in the wrong direction.

Those factors always make for an odd feeling. Essentially nothing went as expected.

Second, the two losses are very tough to take. It leaves Notre Dame without a signature win, something they got the previous two years, and the Michigan debacle is hard to comprehend. That’s the one game that stands out as being entirely unlike the others, in the one game in which that could not happen. It’s a dark cloud over everything, and the season will feel emptier because of that.

But, this season was not without accomplishments. Removing the two games Notre Dame simply could not lose, against New Mexico State and Bowling Green, they won the remaining eight by an average score of 37-19, against opponents with a combined 56-39 record. All games in which Notre Dame was favored, but that doesn’t guarantee anything in college football (right, Texas?).

But, that feeling of dissatisfaction, that emptiness, is actually progress. Three years ago, we wouldn’t have felt this way about three straight double-digit win seasons. But, we do now, which means the program is moving to the next step, the question is whether they’ll get there.

Better Late Than Never For Brian Kelly

There is a faction of fans who feel Notre Dame has peaked under Brian Kelly, and maybe they are right. No matter what Notre Dame’s overall record, there is a certain type of team that he cannot get over the hump against. It’s those teams with distinct talent advantages–Clemson, Ohio State, Georgia, and Alabama. To be clear, he’s beaten teams with superior rosters; USC and Michigan come to mind, but they were not the upper echelon of programs at the time. There is a tier of competition he hasn’t gotten over yet. And in the minds of many, it’s taken him way too long to get the program to this place, his tenth season. Not an unfair belief, though not entirely relevant at this point.

The fact is, they are now a perennial double-digit win team, something we’d have gladly taken coming off of the 2000s, but less palatable given the up and down performances of Kelly’s teams in the middle of the decade. But, whatever buttons Kelly pushed following the 2016 season that shook the program, they’ve been the right ones. They no longer lose games they shouldn’t, they’ve dominated USC, they’ve beaten Michigan, they’ve gone to playoffs, and perhaps most importantly, they’ve discovered who they are and what they are trying to be. The program is in a healthy place.

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What the program isn’t, though, is where it wants to be. It wants to be where Ohio State is, and Clemson, and Alabama. And in terms of rosters, they really aren’t all that close to those teams. I had a recent conversation with Irish Illustrated’s Tim O’Malley, and I asked him where Notre Dame stood talent-wise during the late ’80s, early ’90s. He said certainly top five, maybe even one or two. Notre Dame is currently 14th in team talent according to 247 sports. Alabama is first, Ohio State is second, Georgia is third, and Clemson is ninth. Clemson, though, is on track to sign one of the best classes of all time. They could eventually end up with four of the top five players overall and 13 in the top 100. People love to compare Kelly now to those Holtz teams, but the talent disparity is so different, it’s an apples and oranges conversation. Notre Dame has to close that talent gap, but there are signs that they can.

2020 And 2021 Offer Recruiting Promise

Notre Dame likely cannot get into the top five of overall rosters, there are just logistical powers that make it close to impossible, but Clemson won titles at the bottom of the top 10, and that’s where Notre Dame wants to be. The current class sits at 11th, though that has more to do with the smaller number they are taking than the quality of the players. They’ve got two five stars committed at the skill positions, and two other top 100 players on offense.

The 2021 class could be the group that shifts the tide completely. It’s currently 1st overall nationally, with six in the top 100 and several other top 100 players Notre Dame is in very good position with, namely 23rd ranked running back Will Shipley.

These are the types of classes Kelly needs for his program to turn the corner and that he’s in position to do so goes along with the renovation of his program overall. He’s mentioned multiple times that he’s finally figured out what the program is and how to sell it. It would then make perfect sense that he’d be more successful on the recruiting trail. He finally believes and knows the product.

The Next Step

Brian Kelly is Notre Dame’s coach, and he’s going to be Notre Dame’s coach. Regardless of how long it took him to get to this point, he is here, and they are showing signs of moving the program upward. That may mean some changes to the staff. He made the mistake following 2015 thinking that his program had turned the corner, and they got complacent. He cannot make that mistake again. He needs to evaluate where his team is, where they underachieved, and make the changes he needs to keep things moving up. Those other programs are always changing, always evolving, and Notre Dame has been late to react big picture too many times.

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Progress does not mean arrival, but it’s also not nothing. And hollow feelings after ten wins is progress. They just have to take the next step.

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38 comments

  1. duranko 3 months ago

    What about Zak Kustok syndrome?

    Fitzgerald “BUYS” Rees with assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at Northwestern. and brings Bill Rees in as director of player personnel and throws a whole lot of rich NW alumni and Big Ten money at the two some, but IF
    and ONLY IF, Book comes along.

    I have an old domer friend who wrote sports in NYC and has told me on repeated occasions that Peter Vecsey, the old hoop writer, would come up with fantastic trade rumors and pawn them off on an unsuspecting public with “inside sources are telling him” cover to the dupes who read his column while Commuting with their New York Post.

    Powlus becomes the quarterback whisperer, Pa (Berwick) home boy to home boy for Jurkovec.

    hey, it’s just hot stove season………..

    .

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    1. Bruce Gregory Curme 3 months ago

      Duranko – 1) Are you kidding us? (2) What makes you think Jurkovec would be the starter next year if Ian leaves? I have yet to hear ANYTHING out of South Bend about Jurkovec one way or another, and he’s been there for two full seasons. The silence (from all quarters) CONTINUES to be deafening, as far as I can tell. Of course I’m not close to the program, but others are.

      BGC ’77 ’82

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  2. T Kimble 3 months ago

    I believe that ND will never get to the top 10 in recruiting or in winning with Kelly. He can’t get the top recruits and he can’t coach a team to beat higher ranked teams. ND needs to get a new head coach.

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  3. Damian 3 months ago

    The Michigan game was a real killer. And yes, it has put a major damper on the rest of the season. All one has to do is look at the polls. We have pretty much dominated our last 4 opponents yet there has been almost no movement in the polls. Partly that’s because the level of competition has been subpar since Michigan. But partly it was the way we lost. We got manhandled in prime time in front of the nation. When everyone outside ND land looks at ND this year, that’s the only thing they see.

    And that game came with a huge cost. ND will not get a NY Day 6 bowl this year. That’s unfortunate. I was really hoping ND would get a major bowl against a team with a really good defense. Why? Because I’m not entirely sold on Book. He has played well since the final series against VT. But is that just a mirage? Is that just because we’ve faced a number of overmatched teams? Book will be the starter next year. I hope Book has turned a corner, that the final series against VT was a real turning point. But I can’t help but feel like when he faces an upper level defense again he’ll fold again. I fear this time next year we may yet again be 10-2, outside looking in. But ND isn’t going to get one of those upper echelon bowls that can really test Book. And if I were Book I’d want to be tested as well.

    Otherwise I agree with Greg’s analysis overall. I see ND as an above average FB team. I have serious doubts about whether BK can be an elite coach. But I don’t think he’s a horrible coach. Many programs would love to have BK as their coach. It just depends on what your end game is. If you want a NC level program, I just don’t think he’s that level of coach.

    And Greg is right. There are 4, maybe 5 truly elite teams in CFB—then there is the rest of CFB. And the gulf between the elites and everyone else is a giant chasm. There are no real almost-elite teams. Either you are or you aren’t. And a lot of that is the players those elite teams recruit. And ND can’t recruit some of those recruits. Some of those recruits aren’t even really interested in school. CFB is simply an NFL development team and nothing more.

    How does ND break into that next level? Is their a coach out there that can get ND to that next level without sacrificing what makes ND what it is? That doesn’t mean everything has to be static. There may be some changes ND can make to get some better players and still maintain its character. Are there things they can do to win that next NC? Or is it a lost cause?

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    1. ChrisJ 3 months ago

      Elite teams have elite QB play. Book is not elite, he is limited. We have a player riding the pines in Jurkovec who has a much higher ceiling and if he was given the reigns this season, I guarantee he could have done better than Book. Book, three star recruit. I watched his HS highlights on YouTube the other day as I had never seen them. The particular video I watched, the Book highlights were short passes thrown on time for completions but receivers getting tackled. Sounds about the same right? Then if you pop over to Jurkovec highlights, it’s long TD after long TD whether it’s him throwing or him running. Kelly needs to start taking some chances with playing the QB that has the higher ceiling and develop them instead of going with a guy who can manage the offense installed. Jurkovec was very highly rated coming out of HS for a reason. Everything I’ve seen from him other than the Blue/Gold game which is just a scrimmage has been pretty good. He has a bigger arm, better runner, and has great size to see the field.

      I think that’s why I’ve been so frustrated with the team lately is because we know Book’s limitations and we potentially have a guy on the sideline who can get us over the hump but Kelly barely even plays him when we are beating teams by 30. Book has been terrible against legit defenses but can really tear up bad defenses. Oh boy! It’s a more athletic version of Tommy Rees and we all know how we felt about him. I can’t get excited knowing this is what it will be in 2020 again. And I am with you in that I was hoping to play an Alabama or Auburn or at least somebody with a good defense so that maybe Book would get exposed again so that maybe there would at least be a QB competition heading into next year. But we will probably play some 2nd tier team from a conference and Book will put together decent stats which will “solidify” his spot as the starter in Kelly’s eyes.

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      1. Damian 3 months ago

        Honestly my biggest fear is next year Book remains QB and we’re in the same boat, 10-2, and Jurkovec transfers and lights it up for someone else.

        That’s why I was really hoping for a big bowl game so Book could really be tested. Is this really a new an improved Book, or is it just that we’ve played greatly overmatched teams? I honestly don’t know. Believe me, I’d love it if the VT game was a turning point for Book and he’s found his mojo. I think part of his struggles may have been due to his injury last year and him being overly cautious–and maybe at the end of the VT game he found his confidence and turned it around. But is it more?

        But the last few times Jurkovec has seen the field he’s been handcuffed. That tells me Book is coming back and BK already plans to start him next year. And yes, BK would take a huge risk by starting Jurkovec next year. Book has played well enough that a lot of pundits out there would probably say BK is nuts for going to Jurkovec under these circumstances. That’s why I’m glad I’m not a HC. After all if BK were to switch to Jurkovec and he ended up floundering it would be BK’s head on a platter.

        Part of this goes back to BK’s failure to adequately develop QB’s at ND too. A lot of fans just don’t trust BK when it comes to QB’s because we’ve seen this record play out before numerous times. Fans are right to at least be skeptical.

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      2. jeff 3 months ago

        Somebody commented 4 or 5 weeks ago about a QB change at Notre Dame. It went something like this. Changing quarterbacks doesn’t need to be a seismic event. Just do it and move on.

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      3. ChrisJ 3 months ago

        In my opinion VT was not a turning point just because of 1 drive. He did not have a good game against them and on that last drive, VT went into prevent and brought no pressure on Book which if I was a D coordinator going against him, I’d pressure all game. But that’s why VT is VT and will never be good because of stupid coaching like that. The rest of the teams we have played have been so incredibly bad that Brian Kelly could have thrown 5 TDs against each with Chase Claypool running around. Lets hope we get a decent defensive team in the bowl game but I don’t see it happening.

        Saban changed at halftime of the NC game realizing it was going to take Tua making throws that Hurts simply couldn’t make and everyone thought Saban was crazy but look at how that has worked out. Jurkovec brings more than Book just as Tua did to Hurts. Hurts managed games, plain and simple, just like Book. Jurkovec can get this team to the next step and to compete with the elite, this is what you need at this position. Clemson – Lawrence, LSU – Burrows, Ohio State – Fields, GA – Fromm…all Heisman candidates other than Fromm who is a very good QB and beat out two other five star guys in Eason and Fields. It would be nice to include ND in that picture with Jurkovec as the name.

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    2. Bruce Gregory Curme 3 months ago

      There has not been any movement in the polls Damian, because the PTB, as you would put it, want to put other 10-2, 9-3, or 8-4 teams into the first and second tiers bowls (The New Year’s Six…tier 1, and the Gator and Citrus…tier 2) while being careful to create as many lopsided matchups as the rules can manage. Why? (A) To protect their favorites, (B) To continue to protect the conferences, both of which are well protected by this nonsense, and (C) To protect the Bowls, which when the TV ratings come in, and in extreme cases, the ticket and locality sales come in, will not be protected at all. Too few people want to spend thousands of dollars for a glorified Tangerine Bowl that they all know damn well is going to be a 45 point blowout (after a 45 point blowout in the Conf. Championship!) Why would they? And for those at home, why continue to watch after the first quarter and a half, at most?

      There is no longer any attempt, not even a flimsy attempt, to set up great matchups. It’s all about protecting the lame, whether it’s a lame conference, like our own, or lame team. But the Bowl communities themselves will not be protected by this when the debits and credits come in, at least compared to Bowls with good matchups, as the Rose Bowl appears to be. The good matchups will bring in big tourist dollars, like always, and big TV ratings; but the stinkers, and there are some real smelly matchups, will not. It’s better to matchup teams within one loss of each other than offer the people a blowout, and that is true at every tier, not just the top tiers. Wait and see, if you can get an honest TV rating and an honest merchant profit margin out the PTB after these jokes of games.

      You know Damian, there is a time for 10-2 teams to match up against 8-4 teams – it’s called the regular season. We don’t need the same one-sided blowouts we just saw for 3 months (and all over again in the Championship games) YET AGAIN IN THE BOWLS! It’s bullshit, and it’s unnecessary. And although it may seem otherwise, I mean no disrespect to Bronco Mendenhall (who I’ve always regarded as a great coach), nor to a solid Virginia team. But they’re going to get out scored about 95 to 13 between the Conference Championship and the Tangerina Bowl, and we all know it, unless Clemson or BAMA is a no-show like we were in Ann Arbor. How is this good for the TV fans, for Virginia, or even for this glorified Tangerine Bowl? Naturally, as David would put it, “they will try to polish this turd in MIAMI”, as we will try to polish our turd wherever we wind up. The one difference between us and the others is that our TV ratings will only dip a bit, not plummet.

      BGC ’77 ’82

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  4. Freddie 3 months ago

    Agree to alot of the key points on recruiting problems but glad to see things are definitely changing. I have been a ND fan through the ups and downs, but I’m realistic also. Looking at the 21 commits gives me a good feeling that will definitely be the shifting point for top talent. I do believe that when our team is truly playing flawlessly we can hang with the best of them. Look at the ND and Georgia game… If we wouldn’t have had so many penalties and played flawlessly (that game would have been ours)
    3years ago we won against LSU, last year 12-0 and wasn’t spot on against Clemson and still did okay.
    These next two years I am sure we will see the change and I have heard amazing things about Tyler Buchner, Shipley and so many others.
    We had an awesome November month and you can see the difference in how they played from the game with Michigan.
    Ian book said that brian Kelly was making practice to predictable and it was truly hindering him because there was no realism to it. (Clearly it showed in the Michigan game) after that game the way they practice was different. It was spontaneous and random. It put Ian back in the mindset he needed.
    However there’s still alot that can ALWAYS be worked on. All the predictions that were made at the beginning of the season about where our strong points were and where are weak points were was completely off and complete opposite as predicted.so it goes to show you can’t really know for sure how anything will really turn out but I’m stoked for the next season to come already!!
    I love college football in general…I can bond with any team. My wife is a die hard LSU fan and is more knowledgeable about them more then most men so she has rubbed off on me and I have become a fan myself over the last 3 years.
    I definitely respect all your comments and outlooks.

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  5. Pete 3 months ago

    For any longtime ND fan who’s lived through the post-Holtz slog, you have to be encouraged by the recent success. ND can mitigate the talent gap slightly by fielding older teams, with more seniors starting than the junior/sophomore heavy top 5 programs (this is how Wisconsin of all teams is able to remain a top 15 program despite mostly 3-star talent).
    What ND cannot afford, however, are coaching lapses. The Michigan game, for example, obliterated this season. The bye week actually was a huge disadvantage in that game because the staff implemented an extra week of worthless offensive game-planning based on a pass-heavy approach. By the time Michigan started game prep they already knew the weather conditions would prohibit passing, so they focused on a purely smash mouth approach. ND staff should have scrapped their prior game plan mid-week. But they didn’t, which is why we saw an absurd 25+ pass attempts when clearly Jerry Rice could not have caught the ball.

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  6. david 3 months ago

    Well, enjoy dissatisfaction as your reward for tolerating this random shitshow…..what a gift!

    On CBS Saturday, I watched the most incredibly intense, well-played, insanely executed game of college football in years, most certainly the best this season will produce.
    Satisfaction isn’t so bad.

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    1. duranko 3 months ago

      Well, I always like to defer to experts.

      When you used the word “insane” i knew you were in your zone.

      “Insane executuion?, eh?”

      Indeed.

      Bama had 13 penalties, Auburn, a mere 9.

      Apparently in Insanoworld execution involves throwing two pick 6s.

      And of Alabama’s 13 penalties, well, that last one belongs in a Hall of Fame somewhere.

      Go ahead, When he’s not doing AFLAC commercials, walk up to Nick Saban. Very close to Nick Saban.
      And use the 13th penalty and “insane execution.” in the same sentence.

      Go ahead, you talk the talk.

      Walk the walk.

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      1. david 3 months ago

        A great, great game from start to finish. Big boy college football.
        If you don’t like penalties, how do you watch that #74 every week? He gets 3 or 4 by himself.

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      2. david 3 months ago

        BTW…..ND’s favorite penalties:
        Delay of game.
        false start, offense.
        Illegal substitution.
        Illegal formation.

        Those are not ‘sins of effort’…those are just poor coaching brainfarts.

        Pass interference, late hit, holding, unsportsmanlike…THOSE are effort & intensity fouls! Football.

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      3. Bruce Gregory Curme 3 months ago

        Yeah David – and ARA just loved two of those “sins of effort” so much that a player could look forward to some bench time for either one! Which is exactly why ARA teams never got flagged for that crap very much. Wake up dude! Get some control over your thoughts.

        BGC ’77 ’82

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      4. david 3 months ago

        Yes, it helps the odds of winning to not get penalized.
        And coaches prefer that.
        Great insight, Bruce…you are a human encyclopedia for the board.

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  7. John Conor 3 months ago

    Great article. Too many ND fans have unrealistic expectations because they don’t get, or refuse to accept, how difficult it is for Kelly, or any ND coach, to be a top-5 team.

    First, ND has many recruiting limitations that make it much more difficult for ND to land top-5 talent than it is for other top programs:
    -A large portion of the top 100 players can’t get in to ND based on academics.
    -Another large portion can get in academically, but don’t want to take academics as seriously as you have to at ND.
    -Some top recruits don’t want to be at a school with a religious affiliation.
    -Some top recruits want to stay close to home, and ND isn’t near any of the best states for top recruits — California, Texas, Florida, and the Southeast
    -Some recruits are turned off by ND’s social life — things like parietals and single-sex dorms.
    -Some recruits want a larger school with a larger diverse population, not a small school with only 8,000 undergrads.
    While other schools have some of these issues, ND has a large mix of potential barriers to landing top recruits.

    Second, without top-5 talent, and only top-15 talent, you’re going to have a very good team, but being a top-5 team or winning the championship will be extremely difficult. And that’s not Kelly’s fault. Everyone complains about the losses to other top teams, but ND was the underdog in nearly all of those games, and for a reason — they didn’t have the same level of talent, and many of those games were on the road. The rest of the world gets it — that ND might win if it plays extremely well, gets some turnovers, etc., but you can’t EXPECT or demand ND to win those games, and anyone who does is dellusional. Fans claim about ND not playing well in those games but that’s what happens when you’re playing against a ton of 5-stars — it’s difficult to play as well and you won’t look as good or perform as good as you do against lesser opponents. Against top talent, the O-Line doesn’t/can’t block as well, the receivers find it much more difficult to get separation, the CBs find it more difficult to guard their man, etc., etc., etc. But many ND fans simply ignore this and expect or demand ND to play as well against teams loaded with 5-stars as they do against teams with 4-stars or 3-stars.

    ND can still compete at a high level, and if they’re fortunate they can win a title. They’ll need the schedule to break right, to make some clutch plays, and avoid turnovers and penalties. So I’m hopeful they’ll win another title. In fact, if Jurkovec turns out as good as I think he’ll be, ND should have a good shot at a title in 2021, when the roster will be loaded with top talent and a lot of seniors, and the schedule is looks like it will be reasonable/favorable.

    Just would like to see fans take articles/information like this to heart, and cheer hard while being reasonable.

    Go Irish.

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    1. pete calco 3 months ago

      John you do make some very good points.Also I would add Notredame doesn’t accept Juco transfers . In 2010 Auburn won the national championship with their 2 best players being juco tranfers Farley on defense and Cam Newton on offense the heisman trophy winner.Also Notredame wont accept undergrad transfers.This year there is a good chance that 3 of the 4 playoff teams have a transfer quarterback. Burrow LSU Fields Ohio State Hurts Oklahoma. Another thing is the way these powerhouse programs handle discipline infractions.At Notredame you lose 4 games or a whole season.At these other schools no penalty or you miss a game or 2 against a cream puff and then when you play a quality opponent the kid is suddenly reinstated.I am not making a moral judgement I am just stating facts.I do agree with the academic standards hurts a little but here is what I noticed from following recruiting from when it started ranking high school players from the guy who started Joe Terranova from the Ford Motor company.What I found is with Davie Willingham Weis and now Kelly there have been many great players every year that Notredame offered scholarships to. Many times they were in Notredames final 2 or 3 but always the kid went somewhere else.So if Notredames restrictions were so high how were they able to offer all these kids.Bo and Paterno both said in Aras and Lous and Devines days for every 10 5 stars Notredame would beat you on 7 of them. Now we win 2 or 3 out of every 10 that is the difference. If Kelly can recruit top 10 he can win a national championship provided he his on a great qb.

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      1. Ron Burgundy 3 months ago

        Cam Smith and Freddy Canteen unavailable for comment on the graduate transfer rule.

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      2. ChrisJ 3 months ago

        Hey Ron,

        Didn’t Pete say undergrad transfers? I know you love putting people on blast for their comments but you just blasted yourself with this one. Canteen and Smith both graduate transfers.

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      3. Ron Burgundy 3 months ago

        He mentioned Hurts and Burrow which are both grad transfers. But if I must address undergrad transfers I will. If only there was a defensive starter that is a captain who is an undergrad transfer to make my point I would.

        Anything else to add?

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      4. david 3 months ago

        Look at thin-skinned Ron, getting all pissy at someone for criticizing his post.
        Dish it out can’t take it hypocrite.

        Stick to your shtick….drive by slurs.

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    2. Fitz 3 months ago

      Spot on analysis, John. As I’ve mentioned before on here ND has inched closer over of the past five years but not yet a the elite level. It won’t happen until we are able to get another four or five top recruits each year who , for any or all the reasons you mentioned, do not want to go to ND. The barriers ND face in
      regard to recruiting elite players transcends well beyond academics.

      I don’t see any of those barriers being lifted, so how will ND ever expect to win a NC? First, you have to
      go unbeaten, make the playoffs, and hope to put together two great games. Given NDs scheduling, going 12-0 is difficult. So, how about becoming a full member of the ACC and play a non-conference schedule
      like Clemson? Even losing one game you may have a redemption shot in the conference championship game
      For those who oppose joining a conference and lowering academic standards but still expect a NC, I
      say, “you can’t have your cake and eat it too”

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      1. duranko 3 months ago

        I oppose joining a conference.

        Notre Dame is an independent and an INDEPENDENT.

        On the standards, under Kelly the standards are
        behavioral and
        instituitional fit

        as much as they are academic

        Misogynists like Will Hill were welcome at Florida, but NEVER at a University with the BVM atop the Dome.

        And this differs from some of the other coaching regimes.

        The recruiting is massively improved.

        A glance at the ’21 recruits committed shows not only all four stars, but some serious talent and potential, however measured.

        Right now, Georgia, Clemson, LSU, Ohio State ()though they were below par in ’18 and ’19) and Bama are the recruiting Megalodons. But if the Irish can hold to recruiting mostly four stars
        and add THREE five stars a year, they will close the talent gap.

        It’s different now, especially on defense. Guys like Mills, Foskey, Osago-Mensah, Bertrand, Liufau, Kizer and Owumu,as well
        as Ajavon, Wallace and Rutherford all redshirted. That is a massive change from just three years ago. They learn, life
        and watch successful leaders and captains.

        The other big change is that the ND defense is now committed to at least four man rotations at each defensive line position.
        This is vital in the days of team’s having 80 or more offensive plays.

        Notre Dame is a distance from the top but at least we can see it from here.

        Go Irish

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      2. Bruce Gregory Curme 3 months ago

        Fitz: A full member of the ACC?!!! The seventh best conference in Division 1? The conference whose “second best” team sports 4 losses, three of them lopsided, while cruising into the Orange (now Tangerina) Bowl – most likely to get pummeled yet again? Can you find any lower hanging fruit to gorge on, Fitz.
        OK, I get it that the top three conferences all whine about us not being in a conference, yet NONE OF THEM WANT US IN THEIRS! I get that, Fitz. But there are still three or four other conferences as strong to a LOT stronger than the ACC, and a couple of them probably would take us.

        BGC ’77 ’82

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      3. Bruce Gregory Curme 3 months ago

        “three losses”

        BGC ’77 ’82

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    3. david 3 months ago

      Lou Holtz was an overbearing tyrant who demanded excessively high effort from those poor kids! I’m shocked they all didn’t end up in therapy, or abandon football forever after the torture they went through, and the awful college experience of being expected to win all the time!

      Good is good enough! Be reasonable!

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  8. Ronnie Lombard 3 months ago

    After 10 years with Kelly Notre Dame style football I really really feel it is a time for a change.
    He gets blown out against the major teams Clemson, Ohio State, Michigan, Alabama, LSU. It’s just a fact.
    I’ve been a huge domer fan for 50 years.
    It just doesn’t matter the coaching ability is not there.
    THEY don’t draw the great players like they used to it’s just the way it is.
    It’s time for a huge overall at Notre Dame. We can continue down this path,
    and beat the oh so so second-tier teams. Keep running up the scores against Our Lady of the deaf dumb and blind.
    But is that all we want from Notre Dame? After 10 years of Kelly at the helm is this as good as it’s going to get?
    Or will we never go to the promised land? Maybe this is as good as Notre Dame can be?
    Or maybe this is just as good as our talent and coaching staff will allow us to be.

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    1. Bruce Gregory Curme 3 months ago

      Really Ronnie? Blown out? By Clemson, Ohio State and BAMA, you are right, sir. Just like pretty much everyone else. But when exactly did LSU blow Kelly out? What is Kelly’s record against LSU? And what is Kelly’s record against Michigan anyway? What exactly are the “facts” Ronnie? Would you please do a little research and get back to us on this? I’m really curious.

      BGC ’77 ’82

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      1. Bruce Gregory Curme 3 months ago

        And anyway, blow outs only count against certain teams, and not so much against others. The most obvious example is Virginia, which has been blown out by Notre Dame, and Clemson (coming soon to a living room near you) , yet they will go to the Tangerina Bowl, where they might very well get blown out AGAIN! But even Virginia is not the best example of “blow-out immunity”.This whole thing is FU’d worse than a sex change in a penitentiary and other people are finally starting to come out and say so – not just me and UCF!

        BGC ’77 ’82

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  9. Rayjay 3 months ago

    The talent disparity is still there and very relevant with the teams you mentioned. Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia and Clemson. Plus though Clemson was only rated 9th they had two difference making QBs in DeShaun Watson and Sunshine. Book is good enough I believe to lead us to the promise land but those two were able to beat superior teams because of unique play making ability. With Book we are almost there but need to perform overall better as a team. This means no silly mistakes from the line, or dropped passes from the receivers and a running back that can break away. I admire Tony Jones very much for his workman like ways and his heart and of course his power. Yet we are missing a runner who can break off the big run when a play is well blocked.

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    1. ChrisJ 3 months ago

      “Sunshine” LOL!

      I made a Ronnie Bass comment about Lawrence a while back and this made me laugh!

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  10. Michael The Archangel 3 months ago

    Greg,
    re: ‘the next step’
    ” That may mean some changes to the staff. ”
    Do who you have in mind coming in an upcoming post, or is it wait and see until after 2020?

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  11. ChrisJ 3 months ago

    I was one who thought Jafar would step in and tear it up this season. I don’t know if it was the injury or what but that was not the same guy we saw all last season when he was running and catching very well. Whatever it was it was definitely disappointing. A five star back though coming in. That’s exciting. He should see the field next year no matter what

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  12. Clarke W 3 months ago

    It is not the offensive line that is the issue. It is the scheme of that weak office.

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  13. Fred Sanford 3 months ago

    Notre Dame has to pay Brian Kelly more money. No way on earth, the head coach at Rutgers should be making twice as much as he does.

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  14. pete calco 3 months ago

    Very good article. I believe Kelly needs to go after a great offensive line coach and also bring in a great offensive mind and pair him up with Long like Ogeron did going to the Saints and bringing in Joe Brady. Also Kelly needs to start these young great skill players Tyree. Jordan Johnson or Xavier Watts. Dabo and Saban do.

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