Same Old Story for Notre Dame, Brian Kelly

Photo: Matt Cashore / USA Today Sports
Photo: Matt Cashore / USA Today Sports

Shortly before the start of the 2016 season I wrote an article stating Notre Dame had an opportunity to do something this fall that it had not done in 23 years: post back-to-back 10-win seasons.  Instead, Brian Kelly’s team doubled-down and managed to do something that has not been done in South Bend in 56 years: fail to win two games in a row for an entire season.  There really isn’t a better way to juxtapose the high expectations of this football team heading into September to the reality of how low Notre Dame has truly sunk this season.

Yes, the officiating was atrocious and yes, all of Notre Dame’s seven losses have been determined by eight points or less, but make no mistake about it: this is a football team that is failing to improve.  Similar to many games this season Notre Dame jumped out to a significant lead over Virginia Tech and began to bully the Hokies all over the field.  At the end of the first quarter Notre Dame held a 10-0 advantage and had outgained Virginia Tech 168 yards to 4 yards, and by the middle of the second quarter held a commanding 24-7 lead.  True to this season’s form, however, the moment Notre Dame encountered a hint of resistance the team folded and embraced the free fall.

Virginia Tech responded to the 24-7 deficit with a 10-play, 75 yard touchdown drive to draw the Hokes within 10 points heading into halftime.  Justin Fuente’s squad then took the ball with the first drive of the second half, and Irish fans could only watch helplessly as quarterback Jerrod Evans hit C.J. Carroll for a 62 yard pass, setting up a 5-play, 75 yard touchdown drive.  With the score sitting at 24-21 early in the third quarter, honest Notre Dame fans knew how it would end, and true to form Notre Dame was outscored 27-7 after holding a 17-point lead.

And the colossal collapse was due to the same mistakes that have plagued this team throughout the season: a lack of focus and poor coaching.  Team captain and starting left tackle Mike McGlinchey continues to cost Notre Dame with ill-timed false start penalties, including one that derailed a Notre Dame attempt to answer Virginia Tech after the Hokies drew within 3 points.  But nowhere was the issue of coaching more prevalent than in Notre Dame’s final offensive drive.  On a critical 3rd and five, quarterback DeShone Kizer checked down to an open Josh Adams, who promptly dropped the ball.  And on the final play of the game, forced to relieve Kizer after suffering an injury, quarterback Malik Zaire held the ball far too long while bouncing around the pocket, draining the final seconds on the clock and effectively ending the game.  It was an extreme lack of situational awareness that even Brian Kelly himself labeled a coaching error.

“Obviously, didn’t coach it well enough,” Kelly curtly said to the media regarding the final play.

Kelly now faces the difficult task of trying to build the team back up after another devastating implosion in time for a cross-country showdown against archrival USC.  For Notre Dame, the game could not come at a much worse time.  The Trojans have been on fire after racking up seven straight wins, with six of those wins involving a double-digit margin of victory.  The most impressive of those wins was convincingly defeating No. 6 Washington on the road, the lone blemish on the Huskies’ season.  With Notre Dame sitting on the opposite end of the college football spectrum, this year’s edition of the rivalry appears headed for a possible repeat of the 2014 contest where a downtrodden Notre Dame team was massacred in the Coliseum 49-14.

Whatever may come of next Saturday’s game against the USC Trojans on Thanksgiving weekend, at least Notre Dame fans can be thankful the train wreck that is the 2016 football season will finally be over.

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 scottjanssenhp@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter.

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71 Comments

  1. Kelly and Swarbrick are responsible for this mess. Even more than the poor football, those two have been responsible for a culture shift that has fostered academic cheating. Why those two were not fired after the death of Declan Sullivan is beyond appalling.

  2. NO MORE TALK!!! ITS BEEN 30 YEARS SINCE WEVE HIRED A WINNING COACH!! STOP WITH THE MAYBEEES AND BRING IN A REAL WINNING COACH!!! STOP WITH THE BELOW AVERAGE COACHES!!(DAVIE<WILLINGHAM<WIESS<KELLY) HIRE AND PAY A BIG TIME COACH! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!!!

  3. I guess that someone from the athletic counseling program (the modern version of Coach DeCicco’s old program, I suppose) caught this trainer and turned them all in. That, at least is good, and well done, but only after we used ineligible players for two years. The party line out there is that will eventually result in the vacated wins being restored. I hope they are right.

    The real point I want to make is this:
    Back in the “olden days” it seems like there was always a person at the top of all these programs that had the unqualified RESPECT of those working under him (and today, in a few cases, under her). Someone like Dr. Bodnar and Gene Paskiet, or Coach DeCicco, or Jim Frick, or many others. It was someone you would NEVER go way off the reservation under – not because you were afraid of those men – but because you had so much respect for them that you would never even consider doing something that you knew would disappoint them (at least not intentionally). Today, I’m pretty sure most of the people out there would say something like “I would never want to hurt Notre Dame”, etc. That’s not enough. It’s amorphous – not personal. The trainers I knew back in the day would never do what was done in this case because they had too much respect for Paskiet, Bodnar, and DeCicco. There was a face and a personality at the top in those departments, often a pioneer in the area, not just a huge sprawling institution. That’s the difference. For the most part, the same probably goes for the athletes and the coaches of those eras. I can still think of a man and a woman (or two) out there who have that kind of respect. But I do not find it in department after department all across the university the way it was.

    To the SI department – print us the story – the whole story. Put it on the website. Yes it is bad news, but the constant stream of great news flowing from your pens has gotten monotonous, and meaningless. Let’s hear it – all of it, please.

    Bruce G. Curme 77′ 82′

  4. Sent from my iPhone

    Begin forwarded message:

    From: Brucetjohn@aol.com
    Date: August 23, 2012 at 9:24:43 AM EDT
    To: Brucetjohn@aol.com
    Subject: nd football

    For more than two decades, Notre Dame has neglected its greatest teaching instrument-its football team. At one time the team’s success made Notre Dame unique. You learned that on any give day you could rise to the challenge and beat anything, or anybody, no matter what the odds. Everyone learned Rudy’s lesson: you never ever gave up. You learned about teamwork and that people who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society. The team’s striving for incredible excellence permeated everything at Notre Dame. Every graduate believed that in his life he could take all those lessons and apply them to politics, to public service, to his family life and his faith.

    But two decades of neglect have put all that the University stands for in jeopardy. Who could not watch dumbfounded as the University let one athletic director hire one loser after another. The first an assistant coach- you never ever hire an assistant coach for the toughest coaching job in the nation. He then tried to hire the rambling Irish wreck, who was not even much of a coach, and didn’t even vet him properly. It was a huge embarrassment for the University. To save face he hires another, whose uniqueness as a black head coach makes him initially immune from criticism; but ultimately he is not a great coach. Finally, he tries to buy a big time professional coach, whose waddling across the field is an embarrassment to all great athletes. Even more embarrassing watching him yell at Brady Quinn on national tv. In the end the players gave up on him. The result was the worst football season in a forty years year. Someone was a completely poor judge of men.

    We get a new athletic director who says maybe Notre Dame might win a national championship one day. Hardly a commitment to excellence, when at one time the team fought for the national title every year. Then he hires a new head coach from a second rate football school in ten whole days, hardly an auspicious beginning.

    If you want to be the best, you take time, you prepare, you find the best coach in America. Even then the odds are long.

    It becomes quickly apparent that Brian Kelly is no messiah. There is no quick return to glory. The defensive coordinator the new coach brings allows the opposition 25 points a game on average. There are no shutouts. They lose more games in half a season than Ara Parseghian lost in four years. And this coach too humiliates his players on national TV by yelling at them. Such a lack of dignity and grace under pressure. Imagine, John Wooten, having ever having done such a thing. If they had been coached and trained properly, there would have been no need to yell.

    Even worse the new athletic director says the new coach is like a great corporate ceo. I am reminded of the JFK quote: “My father always told me that all businessmen were sons of bitches, but I never believed it till now.” The team’s integrity has been sold: a new plush stadium, a TV show for the athletyic director, gimmick helmets and shoes to promote sales, even a commercial where the sacred fighting Irish leprechaun is used as a prop. Shades of the gecko. Notre Dame football has become a business, not an instrument for learning, self sacrifice, excellence or teamwork.

    Imagine how the players must feel. When I was there you never ever criticized the team. That was gospel. I do not do that now. But, many of the best players in the nation believe Notre Dame has lost its will. And go somewhere else. Jimmy Clausen left early and I heard him say on national TV, he never lost a game until he came to Notre Dame and they went 3-9. And he was a great quarterback.

    Something is terribly wrong. Not just football, but the University’s acceptance of this bumbling toward pathos. Vince Lombardi said it this way: “Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit.” This failure, this acceptance of failure, this benign neglect affects all the University does and the way it presents itself to the nation.

    Father Hesburgh once said: “ My belief is and always has been that the University
    ought to do everything, academics, athletics, you name it in a first rate manner.”

    But, the athletic director, the University’s President, the Board of Trustees and the Holy Cross Fathers have accepted something less.

    Unless that changes, what set Notre Dame apart and above, Duke, Yale or Harvard or Stanford, was its belief in itself. At one time the University’s team was an inspiration for poor and middle class kids all across the country, and no other school had such a faithful feeder system or a subway alumni. No other school had such a rich legacy. No other school had Notre Dame’s true grit, or its indomitable spirit. But that is all at risk now. Espn’s definition of Notre Dame football, mediocrity.

    America’s greatest President Franklin Roosevelt knew the value of spirit:

    “It is not enough to clothe and feed the body of the nation, and instruct and inform its mind. For there is the spirit and of the three, the greatest is the spirit. Without the body and mind, as all men know, the nation could not live. But, if the spirit of America were killed … the America we know would have perished.”

    Our spirit, our legacy is at risk.

    I have been hard. Dale Carnegie teaches us that genuine appreciation and seeing things from the other fellow’s point of view are the keys to personal success. All the efforts of every member of the Notre dame family are appreciated and we can see that many of these people did their best and often above their best. But, another coach said it this way: “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”

    Its time to regain our legacy of winning and make sure that the spirit of Notre Dame never perishes. It takes a great leader, a motivator, someone who can inspire. It’s not Brian Kelly, it’s not Jack Swarbrick, I even have doubts about Father Jenkins now. Shake down the thunder!

    1. Look, “bruce johnson/bj”, I’ll give you credit for calling out BK as a fraud long before all of us on here. You proved prophetic. But quit while you’re ahead. Stop calling for coaches who aren’t coming to ND. Stop with insisting that ND beg one of these coaches you keep fantasizing about to come to S. Bend. No begging. No pleading. It is time for BK to go. But it’s no clear who ND can get. That itself is as sad a statement as possible about the current deplorable state of ND football.

      Happy Thanksgiving!

    2. Bruce Johnson,
      Ohio State and Oklahoma’s greatest teaching instruments are their football teams.

      Bruce GC 77′ 82′

  5. Bad news about the findings. I do agree with the appeal. ND has been cooperative and immediately reported it. To vacate all those wins seems overkill and may actually encourage other schools that run into similar situations to sweep it under the rug.

    1. Who cares if other schools sweep it under the rug? ND doesn’t lose to Duke and Navy because Duke and Navy cheat. ND needs to focus on ND. It’s rather pathetic to break the rules and still turn out four win seasons. It’s like Trumbetti lining up offsides, jumping the gun and still not getting anywhere near the QB.

      1. This is from 2012 and 2013, not from this year. It has no bearing on this year whatsoever, and it didn’t have anything to do with their on field performance in 2012 and 13.

        But yes, I do think vacating all the wins from those 2 years is excessive, considering ND immediately reported and took steps to correct it–and the NCAA made a point of noting this wasn’t an instance of loss of institutional control that typically leads to severe punishment. I think ND will preserve those wins on appeal. The other penalties are fine as far as I’m concerned, and I think the administration would accept those other penalties without objection.

      2. Bottom line is a 4-8 team is getting busted for cheating. Not a good look.

        Of cousre it is excessive, but I’m not holding my breathe that they win on appeal. That almost never yields results.

  6. This whole thing never would have happened when my father and Coach D’Cicco (spelling?) worked hand and glove to keep our athletes (and other students) academically on the right track. C-Dog does not know how right he is when he notes that Old Notre Dame is turning over in their graves – Prof. Curme and Coach D’Cicco would be turning the hardest of all. Who in hell is running Coach D’Cicco’s program now? And why is Jenkins making nonsense statements like “trainers are not part of the football program?” I’m sure that Gene Pazkiet (spelling?) and Leslie Bodnar are also rolling over in their graves. It’s time to drain the swamp out there, starting with the Sports Information Department that would not write the truth for us even if they actually knew it. Will somebody out there PLEASE start speaking Truth to Power?

    Bruce G. Curme 77′ 82′

    1. This is a total disaster. Jenkins and swarbrick have been looking the other way for 7 years. Bk is a total disaster recruiting the wrong kind of guys, not making it sure they get thru school nonetheless are football eligible. Time to clean house. Swarbrick sports information Brian the bozo Kelly.
      Shake down the thunder now Jenkins or move over.

      1. I don’t understand what enjoyment the NC double A-holes get out of piling it on to a 4-8 team that gets owned by Navy and Dook.

    2. Bruce G.
      I do know quite well. Lots of family went there. One or two taught there or worked for the University. My father went there when Leahy was coach. Grandfather went there when Rockne was coach. I had Holtz.
      You are so right about the mess. Oh so right.

      1. C-Dog,
        Do you ever remember an era like this one? I don’t. Half a dozen guys cheating regularly, another half dozen in jail for high crimes and misdemeanors, plus all the usual individual stuff that every coach always had to deal with…it’s crazy…and the Administration acts like there is something wrong with ND critics! There is something wrong with ND discipline in this era, guys! The coaches I and my dad knew, as well as the coaches C-Dog’s ancestors must have known, all had their fair share of screw up athletes – but NEVER in these numbers, or anywhere near these numbers. This program needs a huge house cleaning from bottom to top, plus some changes that would make us more competitive in this era…1. Get rid of all the YES men (both on and off the field) in the program…2. Get a real disciplinarian to run the program and simply say GOODBYE to players who don’t like it – start over…3. Get back to Independent refs and officials, whether we do it alone or with the other three independent schools…4. Adjust the transfer rules a little bit to allow one transfer student to come in per class + some graduate transfers…5. If Coach D’Cicco’s old academic monitoring and assistance program is gone, or has morphed into some HUGE bloated ineffective bureaucratic mess of do nothing nonsense – like much of the rest of that university has, FIND a COMPETENT, HONEST, HARD WORKING man or woman to fix it.

        It’s a lot to ask, but apparently, nobody out there is asking much of anyone anymore. Sad, isn’t it C-Dog.

        Bruce G. Curme 77′ 82′

  7. News Flash. Notre Dame will forfeit all of its wins from the 2012 and 2013 seasons due to student athletic trainer committing academic fraud. BK says he will appeal the decision. WTF?

  8. When Notre Dame let George O’Leary slip through their fingers because of political correctness, I was done with them.. Don’t let the experts fool you, the Irish are not recruiting enough depth and speed. Oh they get talented players, but not enough. They look like a 20th century Big Ten team.. Big slow farm boys…

  9. I’m no Doctor or no Coach but was it that hard to see that Kizer was hurt after the first helmet shot in the 3rd Qt and his play showed it from there on who is responsible for keeping him in that game I’m not a fan of Kizer never was I think Zaire would be a better fit for this team but I’m not blaming him for his bad second half this game he got his bell rung and the coach didn’t even care

    1. Nope, the coach didn’t care one bit. In fact, I think I saw an uptick in BI’s sideline dancing after Kizer’s second head-shot.

  10. I like BK. But I don’t like the way he prepares his teams. I think the problem begins with strength and conditioning. Seems to me that the Irish run out of gas and at times they get pushed around. They need to be able to dominate the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. There seems to be an inability to make adjustments on offense when they go into a funk. There is an inability to stop the costly penalties. Why cant we get special teams straightened out and maybe turn that into a positive, rather than a negative? I do think the secondary is very young and will benefit from their playing time this year. I just think the Irish need to concentrate on being great at the fundamentals, being stronger and better conditioned than their opponents, and get back to playing smash-mouth football. We need to be able to put teams away when we are up 17-0, rather than fade away. Finally, all those three and outs against VT shows that the players don’t seem to be buying in the play-calling. Way too many wasted downs. I love to watch Notre Dame football, and I’m still all Irish, all the way. But this has been tough to watch. BK can do better. The players can do better. It’s going to be a long off season, that’s for sure…..

  11. 1. Down talent
    2. poor execution
    3. poor coaching/prep.

    We’ve seen it all. But this is the first time since BK took the job he isn’t in a bowl so pump the brakes maybe.

    Unless you all think someone like Matt Rhule is the answer. I sure as hell don’t and that is the level of your option. Bk isn’t great, but there isn’t anyone coming better.

  12. Coaching changes should be made after final game of the season. There is so much uncertainty out there.
    Unless BK gets an offer and decides to leave on his own. If not ND might have to wait around and see what happens w/ Texas,LSU, Oregon, Herman, Fisher, Miles, Orgeron, etc. ND will not be in any bowl preparation. There will be plenty off-season btw USC game and Jan 1.This gives ND and Kelly more time to sort through all the issues going forward.

  13. I remember how pissed off everyone was after the loss to Alabama and Kelly started toying with the idea of moving on to the NFL. In hindsight he shouldve been encouraged to go. The program was on the rise and ND could’ve landed a top shelf HC. That window has closed.

  14. Meanwhile a great coach with a incredible won percentage is looking for a job.. oh and one of the best recruiters too. Why hasn’t ND hired Les Miles??? Much better than Kelly.. proven at top level SEC school, not freakin Cincinnati. Best of all he’s available and ND can afford him!

  15. ANOTHER GAME LOST BY AN ABYSMAL IRISH DEFENSE. THE THEME FOR THIS SEASON HAS BEEN THE SAME ALL YEAR. THE OFFENSE HAS SCORED ENOUGH POINTS TO WIN 10 GAMES. STANFORD, BEING THE EXCEPTION. NO EXCUSE FOR BLOWING 2 SEVENTEEN POINT LEADS IN THE SAME GAME. THESE KIDS SEEM TO WILT IN THE SECOND HALF OF EVERY GAME. A NEW STRENGTH COACH, AND A TOP NOTCH DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR ARE MUST NEEDS. KELLY WILL GET ANOTHER YEAR DUE TO HIS GREAT RECRUITING CLASS COMING IN. HE NEEDS TO GIVE UP PLAY CALLING, LET MIKE SANFORD DO THAT. HE DID A GREAT JOB AT BOISE ST. NOTRE DAME HAS GREAT SKILL PLAYERS, ESPECIALLY Q.B. THE DIFFERENCE IN THE TOP PROGRAMS, AND NOTRE DAME, IS IN THE TRENCHES. THEY DON’T HAVE D LINEMEN LIKE BAMA, CLEMSON, OR OHIO STATE HAVE. OUR VAUNTED O LINE WAS TERRIBLE. THERE IS NO EXCUSE THERE. ALL THE O LINEMEN WERE HIGHLY RECRUITED . THIS COMES DOWN TO PLAYER DEVELOPEMENT. OUR COACHES NEED TO DO MUCH BETTER JOBS. AGAIN IF YOU LOOK AT LINEMEN AT THE TOP PROGRAMS, THEY LOOK ALOT MORE MUSCULAR THAN THE IRISH DO. AGAIN THIS COMES DOWN TO THE STRENGTH, AND CONDITIONING COACH. NOTRE DAME HAS THE MONEY TO HIRE THE BEST COACHES AROUND. TIME TO SPEND IT. BUD FOSTER WOULD BE FIRST CHOICE FOR D COORDINATOR. MAKE HIM THE HIGHEST PAID D COORDINATOR, HE MIGHT TAKE THE JOB. ALSO TRY TO ENTICE ALABAMA’S STRENGTH COACH TO LEAVE. IF KELLY WANTS TO KEEP HIS JOB HE MUST ENTICE SWARBICK TO MAKE THE RIGHT MOVES. LOOKING TOWARDS NEXT YEAR, OFFENSIVELY , THERE IS TALENT EVERYWHERE. EVEN ON DEFENSE, THE EXPERIENCE YOUNG KIDS GOT WILL HELP ALOT. A TALENTED RECRUITING CLASS SHOULD CONTRIBUTE RIGHT AWAY. THE COACHING STAFF NEEDS A MAJOR UPGRADE. IF THAT IS DONE IT WILL HELP THE TEAM IMMENSELY. SO MANY CLOSE LOSSES COULD HAVE BEEN VICTORIES. KELLY NEEDS TO ADJUST HIS MENTALITY. BE LIKE SABAN, A C.E.O, LET HIS ASSISTANTS HANDLE THE GAME PLANNING. IF NOT NEXT YEAR WILL BE HIS LAST!

  16. My Brother Jimmy, the biggest Domer in SoCal has these lovelies;
    I don’t use mustard and ketsup together, its their colors!
    I hate Santa Claus His initials are SC
    When I die I want to be buried in a SC sweater, cause if someone has to die let it be a Trojan!

  17. Before this year, the one thing I looked at BK as a positive is his teams never said die. In the Willingham-Weis years, as soon as they fell behind it was always a matter of how much would we lose by? What kind of blowout were we facing? Under BK in the past, the team used to fight to the end of the game, and sometimes won them. One very concerning trend I see this year is the team is quitting. It’s back to the W-W formula when the other team starts showing life we lie down.

    There are other issues under BK I see, of course, some of which have always been there and that I turned a blind eye too because BK was an improvement over Weis (granted that’s not saying a whole lot) and I really wanted to believe in BK so I hung on longer that was probably reasonable. I didn’t want to wait any longer for THE coach, I would have been thrilled to see Kelly’s name right next to the other ND legends of the past. Not because I have any special affinity for BK (on a personal level I don’t have any feelings one way or the other), but because that meant ND finally found it’s guy and it would have meant we were elite, winning the big games again.

    But here we are. ND briefly was climbing out of obscurity, was starting to be a perennial top 25 team and now we are back in the hole. I’m not sure where that next coach is. And yes, we are stuck with BK for at least one more year. I really hope BK does some deep reflection on himself this offseason. Also re-evaluate the assistants. Some need to go, others need to be given more responsibility to call plays, and maybe some moved around. I’d rather see BK take on a more CEO approach. They do have some highly touted assistants and maybe he should let them do their job. This year is an abomination and BK needs to look at himself first.

      1. Except for the players “quitting”. Don’t mistake a poor coaching staff incapable of adjusting to the opponents’ changes, and very predictable offense and defense schemes for the players’ “quitting.” Playing for BK is like bringing a butter knife to a gun fight. While other staffs adjust their strategy to what’s going on in the game, BK blames “poor execution” and ” that ‘s what we do!” Hey, Coach, maybe part of the problem is the other teams know what you do and plan accordingly.

  18. To start on a positive, I just have to say that Notre Dame has some of the best fans in the world. I took my daughter (age 2) to the game Saturday. Just the two of us. She absolutely loved it and hasn’t stopped talking about it since. Every time I go to a game, Notre Dame fans treats everyone, whether it be friend or foe, like family. Thank you everyone for helping my daughter enjoy her Notre Dame experience. With the busy day around campus, my daughter feel asleep towards the end of the first quarter. Unfortunately, so did the Irish. I’m not going to pretend to be an expert, just sharing my thoughts from what I’ve seen through my life watching football. With that, there is one thing that I noticed on Saturday that has me concerned. It isn’t the talent or their ability to execute, they can do both. What it appears that they lack, is a killer instinct. Once they have a comfortable lead the play calling falls off as does the execution. It’s been the same story nearly every game. From my perspective, I believe it is more of a coaching and leadership problem. Until that killer instinct and the belief and desire to win and accept nothing less returns, this is what we as fans will continue to see. 2012 the team had it nearly all year (Minus the championship game), especially on Defense. Sometimes when a team starts to coast or plateau, a shake up is needed. What that it is, I don’t know. I hope that ND and staff can figure that out.

  19. But will the train wreck be over or will the lackluster play and coaching continue into next season. They need changes and it must start on the defensive side of the ball and with the defensive coordinator. It is obvious that neither coordinator had a clue as to how to fix the defense. Interestingly enough there may not have been a quick fix due to the lack of talent available. They need to bring in an experienced coach, with a track record of success, and their is no one on the staff that fits that bill. Saturday was a perfect example of a great defensive coach making halftime adjustments and the opposition not having answer for any of them. Bud Foster changed his plan, came up with a new one that stymied the ND offense. You have to make adjustments, especially at halftime, if what you were doing doesn’t work. Foster did that. Lou Holtz was a master of change while at ND. Its not an easy thing to do but there are guys out there able to do it. Find one, hire him, regardless of the cost! It’s easy to see Kelly’s coaching is not getting the job done and his feeling about change is evident by his lack of it. This Saturday could be a blood bath. There’s no way ND’s defense will stop the USC offense. So lets look to the future where we have about 55 returning of 61. Of course if the coaching doesn’t improve there is no reason to think the record will. Start by finding a defensive coordinator and work from there otherwise you’ll see the same result. Go ND!

  20. No, doubt this Notre dame team is poorly coached in all 3 phases. Offense, defense, special teams. I wouldn’t shed any tears if he left. I do like him and love Notre dame. Who could you get as a replacement. First off Notre dame will not nor should not hire a hot assistant or a pro coach with no college football experience. So forget Gruden, Cowhard, Dingy. Also coaches rarely if ever make lateral moves, so forget Stooped , Meyer, Saban, etc. They aren’t coming. Notredames best chance is a really good coach at a lower level school. I would love for Danatonio to come to Notre dame. There is a great coach.

  21. BK needs to be canned, no question, but I dont see how Adams dropping an easy pass was his fault. And I don’t blame him for Zaire not paying attention. He was thrown into the game with a split second’s notice. And I am surprised to see no mention of St. Brown’s horrendous drop in the article.

    Rumors of BK going to LSU? I wouldn’t blame him. There’s no future at ND, regardless of who/what is to blame.

  22. 9-12 vs ranked opponents
    6-10 vs top 15 opponents
    2-7 vs top 10 opponents
    0-2 vs top 5 opponents

    ^^^ see that? That’s reality for ND football. No back to back 10 win seasons in 23 years meanwhile Mark Richt gets fired for AVERAGING 10 wins a season. BK gets credit for 1 great season amidst several mediocre ones. I wasn’t part of the fire BK crowd but one look at his record at ND, the performances against good teams, the constant collapsing in the second half and it’s more and more obvious a change is needed.

  23. BK dismissed this particular collapse as primarily “poor execution” of his game plan; didn’t see the inability to adjust to VT’s DC ‘S changes after VT fell behind 24-7 as critical. And when will Swarbick and the ND Administration address their obvious victimization by ACC refs? It’s one thing to allow them to call phantom penalties, but quite another to put the safety of our athletes in jeopardy by ignoring obvious targeting penalties. Add to that Swarbick’s total lack of regard for the safety of the fans by quietly accepting the decision to welcome fans in NC to attend a game in a hurricane. Officials in Raleigh that day asked citizens to use safety first in their decisions regarding travel while the ACC promoted attendance to the game to secure TV money ignoring endangerment to fans. At what point should ND Admin. be held as also responsible? Can’t safety trump money even when the lives and health of their players and fans are endangered?

    1. Excellent points. But when an institution has locked itself into a near 1/2 billion dollar buildout of a stadium, then there are no considerations other than money. Much of the funding came from the issuance of bonds, meaning that the overarching factor in any decision is payment of the debt service. Alumni and students are the ones ultimately responsible for allowing the admins to spend vast amounts of money on something that had no academic purpose, nor was even needed. Either stop contribution and going to games, or accept whatever comes. Way too late to say anything after the deal papers have been signed….

  24. Five 3-and-outs in the second half on Saturday. Just beyond belief.

    ND has lost three games this year without committing a turnover (and against sub-par competition.) Irish were 19-0 entering this season under Kelly when no turnovers were committed.

    But at least Zaire was ready to go when called upon. I wonder if BK will be able to make up his mind on a QB next year and not let his indecision ruin a season before it even started.

    On a positive note, the USC game is a day-game so fewer people will be watching the embarrassment.

      1. I tried posting two links, but I just now noticed that it appears my “comment is awaiting moderation.” Just trust me on this. Besides, why the hell would any network other than NBC give a horrendous, pathetic ND team a night game??

  25. When trains wreck, conductors get fired. When companies tank, CEOs walk. When ships sink, the captain goes down.
    This story only has one ending; might as well make it quick.

    1. When a train wrecks, the whole crew is usually fired. When companies fail, CEO’s walk all right with a huge bonus. When a ship sinks, anyone who cannot get to a lifeboat goes down.

      ND is rather stuck with Kelly for the time being. It is very unlikely that ND fires Kelly after this season. The best case scenario is that he either resigns or takes some other job.

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