Notre Dame finished its 2016 football season on an anemic note Saturday by losing to USC, 45-27. With a regular-season record of 4-8, the Fighting Irish are eligible for the Absolute Jackshit Bowl. Meanwhile, head coach Brian Kelly is reportedly sniffing around for any open coaching gigs, not because he was fired, but because he apparently believes he’s in a position which would allow him to explore his options.
Hours after Notre Dame’s loss, Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports reported that Kelly, who is 15-15 in the school’s last 30 games, would like to stay in Indiana, but hey, anything can happen. A hasty departure would not be a surprising move from the guy who went to the Fighting Irish after he ditched a 12-0 Cincinnati Bearcats team in 2009 right before they played in the Sugar Bowl and angered his newly former players.
Forde’s report comes a few days after the NCAA vacated wins from the best part of Kelly’s tenure and put the school on probation because of a dull academic scandal, of which Kelly claims had no knowledge:
Indulge Kelly for a second and take his word on this, because a scandal of this scale is small potatoes when properly placed in the larger body of work. After all, the Brian Kelly era at Notre Dame has included a student who died while filming a practice in bad weather, and another who killed herself days after she told university police that she had been sexually assaulted by a football player.
Surely, athletic director Jack Swarbrick must see something in Kelly to justify his continued employment, even with all that heavy off-the-field shit. Is it the coach’s football acumen? Maybe it’s the way he screams at his student-athletes, poorly manages them, or throws them under multiple buses. Saturday’s game featured Kelly keeping his players on the field for a couple of minutes after the second quarter to excoriate them—occasionally utilizing a pointed finger at anyone but himself, naturally—for a 24-7 deficit at halftime.
Kelly clearly said that something was “bullshit” twice near the beginning of the clip. According to ESPN’s Todd McShay, the coach also said this:
Notre Dame’s play became even more unacceptable, courtesy of defensive lineman Jerry Tillery, who kicked a downed Trojans player in the back of the head and stepped on a different opponent’s foot in the fourth quarter. If Tillery’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he received attention in October for liking tweets in support of Les Miles possibly replacing Kelly at Notre Dame. (When informed of the tweets, Kelly said, “I don’t believe there’s much out there that would indicate to me on a day-to-day basis that my team is lacking the desire to play for Notre Dame.”)
In a rare display of competence, Kelly used his shouting abilities to berate Tillery for his dirty play. Tillery wasn’t available to the media after the game; Kelly said that he hadn’t seen the unsportsmanlike behavior, but he did bench the lineman. When asked in the postgame presser about Tillery’s actions, Brian Kelly said, “Accountability is built within any program.” It couldn’t have been scripted any better.