“Brian Kelly is not pulling back,” Bleacher Report’s Matt Hayes writes in his feature on the Notre Dame football coach. That’s the angle: that the irascible, gurgling Kelly, whose program finished 4-8 last season, will not alter his approach as he hopes to restore the program to its winning ways. That’s a shame for everyone else.
As told to Hayes, one of Kelly’s explanations for Notre Dame’s disappointing performance was that he spent too much time “fundraising for a football-only facility and not enough making sure he had a firm grasp of his team’s physical and mental focus.” This excuse is elite, starting-caliber, projected to be drafted in the second round. From the article:
When asked how that impacted 2016, Kelly says bluntly, “It f—ked up last year’s team.”
Wow, this guy is candid. He definitely wouldn’t be the kind of person who says what everyone wants to hear when he feels his seat getting warm.
Later in the piece, Kelly says something that almost reads like he’s actually taking the blame—so it would be unfair to classify it as an excuse—but he can’t end it without roping in his “young defense”:
“I was the absent professor,” Kelly says. “I wasn’t paying attention to the details that we needed. There were internal issues that—if a guy is on it, and he’s doing his job as the head coach, he would’ve seen those things early. My flawed philosophy was, We’re going to score points early while we’re figuring it out on the other side with a young defense. Well, that didn’t happen. We gave up way too many points early, we lost three games, and now we’re in trouble.”
I don’t think it’s unfair to take this “brutally honest” quote from a coach, who’s shown himself more than willing to throw his players under the bus, as mostly bullshit. If Brian Kelly meant it, then he really has changed. Hayes’s takeaway was that he hadn’t.