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  • Discipline

    by Mike Coffey

    There’s nothing like a 2-5 start to supercharge discussions of a coach’s future.  Will he stay or won’t he?  Which assistants will stay, and who will be let go?  Who can they get?  How can they improve?  What can they do?

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but under Brian Kelly’s leadership, the answer to that last question is “nothing”.  Nothing will change without a change at the top because the root cause of the problems this season are the same as the root cause of the problems all his previous seasons:  A lack of discipline.

    A disciplined player keeps his focus on the higher goals regardless of the situation.  On the field, he remembers his assignments on every play.  He takes responsibility when he makes a mistake, resolves to do better, and then does.  He picks up his teammates if they fall and encourages them to do better.  An undisciplined player takes plays off and doesn’t maintain his focus on the field.  The fundamentals aren’t important to him, he’s playing as he feels like playing.  Off the field, a disciplined player knows what his responsibilities are in the classroom and fulfills them.  If he needs help, he asks for it early enough where it can do some good.  He knows the season is his work time, and while willing to relax when the situation calls for it, knows there are limits.

    A disciplined coach does the same.  On the field, he drills the fundamentals into his charges.  He makes sure the players know their assignments and can execute them properly.  In a game, he maintains his composure.  He may have to chew a player out whose attention has wavered, but it’s always in the context of getting them back on task and ensuring future performance.  Off the field, he knows how his players are performing both in the classroom and in the community.  He has reports from the people whose full-time job it is to monitor academic progress, and knows who’s getting the job done and who needs help.  If there’s a random slip-up, the people responsible are held accountable, from the player on up, and the process is corrected to ensure it’s not repeated.

    Discipline has to be a fully-integrated part of any successful program, and at a place like Notre Dame, where the spotlight burns brighter and the pressures can be higher, it’s even more critical.  Perfection isn’t likely, but it’s definitely striven for by everyone involved.  It’s possible to instill discipline at the player level via upperclassmen and/or captains, but it’s much easier and more effective when it’s a top-down approach originating from the head coach and his staff.

    Unfortunately, the last seven years has revealed Brian Kelly not to be that kind of coach, which is why shuffling assistant coaches won’t matter.

    Evidence of a lack of discipline is everywhere.  Players ignore the fundamentals they’ve been taught since junior high.  They take plays off, miss tackles, run the incorrect routes, and make the wrong reads.  Some are lax with their classroom assignments, which either means the quality of the work (and the resulting grade) suffers, or the player feels the need to take shortcuts and cheat, with the resulting consequences when they get caught.  Coaches get into arguments on the sidelines during games and unleash their wrath on players who are trying to execute faulty game plans.  They’re seemingly caught unawares by their players’ academic issues, either not knowing or not caring which ones are on the brink.

    And let’s not pretend the issue is unique to this season.  Think of all the penalties on plays coming out of time-outs, particularly the delay-of-games.  Remember the in-game strategic mistakes against Tulsa and Northwestern and (now) NC State.  Even in 2012, when everything was going right, the entire season could have been derailed because two players wearing the same number ran out to defend a field goal in overtime.

    There is no discipline … no focus … no responsibility.  You can get away with that in FCS when it’s possible to out-talent the opposition.  You can get away with that at the bottom levels of FBS where the pressures are non-existent and they’re just happy to be winning a little more.  But at Notre Dame, there’s no margin for error, and a coach who has proven incapable of providing discipline so far cannot suddenly try to do it at the drop of a hat — they have a word for that.

    So many board posts and blog comments ask “who can do better”?  From a discipline standpoint, I say there are plenty of candidates out there, because the guys we have are abject failures.  It’s time to go find one.

    78 Responses to “Discipline”

    1. Can I get an “Amen?”

    2. amen to that! outstanding article. i have been saying this since the day he was hired..he is the WRONG man for the job. why swarbrick went with him is beyond me. if notre dame doesn’t fire brian kelly at the end of the year (or sooner), then it is quite obvious to me that notre dame has sold out its morals for an arrogant overrated football coach. and the worst part is WHY?!

    3. At the top means Swarbuck$ not Kelly. Until that happens, I don’t trust they will get the next coaching hire right anyway. I dont know which coach is right but I’d strongly prefer them not going after Les Miles. While his resume is impressive, I am not sure it would work here. I think the style of play he wants won’t fit with the types of players he can recruit at ND. This next hire is going to be the last chance to get it right before we start to become totally irrelevant on the national stage.

      • Agreed. $warbuck needs to go first. He is a disaster. The only person Kelly has out strategized has been $warbucks when he fell for Kelly’s Im looking to the NFL ploy. Secondly, even after the Chauncey and Weis debacles, $warbucks has again boxed in ND with a long term contract. While it is true none of us know the terms of the K and it may contain some poison pills for Kelly, it is almost equally certain it contains some poison pills for ND. Fool me once… Fool me 3X, it is fair to conclude you are an incompetent negotiator. Further, as many have opined, $warbucks did a piss poor job the first time around in getting Kelly and not landing the targeted hires. For all of Kelly’s detractors and now there are many, he is exactly as advertised when he was a Bearcat. THat is on $warbucks as well. $warbuck now has exactly what he bargained for in Kelly. Many predicted this from the get go and have shown more vision that $warbucks. There is no precedent or rationale basis to conclude $warbuck’s job search this time around will be more than the wing and prayer tossed to the purple faced Bearcat 7 yrs ago.

    4. Felipe Cardenas says:

      Agree with the post. It’s shocking how fundamentally flawed this team has been. And I remember thinking “we’re done” after the four players were arrested in August. It wasn’t about marijuana or guns, it was about players testing limits without worrying about the consequences. And Irishmad, Swarbrick isn’t going anywhere. But he will have to make a difficult decision very soon.

      • You know, we must have been sharing the same brain cell because I had the same feeling fall over me when the announcement was made about Redfield being dismissed and the others. Just seems like a lack of institutional control to me.

    5. Hammer meets nail here; great work. What ever happened to all the attention to detail, down to organization of the lockers, we heard about when Kelly was hired? It’s apparent that was all for show.

      I am, probably naively, holding out hope that changes are occurring behind the scenes, and that a new coach (and new leadership) will be announced post season. While I’m never one for adding more layers of management, does having a dedicated, autonomous “Director of Football Operations” make any kind of sense?

    6. Become totally irrelevant; Where do you think we are now? Duke was not sold out and the Stanford was woefully not even close to a sellout. I hope the empty seats which equates to fewer concessions and ND gear purchases will finally make them believe that the program is in reverse. But how do we let the same people that hired Kelly and gave him an extension to find the right coach.

      • No trust in them whatsoever. Who are these so-called football “power brokers”? If they are, in fact, “power brokers”, why is it that they cannot sway a top-notch coach to come to South Bend to build a winner?

        • That one is easy. Res life and admin.
          Notre Dame is limited in recruiting because of academic and res life standards. Which means player develo0ment is key, mmuch like stanford.
          Lou was a genious back in the days because he got away with a lot.

      • Matthewrockne10 says:

        Not sure what you were looking at but the Stanford game was packed.

    7. It all starts with the leadership and tone at the top, which permeates all the way through the team in terms of how the players and coaches act and work together. A good team should be more than the sum of its individual contributors. It feels great to be on team where everyone works together and supports one another. You thrive, you learn and you can see the results on the field. We have the exact opposite here. This team is actually less than the sum of it individual members, and unfortunately, we are seeing the results on the field. Leadership is the foundation of all this, and we have none.

    8. Sadly enough I have to agree with Mr. Coffey. While I think the overall athletisim of the program has increased under Coach Kelly’s watch, I can’t help but think of his quote when he told a TV audience that “Don’t forget we’re starting freshman in the secondary now”. Who’s fault is that? Oh yeah, not coach Kelly. Too many excuses. Its time to go.

      • In fairness, he also said its different at ND b/c the after four years these guys are degreed and gone or transfer. So he is fighting one hand behind his back with respect to building depth when you consider other programs have a guaranteed 5 years in each player, b/c they are football #1 and school #2 at other places, not football#1 and School#1 like in this environment.
        To get a 5th year, you need to be enrolled in grad studies, which is why we have played recently with a law student on the line, which is an incredibly unique and while impressive, completely against the best approaches to winning a national championship.

        Relaxed, well prepared athletes are needed, not jds on your line.

    9. You ask what coach? How about an ND alum.
      Tom Clements comes to mind quickly. I’m sure there are plenty more that are qualified.

    10. I was just telling my wife this exact same thing about why things have gotten so bad. And I didn’t look at just this season either. I looked at the blunders of the early 2011 team, the undisciplined and lackluster performance in the 2013 BCS NC Game, then the 6-0 start in 2014 where things seemed to be going the right way only to be derailed because BK couldn’t let go of the pass interference call against FSU. And now, where is the program seven seasons later? I see no consistent change except the calibur of player that is on the sidelines now as compared to then. But, what has this gotten ND? Nothing.

      • Avon Domer says:

        Lackluster performance in the 2013 BCS NC Game? I respectfully disagree. I saw Alabama play live earlier that season and I knew good and well going into the title game that unless Bama turned it over a minimum of six times, the Irish wouldn’t have a prayer of winning that game because they were the better team by an incredibly large margin in every aspect. As a lifelong ND enthusiast, I take no pleasure in writing that, but it’s absolutely true.

    11. For every one of your examples of lack of discipline , there are many examples of Coach Kelly’s discipline. The primary reason for this 2016 failure is up front: an overrated offensive line which has gotten worse each game. Harry Heistand isn’t getting the performances everyone hoped to see. If discipline is your issue, that’s where it shows most.

    12. Very good article and completely on point. There are plenty of good coaches out there that would be a good fit for ND. Would prefer a young, hungry coach. Not a retread. And with the $400mm stadium renovation, it would seem that the people running ND want a championship football team playing at the stadium more than a new home for the psychology department or sacred music school. It will soon be 30 years since the last championship team. Certainly hope it won’t take another 30 years.

    13. I don’t agree that discipline is the core or only problem here. Losing is caused by many factors, and there is not a simple, algebraic solution. It’s more like calculus.

      Certainly, Brian Kelly has brought on this reaction from the fan base. He has shown a volatile temper, and the team’s play reflects his personality. Additionally, he has taken some risks on recruiting kids, which have backfired and hurt the team. Finally, he has over-analyzed the situation at times, which has led to a head-strong approach and strategic errors, while having a quick trigger at other times.

      It’s hard to believe that there was a QB contest entering the season. Malik Zaire is a zone read, running option QB. He’s nowhere close to DeShone Kizer. It was a real blind spot for Brian Kelly. The problem is compounded since the QB has too many duties this season. A consistent commitment to the rushing game would aid this team; goals of 200 yards per game and 5 yards per carry are benchmarks to achieve. Instead, when in doubt, Brian Kelly always chooses to pass.

      The defensive deficiencies are well documented. However, Brian Kelly does not have a clear and compelling vision for success on defense. How else can we explain the difference between the Bob Diaco college defense and the Brian Van Gorder pro defense? At least on offense, he has a pass heavy spread philosophy.

      For special teams, fundamentals like blocking and tackling are most important. On wet and windy days, any good coach knows that special teams make the difference (like NC State).

      So yes, discipline is an issue, but it’s different than the point of this article. Discipline isn’t simply a commitment to try harder. It is choosing a consistent style and approach to implement and practice. By doing so, Brian Kelly can become more even-keeled and consistent, and the team will appear to be more disciplined.

    14. Michael Doran says:

      After the Big 12 decided not to expand yesterday Tom Herman will be the biggest name in play this offseason. Any interest?

    15. Because of his perceived recruiting successes and player development, I’ve been a Kelly supporter, even
      through some really bad in-game decisions. I think at this point his leadership has been shown to be smoke
      and mirrors. Recruiting has been uneven by year and position group; player development is not occurring;
      and the NC State game once again demonstrated his in-game incompetence. We are nowhere near the
      threshold for becoming a “Program.” A “Program” simply doesn’t go 2 and 5. The dilemma for Swarbrick is
      finding a head coach who can actually take us to the “Program” level. Who would want the job, with the
      constraints of academic standards, terrible weather, etc., etc.? I suspect that truly elite-level coaches
      wouldn’t touch the job, forcing selection of a “promising” young coach, which would be another crap
      shoot. Nevertheless, the risk may be worth it if we can attract a dynamic, inspirational young coach, who,
      hopefully, doesn’t pepper every sentence with “you know…”. Is Sanford ready???

    16. But I also believe it’s the offensive strategy-read option is a finesse offense and as a result ‘soft’. Practice soft, play soft. Practice soft against #1 defense, defense becomes. I will take Lou’s three yards and a cloud of dust strategy. Ask Florida after the Cheerios Bowl.

    17. My question is ….is the administration likely to make a change now or at the end of the year? My instincts tell me no…they are not. Maybe next year. I just hope they find the coach who can come in here and win and win now. Just start playing better immediately. I can’t stand watching this much longer. And I also don’t want to hope the next guy in a few years can get it done. I am tired of that too. I do think Coach Kelly does some really good things especially on the offensive side of the ball but it is not enough and is inconsistant as well. I don’t thnik he is head caoch caliber for Notre Dame. The man that I want is Urban Meyer. He coached there. He loves Notre Dame and he is Catholic. He is…repeat…he is a coach and he wins. Everywhere he goes he wins and right away. Championships. Notre Dame needs to go get him, because there is no guessing or experimenting with him. He can and does know how to build a championship team and program. Anyway…I agree with the article and appreciate it. I just hope the administration will wake up and restore the one thing that built the entire university to what it is today. Championship college football.

    18. Brian Kelly is a small minded man who lacks character and vision . He is not a leader and is so pettyu he loses the respect of the players he recruits in very short order . He lost my respect when after a long rain delay he benched a great prospect , person and player , Dayne Crist and effectively ruined a guy who was one of the top QB’s in the nation . He did so because Michael Floyd had clipped on a touchdown run and because a nameless for now running back fumbled opn the goalline as we were about to score and South Florida recovered and returned it 99 yds for a touchdown .

      All of the productive players Kelly won with were recruited by Weis . Say what you want , there are no Rudolfs,Quins,Samadja’s,Teo’s ,Harrison Smith’s ,Clausen’s ,or Golden Tate’s at Notre dame . The closest things are Kizer ( a projected First Round Pick ) and Hunter Jr a sure high draft pick . NOw Kely is hell bent to destroy Kizer— ala Dayne Crist . Proof .. it tok and injury to gety Kizer a shot and now he bears the brunt of Kelly’s ignorqance and arrogance .

      Talk to parents of former Kelly players at ND and years prior . Not a very pretty picture . Backstabbing and minipulation are the two most often used adjectives .

      I guess it comes naturally since Daddy Swarbuck$ and Chickensh.. Jenkins and the guy hell bent to make ND Vanderbilt ( all class of ’77 BTW ….must have been a down year ) have sold and destroyed the real ND . From the left wing faculty to the blantant commercialization fo the ND brand the place I love is a national embarrasment . Our Lady deserves better . The Board of Fellows has abdicated their obligations and the BOD apparently has only a passing knowledge of the soul of the University .

      Yes , a change is needed . But the task is the same as in Washington . They all need to be thrown out . They have lost any semblance of connection with the real reason son ND once was the greatest undergraduate CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY IN THE WORLD . Sad thing is they ae so self absorbed they don’t see past their own very large noses .

      • Thank you for that comment about Dayne. He was not a bad QB but Kelly’s arrogance destroyed his opportunity and set the program back three years. It should be obvious now as we see Kelly trying to pull the likely 1st overall pick for a backup. Kelly is supposed to be a quarterback coach or guru but all of his quarterbacks have been trash. Kizer is the best quarterback Kelly has had at Notre Dame and he still wants to pull him out of the game, what a joke!

      • One could argue that ol Brian Kelly has ruined EVERY QB he has “worked with” during his seven seasons at Notre Dame. Each and every one of them.

        Lousy coach, in many respects. Not an impressive person at all, either.

        Seems better suited for some kind of GM/Director of Football Operations post, really.

        Or HC of the Chicago Bears.

    19. I definitely agree. People wonder what separates Alabama from the rest of the pack, and why they are so wildly successful. It’s pretty simple – Nick Saban is the *master* at instilling discipline in his players. It doesn’t matter who’s in the lineup either, the backups are just as great, patiently waiting for their turn. Of course it matters that the recruiting is superb, but Notre Dame’s hasn’t been far off. If (hypothetically speaking) Nick Saban was coaching for Notre Dame for the last 7 years, I think we’d see much of the same success he’s having at Alabama.

      The real problem though is that there is only one Nick Saban. There is only one Urban Meyer. These men separate themselves from the rest of the pack because they are disciplinarians, plain and simple. The task of the AD should be to find the next great disciplinarian out there. Tom Herman anyone? Chip Kelly is also worth a look after he gets run out of San Francisco at the end of the year, or pulls a Nick Saban and abandons ship early.

    20. I am curious as to what the TV ratings for the ND home games were in 2012 and 2015 as compared to this season??? Certainly this is available, this should be a driving factor and sadly evident to even the ND administration.

    21. My two cents worth is that the fish rots from the head down. Who can respect the leadership of the university itself? That permeates through the entire organization. But that’s just my two cents worth.

    22. White Eagle says:

      Hear’s a name that probably has no chance of accepting an offer from ND. He’ a successfully retired NFL coach. 59 years old. Originally from the Pittsburgh area. Was team captain and MVP at NC State under Lou Holtz. Has no college coaching experience and I’d hire him in a nano second. Would he come out of retirement for this job? Bill Cowher.

    23. It is time for Notre Dame to go get the elite coach. Meyer would be great but don’t think he will leave. What about the TCU coach, Washinton coach, or Wisconsin coach to name a few. Miles is over rated. I think the WI coach could be a good choice. He almost beat MI and OSU. Both of those schools plus WI would embarrass the Irish right now.
      There are some good players but line is overrated, receivers too young, secondary too young and of course the off field issues didn’t hep.
      When did the Irish truly push people around?? Early 90’s I recall.
      30 years is too long and this almost win a close game or big game is painful week in and out. Dominant coaches win these games.

    24. So true with discipline. I’ve kinda watched harbaugh from afar turn Michigan around in essentially one year with same players that had a terrible season before. You immediately saw a strong will to win and ability to find the toughest, most disciplined football players. He eliminated that fluff offense with denard, got more physical at point of attack, used tight ends and full backs, and made major leaps in defense from year one to two. Unsure if it’s sustainable, but they are no longer irrelevant.

      • What has Michigan won? Better yet what has Harbaugh won? At Stanford he had Luck, would he have won without Luck? And how many championships did he win with Luck – a player many say is a once n a 20 year talent. At SF he took the talent Singletary already amassed and had one year with an easy schedule. Now at Michigan he lost 3 his first year and this year he has not played anyone yet except Wisconsin.

    25. ND Dad 2010-2014 says:

      Why do we think only the top rated head coaches are our options at this point. Hire a football recruitment committee with people who Have PLAYED COLLEGE FOOTBALL and have a track record of success. The college football arena is loaded with assistant coaches who maybe perfect for the Notre Dame transition. Hire a young coach who has played the game with success. We have not had one in a very long time. Make this program relevant again with a head coach and staff who are relevant to the game today because they played it… not just coached it. I will put up one example and maybe ND nation can put in the rest. Penn State first year offensive coordinator Joe Moorehead. He’s been everywhere with success and his offense is putting up 30 + plus a game. He sets records at Fordham as a coach but more importantly as a player. ND nation I know you can bring more to the table for talk.

    26. Carlos Bauza says:

      ND Football is beyond Brian Kelly’s capacity.
      Kelly is misplaced. Must go.

    27. I was in the Army for 7 years. A *leader* like Kelly would’ve been handled differently during a battle. I’ve been going to ND games since I was 8. I’m 56 now. As others have said, the administration only cares about having the money rolling in. $150 for a ticket to game? The only other college team I follow is Wisconsin. I think we paid $75 for our tickets to the Illinois game. Does any other schools try to stick it to the fan base like ND?

      • “Does any other schools try to stick it to the fan base like ND?”

        Yes. Most of the higher profile schools do.

        • Yes, Ohio State has market driven pricing
          Ie UM v Ohio state is a premium game at 150 face
          Ohio State v akron non premium game at 85 face

    28. I agree with the gentleman above who said the entire Administration, Board of Directors, AD, Headcoach …..all need to go. They have over the course of 28 years destroyed Notre Dame Footbal and the proud Catholic University it once was. He is right on…it is just about like Washington DC. A total mess. I’d give anything if the fans would stop attending the games and people quit watchng them. Maybe then they would get the message. Like everything else in America…we just talk and never do anything, while the others keep doing what they want and get the results they want. If this makes some of you upset…I apologize.

      My opinion is that Kelly will probably win a game (probably Miami) or two and keep his job for another year…. and then in another year or two…they will hire another experiment.

    29. irishhawk50 says:

      I always gave Kelly the benefit of the doubt maybe because I am old enough to remember many bad Irish coaches going back to Joe Kuharich, but after 7 years of him even I feel he must go. However, I don’t think ND will get rid of him after this year maybe next year if another sub-par year.

      Realistically very few teams are going to live up to what Notre Dame was in the past, but with all Notre Dame has going for it the recent results are not acceptable. One thing I think is clear is that all the side “improvements” (field turf, future jumbotron, training table, clown uniforms, etc.) have not brought about a better result on the field which should be the ultimate goal (taking as a given good academic and citizen behavior)

      Unfortunately, Notre Dame does not have a good record in picking coaches. Considering how badly they misfired on the previous string it would have appeared on paper that Kelly was a good choice, but he has under performed. Time to move on.

    30. Winning is truly a habit. It is evoked by attitude and driven by culture. Saban, Meyer, Harbaugh, Swinney, even Chris Petersen while at Boise (and now at Washington) all bought into this mantra. Their players followed suit. Vince Lombardi once said “Winning isn’t a sometimes thing; it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while; you don’t do things right once in a while; you do them right all of the time.”

      It has been proven that top talent can still be lured to Notre Dame. Davie, Willingham, Weis, and Kelly, along will their staffs, proved they could recruit with the best in the country. This was evidenced when all four had their best years with the previous coaches players.

      Scheme doesn’t matter. Offensive and defensive style doesn’t matter. Why do Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, and now Michigan run teams into the ground using simplistic packages on both sides of the ball? The answer is culture and a deep understanding by their respective coaching staffs that simple is better. Fast is better. Strong is better. Ball security is better. Proper form blocking and tackling is better. Strapping up and playing a full 60 minutes is better. Winning is better.

      ND needs a change in culture. ND needs a coach who young men want to play for and more importantly win for. In return, players need a coach who wants to win for them and wants nothing more than for them to succeed on and off the field. A true leader who will push them to be their absolute best.

      I’ll end on this: P.J. Fleck could be the best hire Notre Dame has had since Lou Holtz. I do not care where you are coaching, going from 1-11 in 2013 to 7-0 so far in 2016 before a single graduating class walks across the stage means you have flipped the culture of that program 180-degrees. Maybe Swarbrick should canoe up the St. Joseph River and let P.J. “Row The Boat” downstream to South Bend.

      Go Irish, Beat Canes.

    31. Allen Sell,'62 says:

      Great article! 7 yrs of BK and we still aren’t a “program”? Too much wasted talent! His “Game Plan” never changes-pass first and then run the. same running plays that don’t work
      work. Also, everything by committee-there will never be any consistency, discipline or confidence. Just some of my thoughts because BK has had his chances and enough is enough.

    32. The Hawk '65 says:

      Don’t know what happened to my previous post about a prospective coach, but I proposed Pat Fitzgerald of Northwestern. He’s young (41), but experienced, Irish (presumably Catholic), smart, and knows how to motivate and coach football players at an elite academic institution. His track record for nine+ years at NU has been up and down, with two good seasons. Nevertheless, with the talent and pull at ND, he could do wonders. Despite being a loyal Northwestern alum, rabid Chicago fan (South Bend’s close enough) and a contract that goes to 2021, I believe we could lure Fitzgerald with the right package. We did pretty well with the last Northwestern coach we hired.

      • Mike Coffey says:

        He hates ND with a passion, so that’s a non-starter.

        • Correct. Fitzgerald has made it abundantly clear he has no interest in the ND job.

        • The Hawk '65 says:

          Unless his Fitzgerald family is from Northern Ireland, i.e. he’s a Prod) and an avowed anti-Papist, I can’t believe he’d turned down and fat seven-figure deal to coach the Irish. Maybe Ara can put in the good word.

        • His record is 46 – 36 record (56.1%) in the last seven years and 1-3 in bowl games. I know he does not have the same material as ND.. However, they do play a number of lower level non conference schools each year and there are a some easy wins.. I know they play the big boys in the Big 10. I know he is 1 – 0 vs Irish. Not saying he is a bad coach.. He is not Ara.

    33. Avon Domer says:

      I agree 100 percent about the total lack of discipline that we’ve seen the last few years. Obviously, players can be involved with marijuana with impunity at Notre Dame, which totally astounds me. It’s obvious to me that the only defense being played in South Bend this season is by defense attorneys. Regarding Kelly, all of you are going to scream at me at the top of your lungs, but I believe Swarbrick with give him next season to turn this around. I could be wrong, but remember I said this when I’m right. If Jack does send Kelly packing, who do you all want to see take his place who can recruit real student-athletes to come to Notre Dame and win a championship. I have no idea who that would be, so I’d love to know your thoughts on this. Thanks!

      • No one can. It would be fantastic to see Urban and Saban try and see how they fare. My hypothesis is they would lose three a year, and pull off some peak seasons with a 1 loss.

        Academic Rigor and back-to-back, back-to-back, back-to-back 12 and 1 season cannot coexist, sorry. Holtz didn’t even do it, the 90s were mostly three loss years.

        Back when football was played by 30 universities it could, but it wasn’t even a game played by the country’s best athletes, b/c only “university men” played football, it was like rowing is today.

        And you might say stanford is a example. Yes, they’ve one a NY6 or BCS bowl. But they have a steady stable of opponents year over year which they gameplan against. In our environment we’re acc affiliated once, big ten affiliated next, no consistancy in opponents, which i think is a major factor in their ability to win their conference and then go play in a BCS/NY6 bowl.

    34. I know I’m probably alone on this but I think the root cause of our failure is a lack of top recruits. Sure we get our fair share or three and four star players. But we annually miss out on the very top guys. Jaylon and Te’o are a couple rare exceptions and they were two of the best players of any Kelly team. And yes sometimes we find a low four star player that makes it big (Fuller). I’m not saying we need 5-6 top 50 recruits per year like Alabama and OSU. But we need 2-3 per year so that we can have more true impact players. Especially on defense. This failing is on Kelly alone. It’s the Jimmys and Joes, not the Xs and Os — or discipline.

    35. Sloppy and undisciplined play is what we’ve largely been treated to under Kelly’t seven year tenure and it seems next year is always THE year that everything comes together and then it doesn’t. That’s what Kelly is now selling us in his press conferences. We have yet to see even glimpses of championship football and if we haven’t seen it by year seven then we never will.

      If Kelly gets canned after this season then the administration needs to find the best possible coach who has a track record of relative success as a college head coach. Not some up and coming assistant and probably not even Tom Herman who barely has two years under his belt. Herman is the flavor of the month just like Kelly was back in 2010, although Herman has proven he can beat highly ranked teams unlike Kelly who really never beat anyone significant.

      I don’t even know if many coaches would be interested but maybe I’m just too cynical. But it’s time for a change at the top.

    36. Kelly has not developed the talent he recruited. His teams are not disciplined. There has been no real improvement over the past 7 years. He has blamed his players for virtually everything. He needs to get out of South Bend. Who should replace him. I think there are many people who can do a better job than him

    37. Wonderful article. The only Brian Kelly statistic that needs to be considered is wins and losses. In four of his seven seasons, he has lost at least five games. And why do we lose so much? Blocking and tackling. We don’t do it. I remember standing in front of Sorin Hall in January of 1964, when newly hired coach, Ara Parseghian was talking to students from Sorin Hall’s porch. Someone yelled out a question about winning national championships. Coach Parseghian responded by saying that he couldn’t comment on national championships, and then he said, “But I will promise you one thing. We will block, and we will tackle, and if we do that, the wins will come”. Well, his teams blocked and his teams tackled, and the wins came. In 11 years, he only lost 17 games. We need to hire a successful college coach who understands and coaches blocking and tackling. Then the wins will come.

    38. Kelly has consistently manifested an inability to control himself. A coach who cannot exhibit self discipline will not be able to develop a team of players who are disciplined.

      From all appearances, Kelly never got out of the “terrible two’s” stage of life. It shows in his team.

      He has to go.

      • This comment doesn’t make much sense. And sometimes the best teachers are the ones that are the most intollerant of mistakes. See Bob Knight, Eddie Robinson, Mike Ditka, Bill Parcells, or Vince Lumbardi. So yelling at players who make mistakes is not a bad thing.

        • If Kelly were winning most of his games and had won a national championship…no one above would care that much whether or not he was yelling at players or seemed out of control at times. So many of the great coaches were tough with their players during and after the games on the practice field. Saban is extremely tough. Woud you take him and about four national championships. I say not many would care if he ran up and down the sidelines carrying a chain saw if he was doing for Notre Dame what he is doing for Alabama. Do you read any complaints from Alabama fans that he loses his composure too much or yells too much at his players and coaches. There aren’t any!

    39. Kelly should be fired. Don’t like his inability to rise above 8-5 but once. Don’t like that he screams red faced at kids on the sidelines if they make a mistake. Don’t like the trajectory in recruiting – either for talent or thuggery. Don’t like that he chose and stuck with Van Gorder long past the point it was clear the best defense in the country, a dynasty level defense program in 2012, has steadily deteriorated ever since. There is nothing but more failure on the horizon for Kelly. Rip the bandaid off now. There will never be a Brian Kelly statue on the ND campus.

      I like Diaco (good recruiter and good defense) as a HC/DC. Bring in someone new on the offensive side. The only one recruiting quality players now appears to be Hiestand. Keep him, clean out the rest.

      • Diaco?? Really? He definately is not the answer. All credibilty lost with your reference to Diaco. Not a good coach.

    40. Great article and many great comments… from Kelly’s introduction (My System & hiring hus D3 coaches) onward to all of his Hollywood presentation, he has learned nothing about Notre Dame and the AD has no choice to to get him to resign. Football is important part of Notre Dame… if $150 per ticket is not the answer, as well as $800 for 2 nights (Fri and Sat) what is the administration’s answer. Many have made the decision to forgo a 2016 Alumni Fund donation and many will not be in the stadium as long as Hollywood Brian graces OUR University. Rev Jenkins has to get one thing right.

      • Avon Domer says:

        Swarbrick needs to get Kelly to resign? Kelly has a contract through 2021 and would be forfeiting $$millions if he resigned. The only way he’d ever do that is to leave for another job, and who would hire him now?

    41. Felipe Cardenas says:

      We won’t be good like were in the 90s for a very long time. It’s a damn shame.

    42. The problem remains finding the right coach. This regime is not working out and it would seem that most coaches not making $1mm+ from ND are secretly looking for their next job given the program instability. Recruits are pulling their verbal commitments. Time for a change. There are plenty of coaches to choose from and ND is still a great job. As regards those who complain about the weather at ND being an impediment to hiring a premier coach, Michigan and OSU experience the same bad weather and that did not prevent their coaches from moving from California and Florida, respectively.

      • Take either the Air Force or Navy coaches. Both do great jobs with highly restricted talent. Why can’t ND be the team taking out opponents at the knees each week! If you want DISCIPLINE these guys can dish it out like nobody else. They are not used to guys going pro but could get used to it. I also like Fleck but he may be too big of a nutcase for ND. Should have given the job to Urban after the ’93 season and have enjoyed the previous dozen NC’s that would have followed. Kelly is a used car salesman with nothing left to sell. Get him off the lot. From a high level view, ND is not the same place as it was in the late 90’s and does not have the ability to be a power football program anymore. It’s the kind of school I always hated, the Duke of the midwest, a bunch of privileged pantie waste kids with SAT’s out the roof and they lack the ability to finish a single Hairy_Buffalo in one night. Maybe we can bring in Lane Kiffen and just finish off the program completely.

    43. They need to make a change now. Don’t wait like LSU did. We can’t give him another chance. Lets look at Tom Herman from Houston. He will probably leave now after Big 12 said no to adding any new teams. This is the easiest schedule Notre Dame has had in 10 years. They should be undefeated with all the talent. Its been bad coaching all year.

    44. Swarbrick was just quoted on ESPN.com that Kelly definitely is NOT coaching for his job, and will be leading the team out of the tunnel in 2017.

      I am hoping that this comment is merely to avoid a distraction during this season, but if not then Swarbrick needs to go right along with Kelly.

      This is an absolute disaster, from the athletic director to the coach. I have a feeling that Swarbrick and Kelly are tied together in this mess and ND has to lose both in order to move forward.

      Something tells me that both Swarbrick and Kelly are here next season, and that things will get worse.

      Such a proud program once. Now, it’s in shambles.

    45. Swarbrick: “we need a new offense, new defense, new special teams and a new strategy. Other than that, Brian Kelly is doing a fine job.”

      • “We have a great car here at Notre Dame, and our head mechanic is doing a fantastic job keeping it going. True, the engine doesnt run well, the transmission slips, the body has more holes in it than a Swiss Cheese factory, the tires are flat, and we’re still using 8Track technology when other teams are using WiFi/Bluetooth music, but remember: we get the greatest parts from around the country, and dont these parts know where they are?

        Obviously, it’s not our mechanic, it’s the driver. Theoretically, this car can go from 0-60 in 3 seconds if it had tires, etc. but that’s on the driver. Still, week after week, our head mechanic continues to put the polish on this turd while trying to sell us on his great work. Unfortunately, the final results are all that matters – this car needs junked and rebuilt with a competent, up to speed mechanic who knows how to both build the car with all these great parts, but continue to make it better every game.”

        My God, I am thankful this team is on a Bye week. I have no doubts that Brian Kelly is coaching this polished turd up for their upcoming debacle against Miami U, and that at least 4-5 players will be benched because they’re not executing Kelly’s boring and predictable offense to the letter.

        This season cant end soon enough. I never thought, as a ND fan, that I would say that.

        Swarbrickb- resign and take your pet monkey Kelly with you. If I’m the university, I’d see if they can mitigate that horrible and undeserved extension Kelly got. Obviously they learned nothing from the Charlie Weis incident.

    46. james twarek says:

      I agree. Maybe its time for Swarbrick to go.

    47. Let’s not forget Matt Rhule of Temple as a possible replacement although he might need a few more years under his belt. Swarbrick just said Kelly will be back in 2017 and I can only conclude that Kelly will remain coach for life since the university has lowered their expectations for the football program. Success has been defined downward as a winning record and a bowl game. In other words MEDIOCRITY is the new norm under the Swarbrick Kelly partnership.

      If that’s the goal then ND should just join the B1G so they can be a punching bag for Michigan and tOSU.

    48. Has $warbrick thrown down the gauntlet? Or is this a stall tactic?

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