The independent voice of Notre Dame Athletics

  • Get Used To It

    by John Vannie

    Notre Dame managed to stumble into another inexplicable defeat on Saturday, as the Irish handed a 28-27 gift to the previously unheralded and decidedly mediocre Tulsa Golden Hurricane. The visitors had taken the lead with 3:23 remaining on a 27-yard field goal, but freshman quarterback Tommy Rees led Notre Dame well within kicker David Ruffer’s range as the clock ticked down. With the ball resting between the hash marks at the Tulsa 19 yard line and 45 seconds left, Irish coach Brian Kelly had a better idea.

    The Irish simply needed to set up the chip shot for Ruffer, call timeout, and send the Hurricane packing. Whether his strategy was driven by a fatal devotion to the pass regardless of the game situation, or simply an over-inflated ego, Kelly was not satisfied with such a mundane finish. Instead, he ordered Rees to launch his 54th pass of the day. As one might expect in this season marked by boneheaded play calls, Tulsa’s John Flanders made an all too easy interception in the end zone to seal the victory.

    The loss overshadowed encouraging performances by Rees and the much maligned Notre Dame defense. Rees was pressed into service when Dayne Crist was knocked out of action at the end of a 29-yard scramble by a hit near the Irish sideline. The hard-luck Crist, who injured his right knee on October 31, 2009, suffered a torn patella tendon in his left knee in the early moments of the game. Rees came in and threw for 334 yards and four touchdowns, but his third interception of the game will be remembered above the rest of his passes.

    Notre Dame defense started a bit shaky, but settled down after the first quarter to smother the Hurricane until a critical breakdown led to Kevin Fitzpatrick’s winning field goal. The Irish held Tulsa scoreless on nine consecutive possessions from the beginning of the second period until late in the fourth, and forced two turnovers in this stretch. Unfortunately, poor coverage on a third and 26 pass by G.J. Kinne to Ricky Johnson enabled Tulsa to convert, and a 32 yard pass to Genesis Cole two plays later set up Fitzpatrick.

    The game had the makings of a shootout in the early going. Tulsa drew first blood with an impressive first drive, and Notre Dame was attempting to answer when Crist went down. Rees provided a spark with quick, pinpoint passes, and his ten yard bullet to Michael Floyd completed the drive that Crist had initiated. Instead of a 7-7 tie, however, Tulsa blocked the extra point and returned it for two points.

    The Hurricane extended its 9-6 lead by three points on the ensuing series after a 37 yard field goal. A solid kickoff return by Bennett Jackson set up another well-execute drive by Rees, and the Irish took a 13-12 lead when T.J. Jones grabbed a short pass and pitched it back to Cierre Wood, who streaked into the end zone from 23 yards. This play seemed to energize Notre Dame’s defense, who immediately forced a Hurricane punt. When return man John Goodman fumbled it at his own 14, the Irish defense rose to the task and ultimately forced an errant field goal attempt by Fitzpatrick.

    Notre Dame took advantage of the momentum swing to complete another long scoring march. After a 21 yard reverse by Jackson off a fake punt kept the drive alive, Rees hit Floyd again for a 20-12 advantage midway through the second stanza. Tulsa’s offense went into a funk, and the Irish were looking to pad their lead just before intermission.

    As has been the case in several games this season, Notre Dame hurt itself with a key mistake at the end of the half. This time, a screen pass by Rees was tipped by a Tulsa player and intercepted by linebacker Shawn Jackson, who returned it for a 66 yard touchdown with only 37 seconds remaining. The Hurricane failed to tie the game with a two-point conversion, so the Irish led by 20-18.

    Tulsa began the second half with a promising drive, but Darrin Walls recovered a fumble deep in Irish territory at the end of an 18-yard run by Ja’Terian Douglas. Rees went back to work and directed an 81-yard march that resulted in his fourth touchdown pass. Wood was on the receiving end of this one from four yards, and Notre Dame led 27-18 midway through the third quarter.

    The teams then traded defensive stops, but Notre Dame came up short on this exchange. Damaris Johnson took an Irish punt, eluded the first wave of tacklers and burst 59 yards for a score to trim the lead to 27-25. Neither offense could generate a threat from that point as the game moved well into the last period.

    It appeared that Notre Dame would hold on after a sack and offensive pass interference penalty on Ricky Johnson put the Hurricane in the 3rd and 26 hole, but Johnson managed to get open downfield for a 31-yard gain that devastated the Irish. Although the defense kept Tulsa out of the end zone, Fitzpatrick’s field goal provided the narrowest of winning margins.

    One can point to a number of individual plays that could have changed the outcome. The blocked extra point resulted in a negative impact of three points, and Jackson’s interception return accounted for seven while preventing the Irish from adding a field goal on that drive. The punt return by Damaris Johnson was as much a breakdown by Notre Dame as a great play by the speedy all-purpose athlete.

    Despite each of these failures by the Irish, the pain of a loss might have been avoided if Ruffer had been afforded a chance to send 80,000 fans home happy. Instead, gutty performances by several players were wasted, and the 4-5 Irish will most likely end their season in Los Angeles at the end of November rather than at a bowl game. Kelly defended his all-or-nothing approach after the game, stating that the aggressive play will continue and Notre Dame fans should “get used to it”. Unfortunately, the only thing Irish faithful have gotten used to in recent years is losing to teams with inferior talent.

    Let’s take a final look at the questions raised in the pregame analysis.

    Will Notre Dame be ready emotionally to battle another highly motivated opponent? The team started slowly on both sides of the ball, but played with heart after the first couple of series.

    Can Crist find the accuracy and consistency needed to win? Sadly, Crist will not have a chance to finish the year with a flourish. Rees’ performance was a pleasant surprise, but Tulsa’s pass defense is the nation’s worst.

    Will the depleted Irish defense allow Tulsa to convert third downs at a 50% clip? The Hurricane were held to 6 for 16, but the 3rd and 26 conversion was a game-changer.

    Can the Irish avoid costly turnovers? Ummm, no.

    Will Floyd’s presence be enough to lift Notre Dame’s offense? Floyd was outstanding – 11 receptions, 104 yards and two touchdowns.

    Which team’s 3-4 defense will do a better job of stopping the run? Tulsa had over 200 yards rushing to 125 for Notre Dame. Crist accounted for 29 of these on his ill-fated scramble.

    Will the Irish be strong enough to overcome adversity during the game? Absolutely. The players fought through the loss of Crist, and both defensive and special teams scores by Tulsa. They deserved better than the utterly indefensible decision by Kelly.

    Notre Dame has a bye next weekend before facing Utah in the final game in Notre Dame Stadium this season. Players such as Floyd, Theo Riddick, Jamoris Slaughter and Carlo Calabrese have a chance to get completely healthy, while Crist, Armando Allen and Ian Williams are likely out for the duration. A more important goal for the Irish, however, is to repair the confidence that has been shattered in the wake of two deflating losses to teams they must know they should have beaten. The Notre Dame community as a whole must never get used to this.

    78 Responses to “Get Used To It”

    1. Kelly’s Hero’s are definitely learning on the job!!! What was he thinking???

    2. The performance of this team is unexplainable. Lose at home to Tulsa. Get run out of the building by Navy Yet hang with the likes of Stanford and Michigan State. What gives? It’s a different deficiency exposed each time. Most of the time we can’t run the ball. Other times we don’t tackle well. Then we lose the turnover battle. Our opponents throw in a wrinkle we haven’t seen and we don’t make the adjustments in time. The only complete game was against Purdue, but it turns out they are terrible. What appeared to be improvement over last year’s team has been nothing more than a facade. This team doesn’t know how to compete for four quarters and win. Whatever special quality that Notre Dame football demonstrated in the golden eras of the past has been lost for a very long time. And I do not have any confidence that it will return any time in the near future. A great tradition of winning football has been slowly and methodically dismantled.

    3. If recruiting goes well – ND may earn a berth to a BCS Bowl in 2014. It’s going to be a long climb. A true mess.

    4. And to think I predicted ND 7-5 this year! Such lofty expectations.

      • Jimbo,
        I, too, thought we’d be 7-5, and that was taking into account that I predicted we’d start 2-3 as we did. Even going along with the thinking that it “has to get worse before it gets better” I’m stunned by this performance. It’s easy to be a Sunday morning QB or coach, and I’m sure lots of folks are guilty of thinking that they could have coached the Irish to a win yesterday…I just think this may be the first time where “lots of folks” are actually right.

    5. What the hell was Kelly thinking? It is not like we don’t have a good kicker.
      Run the ball and kick it. At least Rees can start learning for 2011 and 2012.
      Right now the 2012 schedule looks like a HUGE undertaking…

      Go Irish!

    6. Fundamentals are totally lacking. As bad as Kelly’s playcall was, the lack of blocking by the o line in either run plays or pass protection is horrific and will doom ND for years to come as long as Kelly is running the show.

      Similarly, poor tacking and failure to generate a pass rush along w/ a dc who is in way over his head, ie
      can;t figure out how to stop the veer – even though hapless Duke beat Navy today, foreshadows bad
      defense for the balance of the Kelly era.

      I must find something to do on Saturdays until ND releases Kelly in 3 or 4 years after a series of 4-8, 5-7 and maybe a 6-6 season if he;s lucky.

    7. Robotron2084 says:

      i have alot to type about,but ill leave it at that.

    8. I was excited for Kelly’s hire, but I’m starting to second guess that enthusiasm. I’m a firm believer in 4 years for any coach to firmly establish their program and prove themselves, but losing to Tulsa is not acceptable. Scheduling Tulsa isn’t acceptable. People used to give me grief about our team because they were jealous, now they give me pity because we are terrible.

      Can anything be done? Can anyone get this job done? I will continue to hope so, but I am becoming skeptical.

    9. What hurt more: this loss or having ABC place the score of the Duke / Navy game right after the score of this game on their ‘ticker’ during the Oregon / So. Cal game last night? Duke!

      My heart goes out to the Lads for everything they have had to endure this week, and season, the past few seasons.

      This team should be easily 6-3 or 7-2 possibly 8-1. How Duke could beat Navy but ND could not is beyond me. Take the points was the only call (I don’t have to tell you the game or the 1/2). That’s coaching. Cover away from the line is the only call for any O/T field goal. That’s coaching. Take the fullback. That’s coaching. Setup the field goal with a chance to win on an 18 for 18 kicker at the end of the game. That’s coaching.

      Mr. Kelly, this may have been (past tense?) your dream job. This is not a dream, sir; this is reality. Welcome to our collective nightmare.

      Midshipmen, Orange, Midshipment, Huskies, Midshippmen, and now a Weather Event.

      Where has the legacy and tradition of Notre Dame football and what it has meant to millions around the world gone?

    10. What really irked me was Kelly acting as if he had showed Rees such grace by telling him it was “ok” after the final interception. This game was lost by Kelly. Is it going to be another long 4-5 years?

    11. even weis would not have called for a pass at the end of the game….nor would 90 % of college coaches……unlike charlie our boy brian will not be granted 5 years to get things corrected……a season that started out well [in as far as the team appeared competitive] has come crashing down……swarbrick must be shaking his head

    12. Did he really say ” we are going to play smart”? DUH

    13. marleyman says:

      As a forty year fan, I have come to the conclusion that ND should join the Ivy League. While young man Rees had a promising day, our lads basically stink. No defense (couldn’t stop Tulsa??), no running game, and an overall lack of toughness. In the Holtz years we expected to win every game. I knew going into the 4th quarter yesterday, we would find a way to lose. This season is lost. Hopefully, Kelly will get recruits that can help Rees run the spread. When I come up for our road trip game next year, I will be proudly dressed in my Air Force gear (daughter attends) knowing that AF will pound the snot out of my beloved Irish. I always cheer for the service academies; they understand discipline, toughness, and committment. The Irish USED TO understand and embrace these qualities.

    14. I have never been so angry about the finish of a game. And then to hear Kelly in the post-game press conference shrug off questions about the last play call. I don’t see how Notre Dame can ever overcome idiotic coaching. And now Kelly says his priority is to win 2 of 3 so they can be bowl eligible. Does anyone really believe this team deserves a bowl game? This is yet another statement by Kelly that gives me serious pause. It all makes me sick.

    15. Don’t give up yet faithful. While I’m at a loss to understand that last play, we have to give Kelly a chance. Growing pains folks…and a totally new offense and defense Let.’s see how he recruits and does with his own guys.

    16. While this was a very disappointing loss, I have no problem with Kelly trying a shot at the endzone. Tulsa had already blocked an extra point so why not try the end zone if you have a chance instead of risking a field goal where so many things could go wrong (bobbled snap, wind issues, block)? Unfortunately Rees made a freshman error and tried to force a pass instead of throwing it away. Tulsa came in with the worse pass defense in college football and made one great play by defending what everyone else thought would be a certain run play.

    17. A bad call by Kelly and a worse decision by Rees – he could have just thrown the ball away instead of into double coverage, but the difference between his play in this game and his play in the 1st half of the Michigan game is huge. Crist will have a fight on his hands next year for the starter’s slot, not to mention two red-shirts.

      We are building depth – Eifert was ok, Cynar was pretty good – and hopefully character.

      And hopefully payback memories – this will pass.

    18. Lets not run this coach out of town just yet. We are all disappointed with the season and I have already prepared myself for the long wait until next season. I hope none of you will attack his character and family in the way many did to Charlie Weis. Although I was not a Weis fan from the very beginning what was said about him and how he and his family was treated was disgraceful for a community of Chrisitan people.

      Yes, I didn’t agree with the last call but I do believe that champions have to think the way Brian Kelly thinks. Champions are risk takers, plain and simple. You roll the dice and sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

    19. Last week, for the lst time in my life (I’m 73), I could no any longer watch Notre Dame football. I turned off the TV in the 4th quarter.
      This week, the incredible call by Coach Kelly left me bewildered. I could not believe what he chose to do. A new low was achieved! Emotionally draining, it left me with the desire to jump ship, to longer watch another game until the program, if ever, righted itself.
      I’m out of making excuses! Will I tune in to the Utah game? Probably. However, the emotional investment is gone and it will take more than a win or two to get it back.

    20. Kelly is just not ready for this stage. He consistently is out coached and his ego to throw every play is hurting this team. He had one of the top kickers in the country well in range of making this and he put the game on a Freshman QB’s arm. Ridiculous! I am sick of ND hiring coaches who are low tier and do not have a grip on big time football. This has been going on way to long and I am not sure ND will ever turn this around. Recruits as well as enrolled athletes will continue to bolt and go to programs that matter.

    21. NYSubAlum says:

      That pass call that lost the game demonstrates BK is NOT the man to run ND football and will not be successful here. It’s about winning games, not hot dogging a TD to “finish off” the opponent. He has been worse by far than CWeis’s worst year. This year is a disaster and frankly, we should fire him for yesterday and hire Jim Harbaugh.

    22. This team is a joke. Id bench every senior on this team. Maybe the juniors can show some leadership and heart.

    23. squeeze77 says:

      The greatest loss will be the 15 missed practices from not going to even a lower -tiered bowl, which they would have accepted this year. That list of recruits on the right-hand side of this site need to be maintained at all costs. Kelly’s brain-fart is so fricking inexcusable- I haven’t yelled at my TV that much since the 1974 USC game.

    24. TimmyIrish says:

      Have we hit rock bottom yet? Every time I think we have, it continues to get worse. The loss of Declan Sullivan should not be overshadowed by any football loss; not letting the team have a chance at victory by setting up for an easy field goal is indefensibly mystifying.
      Anyone have a chicken we can sacrifice in the locker room…or something like that!

    25. I had been told by several well informed people that Kelly was ” The Guy”. I bought into the hype and was very excited about this season. My rational side now concedes that there is a very deep problem at ND. First the talent does not equal the performance. The players are sluggish at best and look very slow. Some of that may be recruiting but I have a suspicion that it reflects the coaching. Teams like Navy and Tulsa have more enthusiasm/energy on both sides of the ball. The play calling is nothing short of terrible. I do not care what your”system” is. You have to play to your players strengths. The fact that Brian Kelly is clueless could not be more evident than when he has a kicker who has made 18 FG’s in a row and is looking at a 37 yard FG with two downs remaining. Kelly decides to let a true freshman throw a lofted pass in the end zone with doubkle coverage. Inexplicable! Anyone else would have run short plays, safe plays to set up what would have been a chip shot. Either Kelly has no faith in his kicker, his line, his runnny backs etc. or he his an ego maniac. If the former is true then what hope do they have next year?

    26. “Kelly defended his all-or-nothing approach after the game, stating that the aggressive play will continue … ”

      How about INTELLIGENT aggressive play? This is football; everybody is aggressive. Just get the W, nobody cares about style points.

    27. Rich in Indy says:

      I watched every Cincinnati game last year hoping Kelly would be recruited by ND. I was very impressed with the physical condition of the athletes and the enthusiasm on the sidelines. They played hard and never gave up. As the season progresses (or regresses) it becomes harder and harder to defend Kelly’s game time decisions. You have a field goal kicker that has been PERFECT 18 times in a row and you chose to attempt a pass into coverage on a key receiver??? You don’t like winning Brian, but you deserve to lose this one because of your dumb decision. I am glad there are other exciting college games to watch this season with teams that are executing better and being coached better. Lou Holtz did an amazing job with kids with limitted talent his first couple of years becasue he capitalized on their strengths and outcoached the opposition. . .and won a National Championship in his THIRD year as did Ara and Devine. Two more years to build Kelly. . .

    28. Kelly isnt even worthy of coaching inter-hall. He is a joke. His team gets humiliated by Navy last week. Navy loses to powerhouse Duke yesterday. ND loses to a JV team yesterday.Looks promising for upcoming Utah

    29. Ruffer can nail them from 40 all day long. This would have been a chip shot for David. Brian needs to wake up and realize he’s not coaching in the minor league anymore. Keep it up Brian and you’ll be looking for employment at the lower level soon. Shame on you for handing that game over to Tulsa the way you did. Wonder what your players are thinking about this morning.

    30. Get used to what? Losing to Tulsa because you want to win by 6 not 2? I’m sorry but that decision cannot go unchecked. It cannot go unexplained. If we all made a similiar decision in our respective fields of employment we can all agree our job security would be highly doubtful. Get used to it? The more I hear it the more it resonates that he has no clue how to lead. Yesterday provided a chance to spark something that hinted at Irish lore, a last minute drive by a backup freshman QB throwing to second and third
      teamers, down by 1 gets the ball in perfect position for a downwind chipshot for arguably one of the best kickers in the nation. But no, lets call a jumpball, a play he criticized mightily before the season, a play that I’m sure Rees doesn’t practice much with Flloyd, a 50/50 ball?? WTF??

      Kick the ball and win, confidence that a team devastated by tragedy and injuries so desperately needs is inexplicably lost. I truly thought BK was going to be the answer, and he might be one day, but what I have seen so far is not Notre Dame material, far far from it…

    31. The only hope we have is to make Jon Gruden a offer he can not refuse. BK is in way over his head!

    32. irishhawk50 says:

      The loss is clearly on Kelly’s shoulders. There was no excuse for not simply kicking the field goal at the end of the game and his defense of his call in the post game bordered on arrogance. Fool me once….
      Kelly says he never reads blogs, but maybe he should. He owed these kids who have worked hard all year a victory and it was easily in grasp. He also talked about the need to get to 6-6 and be bowl eligible. It would be a lot easier with a victory over Tulsa than now having to beat either Utah or USC plus Army to get there. By the way, I see powerhouse Duke beat Navy yesterday.

    33. I have been around since Terry Brennan and Joe Kuharich. Of course I am use to it. Losing is a big part of the tradition.

    34. And I used to think Weis made the worst strategic decisions. Kelly surpasses Weis in terms of bone headed calls! It has been almost 20 years since ND was relevant on the national scene. At this rate, I see another 20 years passing with the same sorry state of affairs existing.

    35. IMHO, three reasons why Notre Dame continually loses to inferior opponents.
      1. The running game is putrid.
      2. The defense giving up a 3rd and 26 in which Tulsa subsequently kicks the game winner.
      3. There is absolutely positively no reason to throw the ball from the 20 yard line with 40 seconds left with a kicker standing on the sidelines who has converted 18 straight. Was Weis in the booth calling the plays?

    36. Things have gotten so bad so fast that I’m almost speechless. Navy trounces ND 35-17 then almost gets waxed by 1-6 Duke before falling in respectable fashion. Then Tulsa waltzes in to ND stadium and makes ND look like a Conference USA foe. Are we in the twilight zone?

      ND might want to consider hiring Tyrone Willingham as a consultant. At least he could beat the weak and mediocre teams on the schedule. Kelly struggles even at that.

      I hope at least a few recruits keep their commitment in light of this unfolding debacle.

    37. IrishMoon says:

      I disagree with Urq. This team has shown progress despite missing over half our offensive position players, but the playcalling has been atrocious. The defense only gave up 13 points and some of those on very short fields. Team played with heart after an emotional week and Kelly pissed away their effort. I really hope he figures it out.

    38. Jack Timmes '65 says:

      Our Defensive scheme has no solution for Navy.

      David Ruffner is a Groza semifinalist.
      A field goal from the 19 yard line wins the game.
      Instead, we throw it up into the endzone???
      What were they thinking???

    39. Absolutely embarrasing. The coach should feel very fortunate he still has a job. I think that meatball is in WAY over his head. One run up the middle and a manageable field goal and ND would have had the win. When you come up with some chicken s!#t call that has your freshman QB lobbing a duck 10 yards underthrown in the end zone, you’re a moron. Kelly can try to spin this any way he wants, but I know that even Weiss wouldn’t have called that.

      Notre Dame fans may need to change their expectations moving forward. I believe that our peers are now Vanderbilt, Northwestern and Stanford. I also believe that any of these teams would WHACK an outcoached Irish team this year. Hell, Stanford already did.

      Couldn’t make one adjustment to even slow Navy up. Couldn’t beat the team with the WORST pass defense in the country on your own field. Disgusting.

      The fallout for this could be devestating. I look for kids to start de-commiting and I don’t think Kelly will pull in any more blue chippers this year. I thought this guy was going to be great, I’m afraid I was wrong.

      I wonder if the “Fire Brian Kelly” websites are staring to pop up. If not, maybe they should. I guess some “Mickey Mouse” coaches should just coach at “Mickey Mouse” schools.

    40. Sooner and more so than any of his predecessors, it is clear that Brian Kelly cannot successfully coach ND. Anyone who refuses to recognize mistakes cannot possibly correct them. From everything he has said & done since last December, BK has made it clear that he believes he learned everything he ever need to know from his time at Central Michigan. His ego won’t let him adjust, change, understand that he has to step up, and Kelly has repeatedly failed to accept accountability for his mistakes and shortcomings. Yesterday’s was the worst — “utterly indefensible” is an apt description of what everyone in the stadium and everyone on TV knew was a horrible decision. In the press conference, he not only insisted it was the right call, but he threw his frosh QB under the bus, too. His vow “get used to it” is denial at its ultimate — he (and we) are doomed to repeat this ego-driven attitude over and over. We already saw something similar — directing Nate Montana to pass into the endzone rather than take the 3 in the final seconds of the Michigan 1st half. And, how ’bout “they fell down” after being outcoached by Dantonio?
      These players, and the incredibly faithful, long-suffering ND fans & students indeed deserved to “go home happy”. Rees’ confidence would have benefited immeasurably from leading is team to a comeback win, rather than being the goat. Ruffer earned the chance to win this game for his team (adding substance & drama to what would be a better-than-“Rudy” story). Even Declan Sullivan’s family would have taken some small, but meaningful measure of comfort that Declan’s team rallied back for him. Instead of adding to ND lore with something akin “win one for the Gipper”, Kelly failed us all — and does not even realize it. I don’t see any Golden moments with “it’s not my fault”-Kelly.

    41. Does anyone still think Kelly was a good hire?

    42. Mercy!

      1. I am sure I was not alone watching the game with a feeling of impending dread. Losing teams find a way to lose, and we are now a deeply entrenched losing team. I thought Kelly would be able to fix that but he has not. Very disappointing.
      2. True freshman QB comes in and has to pass 50 times due to no running game? No team wins that way. No excuses on the run game, we have a veteran line and a stable of excellent backs. If we do not fix this we will not win another game.
      3. Special teams, a bright spot all year collapses? I suppose we had to find some creative way to keep them in it until the end.

    43. Let’s be honest with ourselves. Our future opponents will neither kill themselves with penalties or have such a porous pass defense. We are in BIG trouble.

    44. Why do I invest so much time, energy, and emotion into this football program? I have high expectations, but only get gut punched every season. As a 41 year old, life long fan… I think it’s about time I learn my lesson.

      Expect losing seasons… at best, expect mediocrity.

    45. Inconsistent, One-Dimensional, Snakebit and soft( both mentally and physicially) are 4 words that come to mind in describing current state of ND football…

      I thought Kelly would be a major upgrade over Charlie… but it is more of the same if not worse…

      Even in my worst nightmares, I thought we would finish no worse that 6-6… Boy was I wrong!!!

    46. Like many of you, I have been an Irish fan since birth. I have seen the high and the lows. Born 1961. What I have seen since Lou left us is coaches that don’t seem to motivate. Recruits we have. Talent we have. Davies had Lou’s recruits, Tye could not recruit and Charlie took some talent and made them better. Kelly is surprising in that talent is there, but can’t get any of it to work. No adjustments to the game. No recognizing a new wrinkle and the defense adjusting. All I saw yesterday was a receiver drag across the middle and no pick him up all game long and a receiver around the end that you could recognize from a mile away. Defense has speed and talent, but the coaching is numb here. Kelly is not Lou, Ara or Dan. He does not know how to instill winning in guys that have learned how to not play for four quarters and win a game no matter how they have to win it. Not kicking the field goal to win is unacceptable in any program. I don’t care if you are 0-7, 7-0 or 4-4. Losing does not teach the players anything, but how to lose a game.

    47. BK should be severely, publically reprimanded by the University for that last pass play call. That was utterly stupid. There’s aggressive and then there’s dumb. Calling for a pass in that situation was dumb, dumber than many of the “4th down go for it” calls by Weis.

      BK is showing that he does not belong as a coach at this level of football. Indeed, if you viewed the truly embarrassing video by Dicao from Oct 26, where he admitted he didn’t know what to do about, or how to adapt to, the alterations in the Navy offense, what you begin to see is a coaching staff that’s too inexperienced and in way over their heads, to compete against well coached, high level programs like Stanford, MSU, Utah, USC and even Tulsa.

      That coupled with the obviously poorly conditioned team members (i.e. I have NEVER see this level of hamstring injuries in any football team) makes you understand that BK is just not up to the challenge.

      The kids are playing their hearts out for a coaching staff that reminds me of a combination of Charlie Chaplin, the Marx brothers, Abbott and Costello, and Jim Carey – i.e. dumb and dumber and dumbest. They deserve better than this.

      I predict our final record for the season will be 5 wins, 7 losses, unless Dicao can’t figure out Army, either. Then it will be 4 and 8.

      This is a tragedy for the team and a travesty for the fans and the University.

    48. Josh Blubaugh says:

      I must not be smart enough to understand why Kelly called that last play. It’s 2 and 8, run the ball twice with Hughes who can keep the ball secure and kick the field goal. There are a number of factors that make that call work a higher percentage of time than what he did and after all, the goal is to win games is it not? Groan.

    49. It is the gift that keeps on giving…….every time a team comes into Nd Stadium that we are supposed to beat we hand them the biggest win in there school history. Second, everytime ND plays we also hand some kid on the other team the best performance of their lives. Third, God only knows what Kelly was thinking….the players have to be questioning their coaches play calling. I don’t get it but I am tired of making excuses.

    50. Best kicker in the country and Kelly doesnt use him at the end of the first half against Michigan which as it turns out would have won the game and now a perfect chip shot to win the game and he leaves Ruffer on the bench. 2 avoidable losses! I am dumbfounded about this program.

    51. The players fought through the loss of Crist, and both defensive and special teams scores by Tulsa. They deserved better than the utterly indefensible decision by Kelly.

      You Hit the nail right on the “empty” head. At 5&7 or 4 & 8, combined witha tragic “accident” on his watch, we may not have to get used to it after December. Termination for cause may void his contract.

    52. Where to start! As a former coach I looked at this hire with a positive attitude. Five games into the season I was still a Kelly defender because of the fact .. new coach – new system! However, it has become painfully clear it is not the newness of the “system” but the lack of intelligent game decision making that has caused this season to unravel. The latest comment “get used to it” reeks of an inherent deep seated problem of an unwillingness to “adapt” at the highest competitive level! To put it more bluntly “you (Kelly) are not in Kansas (Cincinnati) anymore Toto!” You are in the big time and THAT requires a coach that can intelligently understand the flow of the game REGARDLESS of system. Just that statement alone defies logic. If I as a defensive coordinator knowing your thinking … I will always bait you into a “look” that will cause you to “systematically” do what you do and I will get “used” to out-coaching you! Systems only go so far … intelligence, adaptation and a “feel” for the game as it unfolds separates the great coaches from the rest of the pack. This team should be 7-2 / 6-3 right now! Oh and one more thing … lose the theatrics of embarrassing young men with sideline tirades. Sometimes that IS necessary but making it a habit (and a bad one at that) is WAY past old already! Coach UP not down!

    53. Every ND team since Lou Holtz has screamed for a power running game. Losing to Tulsa like the team did is just a testament to what is wrong with ND – tooooo much emphasis on the pass. It makes the team look soft. Kelly’s biggest mistake is not calling for the pass yesterday, it is looking into all the past years and not realizing that a pass-first offense does not work here. After this loss, Kelly’s boss should reflect on that, because it is clear Mr. Kelly will not.

    54. Ditto Urq.

      Tulsa? They got beat at home by Tulsa. The game shouldn’t have been as close as it was, regardless of of Crist’s injury. Then, “the call”. I have no idea why you would take an unnecessary shot at the endzone with or without a freshman QB. I don’t get it. The sad thing is that nobody is afraid to play at Notre Dame anymore. Then seeing the defensive players “celebrating” a stop they finally made, after allowing the Golden Hurricane march down the field on them, makes me nauseous. Act like you’ve been there before, even though you clearly haven’t.

      On a positive note, Rees looks like he could be good.

    55. Dan in San Diego says:

      I’m no football expert, and I don’t recall which way or how hard the wind was blowing, but when I heard the NBC commentator calculating that it would be a 36-yard field goal attempt, I could not imagine taking it at that point under those circumstances. Why another risky pass play when you are already in position to win?

    56. “You play to the level of competion” , “Gotta play all four quarters” , and so on and so on, come on ND, JUST PLAY FOOTBALL. Geeeez you should be able to rise to the challenge, defend your home turf. Well, and make good play calls when the game is handed right back to you.

    57. Brian Kelly has proven himself beyond belief in the college football world. The Navy team is built to beat Charlie Weiss defense- nothing Kelly can do about that- Tulsa is explosive- I love reading these to undestand peoples’ input- The problem with the Irish is their defensive speed. Dane Crist was a Stud in a high school, any school would want him.. Cierra Wood same thing! Give Kelly his time- Holtz was 5-6 his 1st year and Kelly was 3-8 if Im not mistken at Central his 1st year- Fix the defense, let offense grow in Kelly’s system and watch!

    58. Let’s not forget that the invincilbe Navy lost to Duke (2-6), 34-31. Can we say “Sorry, Charlie?”

    59. 3rd and 26 was inexcusable. I’m tired of hearing wait till Kelly gets his recruits. We heard that with Weis. This team is playing with talented recriuts of Weis and we are getting both mentally and physically beat every Saturday. Ara and Lou Holtz could not fix this debacle. Every team we play no longer is intiminated, especially at home. Hang with Notre Dame for 3 and half quarters and their head coach will make a bone headed call. Most coaches with a freshman QB in the game late would have played conservatively and run the football to set-up the field-goal. I agree this team has no confidence. We got beat by Tulsa and to think we could hang with likes of Alabama is a joke.

    60. Thye used to tell us that the high academic standards that ND has prevent the top athletes to attend ND. I think we can extend that to the coaches. Clearly the team was outcoached by Navy and Tulsa. (Navy just lost to Duke at Navy). Kelly has failed to create an atmosphere where the players are proud to be part of ND. He may not have the talent needed to be a top team, but he has not fill the spirit of the players with the pasion and competitiveness needed to perform. This is very obvous as you look at the defense performance that get lack the intensity and desire to stop the other teams offense.

      Unfortuantely I think we are in for several long years, unless Kelly can turn around the attitude of the players and have some talented coaches, whic may be a problem because of the high standards at ND

    61. I like Kelly and believe in him, but the call was absolutely indefensible. In my opinion, it was just about the worst late game play call in 20 years. The only thing I can think of that’s comparable is Davie’s clock management mistakes in the Purdue game his first year.

    62. It was a typical Freshman mistake – by Rees and Kelly. The game shouldn’t have been close, but it was – that’s what we should get used to. They are all learning as they go. “Greenman” is probably right, BCS in 2014.

    63. After the Tulsa game Coach Kelly said – Aggressive play will continue and Notre Dame Fans should “get used to it”. OK coach, I can get use to aggressive play calling! However, what I can’t get use to is that you would be “so dim-witted as to not kick a potentially winning field goal”! So your aggressively play calling gave an inferiorly talented Tulsa team a victory for their history books and caused uncompromising heart break for the team and fans!

    64. fed up in canada says:

      Twice this year (Stanford and Navy) Kelly effectively acknowledged that his staff was outcoached. Now a pass call for a freshman qb in the dying seconds of a winnable game. Someone on Oprah once said if they show you who they are , believe it. Well ND Nation…it’stime to believe what you’re seeing.

    65. It has been a sad, sad, sad season and Mr. Kelly has not delivered anything close to what he had promised. I am distressed about a lot of things concerning ND football, including the horrible loss of Sullivan last Wednesday during practice. I am just sickened by things and cannot believe they have happened.

    66. UncleTimmy says:

      It’s hard to believe that Coach Kelly called for that play, and even more disturbing was his commentary in the post-game press conference when he said that he would do it again when he sees one on one coverage with Floyd. You mean regardless of the situation, Coach? Why???? He can’t admit that that was a bad decision???? It reminds me of “W” when he was asked what mistakes he made as President, and he couldn’t think of any!

    67. I have no problem with the play call and actually like the aggressiveness. I think this type of aggressive play will actually be beneficial in the future.

      Oh and by the way, Rees is the real deal and we will be playing in a bowl game.

    68. bigfoodman says:

      Inexplicable. The very worst coaching decision/plan selection I have ever seen. Can we assume that if the final pass had been completed for a touchdown Kelly would have elected to go for two to cover the spread? There is no possible explanation for his decision.

    69. Patrick Mikes '79 says:

      I can say, without doubt or exaggeration, that the play-calling at the conclusion of yesterday’s game was the most inexplicably stupid I have ever seen. Put the ball between the hash marks, call TO, bring in the the best FG kicker in the country, kick the FG, win the game, and go home. A child could have made this call.

    70. Ted Sivalon says:

      I have been a ND fan for over 70 years suffering through the likes of Brennan, Waterbucket Joe. High School Harry, Davies, Willingham and Weiss. The only way ND ever has another winning season is by joining a conference preferably the Big Sky.

    71. This was 100% Kelly’s fault. Why on earth would you throw the ball in that situation?

    72. Did the Irish have a game yesterday? I stopped watching a month ago. At least my Texas Rangers are providing some October entertainment!

    73. uninvited.guest says:

      They will not win another game. Utah will embarrass them. Army will option Iaco’s (the D is silent) out of the building and USC and Lane Kiffin will run up the score on the way to 40 point win. They will finish 4-7, lose a significant number of commitments and we will be starting over again in three years. Does anyone else see the irony that BK sounded exactly like Jay Cutler after last week’s 4 picks to D’Angelo Hall (“I would run the same play again and again”). Anyone who quits on his team to move “up” the college coaching ladder has a significant character flaw IMHO. And this guy has done it twice. They play a grammer school defense, they make no adjustments whatsoever. They are incapable of running the football with any continuity and their special teams play is atrocious. Why is Ben Turk still a starting punter on this team (let’s leave aside the line drive that he kicked directly to Johnson for a moment; how about the punt from the 38 late in the game that went out of the center of the end zone for net 18 yard punt after touchback? What he was trying to do there exactly). And while Rees looked good at the start, he was sub 50% from his fourth possession on with three picks two of which were atrocious. Three of his completions from that time forward were the result of superb athletic plays by receivers or would have been close sub 40% completion rate. With all due respect to Greenman, the only thing ND will be doing in 2014 is trying to figure out if BK’s successor can get us back to .500 that year. Rome wasn’t built in a day, it took about 100 years and it feels like today that respectability is about that far off.

    74. I dunno what to think anymore these are truly dark times i will keep supporting this teams in a hope to see some improvement all the injuries,mistakes,bad calls the last 3 yrs and counting have been tough to watch i know one thing ND football is in a tough place

    75. In Brian Kelly’s wildest dreams he never envisioned that he would be in such a fish bowl You can’t blame the guy for trying, but you can blame the school for making a hasty decision in hiring him. I challenge somebody out there to explain to all of us why you would throw a pass in that situation? I can’t figure it out?

    76. ND has squandered the greatest amateur sports mythology in the world and replaced it with an athletic program now known for mediocrity and unspeakable underachievement. Navy’s desire and discipline exposured our lack of both. Recent losses to Connecticut, Syracuse, and Tulsa–schools without a single player deemed worthy of recruitment by ND, is unbearable to consider. For the sake of the old, noble competitors, not yet dead, stop football scholarships, get into D3, and let our scholars compete against small like minded schools.

    77. Andrew Alexander says:

      What’s even more astounding than the Irish losing to a clearly inferior opponent, yet, once again, is the fact that I wasted 4 hours of my personal time watching it!