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  • The Grass is Always … Something

    by Mike Coffey

    Well, we all knew it was coming. And now, according to the South Bend Trib, it’s on the schedule — the natural grass surface at Notre Dame Stadium will be replaced by Field Turf.

    Let me make something clear from the get-go: The turf in Notre Dame Stadium is not a hot-button issue for me. Green is green. As long as what is done isn’t tacky and the safety of the players is not endangered, I have little interest in the decision. But the alleged desire for leather helmets here on NDN aside, I believe change at the level this represents bears some scrutiny … scrutiny not only of whether it should be done but, more importantly, why it’s being done.

    Change, logic tells us, is dictated by one of two needs: correcting an error, or taking advantage of an improvement. The poor condition of the Stadium field has been an issue these past couple of years, so it’s certainly possible this change will rectify that. Most programs that have installed turf or a variation on it do it for logistical or financial reasons, so while we may see a cost savings, I’m not aware of any improvement in W/L record we can expect as a result. So far, nothing seems to jump out one way or the other, which is why I don’t usually burn a lot of calories on the topic.

    But then we have the reason articulated by Brian Kelly in the linked article:

    Kelly’s thinking is, when you never get in the stadium for practice, it becomes “almost like the Basilica to the players” and erodes home-field advantage because of the awe factor.

    The players are overwhelmed by the Stadium because they can’t practice there? Unlike the dozens of classes of players who have preceded them, this group walks into Notre Dame Stadium, looks at the bricks, and immediately puckers up?

    At its most benign, this reasoning is specious. But it’s the one Kelly chooses to toss out there for public consumption as a justification for the change. If there are folks out there leery of this kind of switch, this kind of politicking isn’t going to convince them it’s a good idea, so once again, we have poor salesmanship to those he should be trying to convince.

    But more importantly, it’s yet another attempt to connect a major (and expensive) structural change to the physical plant to the mystical “home field advantage”. According to some folks, Notre Dame Stadium isn’t an imposing place to play anymore, and we need to make drastic changes to it so that it will become one. Trouble is, they eschew what could be the easy, less costly, and possibly more effective solutions for the ones that trample tradition and make Notre Dame Stadium just another place to play football.

    The crowd doesn’t yell enough or make things difficult for our opponent? Never mind telling the ushers to dial back the “Welcome to Notre Dame” glad-handing, be a little more tolerant of those making noise (while maintaining basic rules of decency), and possibly responding to complaints that people are standing too much with “Too bad”. Instead, let’s pipe in garish, obnoxious pop music like everyone else does, even though it actually helped our biggest rival when we did.

    The games are too long, and the crowd gets bored? Never mind reducing the number of commercials or shortening the time between the end of commercials and the start of play .. you know, that time NBC uses to pimp “Dancing With America’s Next Top Housewives” or whatever other reality show is playing during the week. Instead, let’s spend millions of dollars to put up a video screen so the ADD generation doesn’t have to sit still, then let’s spend millions more each year on the upkeep, all without (allegedly) using advertising dollars.

    And at the front of the efforts for all this is Brian Kelly. Notre Dame has lost five games a season for five years in a row, and is staring at the possibility of a record six years in a row this season. But instead of taking steps to ensure that record isn’t set, like developing a punt return game or getting plays in before the clock expires, he’s spending time dreaming of and demanding field turf and a screen, like those things are going to make one iota of difference. As someone pointed out on the board, “If you told Brian Kelly you were having trouble with the ladies, he’d tell you to switch your cologne.” If the coach of one of the winningest programs in college football can’t coach a team to a win without major changes to the turf, or recruit a top-flight player successfully without a garish lowest-common-denominator video screen, then maybe, just maybe, the problem is with the coach.

    The loudest game I can think of in the past 10 years at Notre Dame Stadium was the Southern Cal game in 2005. There was no field turf. There was no video screen. There was no “Crazy Train”. There was only a one-loss Notre Dame team playing a top-five opponent down to the wire, executing well on the field, and giving the 81,000+ in the stands something to cheer about … which they did, quite loudly. The home field advantage definitely was there that night, and it didn’t cost ND a dime or change what makes Notre Dame Stadium unique.

    Funny how that works. Maybe Brian Kelly should be watching that game film instead of perusing the Daktronics catalog.

    57 Responses to “The Grass is Always … Something”

    1. So how do you know the things you have stated, like

      “But instead of taking steps to ensure that record isn’t set, like developing a punt return game or getting plays in before the clock expires, he’s spending time dreaming of and demanding field turf and a screen, like those things are going to make one iota of difference.”

      Do you have access to the private practices? or you must work with Brian Kelly daily to how he thinks and what he does. I don’t understand how just because Notre Dame does one thing, like improve the stadium, it some how means that is the only they can do and are not intelligent if enough to focus on anything else. This article really just seemed like you were stretching for reasons to claim Brian Kelly as a bad coach. Very extreme comments backed by speculation or personal feelings. Atleast, that’s my opinion.

      • dan hogan says:

        totally agree Dustin!

      • El Kabong says:

        Via logic. There are X number of waking hours in Brian Kelly’s day. He’s going to spend Y of them on non-ND-related things, leaving a total of Z hours. That he’s spending even a nanosecond of that Z thinking about things like screens and turf is one nanosecond too many given how many problems he has to solve. If he’s got spare time in his Y personal hours to think about this, then that’s not time he’s spending on said problems.

        • The solution is institution a 5 year policy for every football player. You get 5 years to get one undergraduate degree, none of this 5th year football if you’re in a grad program. These ball players are burdened by summer school when they should be lifting and relaxing. 5 years to complete one degree, will pay dividends on the field, and you’ll still be graduating quality people, just 365 days after the regular student.

          We’re underprepared on Saturday, b/c there is too much forced on the 85 football players to digest all at once. It’s ridiculous that this administration doesn’t fix this. Stanford has, and they reep the rewards in the modern era, while we continue at 3 and 9. Fix it please.

        • dan hogan says:

          Really? So I guess his family means nothing to him–in your XYZ time for them! God forgive BK if he has a few friends to confide or relax with…your XYZ theory no time for them! In your XYZ theory no time for Kelly Cares Foundation for Breast Cancer Awareness! That has got to be the most ridiculous analogy I’ve EVER heard! GET REAL! Hate to break it to you dude but ND football X’s and O’s are not what defines anybody! Ask Ara or Lou before you spew out this crap!

          • El Kabong says:

            You need to re-read what I wrote. In the post, I clearly state that BK will be spending X amount of hours on non-ND things. That would include Kelly Cares and anything else he wants to do. I explicitly said elsewhere my expectation is not that he spend every waking hour on ND things. The issue is if he’s going to spend a minute on ND-related stuff, it should be stuff that directly improves the possibility of having a championship-level team and not ridiculous things like screens and turf.

        • I feel like you are really, really stretching here El Kabong. The head coach should 100% care about things that are going on with his football program off the field (which includes the stadium environment). Now, if you just don’t like artificial turf that is one thing, but let’s not sit around pretending like we know how efficiently Kelly is managing his time.

      • well said… lots of assuming and guessing. We don’t know so we can assume Kelly spends time formulating a plan for Fieldturf and jumbotrons instead of preparing the team. And we’ll use the team’s record and his mistakes as ‘proof’ that he’s doing this instead of working on punt return, development, etc. Instead, all we know is he answered a direct question in a radio interview and in the past when asked has said himself that he wants Fieldturf. Depending on what you think of him as a coach and a person, you’ll fill in the rest with your assumptions.

        It’s like when the president goes golfing and people get angry that he’s not working on the country’s problems. Except we know the president goes golfing. We don’t know that Kelly’s spending preparation time on stadium upgrades.

        I really don’t care about grass or turf. I want a field that doesn’t come up in clumps during the season and games and one that is safe for the players. I would be very opposed to astroturf (and was back in the day). I’m ok with fieldturf. It’s not going to change my gameday experience.

        • El Kabong says:

          As I noted above, Brian Kelly has Y amount of hours to spend working on ND-related things. Fieldturf and video screens shouldn’t be any part of that Y as long as the on-field results look the way they’ve looked the last two years.

          Your example of golf isn’t applicable, because such things would fall under non-work time. No one expects Brian Kelly to spend every waking moment on ND-related things. That’s why I talked about personal things. But if he’s spending personal hours on Fieldturf and video screens, that’s ND-related time, and should be better spent.

          • How much time a coach spends on work vs play is different and fluid. That’s where the golf/president analogy comes in. How many hours does the President or Kelly allocate toward work and play? And if Kelly were to cut his personal time to attend meetings on stadium improvements, that would be ok? I don’t think that’s what you’re getting at.

            My point is the assumption is Kelly is taking time away from practice, away from game preparation to attend meetings or push his desire for Fieldturf. But we don’t know that.

            I imagine Kelly goes to a bunch of meetings, alumni events, etc that we could point to as worthless, pulling him away from other time he could use preparing the team which is absolutely his most important job.

            My guess is Swarbrick has spearheaded an investigation into options for the field, jumbotron, equipment, stadium boxes, etc but that this is done in the offseason. And he probably does have regular meetings with the coaching staffs (of all sports) to go over everything from construction to staff changes. But those are educated guesses. I don’t know that. And I wouldn’t make conclusions based on what I think Kelly is doing because I don’t know.

            I don’t put any stock into what Kelly says here. It doesn’t confer an athletic advantage though the players may be more comfortable since they practice on it and it would be a more consistent surface. It would be done for field consistency and maybe to save on costs in the long run. Anything else that’s said is hot air.

      • As a guy that played football at Saint Francis (IN) — I know, I know, it wasn’t D1/FBS — but our change from natural to field turf was NOT a big deal. It really helped with speed and we ran the spread as well.

        I look forward to this as well as a friggin’ huge screen in the stadium. I may be in the minority with this one, but hey, it’s my opinion right?

        Have a great day all!

        – Jonathan

        • You are not in the minority. The writer of this article is an example of what is wrong with ND football. We are somehow afraid to keep up with the other schools with positive improvements like jumbotrons and field turf. This guy wouldve been mad when the original stadium was built and later expanded. Maybe we shouldnt show games one TV either? They should strictly be radio broadcast. If you are offended by a jumbotron quit watching football.

          • El Kabong says:

            Right, because the basic ability for someone to attend a game (e.g. the stadium) is completely the same as a garish video screen and crappy piped-in music. I liked the stadium expansion (minus blocking the view of the library mural). I don’t like lowest-common-denominator choices like a screen.

    2. Andre Schwapp says:

      Maybe you should coach since you know so much typical Golden Domer Geezer the grass at ND stadium is terrible

    3. Matt Miller says:

      Excellent point on all ends here. I don’t care what turf is on the field, just so long as it’s in better shape than Soldier Field or Stanford’s from last year. And I’m also not a fan of a jumbo-tron. I’ve never minded the long breaks between action – it provides great opportunity to people watch and to just talk about the game. My son is only 3, so it will be a few years before he develops the necessary patience to sit through a 3 hr+ game, but when he does I’m excited to get to explain to him the nuances of what is going on, instead of having him glued to a 120 ft jumbo-tron and the video game like graphics. Go Irish!

    4. I think Kelly’s justification (if that is the real justification) is reasonable. If we are allowed to practice in the stadium regularly and our opponents are not, that will create an advantage. Not a huge advantage, but an advantage nonetheless. If we have an advantage, we might win more often. Not a lot more often, but a little.

      And winning more often is, quite simply, the only way to improve home field advantage. Fans cheer more when the team plays better, and it often has a snowball effect.

      I put this in the category of “every little bit helps.” Just as long as the turf isn’t gold or something.

      • Educational and performance research point out that students tend to perform better when they practice/study in an environment that is similar to the testing environment. I think this may apply to football practice as well. If nothing else, the players will have a much better feel for the nuances of the stadium, which the other team won’t. If nothing else, it can’t hurt. So I have no problem with it.

        Finally, in my opinion, there is no “tradition” for the playing surface at ND. Who cares that we played on natural grass, as long as there is an option that is better than we we have now. And our existing grass has been terrible, so something has to be done about it, at least for safety. I have some limited experience with field turf; independent of specific brands, it’s fast, durable, and beautiful. Go for it.

        • El Kabong says:

          The vast majority of football programs don’t practice in their stadiums. They practice at their practice facility, where training equipment is close at hand

          • dan hogan says:

            And you know this how?

            • El Kabong says:

              A combination of logic and spending about an hour reading about it. How do you know they do practice in their stadiums?

          • Just because other teams don’t practice in their stadium, is that a reason not to do it? With a turf that won’t degrade, why not do it? It seems to me that ND would have nothing to lose and potentially quite a bit to gain from doing it.

    5. Your argument makes no sense. Brian Kelly is not just making this stuff up for no reason. Players are voicing their opinion and Kelly is listening to what they have to say. If turf can make players feel more comfortable, then why not make a change? You are living in the past (I find myself doing this at times too). Times are changing and both turf and jumbtrons have the ability to attract players to a school. Why not make these improvements if they will only increase the atmosphere of the stadium? You mention the atmosphere of the USC game, but we lost…Yes the atmosphere was ridiculous that game, but if players feel more comfortable playing on the same type of surface that they practice on, shouldn’t we listen to their opinions? They are the ones playing! We are just fans in the stands. Our opinion should carry some weight, but shouldn’t we support what the players want? These additions will only increase the atmosphere, attract recruits, and provide the players with additional excitment. We have been irrelevant for the past decade….there is an “error” and its time to make some adjustments. Brian Kelly cares about his players and to criticize him for that is unwarranted. No need to bash Kelly for wanting turf. If it is done in a classy way that conforms to the traditions of the past (endzone lines and no logo in the middle) then I do not see anything wrong with turf.

    6. What are you people smoking?

      You mention the atmosphere of the USC game, but we lost

      Yes, we lost on a last-second illegal play by an ineligible player. I’ll take the editors on this one.

      Players are voicing their opinion and Kelly is listening to what they have to say.

      One, I have not seen any evidence that there is a player consensus in favor of field turf. Second, even if there were, why should anyone care? I bet there would also be a student consensus against parietals, pop quizzes, term papers, etc. The students don’t run a university and the players don’t run a team, much less an athletic department. If the clamor of the masses is to become the basis for every decision, we can easily save the millions of dollars we spend on a football coach and athletic director.

      If we are allowed to practice in the stadium regularly and our opponents are not, that will create an advantage.

      For this to be the case, there would have to be some actual difference in conditions between the empty stadium and the practice fields. I find it almost unfathomable that this is the case: is the wind appreciably different (this actually may be so, but we’re not talking about just the kicker here)? More glare? Do the pansies affect how players run routes? Of course not. If the team has the sort of psychological problem that Kelly attributes to it, he has a serious problem that the location of practice will not change.

      No one claims the grass is any good. People are claiming that Kelly is advancing pretenseful justification for unnecessary innovations to which he has an ideological attachment.

    7. Vairish84 says:

      I am also not one who gets wound up in the turf v. grass issue. I wonder though if the Kelly quote was not part of a bigger point. IF he had gone on to say something to the effect of ‘and having turf in there will allow us to practice in there occasionaly and remove the awe factor for our team’ then I have no problem with the quote that you cited. I doubt that switching to turf alone would remove the awe factor for the team. In fairness to Kelly, he may very well have and the full quote was not picked up or it may have been in the question.

      I intend to still go to games and root for the team. What they are running around on does not matter to me. I agree with you though as long as it is green it does not matter. Personally, I had hoped for the Packers style field, but perhaps it was too expensive.

    8. At least the administration is finally showing a willingness to work with the coach and implement important changes. This makes ND a more attractive place to work for coaches, and making any change will get recruits excited.

      I take offense to the negativity inherent in your focus on the fact that we may lose 5 games for the 6th time in a row… We also have the opportunity to win 8 games for the 3rd season in a row for the 1st time in 18 years. We’re nothing special right now on the field. We can get there, but patience is required. Let Kelly do his thing.

    9. You lost me with the lazy argument that Kelly is sacrificing football time to focus on ancillary issues like this, as if he can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.

      I also had no problem with his quote. Reasonable minds can filter out the exaggerated “basilica” analogy and consider the point on its merits the way Andrew did in his comment above. Of course it would be nice to practice on the same surface and stadium that they play the games on.

    10. Well sad, Andrew. Every little bit helps. Training table, new training staff and doctors, facilities upgrades. None of these things in isolation is a big deal. But in aggregate, they can be a very big deal indeed.

      Two other observations: (1) the current grass is a joke and has been for decades. They have tried fixing it a half dozen times. Time for a new approach. (2) having the players spend more time playing on the stadium field makes PERFECT sense to me. Just because teams have won in the past doesn’t mean there is no benefit to practicing there.

    11. IdahoIrish#4 says:

      Before you criticize Kelly for not putting in the work to make this team better, punt return, game clock, etc, let’s look back on the two seasons he has been here. Recruiting is very solid. He’s building this team from the inside out, not 5 star WR’s. We have a running game. Not since 2006 has ND been able to run the football. In fact, we didnt have a 1,000 yard rusher since 2006. We almost had two 1,000 yard rushers in ’11. If you remember the Wake Forest game where ND had the ball with about 4 and half minutes left in the game. It may have been more than that. They ran the ball over and over and chewed up the clock, never allowing Wake to see ball. When was the last time that happened?

      ND blew the doors off of Purdue, Navy, Air Force, and Michigan St. When was the last time that happened? Typically, ND would let the team hang around, only to win on last minute scores or turnovers.

      We are beating teams that we should beat, most by a large margin. When was the last time that happend?

      As bad as our punt return has been, and its been awful, we had two kick returns for a TD. When was the last time that happened?

      I can take or leave the field turf. The bigger picture is what Kelly is doing to make this team a contender year in and year out. I dont agree with all the changes, but Kelly is doing what Davie, Willingham, and Weis didnt do. If the Irish dont win 9 games this year, I will still believe he is the right man for the job.

    12. Ryan Walke says:

      If practicing on the game field was so important then why wouldn’t all NFL teams do it? All of them have practice facilities and use them regularly. While I don’t have an opionion either way on field turf, I think the reason given is kind of weak.

    13. Do not fear change. I grew up in SB and the climate alone should dictate field turf. It’s not that big a deal folks. The biggest change to impact home field advantage is to fix the NBC coverage. The best of fans will get quiet during a 3 minute commercial timeout but worse the players lose focus and the team loses momentum. The only thing harder than wathcing a ND game on NBC is watching the Olympics on NBC

      • Pete from Tex says:

        Why isn’t ND looking into the hybrid product from Desso called Desso GrassMaster? It’s a hybrid field, with real grass with fibers woven in. It is in stadiums such as Lambeau Field for Green Bay and Denver stadium for the Broncos. It mixes the best of both worlds – An artificial base, fibers woven in so the field doesn’t get torn up on rainy days, and you cut it like grass. Seems like this would satisfy both the purists who want grass and the coaching staff that wants a fast track.

    14. Practice the way you play.
      Practice is on field turf, game should be on field turf.

      Good decision.

    15. if every single NFL team owner decided to switch from natural grass to field turf, i don’t think notice, much less care. i don’t think any football team, college, professional, or high school would care if all the football fields in the world were changed to field turf, regardless of the reason.

      regarding his reason: charlie weis didn’t think a training table was important enough to request. the players love it, and they say it helps. and to the person who argued that the students don’t dictate what the university gives them simply because they want/don’t want it, i.e., tests and quizzes and papers. that’s not the same thing. you can compare it to a student asking a professor for better office hours for questions or comments, or asking for more resources in the library like computers and wifi connection. i think those are better comparisons.

    16. james doran says:

      try practicing on grass. No way truf in ND stadium.

    17. FightingSonOfNotreDame says:

      You’ve blown this way out of proportion with a clear and unfair bias against coach Kelly.

      The reason Coach cited for wanting turf makes total sense. It’s a fact that athletes and humans in general perform better when playing consistently in the same environment. This is a fact.

      • El Kabong says:

        He said his players get intimidated by ND Stadium. How does that make total sense?

        • borromini says:

          You said intimidated…he said awe. One has negative connotations…the other one doesn’t.

          • El Kabong says:

            But they both mean the same thing — unlike generations of ND players that came before them, this group apparently gets nervous playing in their own stadium.

        • FightingSonOfNotreDame says:

          Because of the fact that other teams regularly practice in their game day stadium while we don’t. “intimidated” probably isn’t the ideal word usage but his point is clear.

          • El Kabong says:

            Actually, most other teams don’t. Those that have practice facilities tend to use them because they have easy access to training equipment and materials.

            • Actually, you are completely wrong. Almost every team will have at least one day out of the week, albeit a walk through or practice, where they will be “inside” the stadium. I KNOW this, I dont research for an hour and then say that ‘most other teams dont practice in their stadiums.’ Spend a little more time researching or actually going out to practices around the country and you will see that the majority of teams will be inside their srtadium at some point during their practice week especicially during a home game. This is something ND should have been looking into a long time ago, and I think it shows that Coach Kelly is in this for the long run and wants to create an atmosphere that HELPS WIN GAMES, and if he feels this HELPS WIN GAMES then I am 100% all in. Go Irish!

            • El Kabong says:

              Fine. There’s nothing stopping the team from doing a walk through in the stadium. We don’t need turf for that.

          • High School football teams don’t even practice in their home stadium. If for no other reason than needing to keep the home turf in game day shape. Imagine the field turf if 85 guys were running around on it 5 days a week AND played on it on Saturday. Not to mention that there is NO training equipment to speak of at the stadium. I think El Kabong has some good points. Seems to me that Kelly is already making excuses. I think it’s funny that people are suggesting El Kabong should coach. I hate going to the games with the loud music and nonsense. And it’s not because I’m old. I hope I’m wrong and ND picks it up this year. I hope the turf and music and all the carnival nonsense makes us a National Championship contender. Unfortunately, those are not the things that make a team better.

    18. The X, Y, Z hours analysis is plausible, but one could imagine that he’s thinking about stuff when he’s in the shower, answering nature’s call (shedding a tear for old Ireland, as the old-timers used to say), driving to campus, etc. I don’t think it’s realistic to imagine that anyone, be he a coach, a CEO, or a middle manager, could spend 100% of their devoted-to-the-enterprise time thinking only about the playbook, depth chart, practice regimen, etc. Some of the peripheral stuff is going to bubble up into conscious thought.

      Maybe what you meant was not so much what he thinks about and for how long, but a more categorical objection based on priorities, i.e., until we can consistently win 10 games, don’t devote any significant time or effort to ancillary stuff. But as long as he has to spend time doing a weekly show, going to charity breakfasts, and so on, he’s probably not going to think “I can’t ponder the playing surface or other stadium environment issues until I get everything else right.” From his POV, those things might well be part of getting things right–a subsidiary part, but still a part; then you’re just left with a disagreement on the value of those things, more than how he spends his time.

    19. NCHdomer says:

      This article is an excellent assessment of what is happening at ND.
      USC has no problem playing on natural grass. Nor does it need constant uniform changes, piped in music, etc. to put a winning program on the field – even after being on probation. Our players are intimidated by their own stadium? This is nonsense. There is a push to change everything at ND – out with the old and in with the new. This has nothing to do with the “home field advantage” or winning.
      Put a winning program on the field and shorten the numbing TV timeouts and we will hear a Stadium that roars, like the 2005 USC game the author referenced (or any number of games under Ara or Lou).
      Unfortunately, I now am coming to the conclusion that Kelly is a combination of Bob Davie and Charlie Weis. Like the former, he thinks changing us into something else (like Bob Davie trying to make ND more like Texas A & M) will make ND a winner again. And like the latter, he wants to become the focal point (like Charlie Weis putting himself on “The Shirt” instead of Frank Leahy) so we think “Fighting Kellys” instead of “Fighting Irish.”
      Everything is calculated, like a politician. The latest is Kelly stating in every speach how ND has not had consecutive 8 win seasons for 3 years in a row since the Dark Ages. He already has the spin for his anticipated disappointing 8 win season out there.
      Change is inevitable and the field turf/jumbotron era is upon us. Games at ND used to be special because everyone connected with the school “got it” – winning is the tradition, not gadgets. Not anymore. Making money is the tradition (like having Willingham put green jerseys on the team for the ill-fated BC game so the Book Store could, amazingly, sell those same jerseys the very next weekend! And on the internet! Clearly, those jerseys were ordered before Ty even got the job and the business people thought ND would have a mediocre record and that BC would be the best game to trot out those jerseys – but I digress).
      More and more, ND games are more designed for TV fans and less for the fans in the Stadium. I will still attend the games but long for the days when we had coaches that knew how to use timeouts and make smart play calls. Kelly, like Davie, has no clock managment skills (see the many wasted timeouts used at the start of the second half or after a TV timeout). And like Weis, Kelly believes that calling a play that shows off his own brand of “offensive genius” is more important than kicking a mundane game winning field goal, even if it costs the team the game (see Tulsa game). The ultimate problem is the administration cannot find a coach that knows how to win at ND. Perhaps if they try rewarding coaches with contract extensions after they accomplish something, might be a good place to start.
      Hope springs eternal and the hope here is for a surprisingly good season. However, when one talks of a subpar season like it is an amazing accomplishment, it smacks of self-fulfilling prophesy to me.

      • What you fail to realize is that USC never hid their Heisman trophies. ND burried them in a closet.
        Take a tour of any major program, and you will see the difference. ND football still practices with club rowing. Do you think OSU or USC even lets a club team into their Woody Hayes facility?
        It’s arms race, I think any move to get with the times is a major step forward. The football program was mismanaged, except for the excellent glossy marketing and NBC contract from 95 to 2010.

        Pipe in the music. This is an emotional game, like it or not. Reverance can be found 353 other days on ND’s campus. Let the 12 games be crazy electric.

        As for the bias in the article against Kelly. I think it’s a reach. The guy is trying to be a manager, unlike weis who’s style was player friendly/guru. Let the guy work.

    20. You really seem to have a bias here. I mean you go out of your way to explain that you don’t care about this either way, but then you make some very speculative assumptions about how this impacts Kelly’s time. And berate him for making a comment in an interview for which I could not determine the context. I read the article, but it did not offer the full Q&A context. So, I don’t want assume as you have that he offered this as a major reason for installing Field Turf. However, to not view this as an advantage makes me view your opinion as very biased. I think any coach would want to conduct some of the practices in their home stadium. In that week’s game day stadium for that matter be it home or away. That’s just common sense. So why is it not permissible to suggest that this would be a good thing for the football program? My guess is that Lou Holtz would tell you as much. And so what if past players had to deal with the same “awe” when playing in the stadium. If we can enhance our home field advantage today with something so inconsequential (“green is green”), we shouldn’t do it because past players had to deal with only entering the stadium on game days? C’mon man, are you really serious?

    21. Semi-off topic, a poster’s article on Rock’s on FieldTurf safety is outdated by about a year… the one on OFD from a couple months ago is more comprehensive and up to date:

    22. ILDomer17 says:

      I think the idea of practicing in the stadium is ridiculous. The field should be reserved for football Saturdays. However, the team does have a legitimate home field DISadvantage every time they take the field in the stadium.

      After spending all week practicing on field turf and getting their timing down on surfaces that hold up to all of the player’s movements, they then have to play the game on a natural grass surface that falls apart when they make the slightest cut. It’s disruptive to everything the team is trying to accomplish and it’s just plain embarrassing to have such a bad field. So while I think using the stadium for practice is crazy, having a surface in the stadium that more closely replicates the practice experience will greatly benefit the team.

      To make everyone happy, the Administration should only be considering surfaces like those at Lambeau or Mich St. And Brian Kelly should stop calling it “field turf” until a decision is made. He should know by now that our collective panties get bunched every time he says those words.

    23. So the man wants FieldTurf. When did that become a crime? And don’t even suggest that he has other things to think about, because that itself implies that he spends time during his day thinking of how to install a new playing surface. Do you really think that’s what is going on? Is he on the phone with the people at Daktronics and FieldTurf, talking logistics? No. He isn’t. So stop persecuting him for wanting a better playing surface that doesn’t disintegrate on game day, and that’s consistent with what the team practices on.

      And a JumboTron? Well we’re just about one of the only schools without one, and we certainly aren’t winning any recruits with that absence. It was one thing when video boards were small and grainy, but we’re way beyond that now. Was anyone else in Ann Arbor last year for the night game? Did their two big JumboTron’s really distract you and take away from the experience of the game? I didn’t think so. How about Yankee Stadium two seasons ago? Wasn’t it nice to look up and be able to watch a replay when Tyler Eifert made that awesome diving catch? Or when Darrin Walls returned that interception for six? I thought so.

      • El Kabong says:

        “We certainly aren’t winning any recruits with that absence”

        I must have missed those really low-ranked recruiting classes we’ve had over the last 10 years. Or maybe it’s because they weren’t low-ranked.

        “Wasn’t it nice to look up and be able to watch a replay…”

        No, because I watched the actual thing and was too busy cheering that it happened to worry about having to see it immediately again. But if your attention span requires it, why not bring your smartphone and watch whatever replays you want? Then you get what you want, I get what I want, it doesn’t cost ND any money, and there isn’t a big eyesore sitting at the top of ND Stadium. Done and done.

        • As Tim Tebow recently quipped about Brady Quinn in the locker room
          “the guy talks about his school inssesantly, I hate to break it to him, we have kickers at Florida that run faster than 5 second 40, which is faster than most of ND’s players”

          Let’s be real, any recruiting ranking we get, is bogus, unfounded, and a waste of time to print, B/C IT AINT TRUE.

    24. Larry Delaney '60 says:

      If field turf will help us win more ball games and recruit better players, do it!

      We have a brutal schedule this year and it will be a real test for Kelly’s coaching ability.

      Go Irish!

    25. Thomas Burke says:

      Yeah, I’m afraid I agree with those here that state you simply do not like Brian Kelly. You’re a talented writer, but also, way too opinonated. You did not show any real budget numbers in comparison, and the quote from Kelly simply makes sense!

      Look, I’m thirty-two, and I have bled blue-gold since the magical ’88 season. My Father and Grandfather were Rustbelt Irish Catholics who would tell me all the beloved tales of Our Lady of the Lake, but seriously bro… we need a change!

      It’s 2012… If the Yankees can make the changes necessary to win without losing the magic of their tradition, then so can Notre Dame.

    26. David T. says:

      In my opinion Brian Kelly is simply selling this the wrong way. The reality of the situation is that ND’s field has looked like crap the past few years by mid-season and that the new field turf is simply a better product and thus playing surface than natural grass. I’ve played on both and our area HS has it now and it’s simply better than grass.

      Here’s a tradition that ND has had for a very long time . . . having the best of the best. ND has always had great facilities, stadium, players, fans, atmoshpere, etc. Why not have the best that money can buy when it comes to the field as well. No one expects the players to wear the old high-top cleats from the 60’s and 70’s, heck the new stuff is light years from the cleats that Rocket, Rice, and Brown wore in the late 80’s. Those guys would be wearing the new helmets now, the new cleats now and would want to play on the best surfaces now. This isn’t the astro turf crap of old. This is simply the best field available for the greatest football power in the land.

      Now the jumbotron thing . . . no way. That is not better and does not make the stadium better. In fact it probably makes it worse IMHO. But this new turf is awesome and ND should have it minus the logos, etc.

    27. field turf does not belong in Notre Dame stadium. keep it out. if you have to make a change, talk to the Packers and find out how they did the natural grass with synthetic hybrid. best looking field on earth and still plays and smells like a football field should

    28. what happened to being able to outcoach the other teams coach because you were better at coaching?maybe the jumbotron,loud music and field terf will deflect from that.bk cant even pick a qb until 4 games into the season and then changes his mind least rees arrest made it easy for him,its golson for game one,then?