Notes from the Geetar: B Ain’t A, but it Ain’t C Either

el kabong with geetar

As a Chicagoan of the proper vintage, I remember well Doug Collins’ tenure as the head coach of the Chicago Bulls. While inexperienced, his Bulls teams improved their win total and advanced further each year in the NBA playoffs. But they always seemed to finish a little short of where they should have, and Collins couldn’t solve the Bad Boys of the Detroit Pistons. Owner Jerry Reinsdorf sensed that, while Collins had done yeoman’s service making the Bulls competitive again after years in the NBA desert, he wasn’t the guy to get them to the championship promised land. Collins had gotten them from Point A to Point B, Reinsdorf was quoted as saying, but the Bulls needed someone to get them to Point C.

I was reminded of Collins while watching Michigan completely dismantle Brian Kelly’s Fighting Irish team on Saturday night. What was supposed to be a close game between ranked teams turned into an embarrassing blowout, with the flaws that had been painfully evident in the offense all season painfully exposed yet again. It seemed a familiar refrain, as a similar story had been written after Clemson last season. And Miami in 2017. A missive which, ND fans had been assured, had been expunged from the storybook with the Kelly 2.0 remake after a fetid 4-8 offering in 2016.

Not so much, I guess. But it did make me think of Collins, because it’s time for Notre Dame to decide where it resides in college football and if that address is acceptable.

Reboot or no, after 10 years, we know exactly what we have with Brian Kelly. His offense uses the pass to set up the run, and therefore is dependent on high-quality quarterback play to be successful. His teams usually are effective against teams they can out-athlete, but when faced with upper-echelon and/or motivated competition, especially away from Notre Dame Stadium, they fall short, sometimes catastrophically so. His new-found focus on being Notre Dame’s coach instead of allowing his eye to wander to NFL positions has improved the win total, but hasn’t erased the aforementioned truths, and there is little evidence that will change any time soon.

kelly and team prior to miami

Make no mistake, what we’re seeing now is good, and (as I wrote a couple weeks ago) better than we’ve seen since Lou Holtz left. Whatever his faults, Brian Kelly has made the Notre Dame job much more attractive than it was the day he was hired. The facilities are top-notch, and the nutrition program is much more appropriate to a championship-level team. Admissions (by most accounts) has shown a willingness to work with him and his staff, and communication between that department and the staff has improved greatly, resulting in a lot less wasted time in recruiting. The budget for assistant coaches reportedly is at market level, and the current crop of assistants has shown what work and focus can do, as evident in the highly-ranked 2021 list of committed recruits — not to mention that recruiting has advanced such that the staff can work on 2021 commits before the 2020 class has even signed.

It’s very good. But as Saturday’s results showed (and Clemson, Miami, et al), it’s not great, and you can count me among those who believe it can (and should) be.

“The best since Holtz”, let’s remember, is an incredibly low bar. If Bob Davie, Ty Willingham, or Charlie Weis had left Notre Dame and gone on to success somewhere else, I could consider the argument some of the intrinsic disadvantages at Notre Dame (and I’m very ready to admit they exist) had held them back. But not only did they not have success, in all three cases, they actually performed worse than they had at Notre Dame. One could argue Notre Dame’s intrinsic advantages (which, unlike some, I’m also ready to admit exist) propped them up.

Let’s also remember this laudable advancement came at a steep price. Thanks to ND having to vacate wins for the first time in its history, its annual pursuit of the highest number of wins and the highest win percentage in college football history is likely now, like the pregame Mass, only a memory. When you run an undisciplined ship, academic difficulties start appearing, as do mentions on police blotters. And the “unremarkable” events of October 27, 2010, should never be forgotten.

(As an aside, those of you who respond to the above paragraph whining like little girls about getting screwed by the NCAA can bite me. The players cheated, they were ruled ineligible, that’s how the rule is written. If you want us to become like the North Carolinas and Michigans of the world and sandbag and withhold information and hide mistakes in the interest of winning, maybe you should go root for those programs instead. If ND is going to stand for “No Different”, I don’t see the point. Winning without integrity is meaningless).

Brian Kelly had to grow and learn a lot as a coach while he improved the program, all at both the financial and psychological expense of Notre Dame and its fans. So while he’s owed thanks for getting Notre Dame back to point B, that’s where it should end. Capabilities of Jack Swarbrick notwithstanding, it’s time for Notre Dame to start thinking about Point C again.

55 thoughts on “Notes from the Geetar: B Ain’t A, but it Ain’t C Either

    • At the moment, color me unconvinced. MN is having a good year so far, but their schedule definitely is back-loaded. Talk to me after PSU, IA, and WI.

  1. Peter Moulder says:

    Congratulations for stating the obvious, which of course few see. (C). I have been stating Kelly is above average or B coach. He can win against average or lesser teams, but wins are elusive against the better and elite teams. I do appreciate your comments how Kelly has made the ND football coach attractive as compared to the ‘job from hell’ that Malloy created.

    His game day tactics and strategy are so abysmal that people who know nothing about football can point out his ludicrous calls. As you pointed out, wins come against teams that have lesser athletes.

    • PJ Fleck has never been to point C either. He’s Brian Kelly ten years after Brian Kelly left Cincinnati for ND. If there’s going to be a change the next man up should have a BCS or current playoff championship on their resume. Urban Meyer would never coach ND over USC, he admitted he’s a talent chaser and that’s why he went to Florida. It was evident USC has more talent than ND and will in the future when they can start using the image and likeness law to their advantage. Get ready to be steamrolled by that Meyer coached SC team for the next 5+ years. Meyers next choice will be the Dallas Cowboys. ND better be willing to make the next guy the highest paid coach in CFB to get who the fans want. I don’t even think that will be enough.

      • The Fleck comparison to Kelly falls apart when you factor in how Fleck treats his players. It is very clear that he actually really cares about the kids, truly gets to know them, and his enthusiasm for their success is remarkable. Brian Kelly doesn’t check any of those boxes. I agree with Mike, let’s see how his teams do in the tail end of their schedule. I have a feeling most everyone will be surprised. I have no idea what his weird wife story is about, but guys don’t go from wide receiver coach straight to head coach for nothing.

        • “The Fleck comparison to Kelly falls apart when you factor in how Fleck treats his players. It is very clear that he actually really cares about the kids, truly gets to know them, and his enthusiasm for their success is remarkable.”

          Sounds just like Ara.

  2. Agreed…but your throw away line about Swarbrick is their bigger issue. When you’re AD or GM stinks, the likelihood is you never get where you want. Some of the senseless travelling Jake has made this program endure all in the name of a few bucks shows you what’s most important to him. I would strongly prefer firing them both and starting over. Recruiting will inevitably take a hit and there will probably be some program regression but that’s the price we pay to try and get this thing over the top.

    • Yeah, I kinda buried the lede on that one. Frankly, it occurred to me just as I was finishing the article, but I figured I’d address it in a later effort.

  3. Terry MCMANUS says:

    “It’s time for Notre Dame to decide where it resides in college football and if that address is acceptable.”

    Good point.

    My opinion – Notre Dame is good, but nowhere near the level of the top teams. Under Brian Kelly we never will be.

    Kelly is a good coach, but we are talking about Notre Dame – Good is NOT enough.

    • name an active coach other than Dabo or Nick that has had greater success in wins and grad rates at a big time school. just name 1. Pls. I beg u.

      • So it’s your position that no one except Brian Kelly can win 9-10 games a year while playing virtually no one in the top 10 and few in the top 25 (he’s faced the lowest percentage of each in his career out of all ND coaches in history) and getting blown out at least once per season? I put it to you others can do at least that, and have more upside than Kelly because they won’t stubbornly stick to an offense ill-suited to ND’s recruiting strengths.

      • 9For some time now I’ve been thinking that we need to reconsider how we view potential coaches.

        Wins above historic norms is worth consider, overall win, big wins, etc…

        But when we see coaches who have been successful “out of the blue” (from lesser roles) – the Dabo Swinney (WR coach), John Harbaugh (ST), Sean McVay (OC) – as well as the coaches who have maintained great success, what is the most common theme among them?

        Perhaps I’ve overly attuned to it as a Cleveland Browns fan, but attention to detail seems to be a critical component of success. At the college level you can also cite a need to connect with the players in some fashion.

        So my question is: is Brian Kelly a detail oriented coach – do his teams make recurrent mistakes?

        I want a coach who is smart, a strong teacher, not dogmatic, and most of all detail oriented. I suspect if you find the list of coaches who bring that to the table they’ve been successful and, more salient to our issue, will be successful in the future.

  4. I agree with everything you have written. I have felt your thoughts for a while now. We need to decide if we are REALLY willing to invest in a national championship, not a run, but an actual championship. It will take a Coach who can hire a staff, recruit, and game-plan to dominate, not just win. Brian Kelly improved the situation. Now it’s time for the baton to be passed on and find someone who will take it to another level. We need to start looking now and be ready for a future transition.

    • Malloy started ND down this path with his degradation of athletics (football in particular) in a moronic attempt to make ND the “Harvard of the Midwest”. His aspirational goal of mediocrity for our football program has been continued through the selection of coaches and the elevation of Jenkins to president of the university. Kelley is just the latest manifestation of this desire for mediocrity.

      The sad thing about this is that when Hesburgh became president, he too wanted to diminish the football program. However, he (and the then board of trustees) were smart enough to realize 1) They could excel academically AND athletically and 2) The success of the football program served to enhance the stature of the ENTIRE university and was beneficial to their educational goals.

      Malloy and Jenkins have failed to understand and live up to the brilliance of Hesburgh.

  5. john unchester says:

    I jumped off the Kelly horse train he threw his team under the bus after a loss-during the Manti era. Any coach who treats his kids in this way is basically a loser. Over time, I have observed, he is not sincere or genuine. Kids notice. Holtz was the last great coach. Parsegian before him. The qualities required-leadership, loyalty, honesty are rare for college football coaches. Usually, self-interest prevails-as with the present guy.

  6. Before “off with his head” you have to consider the replacement candidates. Fleck, for all we know, could be a fluke and perhaps a too unknown entity, at least ’till end of season. I do like his gold shoes!
    What about replacing Chip Long? May be an easier task than the head coach, and if the right one, could be the ultimate Kelly replacement.

      • I too am of the belief that Chip Long needs to be replaced – at least a third of his calls are head scratchers to me. Kelly needs to at least take over the play calling in a game when things aren’t working, until the season ends. I wouldn’t bail on Kelly just yet. Also, even though I think Ian Book is a great kid and appreciate all he’s done for the program, he is not the QB to lead us higher. He rose above his level of competance last year, and I’m forever grateful for that. I tend to like our 3rd string QB better than our 2nd string, from the limited action I’ve seen, while waiting for the guys from 2020 and 2021 to arrive.

  7. One of Kelly’s ‘improvements’ has been handing the play calling off to the coordinators. Did anyone ask him why, while playing in a monsoon, we did not stack the box on defense, sell out to stop the run and prevent some of the 300+ rushing yards we allowed? Mother nature was giving us all the help we needed to defend against their passing game. Or maybe ask him why we kept trying to run off tackle when it clearly wasn’t working? The Jekyll and Hyde play calling on offense is absurd! It is like they keep trying to set up a bigger play by making nonsensical calls (have we had a successful bubble screen all year?). Has anyone checked the algorithm we are using for our advanced metrics to make sure it is not set to ‘mediocre,’ or written by a descendant of Fielding Yost?

  8. name 1 single coach in the last 20 yrs that has won at a high level “with integrity.” ND fans want Alabama success with Stanford players. Never gonna happen. Everybody cries for Urban (who brought in criminals and kept them eligible illegally) when Urban himself has said ND cannot win in current college football if they keep their student standards where they are. ND fans don’t want to live in reality. Give me a single name of a coach who has had a higher success rate with the quality of students that BK/ND have had. You wont have the balls to respond to this but if your going to be a “journalist” then at least report on reality not some pipe dream.

    • It looks like Urban’s belief ND can’t win in current college football has changed, given that he’s made some contacts via back channels to say he’d be interested. Jim Harbaugh, for all his problems at Michigan, had high quality teams at Stanford. Every Notre Dame coach in its history has performed at a higher level at ND than at any of their prior or subsequent stops, so the data shows ND is an enhancement to a coach’s abilities, not a detriment. I believe a coach willing to work hard in recruiting (which, to their credit, the current staff now is), hire quality coordinators with whom he won’t interfere, and utilize a more balanced offense can, at the very least, replicate what Brian Kelly has done at Notre Dame with the potential for more. We’ve seen what Kelly can do at Notre Dame for 10 years. It’s not enough, so it’s folly to simply sit back and let the poundings happen. Have some pride.

    • So Blake or any other program defender, are you comfortable with this being the ceiling of the program? They lose every big road game and occasionally mix in a throttling that is so embarrassing the haters and media use it as a club to beat over our heads for YEARS to follow.

      After 10 years, this isn’t change for change sake. I argued for Kelly to keep his job on this site for most of his tenure. I sited the close loss at Clemson and FSU as signs the program was getting close. I would even concede the FSU game was a win if not for an egregious end of game call. BUT since those few games, we’ve added THREE horrific beat downs in prime time including this Saturday. We’ve also lost both Georgia games close.

      Can you show me evidence BK can win any toss up match up or God forbid pull a slight upset off where he doesn’t clearly have the more talented team? What’s our best win in the Kelly ERA? Whichever won you select, that team lost at least 3 games meaning it was a big win because of our circumstance but certainly not a “great” win.

  9. I have been a defender of Coach Kelly for a while now. Saturday’s performance can only be explained by poor coaching preparation. We should have WAY out-matched Michigan on a talent level, we weren’t hobbled by injuries, and I think the majority of our coordinators and position coaches should have had an edge over their Michigan counterparts (the notable exception being our offensive coordinator). With all that, there’s no reason why we should not have at least kept that game close. Chip Long had absolutely no answer to Michigan’s defense, and Coach Kelly was wrong when he said his team was not prepared; they were absolutely unprepared for the stage they were on. Chip Long needs to go, and maybe even Coach Kelly now, too.

    That being said, I think there’s one more question that needs to be answered before we can cut Coach Kelly: if not him, then who? DO NOT say Urban Meyer; he’s a fantastic coach, but he’s done with coaching, if not for his medical conditions, then because of his suspension related to the Zach Smith matter. Don’t say John Gruden, either; aside from being a pro coach (who are, almost to a man, NOT suited to coaching in college – see Weis, Charlie), he had his opportunity before Kelly was brought on to take the job, and he didn’t.

    • I won’t say either of them. I’ll say look at Dan Mullen and Matt Rhule to start with on the college side, along with some others. Maybe inquire with John Harbaugh, although I believe going with coaches having quality college experience is a better bet. I’m very confident those guys can mimic what Brian Kelly has done over the last 10 years, with greater possible (note: possible) upside. Again, we’ve seen what Kelly is as a coach. We should (and can) at least try to do better.

      • A coaching change will lead to assured devastation to the depth chart/recruiting that will have an impact for at least three years. We don’t have the ability to reload our roster the way other schools do – plain and simple. Adding to the chaos, how will the transfer portal, the 4 game red shirt rule, and, coming soon, the paying players for the use of their image and likeness affect attrition during a coaching change? There is no easy answer unless the candidate is in-house already and has the capacity to keep the current talent in place. I’m not sure I can stomach three years of ‘rebuilding.’

        If you are interested in dipping your toe back into pro coaches, you may as well call Pete Carroll too – see if he’s interested. Better choice than Harbaugh for the college game, and no blood conflict of interests like the Harbaugh boys have. Personally, I would rather pay Dabo Sweeney $1 billion dollars.

        • Your first sentence is a 100 percent fallacy and has happened to very few schools that take on a coaching change.

          • Slight exaggeration, but not fallacy at all. I am not concerned with other once proud schools like Syracuse or USC who have fallen victim to the effects of coaching instability. Brian Kelly lost 10 games in his first two years at ND. I did not enjoy that. While there are no guarantees that will happen again when replacing Kelly, there are no guarantees it won’t.

          • It is not fear of failure. It is the need for a proper, clear and sober assessment of risks for the purpose of not repeating the mistakes of the past. Didn’t we just finish paying Weis? Kelly was 12-1 last year and could still be 11-2 this year. You want to make a rash decisions because of 2 bad losses in two years? That would be a total waste of our alumni dollars. If you are willing to foot the bill for paying out Kelly’s contract, go nuts. I would rather “suffer” with a 12-1 or 11-2 record than light that much money on fire.

        • GEORGE MCGUAN says:

          You didn’t really say Pete Carrol? Please tell me you were joking. If you honestly think Carrol belongs at ND you might as well have Harvey Weinstein on the faculty teaching a course on Morality and Ethics.

          • Lol – that was a joke to highlight the absurdity of asking a Harbaugh for help. I had a hard time writing that with a straight face. The point is that investors flee from companies that have instability in their leadership. 17-18 year old football players are not much different than skittish investors.

          • Hire someone of quality who is capable of selling Notre Dame and willing to work hard at doing so, there won’t be a problem. Those recruits aren’t coming because of Brian Kelly — if reports are any indication, he spends very little time with them individually.

          • Mike – I would be 100% on board with the coach you are describing. However, there is a minuscule number of college coaches that fit that bill and probably do not feel the need to move from their current schools. Are we going to look at the talent pool outside the 130 DI teams? Now we are talking about a situation where the American Treasure known as Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz opined, “your crystal ball ain’t so crystal clear.” That is how we got Gerry Faust. My best bet is to just do what Texas A&M did and start lobbing ridiculous numbers at a younger, known winner like Dabo. Until you can convince ND to take that leap, Kelly is about as good as we would get. In terms of his recruiting, I am not going to sit here and pretend I know how much time a coach should be spending with recruits who may or may not go to ND – especially when you have 85 scholarship players to cater to.

  10. Joe Reifsnyder says:

    it is very disappointing to have an annual embarrassment game. I am in agreement that Coach Kelly cannot get us to the next level and very much concerned that the administration is not actually interested in making any changes. However, if you had the ability to influence a change, what would your list of potential head coaches look like?

    • As I’ve said, I’d start with Matt Rhule and Dan Mullen. I think they’ve performed well at multiple places and have the work ethic to succeed. I’m not a fan of pro coaches, but I think John Harbaugh is worth a phone call, even if the reply is a polite “no”, because it may be an opportunity to pick his brain on candidates he likes. Others have mentioned Matt Campbell, don’t know enough about him to say for sure. I’m not sure how well PJ Fleck would go over, and my opinion on him likely will be shaped a lot more based on MN’s next couple weeks. Haven’t had time to do the research on others, but will make the time in the near future.

  11. Patrick Olmstead says:

    How about Herm Edwards? He’s a devout Catholic. (I saw him at Mass on Ash Wednesday during the Combine.) He’s back into coaching at ASU. [But, I don’t believe Coach Kelly is going to leave. I just hope that this loss causes him and the staff to rethink some things. Maybe we need a philosophy change to avoid the big melt downs? Being able to run at all costs is likely important. Maybe they need a few plays with a 3 TE set or where they put an offensive lineman in the backfield and run him as a fullback?]

    • I like Herm Edwards a lot, and he’s done pretty well so far at ASU, but we should all be very hesitant to hire any coaches whose coaching experience is primarily in the NFL. Pro coaches are all about scheme, analytics and playmakers, and they never have to worry about their players having divided priorities or issues with conditioning or basic skills, all of which factor into college coaching. Charlie Weis skated by during his first two years while he was benefiting from Ty Willingham’s player development (whatever his failings were, one thing Coach Willingham did do well was develop promising athletes), but the 2007 season was a complete failure primarily because the players were out of shape and lacked fundamental skills.

  12. What makes everyone think Notre Dame can attract an elite coach? I would love and hope that would be the case, but apparently, most elite coaches do not show any interest in coaching at Notre Dame. It’s going to take entail a leadership and cultural change at the top, starting with Swarbrick as PC already pointed out earlier. Unfortunately, that will take a lot longer to accomplish than most Irish fans can stomach. As for the rest of the season, the Michigan game is more than just an annual embarrassment game. It serves as a blueprint on how to play ND the rest of the season. I hope the players rise up, but if they play defense that way the rest of the season, prepare for more embarrassment games.

      • George McGuan says:

        How about this, Mike? Hansen at the SBT observed a season or so ago that Kelly’s appearances on behalf of the university–mandated by contract–number close to a hundred per season (I don’t recall the exact figure). Alabama, he noted, demands three from Saban. Think about that. It is exactly that sort of promotional nonsense that makes coaches like Meyer say it’s damn near impossible to coach the Irish. The admission standards are not an insurmountable obstacle, but pile on the alumni expectations, the media scrutiny, the commitment to integrity (institutional and academic), and these travel obligations–coaching is South Bend is a brutal challenge and, too often, a thankless job.

        Kelly can manage 9-3 just about forever. His quarterbacks get worse each year, his game plans are rarely inspired, and his style is anything but inspiring. He’s had exactly one satisfying post-season victory. But he won’t be going anywhere. Dream on.

      • Look at ND’s track record since Lou Holtz. Have they been able to recruit a coach anywhere close to his caliber since? Most elite coaches follow the easier path. It’s easier to get the players you need to compete for a championship at most other schools.

          • In a word, No. Every ND coaching search since 1985 has been a clown show run by amateurs. The worst of it may have been the day they left Nick Saban at the airport because they didn’t bother telling him that Monk had unilaterally canceled his interview.

    • Along these lines, my concern is that problem will become even worse if Notre Dame were to fire Kelly this season. Let’s say hypothetically he wins out and ND finishes 10-2. Most likely that’s an appearance in the Russell Athletic Bowl against an inferior opponent (most projections I have read say Kansas State), so that’s likely an 11-2 season. Firing Kelly, against that backdrop, has all the makings of an unfathomable PR nightmare. ESPN will ask publicly why anyone would want the ND job if the reward for an 11-2 season is a firing. Granted, this board is not entirely off base with its criticism of ESPN, and that would be especially warranted here. But the point is that too many fans, and even more importantly, potential recruits get their information largely if not exclusively from ESPN. That would create a negative perception associated with ND football in the minds of many.

  13. I agree with a whole lot of what you say. But I think the entire vacating of wins process was bogus and said a lot more about the NCAA than it did about ND. I truly believe that ND plays a game that no one else is playing and postures itself academically and financially above the rest so much that it makes many inside the NCAA very bitter. That was an opportunity to strike at ND and they took their shot. But student to student collusion? If young adults choose to make those mistakes by conspiring amongst themselves, how is a coach supposed to catch that? What could ND have done differently in that scenario? If they chose to do so, could they not have handled it in house without self reporting? I agree it happened during BK’s regime, clearly, but could that not have happened to any coach at any time? Does that happen a lot? And how often to programs honestly report that? Harvard, Yale, Penn, etc. all have dealt with cheating and academic dishonesty. I don’t think how ND handled the situation was grounds for wins being vacated. The NCAA got their witch hunt and burned them at the stake.

  14. Kelly should be given credit for putting the program in a stronger position than when he arrived and making the job more attractive to quality coaches who may not have the stomach for a major rebuilding effort. But the program has plateaued, the loss to Michigan marks the 11th straight road loss against a top 20 team and he’s 4-12 against the top 25 not to mention the disturbing trend of blowout losses in really big games

    This is not elite football and ND needs someone else to take them to point C and after ten years Kelly has proven that he’s not up to the task.

    I still think Dan Mullen and Matt Rhule are the top two candidates. Mullen has more resources and a larger recruiting pool at Florida than he did at Miss St. and he’s making the most of it, so he could probably do even better at ND. He’s proving much more successful than his predecessors and is the most successful coach since Urban Meyer left. Plus he’s an outstanding QB coach which is something ND desperately needs.

    Matt Rhule, a Joe Paterno disciple, took over a Baylor program near death and is now 7-0 in year 3 and in the hunt for the Big 12 championship. He also had success at Temple which is no small feat. These are all positive signs in a potential coach.

    When Kelly was in Cincy he never beat anyone he wasn’t supposed to whereas Parseghian, Devine and Holtz all had histories of building programs and pulling upsets against more talented opponents.

  15. I agree with your article. Kelly 2.0,while good is not going to get us to the promised land. Against the elite teams our in-game adjustments (almost non-existent on the offensive side) don’t rise to the level needed to actually compete with elite teams. He loses big on the road against teams ranked int the top 20.The coach I would like to see the Irish pursue is Satterfield at Louisville or Matt Rhule at Baylor.. Or can Lea be a head coach?
    Also it is time to pull the plug on Book. He is who he is and cannot take us to C. They have enough talent to beat the rest of the teams with Jurkovec and he needs the work. At least he can throw it down the field.

    • I highly doubt ND is going to fire BK even if they lose 3 regular season games this year. The best you can hope for is a change at OC because that seems to be weak link in these blowout losses, an offense that isn’t aggressive and cannot keep the defense off the field. So far this year it seems our most imaginative offensive play calling came against New Mexico. When we come up against Georgia’s, Michigan’s, Clemson, SC, etc it’s as if Long gets overly cautious and afraid to try anything. I thought for sure last year that we would see some cool shit against Clemson with that much time to prepare. WRONG.
      Maybe ND should attempt to lure Brian Ferentz away from Iowa. His offense isn’t a world beater but it is something ND can sustain year in and year out once they get some decent running back talent. Not to mention he always has a pretty good offensive line despite lesser talent than ND so you know he isn’t a half bad o-line coach either. Iowa teams always have a toughness to them as well, they might lose the game but they’re going to beat you up in the process. Toughness is something I can honestly say has been missing at ND since Lou called it quits.
      Even Muffet McGraw gets her ass handed to her by Geno nine times out of ten.

  16. There are two programs at point C – recent national champs and there every year and few others that are in mix. the next 10-15 programs get “annual embarrassments” or worse. Even if ND could pay the price to be them, they wouldn’t want to be them. No one wants to be second tier, but hiring a flavor of the month coach doesn’t make you first tier. All that being said, BK has been here a decade, been coaching 30 years, so i hope they always are keeping a short list of successors.

  17. Terry MCMANUS says:

    I repeat – Kelly is a good coach – 9-3 or so every year, maybe a 12-0 every now and then and then get blown out in the playoffs.

    We are talking about Notre Dame and that’s not good enough.

    What was the overall graduation rate in 1988, the last year we won it all?