You are so right! Kelly has done as much as he can with the players he recruited. He has to recruit better or we will be a consistent top 15 team.
Trouble is, the truth of your remarks could apply to most top-20 teams
with good-but-not-great-coaches, and in truth we have almost always
contended, but for USC and the Florida Triumvirate at the top. Now and for
the foreseeable future everyone has to endure the heartbreak of excellence
just short of consistently rivaling Alabama and Clemson.
up daisies for about 10 years. I generally agree with your points and would go further to note that Kelly hasn't exactly attracted the greatest coordinators and assistants during his tenure. It has improved significantly over the last several years with HH, Elko and Lea. His low-rent cronyism approach to staffing has resulted in the waste of talent in his earlier years at ND (e.g., 2011 team).
I can't think of one game during his tenure that we were a decided underdog and he out-motivated and out-coached an elite opposing team. He's a turd of a coach in that regard.
At kickoff, I believe we were a 10- or 11-point underdog.
It felt like a turd at the time, but that MSU team finished 13-1, #3 in the country.
MSU got called for pass interference about 5 times.
Of course, each one actually was pass interference, so they didn’t really have much to complain about.
against. Only way we were able to score in that game is that we got calls against their very aggressive secondary. That game was under the radar at the time and for much of the remainder of the year because Mich St. didn't do much during the regular season but then jumped up the rankings with back to back wins over top 5 teams to end the season.
I could be wrong on that. I don't think we were undermanned in that contest. I believe we had the more talented team. It is one of the few games I thought BK did a decent job of calling plays.
ND dominated the line of scrimmage.
If every season under Kelly went similar to 2015, 2017, and 2018 there would still be optimism, albeit some frustration still. 2016 has still rightfully left a bitter taste for most people. In the other three seasons we have been just as successful as anyone not named Georgia, Alabama, or Clemson.
I would have said his floor was 7-5 going into 2016. Some said his ceiling last year was 9-3. Kelly has improved greatly, but also did a lot of effing up in years 1-7 to get there.