Brian Kelly can be King at Notre Dame
I hate to say I told you so but four weeks ago when I said Charlie Weis had to go there was a storm of criticism around my head. When I suggested that Brian Kelly of Cincinnati was the likely replacement I was told that I was talking nonsense, including on the ESPN site.
What are the odds of Charlie Weis keeping his job now?
A major Notre Dame loss looms against Stanford who are playing out of their skins in the last game of the season. Yes we will defeat Connecticut but that is akin to playing the New York Knicks at present.
In sum a season of frustration, denial and dumb coaching will draw to a close with Notre Dame playing somewhere in an insignificant bowl like last year's farce against Hawaii.
This at a time when TCU, Boise State and other minnows are contenders for major BCS bowl games. Think about how hard it was for them to recruit compared to Notre Dame and you get some sense of the disconnect under Weis.
Not only should Weis go, but so should his entire coaching staff. They had the best quarterback in college football and two of the best wide receivers to play the game at Notre Dame in a generation. Yet they somehow forgot about defense and how to stop teams like Navy – yes, Navy, who we had beaten over 40 straight times.
The Navy game was the turning point when Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo apparently went back to the Notre Dame defensive plan against his side of a year ago and gambled that Weis and co. would line up the same way.
Incredibly they did, and Navy ran right through the Irish.
I'm sure that was the moment that athletic director Jack Swarbrick decided enough was enough. His comment on Saturday that the cost of buying out an existing contract would not be a deal breaker in terms of making any decision was the death knell for Weis.
Deservedly so. He is not a college coach; his mixture of irony, sarcasm and venom does not work with young players like perhaps it did in the NFL.
Charlie Weis has very few defenders left for the very same reason. This not a man who should be in charge of one of the most storied franchises in sport in America.
Brian Kelly on the other hand is a player’s coach who has created his astounding record at Cincinnati by melding a team together that has spirit, class and never say die.
Notre Dame this year has been never say die until the last few minutes, and then they give in. Pittsburgh was just the latest example. Navy and USC before that .
Pray for Kelly, pray that Clausen stays an extra year and that Floyd and Tate do too. If all that happens we have a real shot in 2010.
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