Notre Dane coach Brian Kelly
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Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly knows that success has many friends, but losing - not so much.
Notre Dame's routing by USC has already been pinned to Kelly's chest.
USC quarterback Matt Barkley put it like this: 'It seemed from our sideline and our perspective that they did give up,' he told ESPNLA. And, rubbing it in, linebacker Chris Galippo added 'That’s what Notre Dame football’s about.'
Ouch. Regardless of whether Notre Dame’s players gave up, critics are certainly blaming Kelly. And what's worse, they're suggesting he gave up on his own team.
Take Fox Sport's
columnist Greg Couch, for example. In a hard hitting article this week he wrote that the Fighting Irish now seem spooked by their grand past.
'It has such great tradition, and everyone keeps waiting for that one moment to get it all back,' Couch wrote. 'But Notre Dame keeps losing that moment. It’s hard to remember the last time the Irish won a big game.'
Couch also has no doubt where the blame lies:
'Kelly built up this moment as a way to forget all other lost moments.
He put the team in super bright helmets with extra gold. They looked ridiculous, like football players with Christmas lights on their heads. They blared Ozzy Osbourne music over the PA at every chance to get the crowd going. They handed out towels for fans to wave.
'Kelly was just so sure of himself, so sure that this moment would be his, with an extra week to prepare for a night game with a huge TV audience and a ton of top recruits in the stands against a rival that’s on probation. So he ended up doubling and tripling the pressure of the moment to get the biggest payback. And when it wasn’t going right, the defeat was double and triple. Kelly gave in. And maybe the players did, too.'