Brian Kelly, the new coach of flailing Notre Dame, has spoken to sports website Rivals.com about his aspirations as new coach of The Fighting Irish.
The star coach comes to the Indiana university fresh from the Cincinnati Bearcats, where he was fast on the road to making the team into a powerhouse in their own right, leading them to a 34-6 record from 2007-09, and pushing the side to consecutive Big East titles in 2008-09 and trips to the Orange and Sugar bowls.
Some of the new coach’s puzzling first words after appointment were that he was going to bring a "decided schematic advantage" to the side, but also to focus on player development and tactics.
The coach told the website that he hadn’t really thought about his meteoric rise to football’s top flight. The coach was coaching Division II sides as little as seven years ago, but said that “I don't think I ever came to work every day going, 'I want to be the head coach of Notre Dame’”.
”Football is important there now,” the coach said of Cincinnati when asked how the thinks the left football in the city. “Sugar Bowl ? Orange Bowl. ? 12-0 ? yeah, I think we did OK,” he said of his time coaching there.
When asked if he thought the team had enough personnel to run an effective offense, the coach betrayed his lack of confidence, saying that it would “take a while for us to be full throttle”.Though he added that he had enough “skill players” at the side to “make it work” once stuff started gelling into place.
The new coach was equally blunt about his “star” quarterback Dayne Crist: “I know he had great accolades coming out of high school. But he really hasn't done anything at Notre Dame,” the coach rather bluntly told the website. “I think the quarterback position is a huge question mark,” he finished.
When asked why he thought that the Notre Dame defence had been shaky in recent years he said that there had at times been “too much [different tactics and philosophies] going on”. About the team’s image, though, he said that the side was “perceived very very well” across both coasts of the continent, but said that “we [Notre Dame] have to start winning games.”
He praised the side’s facilites, though, saying that things have been all-right in that department for “five or six years”, though noted the anomaly of the team having no advertising in the stadium. He said that he loved the side’s crazy travel schedule: “One of the best things about being independent is one weekend you can play in New York City and the next you are in L.A,” said the coach.
When asked whether he’d like to see the side join a conference, rather than stay independent, he said that “I'd like to stay the way we are,” but added that the decision wouldn’t be his to make. He dismissed suggestions that admissions standards were too rigorous at the university, where the average SAT score is 1,500, saying that good academics were also often good sportsmen, and noted that the university’s intake came from all over America.
When asked whether he felt pressure to win the national champioship, which Notre Dame hasn’t won since 1988, he said ”One-hundred percent every day”, adding that he was there to try win the national championship.
To finish the interview he said that the team “have to hit the ground running and immediately compete at the highest level.”