Maybe it was the green tie, or the story about watching Notre Dame games on television every week in the fall as a kid that immediately endeared Brian Kelly to the Notre Dame faithful at his first press conference yesterday.
After the surly and swaggering attitude of Charlie Weis it was a genuine pleasure to see a humble yet confident and committed coach take over. Kelly did not shirk the challenges, did not try and intimidate the media as Weis often tried to do. He was open, transparent and very accessible and he kicked off the new era with a real feel-good feeling. Here are some samples:
“When I refer to the challenge, it's strictly getting to that high bar that's been set at Notre Dame," said Kelly, who signed a five-year deal with the Irish. “We've got challenges, but we'll go to work on those right away.”
Questioned on how long that would take Kelly said
“We don't get a five-year plan. This is a five-minute plan,” he said. “We expect our football players to play at a high level immediately. Timetables, we don't want to get into those – those are a setup.”
“It's not just about getting bigger, stronger, faster,” he said. “It's getting your players to trust, to be accountable on a daily basis, it's about developing them as young men. ... To get people to do things that they would not normally do on their own.”
Amen to that. Kelly is already setting a new standard. I smell a national championship someday soon.