Category Archives: Notre Dame’s Faint Echoes

No panic, just bullshit

This Matt Hayes puff piece on Brian Kelly has to be read to be believed.  Somehow Kelly tries to present himself as the Dude In Charge…

Before we go further, let’s make something clear: Brian Kelly is not pulling back. He’s not making change for the sake of it, not handing over the keys to the sleek machine and becoming more of a CEO coach. And he sure as hell isn’t sitting around while someone else tweaks it.

He built the damn car, people.

“I know what it looks like. I know what a team needs,” Kelly says without a hint of hesitation. “I know what has to happen. There’s no panic here.”

… while simultaneously claiming this as a reason last season went down the tubes.

“I was the absent professor,” Kelly says. “I wasn’t paying attention to the details that we needed. There were internal issues that—if a guy is on it, and he’s doing his job as the head coach, he would’ve seen those things early. My flawed philosophy was, We’re going to score points early while we’re figuring it out on the other side with a young defense. Well, that didn’t happen. We gave up way too many points early, we lost three games, and now we’re in trouble.”

Yeah, blame those assistant coaches.

If you’re a Georgia fan, you’ll love this excuse.

After its coach had to spend too much time, he now reveals to Bleacher Report, fundraising for a football-only facility and not enough making sure he had a firm grasp of his team’s physical and mental focus.

Think about that: The head coach at Notre Dame—which at one point was paying two coaches to not coach (Tyrone Willingham, Charlie Weis) while paying Kelly—was fundraising for a facility during the season.

When asked how that impacted 2016, Kelly says bluntly, “It f–ked up last year’s team.”

Maybe Mark Richt should have tried that.

Man, I hope Georgia pounds these guys.  I hope Kelly’s face gets so red during the game, I can see it from the nosebleed seats.

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Meanwhile, on the injury front

When it comes to health issues, I don’t wish ill on any student-athlete, but in light of Georgia’s schedule, I thought I’d mention a couple of key hits.

No, those don’t translate into automatic wins for Georgia, but for once it’s news like this coming from other camps, instead of Athens.

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Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Notre Dame's Faint Echoes, The Body Is A Temple

When regression to the mean isn’t your friend

Bill Connelly, in looking at coaching underachievers and overachievers, notes this disquieting (if you’re a Georgia fan, anyway) information:

For preview purposes, I note when teams strayed pretty far from their win expectations, one way or the other, and in 2016 two teams strayed really far from expectations: Idaho overachieved by 2.3 wins, and Notre Dame underachieved by 3.2 wins, the fourth-highest (lowest?) in 12 years.

From year to year, this is a sign of randomness. The teams on the extreme ends are all but guaranteed to regress (or progress) toward the mean the next year. Notre Dame was the fourth team to underachieve its second-order win total by at least three games; the other Power 5 team on that list: 2013 TCU, which improved from 4-8 to 12-1 the next season.

12-1?  Dayum, Bill, I really didn’t need to see that.

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The second greatest trick the devil ever pulled…

… was convincing Notre Dame to pony up an almost $19 million buyout of Charlie Weis’ contract.

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Filed under Charlie Weis Is A Big Fat..., It's Just Bidness, Notre Dame's Faint Echoes

Something old, something new…

I’ve already mentioned the staff turnover at Notre Dame.  When Georgia rolls into South Bend, the Irish will be playing for new coordinators on both sides of the ball.  In theory, that should put Brian Kelly a step behind Kirby Smart.

Maybe so, but in terms of the players on the field, Notre Dame will be anything but inexperienced.  In fact, Ian Boyd sets up what should be a fascinating match up between Notre Dame’s offense and Georgia’s defense.

I’ve broken down the basics of the Long RPO attack before. The biggest bonus of this attack is the way it will create opportunities for the Irish to fully leverage their absurd collection of talent on offense. For whatever reason, Notre Dame has two offensive linemen who were eligible for the 2017 NFL draft but stayed in school. Now the Irish return a left side of Mike McGlinchey (a 6’8, 310-pound, fifth-year tackle) and Quenton Nelson (a 6’5, 325-pound fourth-year guard).

In fact, the Irish figure to return four starters from a year ago across the line, along with top wideout Equanimeous St. Brown and starting RB Josh Adams. So as far as skill, talent and blocking, they can check off the RPO offense requirements of being able to beat man coverage and run on an honest front.

Doesn’t that sound familiar.  Georgia brings back every starter from last year’s defense, except for Maurice Smith, so you’re looking at two very experienced and talented groups facing off against each other.

The big questions may turn out to be whether Kelly’s new quarterback is ready to roll against that defense and how well Georgia’s staff prepares for what Chip Long will throw at them.  I bet you’ve got some staffers deep in the bowels of Butts-Mehre breaking down every inch of tape on Memphis’ offense last year as you read this.

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Notre Dame: best 4-8 team of 2016…

… or best 4-8 team ever?

By the way, Mr. Connelly projects Notre Dame as an almost four-point favorite when the Dawgs come calling in September.

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Continuity stress test

When Georgia travels to South Bend this season, it’ll make for an interesting contrast between the coaching staffs.  The Dawgs will be coached by the same coordinators year-to-year for the first time since 2014.  The Fighting Irish, on the other hand, won’t.

Kelly has been in the midst of one of the most extensive overhauls ever of a team of his own making. The eighth-year coach has changed offensive coordinators, defensive coordinators, half of his assistants and all of his strength coaches. In all there are 17 new members of the football hierarchy, an obvious indication of dissatisfaction with what was going on.

Notre Dame is coming off a four-win season — three of those at home, none against ranked teams — and doesn’t have a talent advantage over the visitors.  Besides the coaching turnover, they’ll be starting a new quarterback as well.

If Georgia can’t walk in there and come out with a victory, either we chalk it up to the power of Touchdown Jesus or start some hard questioning about when this staff is going to get its proverbial act together.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen Gawd as a micro-manager when it comes to football.

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