Some initial thoughts on Notre Dame's hiring of Brian Kelly

This matters because of the special nature of our rivalry with Notre Dame. I want to pound ND EVERY year but it is better when the both teams are putting a good product on the field. ND has not lived up to their end of the bargain of late. I think Brian Kelly could change that...

While I really haven't looked real close at Brian Kelly I have absolutely no Idea if this is a good hire for them in the long run but at first glance I would suspect that this is a much better hire than Charlie Weis. On the surface many at ND are excited.

They should be...

But they were also very excited at the hiring of Charlie Weis as well.

The Weis regime certainly left a bad taste in everyone's mouth, Weis' loud mouth and lack of production left one of the best rivalries in CFB a shambles. Notre Dame's two best games under Weis, against USC, was the 2005 "Bush Push" game and this past season's 2nd half thriller...both were in South Bend.

A better, well-rounded candidate...

Kelly certainly is the flavor of the month, taking Cincinnati to an undefeated season this year with an upcoming Sugar Bowl appearance (being 1-second and a Colt McCoy errant throw away from the MNC). Kelly had a 34-6 record in his three years at UC.

There are some things that make this an obvious upgrade for ND at first glance...

First, Kelly is a college head coach...Weis was never that. He hid behind his "success" with that cheater in New England and passed it off as being just as good as actually coaching a team.

Second, Kelly can recruit...But he has never had to recruit against the big guns. Carroll, Meyer, Brown and Saban just to name a few, guys with a pedigree. You can only play up Touchdown Jesus for so long and you can only live off your past laurels for so long too. He has to be prepared to go toe-to-toe with the big guns. It is also what you do with the players you recruit. While Kelly has never recruited a 5-star player in his career he has found success in developing 3-star players. Notre Dame will provide him with a venerable Christmas morning of sorts with a fair amount of 5-star players who will want to come to ND, simply because it is ND. The only problem with that is that with 5-star players come some egos as well. So that will be something new for Kelly to deal with. Should be interesting...

Third, while Kelly comes from the defensive side of the ball from his playing days and early coaching career it would appear on the surface that he doesn't worry abut defense all that much. Dose anyone remember any great UC defensive showings? I actually saw Cincy play a fair amount this season and at no time was I impressed with their defense...and that is ND's biggest problem right now.

We aren't in Cincinnati anymore...

Kelly's biggest problem is going to Notre Dame's "standards".

ND is not going to relax their academic standards for athletes. He isn't going to get any JUCO players unless they meet the minimum requirements. ND says that any player coming to South Bend must meet the minimum standards that all students must meet. It doesn't matter if they play a sport or not.

Kelly isn't going to get any special treatment for his team. If one of his players gets into trouble it is out of his hands. Internal discipline at Notre Dame is handled by the Office of Residence Life and Housing. If one of his players gets in trouble on campus Kelly is out of it, he has no say, he can't set forth his own discipline other than what he can add on top of what the school sets as discipline.

Talk about pressure, take a big whiff...

Kelly has enjoyed the spotlight because of his success. If he wasn't successful he would pretty much be just another college coach. Kelly now has to deal with being in the spotlight all the time...for the good and the bad. It is just how Notre Dame is.

I never thought that ND was going to go for the big hire. They have been down that road. I think they want someone they can control. Kelly brings some success no question but he is not as successful as the names I mentioned above. ND gives him a shot at writing his own chapter in CFB history but ND will keep a short leash on it. They won't let the program get too big for its britches like it did under Weis.

I doubt ND loses many players in this recruiting class. Kelly's biggest problem is going to make sure he has better than average assistants that can handle the pressure of being at ND. The whole culture is almost cult like...

If you look at ND's schedule next season you can see where it is going to be difficult. Some of the tough games are on the road and some of the teams on their schedule are going to be better. I see another 4 loss season in 2010 while Kelly tries to stabilize the program for the future.

Kelly already is working from a bad spot with the QB that should be taking over the program out with an ACL tear. Crist won't be ready for spring ball leaving him little time in fall ball to grasp Kelly's "pitch and catch" version of the spread. I would not expect much in 2010 but there should be a marked difference in 2011.

Many SC fans want a great rivalry with ND. I think the same is true with ND fans. I think both fan bases want to see the style of coaching that we saw in the 70's with McKay and Parseghian. Mutual respect but the desire to kick each others ass. I think Kelly brings that...no more bluster or loud mouth statements.

Just football...

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