Brian Kelly kicked off his 6th season as the head coach of the Notre Dame football program with a press conference that ran for over an hour.
6 seasons. That’s a landmark when it comes to Fighting Irish football coaches. The last one to make it to season 6 was Lou Holtz. Before Holtz, it was Devine, Parseghian, and Leahy. That’s pretty lofty company- especially when Kelly is without a title to accompany the tenure.
So, here comes season 6. The team is fairly healthy after giving medicals to Michael Deeb and Mike Heuerman. And despite spring wrist wringing over the 85 man scholarship limit, the transfers of Everett Golson, Jhonny Williams, and most recently Kolin Hill, has took the Irish back to the more familiar number of 83. All that without even mentioning the year long suspension of Greg Bryant.
Going back to the presser, Kelly was asked all the familiar questions and in turn, the same predictable answers followed. That isn’t a bad thing, as surprises in South Bend tend to lean more towards disaster than riding rainbows.
Is Ishaq coming back? Well… They don’t know, but it doesn’t look good. How’s Keivarae looking? Great, but his return still isn’t official. Any freshman standing out? Yeah, this guy looks good and this guy looks good, and this other guy is physically ready to roll. How’s the leadership coach? Oh great- and there are more leaders on this team taking a role than last year.
And on it went. An hour long press conference to state most of the obvious while dropping a nugget of new info here and there. I’m not complaining, but after 6 years this is more of the same.
Seriously though, I’m not complaining. The best thing about Kelly lasting 6 years thus far has been the steadiness of it all. Sure, we wish the record was a little better, but we got a legitimate title run in 2012, and by all accounts the 2015 season could see something similar- if not greater.
For as much grief as Joe Montana caught from Irish fans for saying that maybe Notre Dame could only compete for a national title every 3 or 4 years, I actually find comfort in that thought now as I creep closer to 40. Maybe that is the wrong way to think as an Irish fan, but it took almost 20 years for Notre Dame to truly compete for a title before the 2012 season (1993 being the last legitimate time). So… I’m cool with Steady Kelly if that pattern emerges this year.
It’s all there. All the pieces on and off the field are put in place and even the respect for the potential of this team has permeated throughout the country. The questions are the same though the answers vary to certain degrees. The marathon press conference was just the beginning of this event.
I only wish someone would have asked Kelly about joining a conference and its importance to the playoffs. A second wish would have been that he answered it truthfully with an f bomb and a certain finger raised.
Nah… Not Steady Kelly.