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Tag:Brian Kelly
Posted on: May 18, 2011 4:52 pm

Kelly: Notre Dame needs to 'beat an SEC team'

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly was in Huntsville, Alabama on Tuesday to give a speech to the Notre Dame Club of Northern Alabama, and while he was there he also made a $5,000 donation from his Kelly Cares Foundation to be used for tornado relief in Alabama. Of course, while visiting tornado-ravaged parts of the state and making a donation was incredibly kind of Kelly, it wouldn't be a Notre Dame Club meeting if talk didn't turn to Notre Dame football.

Which Kelly made clear that, while he was pleased about his team's direction following a four game win streak to finish the 2010 season, there's still plenty of room for improvement. He also went on to say that for the Fighting Irish to once again be taken seriously on a national level, there's only one thing it can do: beat a team from the SEC.

"Clearly, if I'm one of those average college football fans, I think I'm asking the same question," Kelly told the group. "Notre Dame will be taken serious when they beat an SEC team." 

Of course, at the moment, Notre Dame does not have a game scheduled against an SEC oppoenent in any of its upcoming schedules. Something Kelly hinted at by saying that he hoped that win over an SEC opponent would come in a BCS bowl game. Also, while the talk of beating an SEC team is nice, what Notre Dame fans really care about is winning a national championship, be it against an SEC school or a Big 12 school, the Golden Domers don't care. Kelly addressed that situation as well.

"I don't mind listening about the past. I think that's great and I don't mind being reminded about it. I don't like to mortgage my future. I like to live in the present. And in the present, we need to win at Notre Dame. We need to win right now."

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: May 12, 2011 4:11 pm

Eye on CFB Roundtable: preseason top 25

By Eye on College Football Bloggers

Each week, the Eye on CFB team convenes Voltron- style to answer a pressing question regarding the wild, wide world of college football. This week's topic:

We've already talked about No. 1, but the end of spring has also meant a revision of the rest of the preseason top 25, like our colleague Dennis Dodd's. What teams do you feel like might deserve a better ranking at this stage (or one at all)? What teams do you feel like might be ranked too highly?

Jerry Hinnen: There always seems to be one team from the SEC that comes from outside the preseason polls and surprises--think Mississippi State last year, Ole Miss in 2008, etc. But Dennis's 25 already includes every SEC team but Ole Miss, Tennessee, Kentucky and Vanderbilt, and I'm not sold on any of those teams as poll material. (There's a case to be made for the Vols, but only if Tyler Bray takes a major step forward, and his 5-for-30 spring game suggests that step may not be imminent.)

So I'll look elsewhere for a sleeper and mention how much I like San Diego State. The Aztecs have absorbed some heavy losses in their pair of NFL-bound wideouts and, of course, the head coach-offensive coordinator pairing of Brady Hoke and Al Borges. But Ronnie Hillman is an All-American running back waiting to happen, and senior Ryan Lindley is easily the best MWC quarterback this side of Kellen Moore. Together, they're one of the nation's best RB-QB combos, and new OC Andy Ludwig (the man behind Utah's undefeated 2008 attack) should know how to get the most out of them.

Defensively, the Aztecs should be much more comfortable in the second year of Rocky Long's unorthodox 3-3-5 scheme, and the schedule also offers the opportunity for two huge statement wins since TCU and Boise State travel to San Diego. Put it all together, and I don't think the departures of Hoke and Borges will be nearly enough to stop the program's momentum towards the polls.

Bryan Fischer: One team I think is a bit under the radar is Georgia. The Dawgs get the other division favorite, South Carolina, early in the schedule--that could be key if the Gamecocks are breaking in Connor Shaw, who has all of 33 passes to his name. I'm concerned about Georgia's running game but they have a good quarterback and the defense should be markedly improved in year two under Todd Grantham.

West Virginia is another team that can really make a move. They lose a lot from last year on defense but should be solid nevertheless. They might have one of the best offenses in the country with Geno Smith running the show and get their big non-conference game against LSU at home.

Chip Patterson: I agree with Bryan that West Virginia is a team that could cause some problems this fall. Dana Holgorsen might have done the coaching job of the year in 2010 with Oklahoma State's offense; the Cowboys did not return a single offensive lineman and his scheme resulted in the third-most productive offense in the nation anyway. Now he gets a stable full of athletes that, in many people's opinions, have been underperforming under Bill Stewart. Smith is the type of quarterback who can be a threat in Holgorsen's spread, especially once he gets familiar with the reads and changing plays at the line of scrimmage. The toughest challenge on the Mountaineers' slate is an early-season battle with LSU in Morgantown (as Bryan mentioned). I think that game is winnable, and could give them confidence headed into the back-loaded conference schedule.

Virginia Tech, though, is a huge question mark in my opinion. While I'm not sure whether they will end up higher or lower than 17, there's as much of a chance of them finishing the season unranked as getting to 10 wins. Their schedule does set up extremely well, with Clemson, Miami and North Carolina coming to Blacksburg and Florida State, Maryland and N.C. State avoided completely. But Logan Thomas needs to prove himself in a game situation, and running back David Wilson will have to work without Darren Evans or Ryan Williams to compliment him. Even if the Hokies finish the season strong, the eye test does not have them as "Top 20 good" just yet.

Adam Jacobi: After the first, oh, eight teams, I've got some major concerns about nearly every team on the list. Spring is the season for questions, of course, but it's like, "Michigan State at 11? Really? Wisconsin at 12? Really? Arkansas at 13? Really?" But you look at that list, and yeah, that's about right.

The one team that stands out to me is Notre Dame, who sort of creeps in under the radar at 19. I don't expect that sterling recruiting class to make much of an impact in Year 1, but there's a lot of talent coming back for Brian Kelly to build on. They have options at quarterback with Dayne Crist and Tommy Rees, the passing game basically only lost tight end Kyle Rudolph (who was injured for the second half of the season anyway), and four of five starting linemen return. The defense, meanwhile, is still led by Manti Te'o and returns its top eight tacklers. There's some retooling to do up the middle of the front seven, but the leadership and experience are there for the D to take a big step forward this year.

Lastly, I really like the Irish's schedule. The only truly worrisome game is the season finale at Stanford; the rest of the games are winnable. That's not to say the Irish are definitely going 11-1 in the regular season -- that's not happening without a ton of luck -- but it's a nice very-best-case scenario.

BF: I think the top 10 is pretty much standard for everyone. Sure, you can change the order and move teams around, but you can't argue with those 10 teams much.

After that, I have an issue with Auburn at 15. I know they're the defending champions, but they lost a lot of talent on both sides of the ball, and the Tigers have a very tough schedule where they could take some losses. I'm also not sold on Utah after watching them collapse down the stretch last year, and they've had a ton of guys sit out this spring with injuries. I'd swap them in the rankings with USC -- who has depth issues but also has Matt Barkley and Robert Woods throwing the ball around -- or UCF.

AJ: Here's something I want to know -- what do you do about Ohio State if you're a voter? Do you ding them since the Buckeye Five are suspended for five games? Do you un-ding them when they come back? How many spots does Jim Tressel's situation cost them? What's the protocol here?

Tom Fornelli: I would have them lower on my rankings, personally. Losing some of your best players and your head coach for five games is a big deal, even if those games are against MACifices that shouldn't prove much of a test to the Buckeyes. Either way, those players and Tressel aren't there to start the season, so we should treat Ohio State as if they're not there. And do you see Ohio State being a top-25 team with Joe Bauserman?

JH: Disagree. I don't think there's a "protocol" on how to deal with the Buckeyes' current (unprecedented) situation as it relates to preseason polls; your guess is as good as mine is as good as anyone else's. But I don't think dropping them out of the top 25 all together is fair. Until we hear otherwise from the NCAA, the Buckeye Five and Tressel won't miss any more than the first (mostly winnable) five games. Dropping them entirely -- under the mere assumption Tressel, Pryor, et al are a dead team walking -- seems to put the cart before the horse.

TF: Seriously, though, I need somebody to explain to me why Arizona State is suddenly the cool team to vote for. Do people just really like their new uniforms? Is Vontaze Burfict sitting over their shoulders as they fill out their brackets? This is a team that won six games last year, with those six wins coming against Portland State, Northern Arizona, Washington, Washington State, UCLA and Arizona. Arizona is the only impressive win on that list, and it was a one-point victory in double overtime. This is a team that may have a lot of returning starters this year, but they're returning starters from a team that wasn't exactly a world-beater last season. Also, after losing quarterback Steven Threet to injury, the guy who has to lead that returning-starter-filled offense is still new.

JH: You didn't even mention their plague of torn ACLs this spring. I wish I could disagree -- the Sun Devils have had a ton of bad luck the last couple of seasons -- but they strike me, too, as a prime candidate to disappoint.

Posted on: April 18, 2011 11:48 am

ND: Individuals not responsible in Sullivan death

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Notre Dame has released the report following its internal investigation regarding the death of student videographer Declan Sullivan, and president Rev. John Jenkins has said that the university as a whole is to blame. 

"The university ... is collectively responsible," Jenkins said. "Insofar as the President is responsible for the university as a whole, I am the individual who bears the most responsibility, and I accept that responsibility."

But Jenkins' acceptance may not quiet critics angered by the report's claim that "no one acted in disregard for safety" when 53 miles-per-hour winds overturned Sullivan's hydraulic lift last fall. To read not-so-deeply between the lines of Jenkins' open letter on the incident, blame must be shared "collectively" since it cannot be assigned individually:

"After a thorough and painstaking study in which numerous university personnel were interviewed and external experts consulted, we have reached the conclusion that no one acted in disregard for safety," school president Rev. John Jenkins wrote in an open letter posted on the school's web site. 

"Each individual involved based his decisions and actions that day on the best information available at the time and in accord with the procedures that were in place." 

Said Notre Dame executive vice president John Affleck-Graves: "What we found is that numerous decisions by many people -- made in good faith on that (day) and even over the course of several years -- played a role in the accident."

The report seemed to specifically absolve head coach Brian Kelly, concluding that he "depends on" other staff members (a directore of football operations, a trainer, etc.) to provide him with accurate weather information.

In line with the above conclusions, Jenkins has confirmed that no one at Notre Dame has been individually disciplined for the failures that led to Sullivan's death. (The Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration did fine the school more than $77,000 for "ignoring industry standards" in the incident.)

"The Sullivans entrusted Declan to our care and we failed to keep him safe. We will live with this for the rest of our lives," Jenkins wrote. No will argue otherwise. But without the university issuing so much as a fine in response to an entirely preventable death of a student on their watch, Jenkins will also have to live with what is sure to be a firestorm of continuing criticism.

Posted on: April 15, 2011 11:21 am
Edited on: April 15, 2011 11:30 am

Brian Kelly cracks jokes at Butch Jones' expense

Posted by Chip Patterson

In the last decade or so, the art of the "roast" has become more and more popular as a structured way to both honor someone/something and completely obliterate all attendees with humor.  Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly recently was one of the guests of honor at "The Roasting of Jeff Ruby" in Cincinnati.  Ruby, one of the city's most recognizable resturaunteurs, put himself on the hot seat Thursday night to raise money for the Ohio Cancer Research Associates.  The guest list was pretty impressive, including Kelly, Marvin Lewis, Dusty Baker, NFL Hall of Famer Paul Hornung, as well as Hall of Famer Marty Brennaman, former Oakland Raiders star and Super Bowl Champ Phil Villapiano and Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory.  Also a guest of honor was current Cincinnati football coach Butch Jones.  When Kelly took the podium, he decided to have a little fun at the expense of his Bearcats' successor.

“I had a steak named after me at The Precinct. It was 12 ounces, and I thought that was fitting for someone who went 12-0," Kelly joked to the crowd.  "But I’m no longer on the menu… So Jeff and I cut a deal. He said, ‘Here’s what I’ll do for you. How about if I cut Butch Jones’ and Marvin’s steak down to 4 ounces, since they only won four games?’ ”

Obviously the jokes were all in good fun, and the event was for a good cause.  Jones succeeded Kelly not only at Cincinnati, but also at Central Michigan.  Jones also served as Kelly's offensive coordinator in 2004, Kelly's first year with the Chippewas.  Marvin Lewis reportedly was the hit of the roast, breaking out a PowerPoint presentation of all the notables at the event and delivering clever one-liners for each.  When Lewis was questioned about his photoshopping skills, he simply replied: "I've got a little time on my hands."
Posted on: April 11, 2011 2:16 pm

Don't put much faith in Pryor/NFL Draft rumors

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It's a tough time to be an Ohio State Buckeyes fan right now. Not only do you have to deal with the latest fiasco involving head coach Jim Tressel and the Buckeye Five, but there's also the fact that once the season starts, neither Tressel or the Buckeye Five will be available for the first five games of the season. That means no Terrelle Pryor, no Dan Herron, no DeVier Posey and no head coach. Of course, while all this is going on, there's also the age-old tradition of kicking someone while they're down, and that seems to be the case with Ohio State these days.

The latest incident comes from the National Football Post's Dave Miller, who is reporting that, according to a source, Terrelle Pryor is considering leaving Ohio State to enter the NFL's supplemental draft rather than serve his suspension.

The dual-threat signal caller has not dismissed the idea of going the NFL Supplemental Draft route. According to a source, the odds of Pryor staying for his senior season are about 60-40, but Notre Dame receiver Michael Floyd coming out and declaring for the supplemental draft would have a direct effect on his decision. Of course, Floyd dodged suspension by the school’s Residence Life committee after being arrested for DUI. However, head coach Brian Kelly suspended his star receiver for the foreseeable future.

Ah, yes, "a source" who says there's a "60-40" chance he could leave. Which leads to a whole lot of room for error should Pryor not leave Ohio State. After all, there's a 40% chance he won't! So if I were an Ohio State fan, I wouldn't get too worried about this story, especially in light of this tweet from Adam Jardy of the Buckeye Sports Bulletin.

Also, if that's not enough to squash any fears you may be having about Pryor's Ohio State career, there's more. While the National Football Post is an NFL website that has a good handle on NFL matters, it's track record with college stories isn't as strong. As Matt Hinton of Dr. Saturday points out, the last time the site ran a story about a college player entering the draft, it was this story about Oklahoma's Sam Bradford.

According to that report, Bradford was going to declare himself eligible for the NFL Draft following Oklahoma's bout with Florida in the 2009 BCS Championship. A week later Bradford announced he was returning to Oklahoma.

So don't lose any sleep, Buckeye fans.

Posted on: April 8, 2011 7:04 pm
Edited on: April 10, 2011 5:19 pm

Report: Michael Floyd will not be suspended

Posted by Tom Fornelli

If you happen to be a Notre Dame fan, I've got some pretty good news for you. According to Irish Illustrated, a website that Notre Dame would not be allowed to look at, wide receiver Michael Floyd will not be suspended for any games this season. At least, not by the school's Office of Residence Life board. Which comes as a relief to Irish fans who had been living in fear that Floyd may not be playing in South Bend this fall.

Multiple sources told Irish Illustrated on Friday that Floyd's punishment handed down by the Office of Residence Life did not include a suspension of any games but will include community service. Floyd's initial hearing with ResLife was last week, followed by today's deliberations.

It is unclear when Brian Kelly will reinstate Floyd to the team or if the head coach could suspend the receiver for games in addition to the punishment handed down by ResLife.

Floyd had been suspended indefinitely by Notre Dame following a DUI arrest, his third alcohol related arrest since 2009. Considering some of the decisions that the Office of Residence Life has handed down to repeat offenders in the past, the idea that Floyd might miss the entire season was not out of the question.

Losing Floyd would have been a huge blow to the Fighting Irish, as he is already the school's all-time leader in touchdown receptions with 28, and he broke that record in only three seasons. That doesn't even factor in the time he missed during his freshman and sophomore seasons due to injuries. Floyd will also begin the 2011 season only 9 receptions short being Notre Dame's all-time leader in that category, and is 169 yards shy of breaking that school record as well.

In other words, he's somewhat important to the Notre Dame offense.

Posted on: April 1, 2011 3:42 pm
Edited on: April 1, 2011 3:45 pm

Kelly: UM and ND to don throwbacks for matchup

Posted by Chip Patterson

The Michigan - Notre Dame matchup has gotten some extra hype this year, with the recent announcement that their Sept. 10 meeting in Michigan Stadium will be moved to primetime. It will be the first night game in the history of the storied rivalry, and the first true night game in the history of the Big House. Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly recently divulged some even more juicy details about the matchup, telling the media that both schools will be wearing throwback jerseys for the game. He stayed pretty mum on the look of the Irish (the report says Kelly hinted to the Joe Kuharich era -- 1959-62), but gave a pretty good description of how the Wolverines will look for the showdown.

"I'm just trying to help you guys piece together what it's going to look like, without me saying and then getting yelled at by our adidas people that we blew the surprise for them," Kelly told Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune. "But yeah, we're going to have throwback uniforms. As they will. I can tell you what theirs look like: They have a block 'M' on them, and a number, and a number on their helmet. How's that? The adidas people at Michigan are going to be (ticked) at me."

The primetime matchup will be a endorsement dream for adidas, who has largely missed out on the publicity of alternate uniforms in the last couple of seasons. Tennessee made some noise with their Halloween uniforms, but few other examples come to mind from recent history. But there will only be a handful of regular season games in 2011 that will get the treatment of Michigan-Notre Dame. For the last couple seasons Nike has trotted out trendy alternate uniforms for their biggest programs on the biggest stage. Now adidas will get to join the fun for this clash of past, present, and future.

Posted on: April 1, 2011 12:57 pm

Brian Kelly expects a decision on Floyd soon

Posted by Tom Fornelli

While Notre Dame began its spring practices already, the biggest question surrounding the team these days has nothing to do with what has been happening on the practice field. Heck, the questions aren't even about a player that is on the practice field. What everybody wants to know is what will happen to wide receiver Michael Floyd

Floyd was suspended indefinitely following his second alcohol-related arrest since coming to Notre Dame, and since then the Irish have tried to do their best to pretend he doesn't exist. Still, even Brian Kelly knows that Floyd's availability for 2011 will have a large impact on the Notre Dame offense. So, much like Notre Dame fans, he's hoping to find out what will happen to his receiver as soon as possible, and from the sounds of it, Kelly will find out soon.

"What I heard was that he would be meeting with Residential Life this week," Kelly told the Chicago Tribune. "And that some kind of decision relative to that meeting would be very soon after.

"They have not told me directly nor have I called to ask. I'm getting my information secondhand. I know that Michael is scheduled to meet with them and they have informed him that a decision would be made quickly."

Kelly also made sure to subtly suggest that he doesn't think a semester suspension would be the right thing for Floyd. After all, that would mean Floyd would miss out on the football season.

"Look, I'm a teacher and an educator. From my perspective, I'm always thinking about educational opportunities, so I always think in those terms. My first reaction is always about how can we learn. But that's me. I'm not in that there office."

Yes, Kelly wouldn't want Floyd to miss out on any "classes."
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