For Notre Dame fans, the Champs Sports Bowl was nothing out of the ordinary. The Irish cost themselves the game because they turned the ball over, including once in the end zone for what would have proved to be the winning score.
Kelly has a fantastic track record as a head coach. However, time and time again this season, he has shown the inability to get his team to hold onto the football.
The first few games are reasonable, but at some point, you would think that quarterback Tommy Rees would not throw the ball into double coverage or that people would actually hold onto the football.
These are the areas where an offensive guru like Kelly has to make his presence felt. Coaches can’t go out and play the game for the players, but the quarterbacks have shown little to no development under his watch.
Maybe it’s the fact that Rees isn’t a dual-threat quarterback, which is the kind of guy Kelly likes to work with. Maybe Andrew Hendrix or Everett Golson will step up in the offseason and the turnovers will be a thing of the past come 2012.
All of that is a maybe.
The recruits have been rolling into South Bend and this year’s team is overall better than last year’s. However, the way the Champs Sports Bowl went was a microcosm of Notre Dame’s entire season. With an entire offseason to think about what could have been, the demands for Kelly’s head will grow louder and louder.
If he can’t get control of his team next year, the Irish may be looking for a new head coach.