Brian Kelly was hired by Notre Dame to fix the Charlie Weis debacle and he has taken a lot of criticism after falling short of expectations in his first two seasons. Some people even feel that he should get fired and those people have only gotten louder following the Irish’s collapse in the Champs Sports Bowl.
Despite all of that, he is bringing in some of the nation’s best recruits and the 2012 class as a whole could be his best yet because a number of profile athletes are still considering the school.
One of the biggest things recruits take into account is whether or not a coach will be there for the duration of their college years. Guys considering Notre Dame shouldn’t have to worry about Kelly leaving or getting fired in the next four years.
There are only two things to talk about when discussing the failures of the Irish the past two years: turnovers and special teams. The team has turned over the ball an incredible 53 times in that time span and consistently loses the battle for “hidden yardage,” particularly in punting.
A lot of the blame has rightfully fallen on quarterback Tommy Rees who threw 14 interceptions this year with eight of them coming in the team’s five losses. But he was never a guy that Kelly that wanted playing under center.
He wants a guy with the ability to escape the pocket and make a play with his legs. That is why people have seen Andrew Hendrix, a guy Kelly recruited to Notre Dame unlike Rees, a fair amount in the last couple games.
As a sophomore who’s only significant action came against Stanford and Florida State, it would be entirely unfair to say that he has the same turnover problem as Rees. But if he doesn’t pan out, Everett Golson is waiting in the wings.
Kelly is also bringing in some of the best defensive guys in the game, particularly in the front seven.
Notre Dame knows its football and while it would have been nice for him to completely revamp the program in one season, it was never going to happen because he wasn’t working with the right guys for his system. Once the young guys settle into the program, the Irish will be back competing for BCS Bowls and national championships.
And if they are doing that, there’s no way Brian Kelly won’t be around South Bend for at least four years.
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