Notre Dame Football: Why Third-Year Luck Won't Find Brian Kelly
Notre Dame fans are well aware of the perceived "luck" and "good fortune" that has accompanied the best head coaches in program history. Unfortunately for those fans, such will not be the case during Brian Kelly's third season at the helm of the storied program.
With a daunting schedule that features road games at USC, Oklahoma and Michigan State, any BCS dreams or aspirations that Fighting Irish fans may have should be put to rest as soon as possible in order to avoid another season of disappointment.
As my colleague, Mike Muratore, stated in an article published earlier this week, expectations for the football program need to be tempered.
That's not to say that Notre Dame isn't on the rise, though. Despite consecutive 8-5 seasons, the product on the field was markedly improved in 2011 compared to that of 2010. A fumble recovery here and a dropped interception there and we might be talking about the Irish finishing the 2011 regular season with a record of 10-2.
The fact of the matter is that Kelly's team has adjusted well to his scheme. The team has also bought in to what he has been selling since the moment he stepped on campus in South Bend.
The former Cincinnati head coach made it clear that building his program was going to be a process, and that's exactly what it is for any head coach taking on a new gig.
When do you think Notre Dame will return to "relevance"?
Fortunately for Fighting Irish fans, Kelly is making the right moves along the way. He has brought in two consecutive top 10 recruiting classes, according to ESPN.com. And, unlike former Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis, Kelly is bringing in players to fill areas of need, as well as players who fit his system perfectly.
Last season, fans saw the fruits of that recruiting labor along the defensive line, with Stephon Tuitt and Aaron Lynch making immediate contributions to run defense and putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
We're likely to see many more fruits of the labor that Brian Kelly and his staff have dedicated to bringing Notre Dame back to the top.
The program won't make it to the "promised land" in 2012, but it will get there. Remember, patience is a virtue.
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