It’s like a kid who collects baseball cards. He follows his favorite player game-to-game, day-to-day. Then one day he realizes his favorite player is going to be at the next baseball card expo down at the local college. So he wakes up that morning, grabs his cards, puts on his favorite player's jersey and heads down there to finally meet his hero.
But, here’s the thing, when he finally gets there his hero smells like booze, is grumpy and stops signing autographs when the kid is just next in line.
That’s how I feel about Brian Kelly.
This past weekend the Notre Dame football team lost to the Tulsa Golden Hurricane.
In the past two weekends, the Irish have lost to Navy and Tulsa.
Rockne, Gipper and Regis Philbin simply can’t be happy (to say the least).
It’s not his fault that he didn’t have his starting tailback, Armando Allen, in the game. Or that his All-American tight end Kyle Rudolph is gone for the year.
What is his fault is that he tries to run Dayne Crist like he’s Michael Vick. And that his starting quarterback, who is the cornerstone of the team, is now going to be out for the entire season.
Not just that, but he’s out for the entire season because of a knee injury. No, not the knee that laid him up last year, the other one. So now Dayne Crist will have two bum knees trying to run the fantastic spread offense that Brian Kelly has brought with him next season.
It was Kelly's fault that we sent Dayne home on crutches...in with Tommy Rees.
This is football, let's move on.
The true freshman was asked to throw the ball 50-plus times. Nothing like breaking the kid in easy. But let’s put that past us shall we? Maybe Brian Kelly had a plan in mind. We make a game of it and keep the score close.
However, with the win two points away and the best kicker in college football on the sidelines, Brian Kelly has the freshman QB huck up a right-side end-zone pass to Michael Floyd with less than a minute left. It's picked off by a Tulsa defender. "We're going to play aggressive, we're going to play smart,'' Kelly said, defending the indefensible. "I would make the call again.''
You would Brian? You would make the call to keep your 18-for-18 kicker on the sideline with a minute left in the game, well within his range, against TULSA?
What is his fault is that David Ruffer, who may just be the best kicker in college football, watched the game end from the sideline. Let me also explain (again) that this would have also been a field goal attempt of less than 40 yards (this is an open invitation for anyone reading this to put a comment at the end of this article to explain to me why this play was called).
Notre Dame Lost 27-28.
Notre Dame lost a lot more this week. Declan Sullivan, the 20-year-old student who was video taping practice this week. The same student who shouldn’t have been on that platform with 50-mph winds. The same person who tweeted how “terrifying” it was just moments before his death.
The same student who died of his injuries when that tower fell to the road. The same student who would not have been outside if it wasn’t for Brian Kelly’s decision to hold practice outdoors that day. The same Brian Kelly who made the call to put the kid in that situation.
I hate playing the "what if" game…but what if we would have made sure Dayne Crist was better protected and passed instead of ran? What if he would have let Ruffer kick instead of throwing the ball up for a pick? What if we would have kept Charlie? What if Brian Kelly decided the conditions were too bad outside and that the Irish and their staff should have stayed in the gym that day instead of going outside?
What if we didn’t have to hear Tulsa playing their fight song during the ND alma mater and feel disgusted?