Notre Dame Football: Are Brian Kelly's Sideline Antics Hurting the Program?

Tom KinslowFeatured ColumnistSeptember 11, 2011

Last night, as Notre Dame crumbled in the fourth quarter, Brian Kelly melted down with them.

The coach, who was tapped to lead the Fighting Irish, had his team in a position to embarrass Michigan in the first night game in the Big House, and up 24-7, his team collapsed, as Kelly became red in the face, shouting at whoever would listen. Meanwhile, Brady Hoke remained calm and composed throughout, and it's not a coincidence the Wolverines walked away with the win.

Kelly made a fool of himself, and it isn't the first time someone has called him out on it. When you go around shouting your lungs out, it sends a bad message, and frankly, it's embarrassing for a program with as much stature as Notre Dame to have a glorified clown on the sidelines. The coach shows up his players, chews them out  and then throws them on the bench, and it's all part of his act as the lead man.

Despite his behavior on the field, today, he echoed his support of the team in a conference call.

"I think when we came out of preseason camp, we felt like we had the chance to be a good team," Kelly said during a teleconference Sunday. "And so, when you put that modifier in front, "chance," to be a good team, I can see those things in practice, I can see those things in the development of our players. But that chance to be a good team is everything you just mentioned—those turnovers, the little detail things. And until we can clean up those detail things, we can't be a good team."

"I still believe in this team; I still believe we'll be a good football team. But the chance to be a good team is all the things that we're doing right now. We're not giving ourselves a chance to be a good football team." 

Talk is cheap, and based on what we've seen from Kelly during his tenure in South Bend, it's clear that if he believes in his team, he has a funny way of showing it. There have been coaches with tempers who have found success in the past, but they also know when to draw it back and find a way to lead their team to success. 

Instead, Kelly just yells when his team needs a leader, and it helped contribute to a stunning loss in the Big House. Yes, the defense was horrendous last night, but Kelly is responsible for the meltdown just as much as any secondary player is, and he should be held accountable.

Notre Dame hires and fires coaches like it's a bodily function, and if Kelly doesn't turn his act around soon and find a way to get through to this team that had so much promise at the beginning of the season, he'll find himself in the unemployment line.

Then he'll really have something to be angry about.