After being preseason ranked in the top ten and having playoff aspirations, the Irish are now 3-6 and as expected many aren’t too happy with Brian Kelly. It’s understandable, but realistically and much to the chagrin of many Irish fans Kelly will be back next season.
Many saw Jack Swarbrick’s vote of confidence as a kiss of death, but after Kelly’s comments to the media on Tuesday about how “he’s not going anywhere” it seems like Swarbrick’s comment should be taken seriously.
Kelly will be brought back next season because of the following reasons:
New Defensive Coordinator
They’re going to give him a shot to hire a defensive coordinator to try and build on the strides they’ve made in the second half of this season. They’ll also give him the offseason to try and fix other issues that have gone wrong this season.
55 of 61 players listed on last week’s depth chart have eligibility for 2017 and beyond. So the Irish will be bringing back a pretty talented and experienced roster next season. Assuming Kizer leaves, they’ll also be starting a new quarterback next season. As many of you have noted already, Kelly tends to be much more success with younger quarterbacks.
Here's a stat: 55 of the 61 players on Notre Dame's Miami depth chart have eligibility beyond the 2016 season.— Mike Vorel (@mikevorel) October 25, 2016
Kelly has done good job at building a pretty good pool of talent. According to 247Sports, Notre Dame currently has the sixth best recruiting class for 2017. If they did cut ties with Kelly after this season, Notre Dame would run the risk at potentially losing some of those recruits.
Another reason why Kelly will be back is that Notre Dame just signed him to an extension earlier this year. Yea, they would have no trouble paying off Kelly, but they just got done paying off Charlie Weis’ contract. It’s doubtful they would want to jump right back into the business of paying two coaches at once, especially after just one bad season.
Notre Dame retaining Kelly is the most probable outcome. Although he will be on an incredibly short leash. If next season gets off to a rocky start, then that is probably the time when Kelly will be cut loose.