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Notre Dame Football: Can We Make Any Sense Of This Mess?

It's all very confusing, because it's more complex than FIRE THAT GUY.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Stanford Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have yet another November collapse to add to their collection after losing to the Stanford Cardinal, 38-20. It was actually a good game for 3 quarters - before the collapse in the final 15 minutes. It was a bit sloppy, though not as sloppy as that thing Stanford calls a field, but the team was playing hard on the road.

The 3 turnovers in the 4th quarter were certainly exhibits A, B, and C as to why the Irish lost the last quarter, but are there other reasons why they didn’t do better in the first three? Of course there are.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Stanford Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Offensively, they never found a “rhythm” and the offensive line really played poorly. Josh Adams was probably too banged up to be out there, and Brandon Wimbush made mistake after mistake.

Defensively, the Irish did a great job of keeping Bryce Love in check, but in doing so, they allowed Stanford and C.J. Costello to make the plays in the passing game when they needed to. There were massive breakdowns in the secondary, despite a decent pass rush.

Special teams actually played quite well — up until that C.J. Sanders fumble on the kick return. The excellent punt return by Chris Finke was wasted with penalties along the offensive line that helped stall the offense and force a field goal instead of a touchdown. Perhaps that was the real beginning to the mess that was this game.

But here is where the real problem hides... whose fault is it?

It’s easy for fans to point their fingers at Brian Kelly and the coaching staff, because there is every reason in the world to do so.

  • Another loss in November.
  • Another loss on the road.
  • Another loss to a top-25 team.
  • Another loss in prime time.
  • Another loss to knock the Irish back to the Dark Ages.

I get it, and it is justified to call for the firing of Brian Kelly, but as far as this last game is concerned... the players have to take a lot of the responsibility and a lot of the blame.

We as fans can't keep ignoring obvious poor play by certain individuals. It's too easy to blame Kelly for everything, and then when we're done with him, we move right to the quarterback.

Players (not just the quarterback) need to be held accountable. Coaches don't fumble the ball, or miss tackles, or whiff on a block, or any number of things. It's a failure of the program in general: coaches, players, and administrators.

Shit, right now I could probably find a reason that the North Dining Hall staff can share in some of the blame. It's that widespread and that mysterious.

No one wants to hear this, but:

That's not my opinion, nor is it a statement of what I want — it's pure fact. Unless Brian Kelly decides to go start selling Amway products in Boston, Jack Swarbrick and Notre Dame will bring him back for year two of the so-called Brian Kelly 2.0 Experience.

I ask: can we make any sense of this mess? The correct answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT. The answer actually is a combination of questions. It's frustrating — I know. But hey... it's year 8 of the Kelly era and we should probably be used to it by now.

This starts at the top and works its way down. Everyone has some blame they can share.

It's a mess.