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Notre Dame Football: What Brian Kelly Should Have Said

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Rewriting Kelly’s comments about DeShone Kizer, watching lacrosse polls and today’s schedule. All in one post!

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NCAA Football: Georgia Tech at Notre Dame RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

The question was pretty straightforward, but the answer sparked a tempest in a teapot Monday.

“How much better did he [DeShone Kizer] get to when you got him to now when he’s leaving? And how much is there — in your mind — in terms of that gap from where he is to his ceiling?” SiriusXM host Bruce Murray asked Notre Dame Fighting Irish coach Brian Kelly.

This is how Kelly answered:

“Well, he still should be in college. I think he’s — but the circumstances are such that you have to make business decisions. And he felt like it was in his best interest, and I’m going to support him in his decisions.

“But the reality of it is he needs more football. He needs more time to grow in so many areas, not just on the field but off the field. And he’s a great kid, he’s got great character. And character — you don’t change character much. And he’s got great character so you’re not going to have an issue there with that young man.

“But he’s going to continue to learn, and he’ll learn with great coaches around him and a great mentor around him. There’s a huge amount of growth that will happen every single day with DeShone Kizer.”

When it was boiled down into a Twitter-friendly 140 characters, it looked like this:

(I had to use a screenshot because the @SiriusXMNFL account deleted that first tweet.)

Word choice is important. Listeners are scrutinizing and interpreting as soon as the noise escapes your lips. Brian Kelly knows that his words will be parsed. That hasn’t made him more careful — consider past missteps like “my guys versus his guys” or “zero accountability” or “atrocious snapping.”

I once worked as a spokesman for a congressional candidate in a hotly contested race. If Brian Kelly were my client, this is how I would have liked him to answer Murray’s question:

“Bruce, as I mentioned before, look at what he did as a redshirt freshman when he had talent around him. I think DeShone would be the first to tell you that he was really struggling at the beginning of that year. He was 1 for 5 in our spring game that year for three yards. And then Malik Zaire goes down and we put him in a tough spot — and he just responded so well.

“Now, to the second part of your question, I think he’s got the highest ceiling of any quarterback in this draft. I look at this group and they’re all not ready to start Day 1 for an NFL franchise. They all could use more time. But DeShone is a great kid. He’ got great character. You’re not going to have an issue with him.

“DeShone wants to learn. There’s a huge amount of growth that will happen every single day with him if he’s given some great coaches and a great mentor.”

My criticism of Kelly is not what he said — which I think, frankly, is the truth — but how he decided to present the information. I just offered an alternative that I think conveys the same sentiment, but doesn't leave people with the impression that Kelly is throwing Kizer under the bus.

Pro Football Talk provided a transcript of most of Kelly’s comments, which you can read here.

What do you think?

Poll

What do you make of Brian Kelly’s comments about DeShone Kizer?

This poll is closed

  • 38%
    No problem with them. He’s telling the truth.
    (525 votes)
  • 41%
    It was the truth, but he could have said it better.
    (568 votes)
  • 3%
    Regardless of how he says it, Kelly is trying to throw Kizer under the bus.
    (47 votes)
  • 16%
    Brian Kelly is a dick, who always blames his players and never blames himself for failures.
    (228 votes)
1368 votes total Vote Now

POLL WATCH

The Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team retained its No. 1 position in the NCAA RPI rankings, despite its close loss Saturday to No. 4 Syracuse at home.

The Orange have moved up to No. 2 in the RPI, which the selection committee uses to determine post-season tournament seedings.

The Irish (5-2) have faced the nation’s toughest schedule so far. Their opponents have gone a combined 43-16 (.729) so far this year. The team has the 10th toughest future schedule — its upcoming opponents are 27-12 during the 2017 campaign.

The Irish next travel to Durham, N.C. to face the No. 19 Duke Blue Devils (8-3). The game is at noon Saturday and will be televised on ESPNU and also available through the WatchESPN app.

WOMEN’S LACROSSE

While it would seem counter-intuitive that a team would climb in the Inside Lacrosse poll after losing 16-9 at home, there’s more to the rankings than meets the eye.

The now No. 12 Irish (9-5) were undoubtedly dominated by the No. 2 North Carolina Tar Heels (11-1). The Heels ripped off 47 shots — 34 of which were on goal — in a game that was never closer than three goals after halftime.

North Carolina is a juggernaut. It’s beating teams by an average of six goals — seventh best in Division I — and it seems the pollsters acknowledge that. It also didn’t hurt that Notre Dame’s past ranked foes — Princeton, Syracuse and Lousiville — all won this past weekend.

The Irish next play Thursday against Kennesaw State (5-4). The 1 p.m. game will be available on WatchESPN. This will hopefully amount to a tune-up game before a Saturday clash with No. 15 Virginia Tech at home.

WOMEN’S TENNIS

The updated Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings are released today. The Irish women (16-3, 7-2 ACC) dropped one spot from No. 26 to No. 27 last week. Since then, they beat unranked Virginia Tech (7-9, 0-7 ACC).

The women will battle No. 17 Duke (13-3, 7-0 ACC) on Friday at the Courtney Tennis Center.

MEN’S TENNIS

The updated Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings are released today. The Irish men (11-8) fell from No. 38 to No. 43 last week. Since then, they suffered narrow defeats to ACC foes N.C. State and Georgia Tech and blanked unranked IUPUI.

The men will journey down to Tallahassee for a match Friday against the No. 27 Florida State Seminoles (13-6).

TODAY’S SCHEDULE

  • If you’re near Notre Dame, help send off the Frozen Four-bound men’s hockey team at 6 p.m. outside Compton Arena as the players head to Chicago for their Thursday game.
  • The men’s golf team will play its third round at Chambers Bay as part of the Seattle University Redhawk Invitational. The team is in eighth place after the first two rounds were played Monday.
  • The Irish baseball team (10-16) travels north to Ann Arbor to face the No. 22 Michigan Wolverines (22-6). First pitch is 7 p.m. at the Wilpon Complex. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network Plus, while a radio call will be available through WatchND or the 103.1 FM if you’re in South Bend.