It was a question that deserved a longer answer, but the question itself tells us so much about the Notre Dame Fighting Irish since the 2016 season — that the point was made.
Tim Prister from Irish illustrated presented Brian Kelly with this question:
A couple years ago after the 2016 season you made a lot of changes, staffing, other ways. Your sideline demeanor, I don’t know if it coincided with those changes, but it has probably diminished in recent years. Calming yourself, taking a more measured approach to what’s happening...
Brian Kelly responded:
“I just think our team responds better if I’m able to interact with them, be there, lead them. They react. If I’m confident, I’m in a good position for them, they feed off of that. Just maturing and being a better football coach.”
For a coach that many fans, media members, and alumni don’t like and list “arrogance” as one of their biggest reasons... changing and trying new things to grow as a coach and as a person is pretty far from the field of “arrogance.”
Were there times where that was difficult to do? If you have that personality, it’s not always easy to dial that back.
Notre Dame is unique. I think my realizization is more where you’re always on TV more so than my emotions. You could still be an emotional coach, you can still have a fiery side to you, it’s just at Notre Dame it’s a lot more difficult to do it because there’s a camera on you the whole time.
It hasn’t been an easy road for Brian Kelly, and that’s mostly Brian Kelly’s fault. It can’t be mentioned enough that the changes he put in place after 2016 have been monumental for a program that has struggled to put two double-digit seasons together for the last 25 years. Since that season opener in 2017, Notre Dame is 17-3. If the Irish were to finish the season 12-0 and make the playoffs, it would put that record to an incredible 22-3.
Brian Kelly has put in the work and done the necessary changes to get this program back to competing for a National Championship. How that ends up playing out in the end is still up in the air, but his newfound willingness alter what he has done in the past, gives hope for the future.
Here is the rest of Kelly’s presser for the upcoming game against the Navy Midshipmen: