Brian Kelly spent a whopping 7 minutes with the media this afternoon. Last night’s disaster that saw the Notre Dame Fighting Irish lose to the Michigan Wolverines by a gasping 45-14 score was briefly discussed, along with the status of Michael Young moving forward. Here are the highlights.
- Kelly’s biggest area of concern from last night was the inability to control the line of scrimmage. He stated that the physicality must come back. Kelly did not have an answer for its disappearance last night but said that the staff must get the players back to their identity.
- Kelly was asked about the inability to convert third downs. Again, he did not provide a great answer as what led to Notre Dame’s shortcomings last night. Collectively, he feels the offense must play better by blocking, catching, having better decision making out of the quarterback, and staying out of 3rd and long.
- Tony Jones Jr. is expected to play this week per Brian Kelly.
- It sounds like Kelly and Michael Young have not yet sat down and discussed his status with the team. Kelly stated that he believes Notre Dame is a great place but if Michael wants to move on, then he will enter his name into the transfer portal.
- Bowl games will not be used as a motivating factor for this team. Kelly said he thinks this team has much more to play for than that, starting with trying not to let last night be the defining moment of the season. Kelly said that short term goals should be the focus moving forward for this team, and the first goal is to keep the home winning streak intact.
Please, allow me to get out some of my frustrations with this program. Brian Kelly has led a this program through a remarkable turnaround the past few years. Whether right or wrong, this program will continue to be judged on its performances on the national stage. Nobody cares if we can beat Navy, Virginia, or the other bottom feeders in the ACC. When the lights shine brightest, this team crumbles. Following the competitive contest against Georgia, it appeared we had finally turned the corner in this regard. Instead, we displayed that the performance at Georgia was a mirage.
I believe Chip Long’s ability to coordinate an offense needs to be looked at. Typically, our defense has come to play in these types of games the past few years, but gets worn down due to the sheer ineptitude of the offense. Trying to run stretch plays against dominant defenses with our running backs this year is insanity, yet we continue to do it. Great offensive coordinators scheme open their best players, and Chase Claypool and Cole Kmet were both non-factors last night. Teams like Georgia and Michigan stack 8 in the box and dare us to beat us deep, and we don’t even attempt to push the ball downfield. Which leads me to the biggest question I have about this program: why can’t we recruit and develop a top tier quarterback? Elite programs are either able to recruit the talent or run a scheme to fit the talent they have at quarterback. Jake Frohm, Trevor Lawrence, Tua Tagovailoa, Jalen Hurts with Oklahoma, and Justin Fields are all examples of this. We either need to begin hitting our targets on the recruiting trail or bring in a more skilled offensive coordinator. Solve the quarterback problem, and we solve our national stage demons.