The heel turn that wasn’t
The Irish had an interesting week despite the massive blowout over an inferior opponent. One of the more curious items was that halftime speech Kelly gave that we can’t stop talking about. The problem is — Kelly backed off of it with cat-like quickness. Instead of owning it completely, and saying something along the lines of “I said what I said, and did what I did,” we got the standard Notre Dame answer of respect.
“First of all, I didn’t know that was going to go public. If I knew it was public, I probably would’ve articulated it a little bit differently. Having said that, what I meant is, first of all, we respect our opponents in everything we do. This had nothing to do with not respecting our opponent. It had everything to do with us in terms of how I wanted our team - we have a way of looking at four quarters of football. We didn’t start fast and we did in this game. I wanted to make sure we finished strong. The comments were really about finishing strong - emphasizing that regardless of what the score was, I didn’t want any let up. I wanted our guys to have a mindset that we have to do so many things to get to Saturday. It’s really hard with all that is going on that I didn’t want our guys to get distracted at any time. I wanted them to stay locked in, stay focused and get after it for four quarters. Again, great respect for our opponent, regardless of who it was. I could have said that against any team. It was centered squarely on how I wanted our team to perform and finish what we started.”
That “villain level” just took a dip.
While Jack Kiser absolutely deserved the game ball, I would have handed it to a different #24 — FULLBACK Tommy Tremble. Maybe I have too much personally invested in the concept, or maybe I was brainwashed by Paul Burmeister and Tony Dungy. Maybe — but watching Tremble destroy guys with his blocks, leading the team in receiving, and getting an actual carry from the fullback position... I’m blushing.
Maybe it was just a sugar high?
“You got to give a little bit of sugar to those guys that go in and do the dirty work. He’s asked to do a lot of work that has been so effective in us being able to run the football. Having a quick hitter or something that hits real quick instead of 6-7 yards deep when you’re getting into short-yardage is just smart football. Having that play is something you go to once in a while. That kid is just selfless. He does whatever you ask him to do. He doesn’t complain. If he catches the football, great. But if he doesn’t, he wouldn’t say a word about it. He just wants to win and that’s the kind of attitude he has. It’s great to have the opportunity to coach him.”
But Superman isn’t a villain
All this talk of villainy must have weighed on Brian Kelly’s mind when he was asked about heading to enemy territory.
“We play at Noon. Obviously, if it’s a later start, maybe you consider going the day of the game. You’re trying to avoid as much contact with quote on quote your bubble as possible. We’ll do everything as if this is a home game for Friday. In other words, we’ll do all of our meetings, our practice, our post-meetings that we usually do at the hotel will be done here. We’ll eat here and we’ll simply board the plane, fly and get in there in the evening, get off the plane and go to bed to lessen the contact in the hotel. Our guys will be in individual rooms and wake up in the morning, throw on a superman cape and go beat Wake Forest. That’s how we do it. No, we’ll have breakfast. We do eat. You can see that we’re trying to limit as much contact as possible.”