Today, I should be happy. Thomas Edward Patrick “Jesus Christ” “Savior of New England Football” “GOAT” Brady Jr. returns to the field in merely a few hours. The Red Sox have sucked so far in the ALDS, but they’re coming back to Boston this afternoon, and they still have David Américo Ortiz “Moses” “Savior of Boston Baseball” “Greatest Playoff Hitter Ever” Arias on the roster. Today should be a good day.
But it isn’t. And it’s Notre Dame football’s fault.
More specifically, it’s Brian Kelly’s fault.
This is where I start to get serious. Way back in 2009, I was ecstatic that one of the most underrated coaches in college football was coming to South Bend. And truth be told, I think he really has done a good job over the course of his career. While he made a national championship (don’t want to talk about it) and a Fiesta Bowl with an extremely injured team, I think his welcome has been worn out.
I can excuse down years – when you lose the amount of starters ND did this offseason, it’s going to be hard. I can excuse a quarterback controversy that carried into the season because both players are extremely capable. I can excuse a defense that has fallen as fast as it can from grace because sometimes your recruiting focus has to shift – if the Irish ever wanted a potent offense, they would have to shift their attention to that side of the ball.
What I can’t excuse is common sense. Why, in God’s green earth, would you opt to throw the ball over 26 times in the middle of a hurricane? On a road game on a field covered with natural grass? With a mobile quarterback and three good running backs who all have different styles?
NC State has the 9th best running defense in the country, letting up a bit under 100 yards per game on the ground. However, they had not yet played an offense as dynamic as Notre Dame’s. Josh Adams was knocking off big gains. Dexter Williams looked good to me. Save a fumble, DeShone Kizer looked good carrying the ball. And actually, despite Kelly’s insistence on throwing the ball, Notre Dame actually gained more yards on the ground.
The receivers were having issues getting open and making catches, and who could blame them, given the conditions. Kizer was having clear accuracy problems, and who could blame him. Anyone, and I mean anyone could see that an arial attack was not working. Period.
So yesterday’s loss wasn’t a matter of conditions or talent or anything. It was about coaching. It was a winnable game that slipped away because of a ridiculous game plan that wasn’t going to work from the start. Yesterday’s game plan got so bad I called Brian Kelly’s office in South Bend in search of an answer (I promise you I’m not kidding).
I’ve defended him for most of the season. I supported the firing of Brian VanGorder, under whom the defense regressed every season. But it hasn’t gotten better. I trust Kizer, the best quarterback in Division I college football, with everything, but to expect him to beat Mother Nature is ridiculous. You’ve even got Michigan recruits calling you out (you think you’re funny kid? Have fun when Harbaugh leaves in two seasons because no one likes him anymore. And have fun beating Rutgers, too).
Now, 4 losses into a season that hasn’t seen Stanford, the U and Navy (all three in that order the next three consecutive weeks) I would support the firing of Brian Kelly, as much as that pains me to say.
I hate everything. I hate football.
Sincerely in yours,
Cover photo courtesy of newsreportcenter.com