Friday, October 28, 2011

Notre Dame players seem pretty happy

Brian Kelly is known is a guy who's not exactly easy to get along with but has left everywhere he's been on (mostly) good terms because he's won like a mofo. Unfortunately for him, that winning thing hasn't really taken hold at Notre Dame yet, and that's turned somebody who I thought had the temperament of Bob Stoops into somebody who acts like Mike Stoops.

Making himself look like a grape on national TV while berating T.J. Jones was the start of it (at least publicly) and didn't gain him a lot of goodwill among, like, anybody. But this is taking things to a whole new level:
You can see the players I recruited here -- you know who they are. We’ve had one recruiting class here that I’ve had my hand on. The other guys here are coming along, but it’s a process.
In other words, "the guys Charlie Weis brought in are the suckiest bunch of sucks who ever sucked."

It was an incredibly dumb thing to say for obvious reasons, and those obvious reasons became obviously obvious pretty quickly in the Twittersphere:

Mteo_5 (Manti Te'o): Playin for my bros and that's it!!!! @dflem45 @RobJob293 @Carlo44Cal @KLM_89 @Freekey_Zekey17 @stadium20status @J_Slaughter26 #theoriginals

KLM_89 (Kapron Lewis-Moore): @JGolic88 @trobinson78 awful man.. im sure we talking about the same thing

Mutiny time! The large majority of players referenced in those tweets are seniors, but Kelly basically threw every non-freshman on the team under the bus in one not-at-all-thought-out comment and made his job infinitely more difficult than it was a week ago, when it wasn't exactly easy. If you were 5 years old, I'd tell you that's not a very smart thing to do; since you're intelligent enough to read this blog and process my word puke into something coherent, that seems unnecessary.

Back in 2008, when Michigan was freefalling to depths unknown (at least in modern history), RichRod made a handful of relatively innocuous comments about the talent situation not being quite what he expected when he took over. This was a completely reasonable statement given that there were 10 new starters on offense -- including a walk-on quarterback and a converted garbage-time defensive tackle starting on the O-line -- as well as general ineptitude all over the place. It wasn't your typical Michigan. But since it was also a not-so-veiled shot at Lloyd Carr's crappy end-of-tenure recruiting, it didn't go over well. Morgan Trent (a senior starter at corner) later admitted that he dogged it because he flat-out didn't like Rodriguez and wanted him to fail. My understanding is that some other guys made similar statements -- I'll know more after I get through Three and Out (it's now in my possession, BTW). The overall effect of that stuff can't be quantified, but going 3-9 in '08 was a massive first strike on RichRod that probably didn't have to be quite so massive.

If Kelly can ever find a quarterback, saying stupid things won't matter because his offense will put up 45 points a game and ND will be winning 10 games and playing in BCS bowls on a regular basis. Winning cures all, no matter where you are or what else you do (obvious NCAA-related caveats apply). But when the players stop buying in, it gets a little harder to win, and when it gets harder to win, it gets harder to make people forget about the other embarrassing stuff you're doing.

Notre Dame is on its way to 8-4 for the second straight year. I have no idea what Kelly's minimum time allotment is or whether he has some sort of "must win X games over Y years" mandate; all I know is that he's digging himself a totally unnecessary hole that's gonna be hard to get out of without significant help from a bunch of the players he just buried.


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