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Tuesdays with BK: Michigan edition

Sep 6, 2011, 8:36 PM EDT

Brian Kelly 9

We already covered the big news of the day, with Notre Dame shifting gears and going with Tommy Rees as the starter against Michigan Saturday night.

If there’s one quote that encapsulates the decision, here it is:

“You got to be productive,” Kelly said. “If you’re not, you should be looking over your shoulder. If you’re a productive quarterback doing the things we ask you to do, you should just go out there and play the game the way you know how to play it.

“So when you have two really good quarterbacks, you know that if you’re going to err on one side or the other you want to your quarterback to be productive. I keep coming back to that word. Maybe I’m overusing it. But both of those guys are capable of leading our football team, and those are the expectations that are placed on them.”

Here’s more from Brian Kelly earlier this afternoon, who was ready to put South Florida behind him.

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A few thoughts on some comments that may or may not have been in the video clip:

It seems like Kelly might have backed off his position that Theo Riddick would absolutely be out there returning punts on Saturday night in Ann Arbor. But more importantly, Kelly’s comments focus on Theo’s need for a short memory, on a Saturday where a first half drop ended up snowballing into his worst day in college football.

“Theo is a young man that I think we will continuing to go to Theo. The thing that he has to work on, obviously his body language,” Kelly said. “You know, he can’t get down on himself. We’re going to keep coming to him. He’s going to our guy. He’s got to fight through a very difficult set of circumstances that were presented him.”


Here’s Kelly’s explanation of what happened on Tommy Rees‘ first interception of the night, when Tommy crowned TJ Jones on a crossing route.

“It’s on both of ’em really. When it comes down to it, the quarterback can’t throw the ball to a receiver that’s not giving him his eyes,” Kelly said. “At the end of the day, the responsibility of the football remains with the quarterback.

“Now, all of the things that go into that, you would think that, Okay, get your eyes, you’ve got some green grass, they just weren’t at same page. Again, one of those things that you scratch your head, because we’ve run the route so many times and it’s never happened before; it happened on Saturday. So we’ve got to go back and look at how we’re coaching, how we’re teaching it, how we’re communicating it. All those things have to be evaluated.”

One thing Kelly didn’t mention: If Rees was able to buy just another half second in the pocket, Michael Floyd was ready to break open heading the other way, with nobody between him and the end zone.


Kelly was candid about how he handled Jonas Gray, a senior that’s needed if the Irish are going to continue to run the football effectively.

“I’ll tell you exactly what I said. How do you want to be remembered? As that guy that fumbled on the one-yard line?” Kelly recounted. “Or as that guy in your senior year that bounced back from some adversity and had an incredible season? You know what, I think he’s going to have a very good season.”

While Cierre Wood was as good as advertised in his debut, the staff’s worst fears were probably realized with Gray. It’ll be up to Kelly to make sure he continues to build up Gray, who could be used in a Robert Hughes type role as the year goes on, provided he holds onto the football.


It was hard for Kelly to be too enthusiastic about a game that he’s trying to forget, but you could tell he was very impressed by Louis Nix‘s debut.

When asked if Nix played up to expectations, Kelly was to the point.

“His play exceeded that,” Kelly said. “He played very well.”


Finally, here’s more from Kelly on the decision to switch to Tommy Rees.

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  1. nudeman - Sep 6, 2011 at 8:43 PM

    2 words for Kelly on punt returns: CAM McDANIEL

    • borromini - Sep 7, 2011 at 2:16 PM

      There has to be a reason why he doesn’t feel comfortable making that switch. I’ll defer to Kelly’s judgment as oppose to the very little we’ve seen of their special teams.

      • nudeman - Sep 7, 2011 at 2:24 PM

        I’d guess it’s as irishfan2791 said: Nat’l tv, Michigan, 105,000 fans hating on them … maybe too tall of a task to ask a true frosh to make his debut there.

        But hey, you never know. We just might see him. Rees was totally unheralded coming out of HS, was 18 yrs old, and the #3QB last year (he put Montana in against Mich before Rees) and he ended up being the starter the last 4 games. So Kelly isn’t automatically averse to the idea.

    • dickasman - Sep 7, 2011 at 3:06 PM

      what happened to this “next man in” thing? Why can’t we use this same logic on punt returns? Its VERY CRYSTAL clear that Theo is not ready for PR job. Why does he keep insisting Theo learning on the job? Let Theo get his confidence up first…let him play some offense. Kids got butterfingers to begin with and this is not helping him, its hurting him. Give the other guys a chance. You recruited these kids for a reason, right?

  2. mmcss690 - Sep 6, 2011 at 9:24 PM

    Exactly Nudeman!

  3. irishfan2791 - Sep 6, 2011 at 11:25 PM

    yeah putting a true freshmen back there after one of the key playmakers on the team had a hard time, IN THE BIG HOUSE, in his first game, is an awesome idea guys. I’m a domer through and through but that is not a position i want to put a true freshman and expect him to make a big contribution.

    • dickasman - Sep 7, 2011 at 12:50 PM

      Irishfan, we could stick your focking GREAT GREAT GREAT gramma back there and she’d do a better job than TR or JG has done for us my friend.

      • borromini - Sep 7, 2011 at 2:17 PM

        Right…that really sounds convincing.

  4. vegasirish - Sep 7, 2011 at 12:24 AM

    You missed my favorite quote of the presser, KA.

    When asked about his “demeanor on the sidelines”, Brian Kelly responded-

    “Did I hit somebody? Did I strike somebody? Is that what you’re referring to?”

    • andy44teg - Sep 7, 2011 at 9:42 AM

      I thought BK was being a pretty big smart a$$ could tell he was tired of talking about that..I can’t say I blame him..I don’t know why NBC has to have the camera on him every single time something bad happens.

      • nudeman - Sep 7, 2011 at 12:17 PM

        Kelly answered the question in the vein of “how I appeared on tv” (paraphrasing).

        He doesn’t get it, in my opinion. It’s about the affect it has on your team. You can’t scream at 18-21 year old kids relentlessly and expect them to want to play hard for you. Ultimately, it has a detrimental affect.

        It wasn’t just Saturday; I noticed this throughout last year. Specifically, when Nate Montana came in against Michigan and actually managed to move them into position to score right before the half ran out, the kid (who’d never played before) threw an incompletion in the end zone to end the drive and the half.

        Kelly was ALL OVER his ass as he came to the sideline; hand gestures, red face, screaming. All I could think was “Geez, the kid did OK considering he’s the 4th QB (or whatever) and came in on a moment’s notice. Why are you making him feel like shit?”

        I like Kelly. And I don’t give a fig about how he “appears on tv”. But he’s gonna’ wear himself and his team out if he doesn’t get some control.

      • joeschu - Sep 7, 2011 at 1:50 PM

        The demeanor isn’t a problem for me, other than it being a harsh indicator that the staff was surprised by and unprepared for what happened.

        With respect to Theo/Cam, I think the easy answer here is to go back to Goodman on short field situations and decide if Cam can do it in open field situations. If there’s a > 50% chance a fair catch will be warranted, Goodman should be back there. They don’t use him on offense, let him contribute in an area where he is rock solid.

        I can see the arguments both ways on Cam. I tend to be in the camp that expect this kid to be a gamer of the highest magnitude and want to see his hands on the ball.

        There are more/better ways to get Theo touches and I’d rather see his time spent getting reps with offense. Let someone who’s talented but not a front-line offensive player handle PR duties.

      • borromini - Sep 7, 2011 at 2:26 PM

        irishfan2791…I think Kelly gets it…he just doesn’t care if you or others have a problem with his approach. He’s been that way for over 20 years…an intense Irish coach who now coaches the Irish.

        If what you say is true about the players’ reaction and how detrimental it can be, then Kelly would have lost teams at GVS thrCincinnatiti and never succeeded.

        Quit worrying about his sideline approach and spare us from these ridiculous concerns until you hear first-hand from players that this is not working.

      • borromini - Sep 7, 2011 at 2:29 PM

        Sorry, my previous comment was for nudeman.

      • papadec - Sep 7, 2011 at 11:13 PM

        Because they think it makes for good TV. Just like FOXNWS coverage of hurricane Irene.

    • dickasman - Sep 7, 2011 at 3:02 PM

      Borro, as of Saturday, 9/3/11, No I don’t think Kelly “gets it” at all. Did you see the way his team played? Did that seem like a team that plays for a coach who “gets it”? I mean the kindergarden mistakes that were being made out there? There were some pretty horrendous errors being made out there.

      I was actually thoroughly disappointed in his approach out there. Everything is fine when you’re winning, its not when you’re losing…especially the way they played saturday? The offense and special teams were not ready for a scrimmage let alone real game.

      • nudeman - Sep 7, 2011 at 5:12 PM

        Regrettably I agree with everything you’ve written here dickasman.

        They were horrible to an exponential degree. I don’t care if the apologists say they had more yards, 1st downs, “if Gray hadn’t fumbled” etc etc. The fact is really good teams (which is what we thought ND was, right?) don’t shit all over themselves like this in an opener at home, against USF for God’s sake.

        However, what concerns me even more is that everyone here seems to think it was an anomaly, and they’ll go up to Ann Arbor, right the ship and win 33-14. I hope “everyone” is right. I’m just not so sure.

      • dickasman - Sep 7, 2011 at 5:27 PM

        All of the comments and smart ass screen names and “trolls” aside, we are all ND football fans and whether somebody thinks im a troll or not and I tell it like it is and as I see it. I’ll be the first to come on here and congratulate lobsterface when they do well but it concerned me that all spring and fall everything seem to be going well and BAM, they were making stupid dumb errors that pee wee footballers don’t even make. That was why it was so shocking….and it didn’t stop, the mistakes just flowed through the entire game and BK let that happen. He didn’t do anything to stop it. He needs to stop w that football coach ego sh!t and get the guys in there who can play with confidence.

        Good coach who “gets it” could have eliminated some of those mistakes. Easiest one for christ sakes, replace the punt returner when he’s struggling out there. EVERY god dam catch Theo was shaky at best and juggling and juggling he keeps him in there. Coach, he ain’t gonna learn nothing if you keep letting the kids make same mistakes. Then that carries over into offense and Theo couldn’t catch a ball the entire game. BK single handedly took TR out of the game, w/o physically taking him out of the game. He had the foresight to put Rees in there….ok, great. Why couldn’t he do the same w PR? You can see the entire team suffered because of the disastrous PR effort.

  5. tlndma - Sep 7, 2011 at 6:07 AM

    Keith, with all the weather Saturday, I haven’t heard anyone mention the wind, as a factor in Theo’s struggles with punts. Being there, your opinion on this?

    • dickasman - Sep 7, 2011 at 12:48 PM

      one word he “suuuuuuuuuuuuuuccccccccccccccckkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkeeeeeeeeeeeeed”. Wind, no wind, rain, no rain, he couldn’t even catch the god dam ball man. He sucks as PR man. Also, he lost his confidence in his role as WR due to this.

  6. barneysbullet - Sep 7, 2011 at 11:43 AM

    I agree with @vegasirish… LET THE MAN COACH!!!!

  7. dickasman - Sep 7, 2011 at 12:38 PM

    I agree whole heartedly with nudewoman. Not only because I like her wordpress screen name but she seems to know something about football. BK reminds me of that typical tough talking hillbilly high school prik football coach that walks around w short shorts and knee high socks. You can’t coach by intimidation in today’s world like he’s trying to. In general, I like BK, even in interviews. He seems to be a smart coach but I think I liked him ALOT more before saturday. Let’s try to keep the lobster stroke face to a very minimum this weekend coach, shall we?

    • nudeman - Sep 7, 2011 at 12:49 PM


      YOU called him “that typical tough talking hillbilly high school prik football coach that walks around w short shorts and knee high socks”.

      Not me.

      I wouldn’t characterize him that way at all. I like the guy a lot, and also think there are plenty of moments at practice and off camera where he’s giving encouragement. My point is that there are diminishing returns to browbeating, and he needs to be careful here. In addition to the affect it has on his players, among other things, recruits are watching.

      But let’s be honest: Lou got in players’ faces all the time and struck me as a bit of a prick. But he ended up doing OK. Mike Ditka was the same, and his players – except for the lazy ones – loved him. So while I’ve contributed a bit to the story here, and I do think that if left unchecked there IS going to be a bigger problem, I’d hate for this to get blown out of proportion. I think he’ll be fine.

      • dickasman - Sep 7, 2011 at 12:54 PM

        Yeah, I know what I wrote. I never said you said it, I said it. Wait wait wait nudeman, “Did I hit somebody? Did I strike somebody? Is that what you’re referring to? I never hit anybody.” I was extremely frustrated with the game. So I’ll have to do a better job of controlling my ­emotions.

      • papadec - Sep 7, 2011 at 11:20 PM

        Re Nudeman – It has already been blown out of proportion.

      • 1historian - Sep 10, 2011 at 10:20 PM

        Lou did get in people’s faces, but not all the time – he picked his spots when it would do the most good.

        If you KNOW you’re gonna get yelled at it’s different from when you don’t know whether or not – a big difference.

  8. dickasman - Sep 7, 2011 at 12:45 PM

    Also, please take Theo Riddick off of PR team, STAT!!! He ain’t no rocket, not even a bottle rocket. Are you sharting me with that comment “uhhhh, doi doi doi duhhhh, only Theo Riddick can return punts”. Coach, you’re at Notre motherfocking Dame NOT Grand God Dam Valley Cincinnati State University. There are other guys that can catch and run sub 4.4, 4.5 40’s. Where is Bennett Jackson? Austin Collinsworth? Daniel Smith? Deion Walker? Devaris Daniels? Any one of these guys can do better than Theo Riddick or John Nogoodman. Brian Weis, you suck at punt returner judger, and kinda stuff! Doi doi doiiiiii, duhhhhh, wait, I have a better idea. Let’s have the dynamic duo of John Nogoodman and Theo Riddickulous back there returning punts!

    • borromini - Sep 7, 2011 at 2:33 PM

      Oh great…another troll has joined the ranks.

      • dickasman - Sep 7, 2011 at 2:58 PM

        who da fock do you think you are borromini? You are not a troll? I have an idea. Let’s meet somewhere, just you and I and see who the real focking troll is? I love when these internet nerdballs respond with “troll”. Come up w something more original and less played out so I can give you more credit, would ya?

  9. papadec - Sep 7, 2011 at 11:26 PM

    I don’t understand why you guys have to resort to name calling – especially the players names. If you are so concerned about Coach Kelly yelling at the players – why don’t you set a good example and respect those players? Is that really the way you would want your children treated in an open forum?

  10. dochrd - Sep 8, 2011 at 2:34 AM

    Regarding Kelly’s sideline demeanor: for every coach that someone can name who yelled at his players, there are legendary coaches who rarely yelled. Ara Parshegian, John Wooden, Tom Landry, Digger Phelps and Joe Paterno all come to mind. Quite frankly all of the chatter about Kelly proves this is a big deal, and shouldn’t be taken lighly, because Lou Holtz may have yelled, but Kelly looked like he was going to have a heart attack. The idea of the hot-tempered coach motivating his players is good TV and great movie fodder, but, in few instances, rarely works.

    As any management coach will tell you, when your employees are afraid to make mistakes, not only will they under perform and fail to take necessary risks, they’ll make mistakes anyway. It’s what you do with the mistakes that count. If a player runs off the field and gets the Kelly traetment, how do you think he’ll respnd the next time he has to go back out? He’ll be thinking “I can’t make a mistake.” While we hope he doesn’t, the thinking becomes negative instead of positive.

    Maybe twenty year-olds can bounce back because it’s their nature, but I hope Kelly has control of this team. If his sideline demeanor is any rteflection of that, he doesn’t have control, and we’re in for a long season. Let’s hope everyone has put this first game behind them, made their peace, and moved on. I hope so.

    • 1historian - Sep 10, 2011 at 10:16 PM

      Holtz kept his cool and his team reflected that on the field.

      Kelly came apart at the seams and his team reflected that on the field.

      That having been said – they did get pushed around and there is NO excuse for that. When that is happening it is the responsibility for someone on the field to step forward as a LEADER and so far I don’t see one on either side of the ball. I remember hearing stories that Chris Zorch scared his teammates because he played with such passion.

  11. deaconjack - Sep 8, 2011 at 5:20 AM

    My my! Are we a classy mature group. I think it is time to grow up.

    • dickasman - Sep 8, 2011 at 11:50 AM


      This is FOOTBALL forum NOT sunday church mass forum. You ever play football? Emotions run high. You want classy mature group? go to adultfriendfinder dot com. You will find plenty matures there.

      • nudeman - Sep 8, 2011 at 11:56 AM


  12. NotreDan - Sep 8, 2011 at 11:16 AM

    For me, here’s the bottom line:

    After being SHOCKED and demoralized, and sitting in a puddle of their own self loathing for two hours in that locker room, our team came out a won the second half, 20 – 7.

    They can beat Michigan. They just need to believe. We have more than enough talent. We have the right quarterback in there. We have a great D. We have the right coach and staff.

    • dickasman - Sep 8, 2011 at 5:27 PM

      Well Daniel son, I hope you’re right but I got all thuuuper thoooooper exthithed(in corky voice) for the opening jonesing for thum Nothre thame footfaaaaalllll, thinking we’re going BCS this year 10-2 or 9-3 but they made me look like an immediate retard. Killed my giant football boner INSTANTLY with that POS garbage mistakes. I squarely blame Brian Kelly 10000000000% for the USF loss. He did not have the players ready AT ALL nor did he help out his players at all during the game. I know there were tons of mistakes made on saturday with fumbles and dropped balls but none bigger than coaching stood out to me. The coach did not stop the bleeding.

      I am taking the wait n see approach this week. No boners til after the game after they horsepound da sht outta michigan, hopefully. Only good thing we have going this week is that Poor Michigan has Greg Mattison as DCoord.

  13. 1historian - Sep 10, 2011 at 10:12 PM

    Gray’s “fumble”: He didn’t actually fumble the ball as much as it was taken from him – one USF player held him up by wrapping him up and the other stripped the ball from him. It was obvious that they had been coached to do just what they did – good coaching.
    And it was obvious that ND was not ready for such a move – poor coaching. It is also true that coaching or not SOMEONE on ND should have reacted.
    But no one did.
    If ND did not work on that play this last week – both prevention and execution – there’s not a whole lot to say.

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