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Kelly impresses on West Coast swing

Nov 29, 2012, 12:21 PM EDT

Brian Kelly podium

Brian Kelly stayed on the West Coast after beating USC, visiting some top California prospects before stopping in St. Paul to visit James Onwualu and onto Michigan to see Steve Elmer, two early-enrollees in the class of 2013.

But before he left California, he certainly left his stamp on the area, and some top 2014 prospects as well. With the tight end position losing two members this offseason, Kelly made a point to go visit talented blue-chipper Tyler Luatua.

It’s tough to find a 2014 player with a more impressive offer list, with Alabama, USC, Ohio State, Miami, Michigan, Florida State, and a whole slew of others all putting in early offers to the 6-foot-4, 230-pounder, one of California’s best players.

And while he wasn’t allowed to speak with him, the Irish head coach and his trusted West Coast recruiter Mike Denbrock stopped by La Mirada high school where they made quite the impression.

This from IrishSportsDaily.com’s Christian McCollum, who caught up with La Mirada head coach Mike Moschetti.

“It was awesome,” Moschetti told ISD.  “Our school near well shut down. Our principal is a huge Notre Dame fan and his father-in-law is a huge Notre Dame fan. Everybody was excited. The kids were excited, the administration was excited, the whole city. It was a humbling experience. It was awesome.”

“There were a lot of pictures being taken,” said Moschetti. “It was an exciting time there. Denbrock and Coach Kelly are class acts. Just talking to Coach Kelly and Coach Denbrock and them talking to our administration, the main focus was academics and how important it is.

“I was getting phone calls all day when people found out he was there. He was here probably 25, 30 minutes. After they left, there were all of these other people showing up trying to meet him.”

Last month, Kelly cracked, “If you can sell Avon, you can sell Notre Dame.” Well, as this visit is starting to show, if you can sell Notre Dame, you can certainly sell 12-0 Notre Dame.

After building a 2013 class that focused on character guys first and then extended to national targets, it’ll be interesting to see how Kelly and company build the 2014 recruiting class, a group that’ll certainly have the chance to be filled with elite talent, with the Irish now among the most attractive destinations in the country both on and off the field.

  1. tommynacc - Nov 29, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    I live in La MIrada and this is the first I heard of it! If I had, I would have been there! ;)

  2. dudeacow - Nov 29, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    247 Sports has Tyler Luautua as the #1 TE, and has Alabama and USC as the leaders. I don’t believe that though, as on one of Tyler’s school folders is a big, gold ND symbol. That kid is going to South Bend.

    • papadec - Dec 1, 2012 at 5:59 PM

      dude – Mattingly’s replacement? Clearly an upgrade.

  3. ndfi78 - Nov 29, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    Luatua’s brother is at Bama now, they are the clear favorites from what I’ve read.

    • 808raiderinparadise - Nov 29, 2012 at 3:59 PM

      Well IF Bama plays ND maybe his decision rides on the outcome hahahha.

  4. phillyj - Nov 29, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    Rember back when KA was beating the drum for TR to start and telling us that there was dissention in the locker room.

    The Avon sure wasn’t flying off the shelves back then.

    Go Irish!

    • bernhtp - Nov 29, 2012 at 3:11 PM

      Your reading comprehension is poor. KA was saying that Rees was the better QB at the beginning of the season, though Golson obviously had more upside. The locker room dissent was only virtual; it would have emerged if games were lost because of too much emphasis on developing Golson instead of winning games with Rees.

      Thankfully, Kelly toed this jagged line brilliantly. He found ways to win games – using Rees when necessary – while simultaneously developing Golson. Everett is now clearly way above the level where Tommy could ever hope to rise, and the training wheels are no longer necessary.

      • phillyj - Nov 29, 2012 at 3:43 PM

        I can haz reading comprehension?

        “If you listen to the word coming from South Bend, there is no quarterback controversy at Notre Dame. But that stance is — and should be — incredibly flexible…sacrificing the present — one that includes a once-in-a-generation leader and talent like Te’o — and an All-American like Tyler Eifert is tough to stomach in a locker room where many believe Tommy Rees is the best quarterback for the job. And while that might turn the stomachs of Irish fans everywhere, that sentiment isn’t solely that of the players. The guys drawing up the Xs and Os think there might be something to that, too.” – Keith Arnold 10/1/02

      • bernhtp - Nov 29, 2012 at 4:10 PM

        Philly: there is nothing in this quote inconsistent with what I said. A number of the offensive players, especially the older ones, (rightly) believed that Rees was better than Golson and had a better chance of winning close games. Had BK overused Golson to the extent of losing games, this would have produced a morale problem.

        But there are no morale problems when the team is winning. Despite some early discomfort, the senior leadership understood BK’s goals and strategy. They saw him inject Rees when necessary, and then saw Golson develop. Everything Keith said was correct. He was not clamoring for TR to start or saying that there was open dissent in the locker room. There is some missed nuance here.

      • phillyj - Nov 29, 2012 at 4:38 PM

        I guess “nuance” is one word for it Keith, err, bernhtp. You can parse the quote all you want, but the implication was clear: there is (was) a simmering QB controversy at ND. And I don’t blame you from backing away from it now, but don’t piss on my head and tell me it’s raining.

      • bernhtp - Nov 29, 2012 at 4:52 PM

        Keith and I are very different people. I’m older, but better looking. Keith posts under his own name and I don’t see him as the personality type to hide under pseudonyms.

        The adjective I would use for QB controversy/dissent would be “potential.” Early in the season, senior players were worried that Kelly might go too far in his use of Golson and cause losses. They saw that Tommy did better in practice and wasn’t making the mistakes that Everett did. Tommy had far better command of the play book and was way quicker and reading defenses and making appropriate adjustments. This is what Keith said and it is all true.

        Again, I don’t see a backing away by Keith (or me).

      • nudeman - Nov 29, 2012 at 5:24 PM

        Keith was a one man show on the QB thing.

        Almost nobody, after last year’s meltdown, wanted to see another year of a slow, weak armed QB who made bad decisions. Keith seemed to feel differently, but now I’d be shocked if he isn’t all in on Golson.

      • bernhtp - Nov 29, 2012 at 6:44 PM

        Nude: Everyone is now all in on Golson. It was pretty clear at the end of the OK game that Kelly navigated the Golson development while winning games masterfully and that the team is so much better off for it. The previously apprehensive seniors get it.

        A while back I also learned that most of what we see was planned last January. Kelly knew he needed to make a QB change, knew who the “winner” would be, and changed his focus from manager to teacher to execute the plan. My speculation is that even the Rees role was anticipated a very long time ago. What we have seen would have happened even without the help of a cabby or SBPD.

      • nudeman - Nov 29, 2012 at 9:43 PM

        bern
        Please elaborate on your post.

        It makes perfect sense, and I’d say most of us back in January expected Golson to be the QB; but I was scared to death that BK still had the jones for Tommy.

        Last year I’d have given BK a C- for his handling of the QB position
        In retrospect though, seeing how Dayne has actually regressed, I’d have to say that BK knew what he was doing.

        This year he pushed all the right buttons. A+

      • bernhtp - Nov 30, 2012 at 8:06 AM

        Not too much to elaborate. After a very disappointing end to last season and obvious underperformance at the QB position, BK (and everyone else) knew that a change was needed. If I recall, BK announced the QB competition before spring camp. What I didn’t know before a few weeks ago was that BK knew who the “winner” was going to be and was making plans around that scenario. The winner wasn’t going to be Tommy because, well, he wasn’t. He knew that Everett had magic and natural feel that Andrew lacked, and Gunner was too new. Absent some major event (e.g., major injury), the course was set long ago.

        I filled in much of the rest from public information beginning with BK’s statement (Feb?) about getting more hands-on with coaching/teaching. While this may be unconnected to the development of a young QB, I don’t think it is. BK has spent an huge amount of practice time with Everett from spring ball on.

        His teaching style with Everett has also been brilliant. From the public clips we’ve seen, it’s been very tactile. My belief is that Everett is a very tactile learner, e.g., the science vs. art BK mentions, which is even consistent with Everett’s musical abilities: he plays keyboard by ear and doesn’t read music. BK spends far more time with his hands on his shoulders and head than on a chalkboard.

        So what do you do when the old QB you don’t want beats out the one you do? The last three months give the answer. KA was right in what he wrote; Tommy was the best QB (then), the team knew it, and especially the seniors were apprehensive about BK causing losses by overusing Golson. They desperately wanted to win. This was the gist of his article.

        While I have given BK the benefit of the doubt far more than most here, I still underestimated his deep knowledge and command of the situation. He is really, really good at what he does. I give him an A++++. I am frankly blown away how he made this all come together, albeit with some obvious luck.

      • nudeman - Nov 30, 2012 at 11:25 AM

        bern
        Excellent post
        Aligns with the way I see Golson as a supremely talented but emotionally very sensitive, bordering on fragile, guy.

        BK has done a great job

  5. jmfinsd - Nov 29, 2012 at 3:21 PM

    CFT on Alabama v. Georgia – “This SEC championship game doubles as a national semifinal, but in our mind it’s also for all the marbles. Either the Crimson Tide or Bulldogs will earn the honor of winning the SEC’s seventh consecutive BCS championship with a victory over No. 1 Notre Dame in Miami on Jan. 7.”

    Get used to hearing this. Let it flow. Let the anti-Irish media blitz begin. It just shows their ignorance. But that’s OK. Thanks for the assist. Alabama or Georgia (hopefully Alabama) will hear it, believe it, and be overconfident. We’ll use it. It’ll challenge our guys. It’ll inspire them. It’ll motivate them to prove everyone wrong. It’s the lining down the path to the crystal football.

    GO IRISH!!!

    • ndgoldandblue - Nov 29, 2012 at 11:30 PM

      Couldn’t agree with you more. I remember hearing some quotes from Spartan players before the Michigan State game. Not only were they incredibly confident that they would win, but they also believed that they would out-muscle the Irish and push them around all day. There was a lot of frickin’ talk from the MSU players, and it just reeked of overconfidence. I couldn’t believe the things that were coming out of the players’ mouths. And I dislike MSU the least of all of Notre Dame’s rivals. Well…we all saw how that played out.

      Look, every game this year that the pundits (or the opposing team) believed was going to be a blowout suffered by the Irish ended up being a double-digit win for the Irish. MSU and Oklahoma are the two that first come to mind, but there were a few folks who believed that Miami would throw it all over the field on us and USC would expose us as paper tigers. Again, double-digit win in ND’s favor.

      I really hope that the team we play in the championship underestimates us. I hope they come in thinking that all they have to do is just show up and the victory will be theirs. I hope their overconfidence reaches the point of out-right dismissal. If they do that, Notre Dame is going to punch them in the mouth, and they won’t know what hit them until they’re down by 13 at halftime.

  6. yaketyyacc - Nov 29, 2012 at 4:23 PM

    we can all talk, predict,. love, hate. our Notre Dame Football team, doesn’t do any of these, Notre Dame just wins. and on Jan. 7, Notre Dame will continue to win. I’m proud of our kids, and of the example they set on and off the field. …what though the odds be great or small, old …. well you know the rest. Oh, you don’t? ….Notre Dame and Manti T’eo will win in Miami over all. THE IRISH ARE COMING

    dame just wins.

  7. 410keith - Nov 29, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    Roll tide!!!!!!

    • bernhtp - Nov 29, 2012 at 7:21 PM

      At best, aren’t you here a few days prematurely?

    • ndfaithful - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:27 PM

      Yes! Roll Tide! Around the bowl, and down the hole. Roll Tide Roll!

      • ndgoldandblue - Nov 29, 2012 at 11:32 PM

        Nice!

    • papadec - Nov 30, 2012 at 11:58 AM

      410 – another troll that thinks his/her place under the bridge is beachfront. They just never learn.

    • dickasman - Dec 2, 2012 at 4:17 AM

      He’ll yeah! I love ecstasy!

    • brianmuskus - Dec 2, 2012 at 11:57 PM

      Historically,

      11/14/1987

      Notre Dame 37 – - Alabama 6

      10/4/1986

      Alabama 28 – - Notre Dame 10

      11/15/1980

      Notre Dame 7 – - Alabama 0

      11/13/1976

      Notre Dame 21 – - Alabama 18

      1/1/1975 (Orange Bowl)

      Notre Dame 13 – - Alabama 11

      12/31/1973 (Sugar Bowl)

      Notre Dame 24 – - Alabama 23

      Go Irish !!

    • brianmuskus - Dec 3, 2012 at 12:05 AM

      Historically,

      11/14/1987

      Notre Dame 37 – - Alabama 6

      10/4/1986

      Alabama 28 – - Notre Dame 10

      11/15/1980

      Notre Dame 7 – - Alabama 0

      11/13/1976

      Notre Dame 21 – - Alabama 18

      1/1/1975 (Orange Bowl)

      Notre Dame 13 – - Alabama 11

      12/31/1973 (Sugar Bowl)

      Notre Dame 24 – - Alabama 23

      Go Irish !!

  8. kiopta1 - Nov 29, 2012 at 7:13 PM

    Should be a fun sec champ game…and likely the most watched Nat champ game of all time. It could be called the hater bowl with how many folks are watching just to see these teams fail.

  9. irish1958 - Nov 29, 2012 at 8:40 PM

    Hay kid: go to Alabame (sec). If Nick doesn’t like you, or you get hurt, or perhaps nick can find someone better and pulls your scholly, I have this great job at my car wash for a junior assistant intern MANIGER.
    Is that GREAT or what! Or is that?

    Dam gramer. My step daddy told me to go to the eight grade, and if I haddn’d got Billiegene in thay way I woodof

  10. 9irish - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:12 PM

    A little off topic, but interesting. I like seeing what the other side says after a game

    • bernhtp - Nov 30, 2012 at 8:17 AM

      Thanks for the post. I always like getting the other perspective for a 360 view.

      • nudeman - Nov 30, 2012 at 11:30 AM

        Interesting but who is Dan Weber?

      • bernhtp - Nov 30, 2012 at 5:04 PM

        Dan Weber seems to be a writer/blogger/analyst for uscfootball.com, which appears to be associated with Rivals (like Irish Illustrated). I guess he is like a Tim Prister.

  11. goirishgo - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:28 PM

    A little further off topic but the Irish basketball team took Kentucky to the woodshed tonight.

    Go Irish!

    • 9irish - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:36 PM

      Saw that…awesome

    • jmfinsd - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:57 PM

      What?!? ND beat an SEC team? That’s inconceivable!!

      Saw that, too. Brey’s got ‘em playing well. Liked the few minutes that Manti spent with Dickie V during the second half. Classic.

    • papadec - Nov 30, 2012 at 1:48 AM

      goirish – yeah – that was UNRANKED ND beating #8 Kentucky! GO IRISH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • bernhtp - Nov 30, 2012 at 8:24 AM

      Great game, great play by the Irish, great turnout by the student body, great atmosphere in Purcell, and a great interview by Manti. The Irish are really showing off this year.

      Prediction: ND vs. Duke becomes a big rivalry as ND gets its ACC schedule in a year or two.

  12. 9irish - Nov 29, 2012 at 10:44 PM

    As far as all the other comments about QBs, Keith, and all that…I’m pretty sure all the Admirals and Generals weren’t on the deck of the battleship waiting for the Japanese surrender, saying, “boy, we screwed that Pearl Harbor thing up!”

    There is such a thing as a rearview mirror.

    • phillyj - Nov 30, 2012 at 11:18 AM

      Point taken. On an unrelated note, I have a pet theory that Jack Cooley and Bruce Heggie are actually the same person.

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