When Brian Kelly took the head coaching job at Notre Dame, most people knew it would be a bit of a rocky transition. The Irish were already losing their top two players (Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate) and had just one scholarship quarterback on the roster, and that guy is coming off of major knee surgery. On top of that, Kelly had to hold on to all the players on the roster and a part of the current recruiting class.
It appears that transition is getting even rockier by the day.
When Kelly arrived he fired most of former coach Charlie Weis’ staff, including quarterbacks coach Ron Powlus. Please, for the purposes of this post stop snickering at the fact that Powlus was educating anyone on how to play the quarterback position.
Apparently, Powlus was very popular with recruits, including the Irish’s top quarterback commit, Andrew Hendrix. Hendrix is the No. 15 pro-style quarterback in the 2010 class according to Rivals, and he recently softened his commitment to Notre Dame.
This week, Hendrix made a second visit to South Bend to meet with Kelly and see how things stood. He apparently had a “good visit” but is keeping his options open. The reason this is cause for concern is because Hendrix was reportedly talking to Powlus on a daily basis and took his firing particularly hard. Hendrix may start looking at some other schools, in the mix are Ohio State, Tennessee, Miami, Wisconsin and, ironically, Cincinnati.
We’re also hearing that Urban Meyer may be making some inroads with Hendrix.
When you toss in the Hendrix situation with the de-commitments of Chris Martin (the nation’s No. 16 overall player) and cornerback Toney Hurd Jr., it looks bad. Then considering that key recruits Beau Allen and Sean Parker dropped Notre Dame from consideration, Kelly hasn’t exactly hit the ground running in South Bend.
We’ve also heard from several sources that Notre Dame’s star freshman linebacker, Manti Teo, is leaning towards going on his Mormon mission. If he decides to go on his mission there’s a very strong possibility that Teo has played his last game in South Bend.
All of that adds up to a rough start to the Kelly regime at Notre Dame. Will Irish fans be patient through the early struggles?
I personally like Kelly and think he will be successful at Notre Dame…if you consider a maximum of eight or nine wins every year successful.