A Rocky Start For Brian Kelly At Notre Dame

December 22, 2009 – 7:13 pm by Ryan Phillips

Notre Dame Brian Kelly Football

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.

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  1. 5 Responses to “A Rocky Start For Brian Kelly At Notre Dame”

  2. Man, things look rough for Kelly next year. A losing record is definitely plausible with no real quarterback and the two best players from a 6-6 team headed to the pro’s.

    By Mike on Dec 23, 2009

  3. With any change in power, some incumbents are going to consider transferring and incoming players will think about other schools as well. At the same time, with this particular change in power, BK might pull some guys to South Bend who weren’t otherwise considering Notre Dame because of Weis. BK is a strong recruiter with a big enough profile now that blue-chippers are well aware what he’s capable of. I wouldn’t be surprised if BK didn’t struggle in his first season next fall; remember, Cincinnati was supposed to take a step back this year after having lost 10 defensive starters. Instead, Kelly guided them to the best season in school history and were a missed Texas FG away from playing for the national championship.

    By John P. Wise on Dec 23, 2009

  4. John,
    Yeah I agree that he’ll eventually figure things out. It’s just been a rough start to things for him. And, yeah, that probably should have been expected.

    By Phillips on Dec 23, 2009

  5. Firing Ty Willingham a few years back wasn’t very bright. Hiring Weis and keeping him for so long wasn’t very bright either. I wonder when the other shoe will drop here.

    Kelly has shown he can do the job, but he didn’t exactly have top 5 recruits in Cincy, did he? If he can do what he did there, he most certainly can do it at ND.

    By fingerssfv on Dec 23, 2009

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