By Joel Norman, Originally published on Sports Heaven
The time is now.
The University of Notre Dame football team is a disgrace.
Someone must pay for this. There is no better scapegoat than Brian Kelly.
That does not excuse the team that Kelly coaches, but he has not properly handled the team in 2016 and has been a mediocre coach.
After Saturday’s 17-10 loss to Stanford, the Fighting Irish are 2-5. In Kelly’s seven years as head coach, Notre Dame has never lost more than five games in a single season. It would be stunning if they won out in 2016, considering that games against Miami and Virginia Tech remain.
Kelly can’t blame his coordinators anymore. Sure, since firing defensive coordinator Brian Vangorder, the defense has only allowed a combined 27 points in the last two games, but that’s more of a credit to Hurricane Matthew and quarterback DeShone Kizer practically gifting the Cardinal with scoring opportunities in the second half Saturday.
Again, Kelly is not the only person at fault. The game at North Carolina State on Oct. 8 was played in the middle of a hurricane, so points were going to be hard to come by. Center Sam Mustipher did struggle with the wet conditions…
More than once…
In defense of Mustipher, it was ridiculous to force him to make such long snaps. There’s no excuse for Notre Dame to run 36 pass plays in the middle of a hurricane.
Mustipher goofed up again against Stanford, snapping the ball over quarterback Malik Zaire’s head and out of the end zone for a safety.
Kizer played awful against Stanford, throwing two interceptions and no touchdowns. His first interception was measly throw several feet short of wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown that was returned for a touchdown.
A former Irish quarterback didn’t like Kelly pulling Kizer so quickly.
After starting the year with a six-touchdown performance against Texas, Kizer has only rushed and passed for 14 scores in the six games since. Kizer hasn’t thrown a touchdown since Oct. 1 vs Syracuse.
The offense as a whole has been disastrous. Notre Dame averages 414 yards of offense, good for 64th in the nation and below piss-poor teams like Louisiana-Monroe and Southern Methodist University.
This is the same team with the quarterback that CBS Sports has going No. 1 in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Kelly’s players aren’t playing at the level that they should and though he cannot dictate their every decision, he’s done an awful job at preparing his team to play after losses.
ESPN college football analyst Paul Finebaum called out Kelly for refusing to accept responsibility for his actions.
“He blamed everyone on his team a couple weeks ago,” Finebaum said. “He said that he would be re-evaluating, he blamed his defensive coordinator and fired him. He blamed his quarterback, who has had a really nice year. And (Saturday), he called out the center, saying he had been snapping atrociously in the middle of a hurricane. You know, I’m beginning to wonder, who’s next for Brian Kelly to blame: Donald Trump?”
It doesn’t matter that Kelly’s contract does not end until 2021. The six-year extension this past winter was a mistake, but the bigger mistake would be letting Kelly coach until it expired.
Besides, what has Kelly done since coming to Notre Dame? Sure, he had an undefeated regular season in 2012, only to get whacked by Alabama in the BCS Championship Game.
Other than that year and last, when the Irish competed in the Fiesta Bowl (though they were thumped by Ohio State), the Irish have played in the following bowl games under Kelly: Sun, Champs Sports, Pinstripe, Music City.
The 11-time National Champions are playing in these types of bowl games?
Notre Dame football is an embarrassment. The Irish have not won a national championship since 1988 and continue to put up slightly above average teams on the field each Saturday.
This is the school that extended former head coach Charlie Weis’s contract 10 years after going 5-2 in his first seven games. Though he was fired in 2010, Weis still received paychecks from the university until 2015.
Weis went 30-25 after that.
Notre Dame should be competing with schools like Alabama and Ohio State each year, yet fails to show up in big games. Since 2014, Notre Dame has lost to opponents like Florida State, Stanford (twice), Michigan State, Clemson, and Ohio State.
If the Irish want to be among college football’s best, they’ve got to beat the top dogs.
Under Kelly, it has not happened.
No more excuses. Fire Kelly.