Irish Eyes' Quick Take: 2010 Season

Brian Kelly's first season at Notre Dame may not have gone as many expected. However, a winning streak at the end of the year that included a victory over USC, and a bowl game matchup with Miami has many excited about the future.

Tim O'Malley, Jeff Baumhower, and Dave Berk, give you their thoughts on the best of the 2010 season.


Tim O'Malley

Offensive Player of the Year: Michael Floyd

Defensive Player of the Year: Manti Te'o

Newcomer of the Year:  Zack Martin

Play of the Year for ND: Kyle Rudolph's 95-yard touchdown to take a 24-21 lead vs. Michigan with four minutes remaining.

Play of the Year against ND: "Little Giants" used by Michigan State to win in overtime.

Game of the Year: USC - Snapping a 8-game skid, in Los Angeles to boot, carries far more weight for Brian Kelly in his first year than does a convincing beating of the Mountain West runner-up Utah.

Quote on The Season: "My pre-season prediction pointed to a first-year mark of 9-3.  I assumed a 10-2 record to be the reasonable high-water mark and 7-5 was the lowest official prediction I noted over the summer months through August camp.  Though I was less-than-impressed by the field and sideline product of September and October, it appears Notre Dame is headed in the right direction – rapidly – after a remarkable run through the season's final month."

"Several longtime observers have suggested a bowl win is necessary to consider this season a success.  That might be true when we look back on 2010 ten years from now, but the post-season outcome against rival Miami won't decide the direction of the program.  For the first time in recent memory (maybe 1992? 1995?) Notre Dame is a much better team at season's end than when it kicked off the campaign."

"Kelly weathered the toughest season of his 20-year coaching career under constant scrutiny.  He's likely a better coach for it as the program molds to his image."

"In summation I have but two suggestions for the head coach as the season draws to a close:  Michael Floyd is your number one recruiting target for 2011, and…kick the field goal."

Jeff Baumhower

Offensive Player of the Year: Michael Floyd

Defensive Player of the Year: Gary Gray

Newcomer of the Year: TJ Jones

Play of the Year: Michael Floyd's fumble against Michigan State.

Game of the Year: USC

Quote on The Season: "Much has been made about the players learning and adapting to Brian Kelly and his system.  I believe that was a process this season, but I also believe it took Brian Kelly and his staff to understand and adapt to being at Notre Dame…  This team was better than throughout the year, but played and coached like a 7-5 team at times.  Hopefully the wrinkles get worked out by the time the Irish begin the season against South Florida."

Dave Berk

Offensive Player of the Year: David Ruffer

Defensive Player of the Year: Manti Te'o

Newcomer of the Year: Tommy Rees

Play of the Year for ND: Rees check-down to Kamara against USC with 7 seconds left before halftime in the final game of the season.   The touchdown gave the Irish a 13-3 advantage in a game with poor weather conditions and a team still looking for its identity.

Play of the Year against ND: "Little Giants" was a total surprise to everyone in Spartan Stadium on both sides.  The play was covered; however, two Irish defenders were taken out of the play by Spartans running back Le'Veon Bell to allow for a wide open Charlie Gnatt and the game winning touchdown.

Quote on The Season:  "What would we be talking about if the Irish had beat Michigan, Michigan State, and Tulsa?  Instead of 7-5, the Irish would be 10-2.  Only eight points separate the Irish season of being one of making a BCS team."

"The play of the team during the final weeks of the season, to go with the final win of the season over USC gave this team a swagger that has been missing.  A strong performance against Miami will only builds upon this and be a major positive going into the spring."

"The future looks very bright for Notre Dame." Top Stories