SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Neither head coach wanted to tackle this one.
During the final joint press conference before Fiesta Bowl, Brian Kelly and Urban Meyer were both asked about Chip Kelly’s firing in Philadelphia after three seasons and whether or not a college head coach could make it at the next level.
The reporter floated the inquiry to both coaches, wondering if the NFL lure had their attention.
After an awkward silence, Meyer nodded his head toward Kelly.
“This is one of those,” Kelly laughed. “Yeah, I don't think it's tempting at all. We get these questions all the time. I'm sure Urban gets them, as well. It's really not tempting at all. We're so focused on what we do on a day-to-day basis that we don't kind of sit around going, ‘Boy, I'd like to coach in the NFL.’”
Kelly was asked about his next-level interest each of the past two days here in the wake of the upheaval in Philadelphia, where he interviewed barely 48 hours after Notre Dame’s loss to Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game.
Kelly awkwardly deflected questions about professional interest back then. He seemed more certain about his connection to Notre Dame this time around, although his self-belief that college coaches could make it in the pros appeared too.
Not only is Philadelphia already open, but there’s a chance Indianapolis and Detroit could as well. The same may go for the New York Giants. Those three jobs all have established franchise quarterbacks in place.
“You have to understand there has to be a great collaboration,” Kelly said. “Pete Carroll has found a great situation in Seattle because he has great collaboration. Doesn't seem as though there was great collaboration (in Philadelphia). If you're a ball coach, you're a ball coach. Chip Kelly is one heck of a football coach.”
“Collaboration is extremely important. All the pieces have to be moving in the right direction. So I really don't think it has anything to do with the college experience as much as it has to do with collaboration and understanding what you're getting into.”
Coincidentally, Chip Kelly and Meyer both spoke at the same Notre Dame Coaches Clinic four-and-a-half years ago.
For Notre Dame’s head coach, who’s admitted this job has a life span that might be shorter than some other jobs, coaching football has the same foundation at the NFL, college and even high school levels.
“If you're a ball coach, you can coach anywhere,” Kelly said. “There are high school coaches that are better than me. If you can coach, if you can teach, if you can educate, if you can motivate and organize, I think you can coach anywhere.”