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Players Unaffected By ‘Kelly Is Leaving’ Talk

Irish upperclassmen don’t believe Kelly should have to shoulder the blame for the 4-8 season, nor should one bad season lead to a coaching change.


LOS ANGELES – In today’s social media, contrary to days gone by when it was much easier to be kept in the dark, college football players are among the first to know when something is afoot.

In an emotional week – last game of the season without a bowl, a difficult tilt against red-shot USC and news of Notre Dame’s proposed probation – there also was the swirling speculation that Irish head coach Brian Kelly could either be a) fired or b) seeking another job.

Following Notre Dame’s 45-27 loss to USC to close the season at 4-8, several players were asked about the ‘Kelly is leaving’ talk.

“I don’t think this team let that affect us at all,” said captain/offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey. “We understand who our coach is and we’re going to go play for him.

“We believe he’s the right guy for the job. He puts a lot of the pressure on himself. He’s got a great staff with him. We’re fully confident in our head coach.”

Kelly did his best to diffuse the situation after the game when he was asked point-blank if he wanted to return to Notre Dame for an eighth season in 2017 amid speculation that he may be seeking “an exit strategy” and a mutual parting of ways.

“Oh, yeah, absolutely, I’ll be back,” Kelly said.

Asked again if he wanted to be the head coach at Notre Dame in 2017, Kelly said: “Absolutely. Absolutely.”

But less than an hour after Kelly’s definitive statement, ESPN and Yahoo reported that Kelly was considering an alternative to continuing his contract with Notre Dame (that runs through the 2021 season) by allowing his representation to actively test the waters.

In the wee hours of the morning, Kelly released a statement via the University.

“I felt that I was clear with the media following yesterday’s game at USC when I was asked about my desire to be back as the head football coach at Notre Dame, but in light of media reports that surfaced afterward, let me restate my position,” read the statement. “I have not been, am not, and will not be interested in options outside of Notre Dame. I’m fully committed to leading this program in the future.”

Although the Irish lost by 18 points to the Trojans and trailed by double digits for more than half the game, Notre Dame battled with USC offensively and defensively. Two returns for touchdowns in the kicking game and an interception for a score negated most of that work.

Notre Dame’s performance, said the Irish players, reflected their belief in the program and head coach.

“When you’re playing against USC and participating in a rivalry game, the only thing that’s on your mind is to beat the team (located) across the country,” said quarterback DeShone Kizer.

“All the noise that happens outside the Guglielmino Complex stays there. We did a good job all season making sure that it stayed there. We just want to do whatever we can to execute the game plan that our coaches put together.”

Departing fifth-year senior Jarron Jones professed his belief in Kelly.

“I think that’s garbage,” Jones said. “Coach Kelly deserves another chance if people are talking about him being fired. This is just one bad season.

“He took us to the national championship. He took us to the Fiesta  Bowl last year. Coach Kelly is a great coach. Just because we have one trip-up doesn’t mean he deserves to be fired.”

Added McGlinchey: “Obviously, it was a crappy season and 4-8 isn’t cutting it. We just need to get better moving forward. We’re going to grow up. We’re going to put in a lot of work to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

“It’s not just on Brian Kelly; it’s on the entire team.”


IrishIllustrated.com Top Stories

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LOS ANGELES – In today’s social media, contrary to days gone by when it was much easier to be kept in the dark, college football players are among the first to know when something is afoot.

\n

In an emotional week – last game of the season without a bowl, a difficult tilt against red-shot USC and news of Notre Dame’s proposed probation – there also was the swirling speculation that Irish head coach Brian Kelly could either be a) fired or b) seeking another job.

\n

Following Notre Dame’s 45-27 loss to USC to close the season at 4-8, several players were asked about the ‘Kelly is leaving’ talk.

\n

“I don’t think this team let that affect us at all,” said captain/offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey. “We understand who our coach is and we’re going to go play for him.

\n

“We believe he’s the right guy for the job. He puts a lot of the pressure on himself. He’s got a great staff with him. We’re fully confident in our head coach.”

\n

Kelly did his best to diffuse the situation after the game when he was asked point-blank if he wanted to return to Notre Dame for an eighth season in 2017 amid speculation that he may be seeking “an exit strategy” and a mutual parting of ways.

\n

“Oh, yeah, absolutely, I’ll be back,” Kelly said.

\n

Asked again if he wanted to be the head coach at Notre Dame in 2017, Kelly said: “Absolutely. Absolutely.”

\n

But less than an hour after Kelly’s definitive statement, ESPN and Yahoo reported that Kelly was considering an alternative to continuing his contract with Notre Dame (that runs through the 2021 season) by allowing his representation to actively test the waters.

\n

In the wee hours of the morning, Kelly released a statement via the University.

\n

“I felt that I was clear with the media following yesterday’s game at USC when I was asked about my desire to be back as the head football coach at Notre Dame, but in light of media reports that surfaced afterward, let me restate my position,” read the statement. “I have not been, am not, and will not be interested in options outside of Notre Dame. I’m fully committed to leading this program in the future.”

\n

Although the Irish lost by 18 points to the Trojans and trailed by double digits for more than half the game, Notre Dame battled with USC offensively and defensively. Two returns for touchdowns in the kicking game and an interception for a score negated most of that work.

\n

Notre Dame’s performance, said the Irish players, reflected their belief in the program and head coach.

\n

“When you’re playing against USC and participating in a rivalry game, the only thing that’s on your mind is to beat the team (located) across the country,” said quarterback DeShone Kizer.

\n

“All the noise that happens outside the Guglielmino Complex stays there. We did a good job all season making sure that it stayed there. We just want to do whatever we can to execute the game plan that our coaches put together.”

\n

Departing fifth-year senior Jarron Jones professed his belief in Kelly.

\n

“I think that’s garbage,” Jones said. “Coach Kelly deserves another chance if people are talking about him being fired. This is just one bad season.

\n

“He took us to the national championship. He took us to the Fiesta  Bowl last year. Coach Kelly is a great coach. Just because we have one trip-up doesn’t mean he deserves to be fired.”

\n

Added McGlinchey: “Obviously, it was a crappy season and 4-8 isn’t cutting it. We just need to get better moving forward. We’re going to grow up. We’re going to put in a lot of work to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

\n

“It’s not just on Brian Kelly; it’s on the entire team.”

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LOS ANGELES – In today’s social media, contrary to days gone by when it was much easier to be kept in the dark, college football players are among the first to know when something is afoot.

In an emotional week – last game of the season without a bowl, a difficult tilt against red-shot USC and news of Notre Dame’s proposed probation – there also was the swirling speculation that Irish head coach Brian Kelly could either be a) fired or b) seeking another job.

Following Notre Dame’s 45-27 loss to USC to close the season at 4-8, several players were asked about the ‘Kelly is leaving’ talk.

“I don’t think this team let that affect us at all,” said captain/offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey. “We understand who our coach is and we’re going to go play for him.

“We believe he’s the right guy for the job. He puts a lot of the pressure on himself. He’s got a great staff with him. We’re fully confident in our head coach.”

Kelly did his best to diffuse the situation after the game when he was asked point-blank if he wanted to return to Notre Dame for an eighth season in 2017 amid speculation that he may be seeking “an exit strategy” and a mutual parting of ways.

“Oh, yeah, absolutely, I’ll be back,” Kelly said.

Asked again if he wanted to be the head coach at Notre Dame in 2017, Kelly said: “Absolutely. Absolutely.”

But less than an hour after Kelly’s definitive statement, ESPN and Yahoo reported that Kelly was considering an alternative to continuing his contract with Notre Dame (that runs through the 2021 season) by allowing his representation to actively test the waters.

In the wee hours of the morning, Kelly released a statement via the University.

“I felt that I was clear with the media following yesterday’s game at USC when I was asked about my desire to be back as the head football coach at Notre Dame, but in light of media reports that surfaced afterward, let me restate my position,” read the statement. “I have not been, am not, and will not be interested in options outside of Notre Dame. I’m fully committed to leading this program in the future.”

Although the Irish lost by 18 points to the Trojans and trailed by double digits for more than half the game, Notre Dame battled with USC offensively and defensively. Two returns for touchdowns in the kicking game and an interception for a score negated most of that work.

Notre Dame’s performance, said the Irish players, reflected their belief in the program and head coach.

“When you’re playing against USC and participating in a rivalry game, the only thing that’s on your mind is to beat the team (located) across the country,” said quarterback DeShone Kizer.

“All the noise that happens outside the Guglielmino Complex stays there. We did a good job all season making sure that it stayed there. We just want to do whatever we can to execute the game plan that our coaches put together.”

Departing fifth-year senior Jarron Jones professed his belief in Kelly.

“I think that’s garbage,” Jones said. “Coach Kelly deserves another chance if people are talking about him being fired. This is just one bad season.

“He took us to the national championship. He took us to the Fiesta Bowl last year. Coach Kelly is a great coach. Just because we have one trip-up doesn’t mean he deserves to be fired.”

Added McGlinchey: “Obviously, it was a crappy season and 4-8 isn’t cutting it. We just need to get better moving forward. We’re going to grow up. We’re going to put in a lot of work to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

“It’s not just on Brian Kelly; it’s on the entire team.”

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