Coach Kelly discusses Michigan, the season and the possibility of another championship
Notre Dame Head Coach Brian Kelly sat down with ABC57 to talk about the Michigan game, his impact on the program, one of his proudest moments and their chances of winning another National Championship.
"Jim Harbaugh and I talked on the phone a few times, in urging our Athletic Directors to re-engage conversation about getting this game back. We just felt like it was good for college football. And they did. Jack Swarbrick was able to get with the Athletic Director, there were two different Athletic Directors at Michigan, and get it going. And we're excited about it and I think it's good for college football," Coach Kelly said.
Shea Patterson has been named the starting quarterback. How does he change their offense and how does that change your game plan against them?
"I think you've got to be prepared for a guy who's got escapability [sic], that likes to get out of the pocket. Make some plays down the field. Stay in coverage, contain, things of that nature. From an offensive standpoint, we've seen it all. We, as an independent, we play everything from Triple-Option, to No-Back 5-wide receivers. So we've seen it all from a schematic stand point. This will be fundamentals and playing defensively the way you need to with great effort, fundamentals. If we do that, I'm sure we'll be able to adapt," Coach Kelly said.
Notre Dame is rich with tradition with some of the most respected coaches in the history of the sport having called South Bend home.
Beginning his 9th season now, Coach Kelly has worked hard to leave his own mark on the program.
"The stadium rebuild. Giving our student athletes a great locker room environment, a great game day atmosphere. I think we've created a new environment, an electricity in the stadium that maybe had never been there before. Great tradition, but I think maybe we've made it an iconic event," Coach Kelly said. "And now the ground breaking and the start of the new indoor facility, which will now help their schedule. They won't have to be up at the break of dawn to get their workouts in because we were overloaded in the Loftus. I think that's been really important, providing the student athletes with the necessary facilities to be championship athletes."
From unbeaten to just 4-wins Kelly has nearly experienced it all at Notre Dame.
While there have been many memorable moments, one truly stands out.
"When we won the graduation rates and we were number-1 in the country and number-1 in football (2012). I think that just said what Notre Dame stood for in that you're capable of doing both. I think we see so much about college football today and I think it's seen in some instances as disingenuous, but to have that ability to talk about both academics and athletics as being the best in the country, that was probably the one moment," Coach Kelly said.
In 2012, Notre Dame went undefeated and was the number-one team in the nation when it faced Alabama in the National Championship.
The Irish have had the top ranked graduation rate for 11 straight years.
What about winning another National Championship this year?
"Well, we did in 2012. In 2015, we were right there at the very end as one of the four teams being considered. Same thing last year, until we didn't play very well against Miami. So we're right on the cusp of being one of those four teams that will get selected. We'll keep knocking on that door and we'll break through, it's just a matter of time and we've put the program back in position where it will continuously knock on the door for one of those four playoff spots. Once you get in, you just got to win and we'll get this football team in the playoffs," Coach Kelly said.
ESPN's college football playoff predictor has Notre Dame listed as the 4th best team with a chance to make the playoffs.