Blue and Gold Illustrated

February 2017

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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6 FEBRUARY 2017 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED FAN FORUM TOO MUCH TO CHANGE? Great article by Bryan Driskell in the January 2017 edition, entitled "Righting The Ship." He addresses shortcomings of this program with facts. However, this litany of failures is so extensive I doubt that it is pos- sible for one man to change so many things in his coaching philosophy. Is he not describing the need for an entirely different coach? I think Brian Kelly is too stubborn to make these changes even if he could. Your thoughts? Tony Ardizzone Indianapolis Mr. Ardizzone, one cannot say Kelly has been standing pat. The strength and conditioning program has been re‑ vamped, there is a new defensive coordi‑ nator and several other new coaches will be in place. However, one does not truly know how it will all come to fruition. Texas' Charlie Strong made a lot of new hires in 2016, and it looked promising after defeating Notre Dame in this year's opener, but he was fired before the end of the year. It can't be fool's gold. In 2014, new defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder was deemed the Mes‑ siah defensive coordinator when the Irish allowed only 12.0 points per game dur‑ ing a 5‑0 start, highlighted by a 31‑0 whitewash of Michigan. Deeper intro‑ spection revealed those opposing offenses would rank near the bottom nationally, and it eventually didn't work out for VanGorder. If the infrastructure in a house is bro‑ ken, a brand new paint job on the exte‑ rior won't solve it. Only time will tell. PROGRAM UPDATE The January 2017 Fifth Quarter was a very crisp and clear statement of the status of Brian Kelly's regime. I have to say I was fooled into be- lieving that Kelly established a pro- gram at Notre Dame simply because he cleaned up the recruiting and started to win with some consistency, albeit at lower W-L ratios than we want. I get it now. A program has a pro- cess that just keeps churning out wins whatever the people, coaches or competition throws at it. After seven years, a coach will have a program in place — if he has one. Clearly, we are not a program with defined winning process at this time. I don't know what goals are set for next year, but I think athletics direc- tor Jack Swarbrick will be looking for elements of a program and a win record to match it. Another 8-5 and 9-4 will not cut it. Raymond F. Maddalone, '70 Fishers, Ind. CLOCK IS TICKING In the January 2017 issue of Blue & Gold Illustrated, I'm afraid that I find Jack Swarbrick's comment saying "business as usual" to be unaccept- able after a 4-8 season. In case Mr. Swarbrick missed the 2016 elections, "business as usual" is not something people want these days. That said I see several changes have been made, at least in terms of assistant coaches, which we all hope will bear fruit in 2017. We are running out of excuses for being a mediocre football program. Rick Whately '72 Via the Internet Mr. Whatley, in fairness, the "business as usual" reply to a question posed was not about maintaining the status quo, but moving forward amid all the rumors or speculation that occurred about Brian Kelly possibly not returning in 2017. BE HEARD! Send your letters to: Letters Blue & Gold Illustrated P. O. Box 1007 Notre Dame, IN 46556 or e-mail to: Despite a 4-8 season, rumors about head coach Brian Kelly's future, negative ads from its own fan/ alumni base, numerous coaching changes and los- ing several previously pledged 2017 recruits to other schools — defensive lineman Donovan Jeter (Michigan), linebacker Pete Warner (Ohio State) and wide receiver Jordan Pouncey (Miami) — as of Jan. 10, Notre Dame's recruiting class was still rated around No. 10 in the country by most services. That doesn't mean it will be that way Feb. 1 on National Signing Day, but it still has been a surprise to many on Here's a sample: BGI3279: It's hard to argue against the very good group of core players ND has now versus Brian Kelly's two predecessors. D-line will always be an issue it seems, but glowing marks on personnel everywhere else. The Alien: I have a lot of optimism that Mike Elko will get the defense straight. We are due for a good run. JamesKroner3: The recruiting services either horribly overrate ND recruits, or ND has crappy coaches. Based on the NFL Draft during Kelly's seven years here, I am going with the latter. Johnmichie: Top in-state programs (Ohio State, USC, Bama, etc.) will always have stronger recruiting classes for multiple reasons. What is needed though are a few impact players on both sides of the ball, depth and terrific coaching. Depth had been erratic with injuries, plus coaching has been mediocre to poor. See what the new staff delivers. WillyBeamin7: There is no reason we can't win like Stanford. BostonIrishFan: Coach Kelly, after the 2012 Alabama debacle, famously said to Jack Swarbrick some- thing like, "In a few years, we'll look just like Alabama." Was he ever wrong! Among his many failings, the inability to consistently get top 5-10 classes is at the very core of his problems. DenPetDel: I'm pleasantly surprised that we have had as successful a recruiting class this year con- sidering the horror of this past season. One can only dream of the success we would have IF we really "returned to power." FROM THE WEBSITE Athletics director Jack Swarbrick (left) and Brian Kelly, shown in 2009, met after the season to discuss the changes that needed to be made in the football program. Whether those will work are to be determined. PHOTO BY JOE RAYMOND

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