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And Another Thing


More thoughts on Kelly

I addressed the Brian Kelly hiring this morning in our dinosaur editions. But here are a couple more thoughts:

* As with those that have come before him, Kelly's biggest challenge in South Bend -- or one of them -- will be dealing with recruiting parameters far different than the ones he had at Cincinnati and Central Michigan. Players that were available to him at both places simply will be off-limits to him at Notre Dame.

Recruiting the depth of talent required to consistently compete with the SEC, Pac-10, Big 12 and even Big 10 was a dilemma that ultimately doomed Kelly's three immediate predecessors. It is, frankly, a dilemma that may not be resolvable. The ray of hope for Domers where Kelly is concerned is that he was able to build national contenders despite not getting top-of-the-top-shelf talent. If he can do the same at Notre Dame, he'll be golden.

* Lots of chatter this morning, pro and con, about the way Kelly's hiring has left his Cincinnati kids in the lurch. To be honest, neither he nor Notre Dame had a choice. The NCAA's timetable for recruiting, with signing day falling in early February, makes it impossible for schools looking for a new coach to wait until the conclusion of the bowl season. A month (or less) is simply not enough time to get a staff in place and get them out on the recruiting trail to either secure commits or convince commits who've been left to twist in the wind to stay the course.

You need look no further than Charlie Weis to find a cautionary tale there. Weis took the Notre Dame job while in the midst of a Super Bowl run by his previous employer, the New England Patriots. He opted to try to do both -- which meant he wound up hiring a lot of his staff, including his defensive coordinator, by phone. The consequences of that haunted him until his last day; Weis never did get the defense right, despite changing coordinators multiple times.

Ben Smith's blog.