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Irish Insights

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Interesting first year for Kelly

A day after the anniversary of becoming the head football coach at Notre Dame coach Brain Kelly had been through a lot.

On the field, he had to deal with a 1-3 start then a two-game slide before a bye week that made the Irish appear to be in disarray.

He also had to deal with season-ending injuries to tight end Kyle Rudolph, quarterback Dayne Crist and running back Armando Allen. As well as playing numerous games without receiver Theo Riddick and nose guard Ian Williams.

Things were worse away from the game as Notre Dame dealt with the death of a student videographer. Kelly's decision making was under scrutiny after Declan Sullivan died when the scissor lift he was filming practice from fell over in strong winds Oct. 27.

"What I can tell you now is that there's no job like being the head football coach at the University of Notre Dame," Kelly said after Saturday's practice for the Sun Bowl against Miami on Dec. 31. "It certainly was for me was a great experience. Some highs, some lows, but it's what I thought it would be. And that is the ability to coach guys that are talented both on and off the field.

"That's really why I wanted to be the head coach at Notre Dame. I wanted to continue to work towards the academics and achievement that we have had and develop a championship football team."

Kelly has been able to keep a sense of humor while under the Notre Dame microscope.

He even asked his players if he had more gray hair than when he first arrived as Charlie Weis' replacement on Dec. 10, 2009.

"I just said I'm a little nicked up, but I'm feeling pretty good," Kelly said. "(The players) agreed. They thought I had a little more gray than I was leading on."

Kelly also cracked a joke about his commitment to remain the Irish's coach to start his news conference after practice.

"Generally at this time, I usually have to begin by saying I'm not interested in any other jobs, I'm only interested in the job I have here at the University of Notre Dame," Kelly said. "The good part about and the bad part about it is when you are 7-5, you don't have to worry about those things.

"You just worry about where you are. Thankful that you got one year in and you've still got a couple of years left until you have to answer those questions again."

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