clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Brian Kelly continues his Mr. Nice Guy campaign. Will it keep up during the season?

New, comment

Can Notre Dame’s head man be demanding but not demeaning? That’s his goal.

Notre Dame v Clemson Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Brian Kelly is a man of many emotions. Unfortunately, many of them skew negative on the football field. Plenty of football coaches yell, but Kelly does it in a very red-faced manner:

Brian Kelly losing his shit

With some increased self-awareness, Kelly’s preaching kindness this offseason, including in a first-person piece released on Yahoo.com:

I’ve really enjoyed creating a positive coaching environment, creating an atmosphere where our players are motivated positively to be the best they can be. The saying around here this off-season has been, “Demanding, not demeaning.” I’ve put an emphasis on creating clear expectation on both the players and the coaching staff and making sure the message of process over production resonates on a daily basis. I was all about production last year and I saw where that got me.

Where it got him was a 4-8 season.

Kelly’s been notable for blaming a lot of other people for the things that happen in and around his program. During NFL draft season, Kelly came under fire for comments made about QB DeShone Kizer. Kelly said Kizer should’ve stayed in school, but Kizer’s now the Week 1 starter for the Browns as a rookie.

Recently, however, he’s started pointing the finger at himself more often.

He called himself an “absent professor,” regarding his fundraising efforts during last season:

When asked how that impacted 2016, Kelly says bluntly, "It f--ked up last year's team."

Seemingly in response to the narrative, he’s also said things like this:

"I think that there's an expectation that you have at Notre Dame and that you need to play that way. Now, having said that, it still falls on me. This team's not playing well; it's my fault. It's my fault that they're not playing well, and so I have to find the solutions to it."

The perils of offseason change statements are just that: They’re in the offseason. When the games start going and, for instance, Brandon Wimbush throws three interceptions or special teams misses three field goals, will composure be kept? That’s not to say Kelly can’t or shouldn’t be upset or annoyed when adverse situations pop up. But it’s an acknowledgement that words in August are one thing. Actions in September are another.