As thrilling as Notre Dame’s 20-19 loss against Georgia was on Saturday, it was fighting Irish coach Brian Kelly who provided the real entertainment.
At his postgame press conference, Kelly reverted to form in defending his honor over a scene Notre Dame fans have come to know all too well.
The Georgia loss, before a packed Notre Dame Stadium crowd of nearly 78,000, represented the Fighting Irish’s 10th one-possession loss in the team’s last 12 losses.
And in South Bend, Indiana, the sting of such shortcomings is sure to reverberate.
Afterwards, Yahoo Sports reported Kelly seemed at a loss of words—except when it came to accepting much culpability for the lingering issue of all those morale-sapping defeats.
“There’s nothing different,” Kelly blared to an Indianapolis Star Reporter, who dared to ask him what the painful feelings of de ja vu his team had to be experiencing on Saturday evening might come to mean over the long run.
“I go to work every day, and I coach my football team,” he added.
But coming off a 4-8 season, where there were one possession losses to Virginia Tech, Navy, Stanford, North Carolina State, Duke, Michigan State and Texas, and with Saturday’s heartbreak sill so raw, more Notre Dame fans now figure to be clamoring about maybe that not being enough.
Particularly, when you consider how much time the coach has spent assuring all that things would be different this season. If only Kelly had been able to motivate his players to demonstrate the kind of fire he did in staring down that Indy Star Reporter.
Georgia did everything they could to make things easier for the Irish, committing 12 penalties for 127 yards, and still the Irish came up short.
For that, the Irish would be better served looking at themselves in the mirror, and that certainly includes Brian Kelly.
For what it’s worth, Notre Dame’s next four games are against teams (Boston College, Michigan State, Miami, Ohio and North Carolina) they should conquer. With that, the Irish may yet be off to the kind of start that puts debacles like last season in the rear-view mirror for good.
But it all starts with accountability. Brian Kelly should not only know that he should be a shining example of it for all his men.
[Featured Image by Michael Hickey/Getty Images]