Brian Kelly may very well be entering his final season as head coach of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and at the very least, things don't appear to be heading in a positive direction.
Keep in mind, Notre Dame is about to be five seasons removed from its BCS Championship run, and even then, the Fighting Irish don't have much to show for that thanks for a loss to Nick Saban's Alabama Crimson Tide.
Kelly has never been able to get his program fully back on track after that loss, and 2016 seemed to be the point where things bottomed out. Notre Dame went 4-8 and missed bowl eligibility for the first time in the Kelly era. There were rumors that the head coach was wanting out of South Bend, and he even went as far as calling out his former quarterback turned NFL draft pick, DeShone Kizer.
No, things haven't been looking good for Kelly and Notre Dame, and this was before his interview with Matt Hayes of Bleacher Report. Kelly was blunt about the Fighting Irish's struggles in 2016. He was also blunt about his own failures.
Speaking with Hayes, he told Bleacher Report that he had to spend "too much time" fundraising in 2016 in an effort to build a football-only facility for Notre Dame. Per Kelly, that meant he didn't have enough time to make sure his team was physically and mentally focused.
"It f—ked up last year's team," Kelly told Hayes.
He went even further, though, claiming that he lost focus of the details. In fact, Notre Dame's head coach flat out said he wasn't paying attention to them.
"I was the absent professor," Kelly says. "I wasn't paying attention to the details that we needed. There were internal issues that—if a guy is on it, and he's doing his job as the head coach, he would've seen those things early. My flawed philosophy was, We're going to score points early while we're figuring it out on the other side with a young defense. Well, that didn't happen. We gave up way too many points early, we lost three games, and now we're in trouble."
From one of the top rising coaches in college football to perhaps one of the hottest hot seats in college football, the story of Kelly and Notre Dame is certainly an intriguing one.
At one point, it looked like he had the Fighting Irish back on track and the "glory days" were back again.
Now? It wouldn't be a shock if another bad season saw him coaching someplace else other than in South Bend in 2018-19.
What a turn.
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