Let’s get something clear from the beginning. I am not and have never been an accomplished athlete, but I am a fan who has great respect for the performances of amateur and professional athletics. Currently as a resident of north-central Indiana all the talk is about the loss of the Notre Dame football game to their biggest rival, the University of Southern California.
For those of you who attended or watched the much heralded night game, it was a disaster from beginning to end for the Fighting Irish. They had appeared to be an improving and unified team, but that all fell apart on a brisk autumn night with fumbles, turnovers and penalties at the worst possible times.
After the game Coach Brian Kelly was asked by a member of the media if he was concerned about Quarterback Dayne Crist’s mental state after the backup quarterback’s fumbled snap on the USC one yard line that USC returned for a devastating touchdown. Mr. Macho Coach Kelly’s response was, “No, I don’t have to worry about it,” Kelly snapped. “He does."
Some may think that was a good answer, but I think it stinks and represents the true colors of a Coach who should have taken greater responsibility for his team’s poor play. Let’s face the facts. Crist came into the game when the starter had been injured. He has not played since the first game of the season, when he played poorly. He seemed to be doing well Saturday night when he fumbled the ball either due to a poor snap or his failure to grasp the ball. Yes, it was a very serious mistake. But, let’s remember we are talking about a game and not a surgical error during a heart transplant.
When it comes to football at Notre Dame there is only winning not losing. If you lose there is plenty of criticism dropped on the offender, which is usually well beyond all rhyme or reason. I thought a Coach was a teacher, but Notre Dame has a BULLY who is paid an excessive amount of money to deliver winning games. He did not and he should not destroy a young man, because a mistake was made which may in fact not have been his fault.
Kelly has lost me as a supportive fan. He sets a very poor example for leadership and when the going gets tough he points his finger at his team, instead of pointing his accusatory finger at himself. Admittedly, Notre Dame played a poor game. The team just came off a bye-week and was not properly prepared. USC, the underdog, on the other hand seemed ready from the opening kick-off.
Dayne Crist is a good young man and a good football player who found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, and he does not deserve to be berated by Kelly in such a crude fashion. It is time for Coach Kelly to “man-up” and do what good teachers do when the going gets tough … TEACH … don’t blame the student.
The record books will always say that USC beat Notre Dame in the first night-game in 21 years, and the coach of Notre Dame was Coach Brian Kelly and Dayne Crist’s name will not even be mentioned. The game was Kelly’s to win or lose and he lost big-time.