Notre Dame Football: Who Would You Trade Brian Kelly For?

BOCA RATON, FL - SEPTEMBER 1: Head coach Lane Kiffin of the Florida Atlantic Owls throws the ball prior to the game against the Navy Midshipmen on September 1, 2017 at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
BOCA RATON, FL - SEPTEMBER 1: Head coach Lane Kiffin of the Florida Atlantic Owls throws the ball prior to the game against the Navy Midshipmen on September 1, 2017 at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) /

The Notre Dame football coach is a lightning rod. We asked our writers what non-Power 5 coach they’d be willing to trade him for.

If there’s one, concrete tidbit I’ve learned about Notre Dame football fans since I started covering the program full-time earlier this year, it’s that a good chunk of the Irish faithful are not fans of head coach Brian Kelly.

Some don’t like his demeanor. Some don’t like his strategy. Others believe he has underperformed during his entire tenure at the helm of the program. Recently, one of our readers made a comment on social media about not liking “the cut of his jib.”

Whatever their reasoning, the dislike for him is real.

I decided that a couple of us writers would take those anti-Kelly fans to a bit of a dreamland scenario today. I asked a hypothetical question:

“If you could trade Brian Kelly for any non-Power 5 coach, who would it be?”

And that’s the key: non-Power 5. Remember that before you start leaving comments below or on social media about the likes of Urban Meyer or Dabo Swinney. I will call you out for not reading — or just plain poor comprehension.

*EDITIOR’S NOTE: Don’t take it personal — I had to explain that to a couple of the writers twice.

Let’s see who some of our writers would cut Kelly loose for.

Jack Leniart: Lane Kiffin, FAU

Kiffin arguably has the best resume of all the current Group of 5 coaches. He has worked as an offensive coordinator for top-tier programs like USC and Alabama. Kiffin also has head coaching experience at both the collegiate and professional levels — coaching for Tennessee, USC, and the Oakland Raiders.

After leaving the Alabama staff at the end of the 2016 season, Kiffin went on to lead the FAU Owls to a 10-3 season in 2017. FAU has a chance to improve in their second year with Kiffin as their head coach. If they do, you can bet that Kiffin will make his way on the list of candidates head coaching jobs in the Power 5.

Carlee North: Mike Norvell, Memphis

Any coach that is a master at recruiting and who has a great personality that relates with players is a coach I want at Notre Dame. That’s my No. 1 demand. Not saying Brian Kelly doesn’t do that, but if I had to make a trade, I’d take Norvell at the moment.

He’s also a younger coach, something I also value.

Mason Plummer: Frank Solich, Ohio

Solich has done a great job with what should be a very average Ohio program over the years. They haven’t had a losing campaign during the last ten year. Additionally, Solich has made Ohio a consistent powerhouse in the MAC.

He could easily have been a Power 5 coach years ago, but instead, he continues to improve the Ohio Bobcat program.

Sonny Martinez: Mike Norvell, Memphis

Is “anybody but Lane Kiffin” an acceptable answer?

Norvell is only 36, so be has plenty of time left on the sidelines. He has Power Five experience, as offensive coordinator for both Pitt and Arizona State. 18-8 in two years speaks for itself. Norvell’s time spent with Power Five teams is what separates him from a close second, Appalachian State coach Scott Satterfield.

J.P. Scott: Bo Pelini, Youngstown State

The other writers have taken a different approach to answering the question. They named coaches who they truly believe will improve the program and do a better overall job than Kelly.

I’m going a different route. I want to be entertained.

I chose Pelini for that reason.

Pelini has coaching experience in both the NFL and at the college level. He has two national title rings as a defensive coordinator. He has led a big-time program and had some success doing so, going 68-28 as the head coach at Nebraska. He never won less than nine games during his seven year run at the helm of the Husker program.

He was run out of town because of his dicey relationship with his boss (who was later fired), his antics on the field and during press conferences combined with his inability to win the big game.

That doesn’t sound like a far cry from Kelly, only Pelini is much more fun to watch at work.

He hated the recruiting part of the job at Nebraska. Truth be told, I’d hate trying to convince guys to come to Lincoln, too. Not an easy sell. He wouldn’t need to work that hard to get players to Notre Dame.

Pelini could win at the same clip Kelly does while keeping all of us much more entertained. Not to mention, he comes complete with college football’s most famous fake twitter account — one that also shows love to the Catholic Church:

And there you have it. Which non-Power 5 coach would you trade Brian Kelly for?

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