I want to start by saying I’m thrilled with what Marcus Freeman has been as a person and coach for the Notre Dame football program. Though, who can blame Brian Kelly for wanting to go to a school that takes its head coach and team seriously?
Kelly himself mentioned one of the reasons for heading south to LSU was the support and ease with which things got done. Frankly, since his departure, what has he said that hasn’t been true? He’s a lousy recruiter, yet LSU has done what it needed to on the trail, nothing special, but still solid thanks to NIL rules. Also, they paid the big bucks to lure Kelly to LSU and pry him away from Notre Dame.
With news of Andy Ludwig reportedly not being an option for Notre Dame football due to his buyout at Utah, the administration is failing the program yet again. Given coach Marcus Freeman’s inexperience as head coach, it only makes sense to provide him with all the necessary resources to land his guy as the next OC, right? Not so fast, apparently.
Coach Freeman is a defensive-minded coach who has thrived on the defensive side of the football. But, with an open offensive coordinator position and one of the best names on the market available, Notre Dame failed their head guy.
While Notre Dame football does allow players to earn money through the NIL rules, they don’t participate in “pay for play” recruiting. Something has to give eventually, or the team will be drastically behind where others are already finding themselves. Look at some of the top NIL programs and their work in the transfer and recruiting markets. USC, Oregon, LSU, and even Michigan are doing what they need to do to secure or retain talent.
Understandably, Notre Dame football doesn’t participate in paying recruits to come to play for their school; it’s a hazardous area right now. Could this be a blessing in disguise if Notre Dame makes an even splashier hire? Sure, I suppose. Still, it’s not a good look on the program for failing to do what other teams do to stay at the forefront of college football.
I hate to say this, but right now, with how it’s looking, I can’t blame Brian Kelly for leaving to join a program that does what needs to be done. Notre Dame needs to look in the mirror quickly. Regardless of how he is as a person or coach, he went to a school that does what’s necessary.