In his first season coaching the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team, Brian Kelly has already encountered some off-field trouble involving his players. Several Irish football players were arrested last weekend for underage drinking at a party. The first-year coach is experienced in turning around football programs, and says he will not tolerate such transgressions.
“We’re certainly disappointed that some of our players didn’t make good decisions,” Kelly said. “We hold them accountable for their actions on a day-to-day basis, just like any parent would for a 17- to 21-year-old. So yeah, we take that serious.”
Kelly made winners out of Grand Valley State, Central Michigan, and most recently the University of Cincinnati. He now takes the reigns of a program looking to return to BCS National Championship contention. NCAA sports betting sites have set the Irish as underdogs to win the championship game at +4000 odds.
“We know what is expected when it comes to Notre Dame football. It had a national following from coast to coast. … I understand the enormous task and responsibility of the position or I wouldn’t have taken it. But I don’t think I get caught up every day thinking about it either,” Kelly added.
Players arrested include backup quarterback Nate Montana, wide receivers Robby Toma and Tai-ler Jones, linebacker Steve Filer, kicker Nick Tausch, cornerback Lo Wood, and offensive linemen Chris Watt and Tate Nichols. Kelly has made the commitment to spend more time with the players in order to avoid these types of instances in the future. NCAA football betting odds have not been too affected by the arrests.
“I think with a little bit more time with them, I think they are going to make better choices next time around. I’m thankful it wasn’t an event that was larger in scale that could have been catastrophic,” he said. “Our players clearly know that I’m not happy about reading about Notre Dame in the newspaper when it comes to things like this,” Kelly said Saturday.
The head coach scheduled to throw out the first pitch at the Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals game Sunday night. Normally a stoic figure, Kelly said he is more nervous about leading the Wrigley Field faithful in the traditional “take me out to the ball game” song in the seventh inning.
Irish fans will be glad to know that Kelly is taking a “win now” approach to the 2010 football season. He says there is no point in waiting a couple of years for success.
“I’ve just never worked that way, never been wired to go in and say listen, give us a couple more years,” he said. “I think I always operate with a sense or urgency. And there’s no clearer understanding than there’s a sense or urgency at Notre Dame right now.”
NCAA football point spreads should favor the Irish if those arrested can make a significant impact on the team.