One of the biggest gripes with current sports media members has been their over-saturation reporting of stories surrounding a coach’s job security before the season has even begun. Most of the content has been based on pure speculation, hearsay or do I dare say, “FAKE NEWS. ” Yes, I went down that road.
The most current example of this is the media fallout resulting from Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly’s terse exchange with Indianapolis Star reporter Laken Litman following a tough 20-19 loss to Georgia. It wasn’t his best moment, as Kelly wasn’t interested in giving her narrative a moment’s thought. He didn’t want to dwell on the struggles from last season. Instead, Kelly wanted to concentrate on building up the prospects for a winning 2017 campaign.
Adding fuel to the fire was Yahoo Sports columnist Pat Forde calling him a “jerk” and in turn, various websites putting Kelly a top of their latest “coaches on the hot seat” rankings. However, there hasn’t been one recent article commenting on how well of a job Kelly has done in moving Notre Dame in the right direction after losing a key home game.
It’s Brian Kelly 2.0.
He deserves credit for hiring a quality defensive coordinator (Mike Elko) and an innovative offensive coordinator (Chip Long) that have instilled a quiet confidence into this team. Their current play has far exceeded the expectations of all Irish fans. The 2016 Fighting Irish were a mistake-prone squad that fell apart at the first sign of adversity.
Notre Dame’s resurrection should be the talk of college football, especially coming off a dismal 4-8 season. Instead, the media has called for Kelly to be fired daily, weekly and monthly. Not one member of the press has praised his ability to rise to the challenge despite having his job in question since the conclusion of last season.
Other collegiate coaches have dismissed a line of questioning from reporters, and rarely get criticized for their actions. Often, the press call it a “love/hate relationship with little outrage on the coach’s behavior. Kelly hasn’t gained that type of carte blanche with the media.
Yes, he could have handled that exchange with the reporter better by changing the course of the conversation to the positives that took place against the Bulldogs. The press could have asked how Georgia took his team out of their comfort zone and caused 2 momentum-changing turnovers. Instead, they poked the bear into giving them a reaction to his past failures that will gain them clicks or hits on their website’s front page.
Full disclosure: When I’m away from my perch as a sports reporter, I consider myself one of the biggest Notre Dame fans in the country, and I’ve been pretty critical of Kelly in the past. At times, he seems to more preoccupied with being everything but the coach of Notre Dame football.
However, you have to give him credit for changing the culture of the program this season, and if you don’t, then you’re a hypocrite.
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