- Brian Bennett, College Football
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Brian Kelly won't have any press conferences this week, but the Cincinnati coach was typically informative and interesting on the Big East coaches' teleconference on Monday.
Kelly was asked, I believe for the first time this season, about the rumors of Notre Dame possibly being interested in him and vice versa. Here's how he answered:
"As far as the rumors go, our kids really don't pay much attention to them, because I don't," Kelly said. "I don't get distracted. We're humbled that our name is being associated with programs, but we don't really spend much time thinking about it. Our kids have become immune to it, as I have."
Kelly has been the subject of coaching rumors since his first season in Cincinnati, and it hasn't seemed to affect the Bearcats' play one bit. But expect the rumors to grow white hot if Charlie Weis is indeed dismissed.
Kelly was also asked why his program agreed to move a scheduled 2012 home game against Virginia Tech to FedEx Field in Washington, D.C.
"Clearly, there's some recruiting advantages, and playing in that kind of metropolitan area, that's a pretty rich recruiting area," he said. "I think it's pretty, pretty important for us to go in that direction.
"There are a lot of reasons, but the one I think is important for us is to be in that kind of marketplace and keep building our program. We're not there yet, and we need this kind of exposure."
His comments about recruiting are interesting, because Kelly has said that the Bearcats can thrive simply by recruiting Ohio and a 100-mile radius from their campus. That's where the vast majority of their players on this year rosters hail from.
There's more at stake here, though. Kelly didn't say it, but Cincinnati almost certainly will receive a large payday for its move to FedEx. Indiana recently agreed to move a home game against Penn State to the Redskins' home and received $3 million. The Bearcats, who badly need facility upgrades and will have to give Kelly and his staff raises to keep them, can use the extra cash.
"Our team has arrived," Kelly said, "but our program still has to look at, institutionally, the infrastructure. We still have to continue to be competitive salary-wise with coaches. We didn't just in one day or two years go from the bottom of the league in terms of salaries and infrastructure and go to the top."
Kelly gave his team Saturday and Sunday off and will also give them this coming weekend off before turning the full focus toward Illinois. He said one of the things the team will work on this week is improving the running game.
"We feel like that's the secret to success down the stretch in November," he said. "It's weather-related. Obviously, we've got a game December 5 in Pittsburgh, and it might not be the optimal time to throw the football."