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Notre Dame, Brian Kelly set up for success

8/1/2011

The Chicago Tribune's Brian Hamilton had a fascinating story over the weekend about how Notre Dame now has everything set up to win big for second-year head coach Brian Kelly.

The Irish football facilities which once lagged behind other major programs are now on equal footing with the nation's best. Admissions policies have been loosened to allow Kelly to pursue top-flight recruits. And the sometimes draconian Residence Life disciplinary measures are changing, as best evidenced by the Michael Floyd situation.

The most interesting quotes in the story come from former Notre Dame coach Bob Davie, who says of Kelly: "He's in a very enviable situation. Because we all had the same pressure to win. We just had to do it in a probably more difficult manner."

Floyd, the star receiver, is poised to return to the team when it begins fall practice this weekend despite an offseason DUI arrest. That was his third alcohol-related offense since coming to Notre Dame. Yet he is unlikely to miss a game when other former Irish athletes were kicked out of school for far less serious wrongdoings.

"That's a huge change there," Davie said. "I think back to the situations we had and compare it to Michael Floyd's situation -- there's no chance. That's not even near what the philosophy or policy was.

"Residence Life was kind of like the dark hole. You didn't even get near it. You didn't know how it functioned. You had no control of it. You didn't even have an opinion in it. I think back to some of the issues we had and compare it to the Michael Floyd situation, that's obviously a dramatic change."

The story reports that one defensive end prospect who signed with Notre Dame told a recruiting analyst that he had a 2.7 GPA and scored a 17 on his ACT. This disputes the notion that the Irish can't get elite athletes with mediocre transcripts -- especially those on the defensive line -- into school. So what's stopping the program from getting back to the top?

Hamilton writes:

"Notre Dame has made exceptions in admissions before. It has tweaked policies before. It has provided coaches with resources to win before. But cumulatively, across all areas, never has it offered more at one time to one coach than it currently offers to Kelly."