Notre Dame Football: Bob Davie

Irish lunch links

April, 24, 2013
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Best of luck to beat colleague and pal Jason Sapp in his new venture.
Another list, another debate — though this one should again have Notre Dame fans pleased following the Irish's 2012 campaign.

The Sporting News' Matt Hayes released his list of college football coach rankings this week, one week after AthlonSports delivered a list of its own. Athlon had Brian Kelly ranked fourth. Hayes has Kelly fifth.

His reasoning:
5. Brian Kelly, Notre Dame: How impressive has Kelly been at ND? The weight of the program hasn’t crushed him like it did every other coach since Lou Holtz retired. The Alabama loss in last year’s BCS National Championship Game was brutal, but he somehow managed to get a team with significant flaws (freshman quarterback, tight-end-oriented passing game) all the way to the big game. He won championships at the NCAA lower divisions, won conference championships at the non-BCS and BCS levels, and will win a national title at Notre Dame.

The usual suspects top this list: Alabama's Nick Saban and Ohio State's Urban Meyer. After that? The debate really begins.

Boise State's Chris Petersen is No. 3, followed by Oklahoma's Bob Stoops.

Athlon's list, meanwhile, had Kansas State's Bill Snyder at No. 3.

There really are no right or wrong answers with any of these, depending on your view. Program-builder? Hard to argue with Snyder, Petersen or Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald, who comes in at No. 8 on Hayes' list. Length of success? Few can doubt Stoops' mark in Norman, though consecutive BCS-bowl-less campaigns have not made him the most popular guy among the die-hards lately.

Then there are the real head-scratchers, guys like Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer, who comes in at No. 34 on Hayes' list but is No. 9 on Athlon's. Les Miles is another one who seems to draw opposing reactions, as the LSU coach is ninth on Hayes' list but 24th on Athlon's.

Most can agree with Saban and Meyer at the top. After proving this past season that Notre Dame can succeed at the highest level, Kelly is making a case for himself to be right up there, too.

Former Notre Dame coaches Charlie Weis and Bob Davie check in at Nos. 57 and 87, respectively.
Much of college football debate is based on lists and rankings. Notre Dame fans know this as much as anyone after a 2012 regular season that did not see the Irish rise from fourth to first in all of the major polls until the three teams ahead of them dropped games.

Those same fans will have a hard time being upset with the list that AthlonSports released this week: College football head coaches, Nos. 1-125.

Brian Kelly's spot? No. 4.

Steven Lassan writes:
Not many coaches in college football can rival Kelly’s resume in four stops as a head coach. Kelly’s first head coaching gig came in 1991 at Grand Valley State, and he stayed in that capacity until 2003. During 13 years with Grand Valley State, Kelly went 118-35-2 and won two Division II titles. After his success with the Lakers, Kelly went 19-16 with Central Michigan, which included a MAC championship in 2006. Kelly moved on to Cincinnati at the end of the 2006 season and guided the Bearcats to back-to-back Big East titles in 2008 and 2009. After back to-back 8-5 seasons with Notre Dame, Kelly led the Fighting Irish to an appearance in the BCS National Championship game at the end of the 2012 season. Despite the blowout loss to Alabama in the title game, Kelly clearly has the program back on track to be an annual top 10-15 team.

The three men ahead of Kelly? Alabama's Nick Saban, Ohio State's Urban Meyer and Kansas State's Bill Snyder. Few can make a legitimate argument right now against the first two, as each is the owner of multiple national championships at college football's highest level. The Snyder spot could be up for debate, but when you take into account his longevity -- and remember just how bad the Wildcats were before his arrival -- it is tough to top what he has done in his 21-year career, ring or no ring.

How about some of the names above whom Kelly is ranked? South Carolina's Steve Spurrier (No. 5), Oklahoma's Bob Stoops (No. 7), LSU's Les Miles (No. 24) and Texas' Mack Brown (No. 28) are title-winners who finished behind Kelly on the list, though Miles is the only of that quartet whose best years have been among his most recent ones.

Other names of note to Notre Dame fans are UCF's George O'Leary (No. 68), New Mexico's Bob Davie (No. 89) and Kansas' Charlie Weis (No. 106).

Irish D looking for more history

December, 27, 2012
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One of the most impressive parts of Notre Dame's run this year has been how Brian Kelly has done it with defense after lighting up the scoreboards at all of his previous stops.

The unit, as ESPN Stats and Info notes, has been historically good by Irish standards:
Kelly’s Irish have allowed an average of 17 points per game since he took over as head coach, which will be the best by a Notre Dame coach in his first three seasons since either Lou Holtz (whose teams allowed 16.9 points per game in his first three seasons) or Dan Devine (12.3), depending on how the team fares in the BCS Championship.

Even factoring this year’s team out, the defensive numbers for the Irish in his first two seasons were more favorable than those under Bob Davie, Tyrone Willingham, and Charlie Weis.

This year’s team is Notre Dame’s best in a long time.

Notre Dame has allowed 124 points this season and will almost certainly end the season having allowed its fewest since 1996 (when it allowed 181). It has a chance to be the first Notre Dame team to hold its opponents to fewer than 150 points since the 1980 team yielded 128.

For more on a unit that has the chance to allow fewer than 10 points per game for the first time in 39 years, click here.

Irish lunch links

July, 6, 2012
7/06/12
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Fed!

Hot-seat ratings

June, 26, 2012
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Perhaps the most popular buzz term I see in my mailbag and chats is the "hot seat" as it pertains to Brian Kelly.

CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd released his annual hot seat rankings this week, giving each coach a rating from 0.0 (coldest) to 5.0 (hottest).

Kelly comes in with 3.5 rating, up from his 1.0 of a year before. Nineteen other coaches received a hot-seat rating between 3.0 and 3.5, which means they are "on the bubble, feeling pressure."

I think this rating says more about the pressure of the Notre Dame job than it does the job Kelly has done in two years. Yes, many expected a better performance than his 16-10 record so far -- especially last season -- but there is a stability that wasn't there in his previous regime, mainly with recruiting in the trenches and on the defensive side of the ball. Twenty-five years without a championship, plus several offseason defections and arrests, tend to make people more antsy than they already were.

Other coaches that may be of interest to readers of this space: Kansas' Charlie Weis (2.0), UCF's George O'Leary (3.5), New Mexico's Bob Davie (2.5) and USC's Lane Kiffin (1.0).
The ambitious duo of Steve Greenberg and Matt Hayes over at the Sporting News made a list for everyone to debate about: the ranking of every single FBS coach, No. 1-124.

Alabama's Nick Saban is the unsurprising leader of the rankings, coming in at No. 1. As for No. 124? UMass' Charley Molnar, though it's hardly an indictment of the former Notre Dame offensive coordinator, as he is a first-time head coach taking over a program jumping to the FBS this season.

The one readers of this blog care most about, Brian Kelly, checks in pretty favorably, coming in at No. 18. Why? From the story:
There’s too much good in Kelly’s history to give up on him now—or think some kind of Irish jinx is in play. The reality is Notre Dame underachieved last season, and probably overachieved in Kelly’s first season. So where does that leave 2012 for the program still trying to find itself again? It’s essentially Kelly’s roster now; there’s no more blame for the previous staff. He’ll win—or lose—because of roster and personnel decisions he has made.

A BCS coach says: “This slow transition must be killing Brian right now. He’s a results guy, and I think he thought he had something last season—and all those turnovers cost them at least two, maybe three, games. You’re going to see that team play with a different sense of urgency this season. Once his teams buy in, he’s usually very successful.”

Kelly comes in at No. 2 among coaches of independent schools, behind BYU's Bronco Mendenhall (No. 15 overall). As for rankings that may also be of interest to readers of this space: Kansas' Charlie Weis is No. 40 and New Mexico's Bob Davie is No. 96.

Irish lunch links

February, 7, 2012
2/07/12
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Lin baby, Lin.

Irish Lunch Links

November, 17, 2011
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What? Baseball awards season?

Podcast: College football analyst Bob Davie

September, 14, 2011
9/14/11
3:01
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ESPN college football analyst Bob Davie talks about a few "nice" coaches on the hot seat. He also says Notre Dame looks strong defensively and Brian Kelly still has the school's support.

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