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by KGB, Wednesday, October 22, 2014, 04:48 @ FunkDoctorSpock
edited by KGB, Wednesday, October 22, 2014, 06:04

Some fans have a tendency to get too wrapped up in formal ties to the university when it comes to our coaches. They view Kelly as an outsider, perhaps even an interloper, who doesn't understand our history or appreciate our traditions. And I think that's absolute fucking bullshit. If you want a coach who actually attended ND, then you get Charlie Weis, not Lou Holtz. If you want a coach who is beholden to the tradition and lore of the program, then you get Gerry Faust, not Brian Kelly. BK is and always has been -- from back in 2009 at the start, not just since he "figured things out" or whatever other horseshit the long-standing objectors float to justify hopping on the bandwagon now -- the perfect coach for this school because he has built winning programs out of much less than he had to work with here, and because he respects and abides our standards and what ND represents without being a slave to the status quo.

ND football didn't need a coach who popped his fucking cherry to the fight song back in high school; it needed a fresh set of eyes to examine how we were operating in all facets of the program and who was willing to say, "This is totally fucked and it needs to change". And it also needed -- and had, as luck would have it -- an AD who was willing to give that coach enough latitude to make those changes (ftr, said "changes" do not include the playing surface, and suffice it to say that if you believe that Swarbrick simply bowed to Kelly's whims in this matter and rubber-stamped the switch to fieldturf, then you are a grade-A fucking moron). What we saw on Saturday was not a coach suddenly realizing that he needed to run Tarean Folston 20+ times or to pressure a talented opposing QB or otherwise play the aggressor in a statement game. It was the product of a five-year process, a sea change in culture, attitude and expectations. And when he said afterwards that his guys expected to go down there and win, that they expect to win them all, I believe him. That comes from the top, and you don't just snap your fingers and make it so after close to two decades of mediocrity.

I get something of a rush from people who have no history with or background at ND but who come to it a bit later in life and fall in love with the place, not out of birthright or obligation but because they connect with the school and what it stands for on their own terms. And when it happens to be a talented football player or a coach, all the better. We can debate Charlie Weis' positive effects on the program at large, whether it was developing Brady or recruiting Manti or simply making ND football a meaningful part of the conversation again, even if we didn't quite live up to the billing. I would argue that the best thing Weis ever did for this program was to hire Tony Alford. Alford was a talented and successful coach, but he grew up in Colorado, played for CSU and had no prior affiliation with ND. However, once here, he connected with the school and its mission, and when Weis was sacked, he stuck it out and helped stabilize the program during a dark, rudderless period. And five years later, he remains a key member of BK's staff and is probably ND's biggest and best salesman among all the assistants. I can envision a similar path here for BVG, a coach who has been on the circuit long enough and parked his t-topped Thunderchicken in enough different driveways, some better and some worse, to know what a great situation working with people of genuine character looks like. It's a pretty good gig.

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