It has been a two weeks since the Cotton Bowl in Arlington. Everything that was going to be said about the result has been already been written. The Cotton Bowl didn’t go the way of the Fightin’ Irish wanted it to, but in a loss there is a win. Team 130 brought back something that was missing from teams of recent past. The brought respect for the game, love for each other and the love of playing football for Notre Dame.
Coach Kelly Post Game Press Conference
“Disappointed, obviously. We came here to win a football game, and we did not do the things necessary to beat a very good team.”
“Congratulations to Clemson. They played well. They were opportunistic. They made the plays necessary to win in a game of this fashion. Opportunistic in that we lost one of our very fine defensive backs in Julian Love to a head injury.”
“But, again, you can’t give up four big plays on defense. We did not do that all year. Uncharacteristic of our defense. And we generated virtually no big plays. We didn’t play the kind of offense that would lend itself to scoring enough points to beat a talented Clemson team. So we’ve got to coach better. We’ve got to put our kids in a better position to succeed, and we’ve got to make plays on this stage.”
Most folks will say winning is everything. In order to win, a team needs to be one. What i mean about being one is, they are willing to go into battle and stand side by side for the same cause. Team 130 had just that. Not only did they work out together, study film together, their relationships transcended football. They ate together, hung out together and became a band of brothers .
I asked coach Kelly about the comradery: “They love playing together. It’s a brotherhood that they have built. Look, most coaches will tell you that, if you walk into the locker room and you see a group of guys that hang out together that interact with each other and they care about each other, you’ve probably got a pretty good thing going. We sensed that from — I did, from day one. It doesn’t guarantee you’re going to win games. It doesn’t guarantee you’re going to win ten games. But it does guarantee you you’re going to have a group of guys that enjoy being around and that they’ll probably do some really good things at times, and this group really enjoys being around each other. “
Relationship With Coach Kelly
The players talked about “The Process” and they talked about it a lot. I interviewed Ian Book after the “Echoes 18” and he made it sounded like I was talking to Coach Kelly. Ian noted that Coach Kelly was doing more than being a coach. He was involved with on the field as well as off.
I asked Coach Kelly this question after the Syracuse game. Your chemistry with this team seems to be a lot different than other teams. Can you talk a little bit about that? Coach Kelly Response: ” I think just that we’ve invested a lot with each other, and I enjoy being around them because that’s what I do now. I’m just around them a lot more. I’m in the locker room with them. I’m having meals with them. I’m hanging out with them a lot more. They haven’t allowed me to clock in on their games yet, but when they do, we really will reach a milestone. I just think hanging around them a lot more allows that kind of relationship to grow. “
After the game, the media was allowed to go into the ND locker room. Let me tell you one thing, there was pure disappointment amongst the players. Here are some of the interviews from the post game. And it was truly heart felt.
Question to Tyler: “You guys have planted a seed for this program in the future and that’s a good way to leave the school. You have left this program better than it was.”
Tyler’s Response: “Mean I hope I would, its just one of those things, I am going to be just watching from now on, I will be praying these guys keep going, this program is going to keep getting better and better. We will keep getting better athletes, this school is going to be on top again. We will and it will be soon. I am just grateful to be part of the foundation that was laid here, I just can’t wait to see what the future holds. These boys are going to use it as motivation, they are going to win it.”
Question to Dexter: “You came into the season 4 games after the start of the season. You had an immediate impact on the program. How do you feel right now?”
Dexter’s Response: “Today, this not what i was looking for. Wish we could have had a different out come. At the same time we didn’t make enough plays. Now it’s a lessons learned for the younger guys. So once they get back here, they know exactly what to do and how to get to the next level of the playoffs. So it’s an opportunity and a blessing for the younger guys as well. It’s a lessons learned to keep your head up.”
Question to Dexter: “You left a seed with this program. What do you think it will produce?”
Dexter’s Response: No matter what the circumstances, you need to continue to push and trust the process. Continue to drive, never keep your head down, keep it held high no matter what. your going through. It may be dark right now, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel, that is the one thing I always told my self. I am just happy for these guys and the season I had. I am also very thankful for my offensive line for getting me where I am at.”
As Shake Down The Thunder Sports closes the chapter on Team 130’s season. It will be a mere couple weeks when Team 131 starts to prep for the the fall season. The team incoming freshman must learn to trust the process and take in all that it takes to play for a championship. The rest of the team must guide the new players and help them understand what it means to play for Notre Dame. Going forward, Team 131 needs to cultivate the seed that has been planted by the graduate players and the non returning seniors to the next level. Continue to be a band of brothers and not take no for an answer. The best is yet to come for this program and the fans must have faith in what this young talented group of players can do.
Cheers and Go Irish! ☘🏈⚡