Thursday, September 8, 2011

Into the Eye of the Storm

It appears that I have struck quite a nerve on Twitter, and since it is very difficult to make your point in 140 characters, I'd like to have a chance to expound on my opinion in a little more detail. I know that many of you will still disagree with me, but I am totally okay with that ... we are all entitled to our opinions. They are just that, our opinions. No one is right or wrong, we are just having a conversation.

Okay ... so here I go.

A few gentlemen on Twitter were discussing some of the dreadful plays from the Notre Dame-USF game, as well as Brian Kelly's actions on the side line, when I decided to throw in my two cents. My opening statement was as follows: In regards to Brian Kelly's sideline antics, how does it look to the players when their fearless leader loses control? And do you think his tantrums on NBC help or hinder recruiting?

I was expecting a few responses ... but I was not at all expecting the firestorm that I got in return.

Some of the responses included the following (all names have been withheld to protect the innocent! haha)

- I honestly don't think they (the players) think twice about it.

- He didn't lose control. Coaches, particularly in football, do this all the time.

- Player's coaches that don't go on tirades are rare.

- IF you play sports, your coach yells. I haven't seen very many effective even-keeled coaches.

- Losing control would be if he hit a player. I'm in complete control when I cuss someone out.

- (I) really hate to pull this card, but if you've never played the sport, it's tough to understand the yelling. But I assume you've never played football. Never wore a helmet. Never experienced the blinders.

- The more physical the sport, the more demanding the coaches tend to be.

- If you're a Mom of a player, you aren't supposed to understand it.

- I think there is a balance .. if you watch tape of last year, Rees got a lot more teaching.

- Kelly really didn't "lose it" until all hell broke lose.

- When I screwed up playing, if a coach didn't yell at me, I thought HE was weak.

- This is the culture of football & we should have known what we signed up for.

- I think it shows he is emotionally invested in his team. Far more than we saw from Charlie.

- Moreoverly we are raising a generation of wusses.

Okay ... let me see if I can now put my thoughts into words. In my humble opnion, I do think Brian Kelly's actions on the sidelines during the game on Saturday were over the top. As multiple players continued to make mistakes, he continued to melt down. Screaming at players, one after another ... Crist ... Gray ... Jones ... Rees.

I do not think a good leader loses control like that. And I do not think the way to teach or instruct kids (and lets face it, they are still kids for the most part) is by screaming at them until your face turns beet red and is about ready to explode. Instead of pulling them aside and making a teaching moment out of the situation, he turned it into a repeated screaming match.

And then what happens is ... as he is screaming and melting down ... he is losing control of the situation at hand. His head is no longer in the game, and instead of making strategy of what needs to be done next, he is stuck in the past.

As the child of a Navy Submariner, I liken this all back to a ship. If there is a fire in one of the compartments on the ship, I do not want the commanding officer yelling and screaming because we are not following protocol perfectly. He can deal with that later. I want a calm leader, instructing us how to solve the problem to prevent future casualties, and then later on he can go back and address any issues he has with specific individuals on a one-on-one basis.

Now that is not to say that I want a leader/coach with no emotion. I do not want a Ty, that is for sure. But I don't think a melting down, head-ready-to-explode Brian Kelly on the sideline is the answer either. There has to be a balance. He seemed pretty balanced to me last year. There were many teachable moments on the sideline last year. On Saturday, all I saw was an adult who had completely lost control.

In regards to TJ walking away from the coach, and really taking the wrath of Kelly ... I completely understand that walking away from your leader is inappropriate. But at the end of the day, Kelly is the ADULT, and TJ is the KID, and as the adult you need to set the example. That is not at all what I saw on Saturday.

Yes, I am a girl. But I am a very smart girl, who played sports from a youth all the way through college, and just because I did not play THE sport of football, absolutely does NOT mean that I do not understand. I still 100 percent feel that you can be an effective leader/coach without yelling and screaming all the time. I do think that a certain amount of yelling is fine as a coach. Trust me, I've been yelled at plenty of times in my day. But I think the yelling is much better served on the practice field, and not during a game when you should be spending your time strategizing what the next play is. The ship is sinking for God's sake, do something to save it instead of harping on what just happend. It's in the past, for the love of Notre Dame, MOVE FORWARD.

Okay, and with this, I am now moving forward myself! Bring on Michigan already!! Is it Saturday yet??





  1. #4, that is right #4, this is my 4th attempt to post. Each prior post took me 20 minutes plus to post.

    I have opinions on this.

    The short version.
    The ND coach lost it. The youth athlete (TJ) lost respect for the coach and walked away. The coach lost it.

    ND (in my mind) is an elite school. The school makes a whole person. The university is better than a FSU or a Harvard. The school is better than the military school (e.g. Navy, Army, etc).

    The concern is, has ND lost that elite status, because of the emotion shown (by the coach, players and fans) on Saturday.

    We will see in the coming weeks.

    Today's kids are not like when I was a kid or when my parents were kids. The Difference:

    Parents: Gave respect to their elders
    Us, then: We gave respect, because we were told Today: Kids require for a bi-lateral exchange of respect.

    When we were kids, if the coach yelled at us, we listened and asked for more. Today, coaching is required, especially to kids/ young adults who are finding their place in society.

    ** these are my view and my views only, not that of the blogger **

    I better go, before, I lose this one too.

    One final thought. This is ownership and teamwork. He (TJ Moe) has my respect

    Sept. 06, 2011 4:54 p.m. - by Dave Matter - Moe admits running wrong route; leading to Franklin's INT
    WR T.J. Moe said QB James Franklin was too hard on himself after Saturday's win over Miami (Ohio). Franklin's third-quarter INTwas not the QBs fault, the WR said. Moe misread his defender and ran the wrong route, leading Franklin to throw into double coverage. "I baited him into a stupid throw," Moe said. Tigers RapidReports

  2. Males respond differently to yelling and teachable moments than females do. You need the emotion of an intense coach to bring out the best in you. There are times where someone telling you you can't do something and that you totally f'ed it up take you inside yourself to find the strength and ability to prove them wrong. You can't be gentle and cooperative with guys and expect them to be fierce.

    Matt says players are different today. I agree that they are, but don't agree we need to accept that. At the core they are the same as we were and as our parents were. We need to quit coddling them. That's how we get arrogant prima donnas who suck as team players and turn out to suck as grown men.

    All that being said as a coach/leader you have to use your emotion instead of it using you. You have to be able to recognize when you are not just intense and emotional, but out of control and find a way out. I don't think Kelly was over the top or lost the respect of his team. I think he showed them what he expected and what he would accept. He showed them he didn't care who was watching or how he would be criticized...he was going to get out of them what Notre Dame deserves and what every single one of them is capable of giving.