Kelly, Notre Dame prepare for familiar face
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — There’s now a tunnel for visiting teams to enter and exit thoroughly modern Notre Dame Stadium.
Good thing. Otherwise Miami (Ohio) coach Chuck Martin might just follow Brian Kelly, his former boss at Grand Valley State and Notre Dame, back into the Irish locker room by mistake.
“I’m almost 50 and I’ve never not rooted for Notre Dame in my life,” said Martin, whose RedHawks (2-2) visit No. 22 Notre Dame (3-1) this weekend. “But Saturday at 5 o’clock I’ll be rooting against Notre Dame. That will be a bit awkward for me.”
Kelly handed Martin the keys at Grand Valley State after the 2003 season to begin the two-stop (Central Michigan and Cincinnati) journey that eventually brought him to South Bend in 2010. There he was reunited with Martin, who went 74-7 with two NCAA Division II titles at Grand Valley. Martin spent four years on both sides of the ball with the Irish before leaving to rebuild the RedHawks, whose “Cradle of Coaches” tradition includes the late Ara Parseghian, who coached at both schools.
“Chuck and I are not going to be playing the game,” Kelly said. “I know how he is going to prepare his football team. He knows how I’ll prepare my football team.”
The RedHawks might very well be 4-0 if not for heartbreaking defeats at Marshall (31-26) and against Cincinnati (21-17). Notre Dame’s lone setback was a 20-19 home loss in Week 2 to now No. 7 Georgia.
Junior quarterback Gus Ragland has thrown for 881 yards and eight TDs already with just two interceptions.
“He’s a smart kid, can run the ball, is athletic and I think he makes a lot of good decisions,” Notre Dame linebacker Greer Martini said of Ragland.
Martini could easily have said the same about his quarterback, Brandon Wimbush, who already has rushed for 366 yards and 7 TDs and thrown for 663 yards and 3 scores.
Offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey, who shouldered blame for that loss to Georgia, believes in self-motivation.
“There’s things you look for just to get yourself a little juice,” said McGlinchey, who has “The Man in the Arena” passage from a speech given by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1910 by his locker. “That kind of put it all into perspective for me.”
Notre Dame’s Josh Adams (33) breaks away from Boston College defenders earlier this season.