Brian Kelly Conveys Proper Perspective During Pandemic

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Today was the first day that Notre Dame Coach Brian Kelly met the media since the coronavirus pandemic completely altered life as we know it. Actually, he “virtually” met the media, as he conducted a conference call on Zoom late this afternoon.

It’s good to be Zoom right now, as that’s the place business is getting done at that includes the sports media business. A whole lot of ground was covered on this call, but one must start with what’s most important, and that’s public health and safety. Kelly said that no one within the program has tested positive for COVID-19; fortunately and thankfully.

He was also asked about how these past weeks have changed his perceptive on football and life, and how he’s grown individually throughout these adverse times.

“(Football) pales in comparison to what people are going through. It forces you to look at things from a different perspective,” he responded.

The final question of the call was actually the most poignant, as Kelly was asked what his pep talk would be for these unprecedented times that we’re living in.

“If we stay at home, if we stay vigilant, if we stay patient, we’re gonna see ourselves on the other side of this and we’re gonna be stronger for it,” the Fighting Irish mentor responded.

He also said that he doesn’t expect things to automatically revert to normal once fall gets here: “We’re preparing as a staff that we’re gonna have to make adjustments. We’re gonna have to take precautions and do some things differently.”

brian kelly notre dame

We have, in the words of reggae legend Jimmy Cliff “many rivers to cross” to a place where we can have college football again. America hasn’t even peaked yet, let alone flattened the COVID-19 curve, and even once you get on the downside of the curve, it’s still a long way from social distancing to college football Saturdays.

“It’s going to be in a new normal. We’re going to have to adjust,” Brian Kelly added.

So that’s the big picture, the macro, and you really can’t start any discussion of the granular, the micro without addressing it first. Notre Dame is scheduled to open the season on August 29, against Navy in Dublin, Ireland.

That is not off the table at this point; discussions are still ongoing.

“Clearly, we can’t just wait until May 15 to have the first discussion about going overseas, so those discussions are taking place. … We’re looking at all options at this time. We’d like to play the game in Ireland; whether we can or not, that it still a topic that’s being discussed.”

That May 15 date is critical, as a meeting will be held on that day to determine if any in person activities can safely be held on campus. The first session of summer school has already been moved to online only.

Depending on where we are in regards to the coronavirus crisis at that point, we’ll see what’s a realistic timeline in terms of trying to have a football season in 2020. As Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, keeps telling us- the virus makes the timeline, not us.

Brian Kelly appeared on the March 25th edition of SportsCenter, and he told the show that in order to have a normal, not disrupted season, we would have to somehow be back to business as usual by July 1.

The Canada Day date provides the requisite time and space needed for adequate preseason conditioning.

Today, Brian Kelly reiterated that idea.

“We’re not going to put any student-athlete in a position where they can’t be properly trained to compete at the highest level,” Kelly said.

“This notion of trying to play the game at its highest level without safety being at the core of what we’re doing is not going to happen. I’m not going to put a young man on a playing field and ask him to compete unless he has had the opportunity to be properly conditioned and trained to play this game at the highest level.”

We’ll see what happens between now and July 1; or even between now and May 15. As we’ve seen since March 11, a date that will be known infamous going forward as the day of numerous cancellations, it’s always a very fluid situation.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation.

You can follow Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com on Twitter here and his cat on Instagram at this link

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