Whitlock: Notre Dame must fire Brian Kelly

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 25: Head coach Brian Kelly of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish watches as his team takes on the Stanford Cardinal at Notre Dame Stadium on September 25, 2010 in South Bend, Indiana. Stanford defeated Notre Dame 37-14. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

FOX Sports columnist Jason Whitlock has weighed in on the death of Notre Dame student Declan Sullivan and writes that head coach Brian Kelly should be fired for his negligence in the situation.

Kelly should not coach the Irish on Saturday when they take on Tulsa.

We don’t need a thorough and exhaustive investigation to recognize Kelly’s negligence. A coach’s most important job, particularly at the amateur level, is to take every reasonable precaution to ensure the safety of the young people under his control.

Kelly failed in the worst way possible.

Mitigating circumstances do not matter. Notre Dame’s video coordinator should not be held responsible. Declan Sullivan, who tweeted before and during practice the weather conditions were terrifying and life threatening, certainly isn’t to blame.

The head football coach has final say over everything that transpires on the practice field. Everything. That’s why Ohio State’s Jim Tressel moved the Buckeyes’ practice inside on Tuesday when wind gusts made conditions unsafe.

Whitlock goes on to write that he understands why Kelly had his team practicing outside and also takes time to rip AD Jack Swarbrick for essentially making sure that the media knew he wasn’t at the practice long enough to tell Sullivan to come down.

I don’t know. My emotions say yes, fire Kelly and Swarbrick for their irresponsibility and extreme negligence. Sullivan should have never been on the lift in the first place and if Kelly thought it was dangerous enough to keep his team inside the day before because of a tornado warning, then he should have known not to have students filming practice from that high up during swirling winds. It was absolutely moronic for anyone to ok Sullivan being up on that lift.

That said, do we have the full details here? Do we know who was actually responsible for sending the young man up there? Was it Kelly, someone on his coaching staff, Sullivan’s boss, who? Did someone force him to go up there? If someone forced him to go up there, then done deal – someone has to lose their job. But if this was just a case of people not using their heads (as in, Sullivan went up there as he normally would and nobody thought to tell him to come down), then it’s up to the University to decide what the right course of action should be. Don’t follow up one irresponsible decision with another by firing people without compiling all the details.

Either way, a young man lost his life and for the time being, everyone should be morning his passing and not trying to assess blame. I imagine there will be plenty of time for that later.

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Big 12, Big Ten and SEC races should become more clear today

University of Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones drops back to pass against the University of Texas in the first half of their NCAA Big 12 football game played at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas, October 2, 2010.  REUTERS/Mike Stone (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

My wife essentially makes the schedule in our house. My job is to make sure I stay gainfully employed and just show up to the things she’s set up for us. It’s normally pretty easy and painless, to be honest. And since I’m a scatter-brain most of the time, I completely relinquish the scheduling.

But she messed up this weekend. Big time. We’re signed up for a wine tasting at 6 p.m. (EDT) today, which will be smack dab in the middle of some of the best college football finishes of the day. It also means I’ll be out of commission after 6 p.m. (never drink and blog kids, it never ends up well), so expect heavier blogging early in the day, and not much later. I’ll let you decide if that’s good or bad.

After the jump, I’ll dissect some of the great matchups of the day (there a couple of huge ones), and introduce a couple of new features for this morning forecast post. Read the rest of this entry »

Les Miles very nearly sealed his own fate and other Saturday thoughts

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 07:  Head coach Les Miles of the Louisiana State University Tigers against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 7, 2009 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

There have been rumblings in Louisiana that Les Miles has worn out his welcome as coach at LSU. Some have written this off as ridiculous — “He won a national title in 2007!” — but Saturday night was a harsh reminder of why the LSU faithful have lost a lot of, um, faith, in Miles.

The Tigers survived Saturday night in a 30-24 win against half of North Carolina’s team. And it really wasn’t even the good half. Worse still is that LSU very nearly blew a 30-10 lead in the fourth quarter to do it.

Give a lot of credit to the North Carolina players who know the NCAA rules. They played with a lot of heart down the stretch and were two dropped passes and a probably-missed pass interference call away from winning a game nobody gave them a chance in.

But the story here is Miles and the Tigers nearly blowing the game. The Tigers failed to put the game away, and star defensive back Patrick Peterson’s postgame quote said a ton. When asked why he wasn’t on the field for a 97-yard touchdown pass that gave North Carolina life, Peterson responded, “I guess he thought we had a comfortable lead.”

The “he” in that sentence is defensive backs coach Ron Cooper, but how does that decision not go through Miles? If it doesn’t, it should. The head coach doesn’t need to micro-manage his assistants, but he does need to make sure his best players are on the field while the game is still in any kind of doubt. Miles needs to at the very least contend for an SEC title this year, or it could be his last.

Now some other thoughts on the first Saturday of college football. Read the rest of this entry »

Kenjon Barner is really good at football

EUGENE, OR - SEPTEMBER 12:  Kenjon Barner #24 of the Oregon Ducks celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Purdue Boilermakers at Autzen Stadium on September 12, 2009 in Eugene, Oregon.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Raise your hand if you don’t live in Oregon and know who Kenjon Barner is. OK, now evaluate your life after physically replying to a command you read on a sports blog (I kid, I kid).

Barner is about to be on everybody’s radar screen, as the Oregon sophomore running back had one heck of a game today against New Mexico. In one half. Barner rushed for 146 yards and scored four times on 17 carries in the first half for the Ducks, and added a 60-yard touchdown reception just for good measure.

Yes, it’s against New Mexico, but it’s still scary good. Barner’s teammates have been pretty good, too, leading New Mexico 59-0 after 30 minutes of play.

Some other tidbits at halftime of the mid-afternoon games:

– Denard Robinson is looking like the quarterback Rich Rodriguez needs to run his offense. Shoelace (he doesn’t tie his shoes, which is repeated ad nauseum here in Michigan) has 131 yards and a touchdown on the ground for the Wolverines in the first half against Connecticut. Perhaps more importantly, he is 8-for-9 passing for 71 yards. Last year, Robinson couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn with his passes. Unless said barn was wearing the opponents jersey. Michigan went into the half up 21-10.

– Brian Kelly’s fast-break offense has shown flashes of brilliance in the first half against Purdue, but has only produced one touchdown and two field goals. Surprisingly, it’s the Irish defense that has been most impressive, holding Purdue to a field goal as Notre Dame led 13-3 at halftime.

I’ll have more after the games.

Rodgers brothers, Brian Kelly’s debut among five things to watch for on opening weekend

Dec 22, 2009; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Oregon State Beavers running back Jacquizz Rodgers (1) heads up field against the BYU Cougars in the 2009 Las Vegas Bowl at Sam Boyd Stadium. BYU defeated Oregon State 44-20. Photo via Newscom

I’m assuming you’re excited today.

I know I am. As nice as Thursday was for college football lovers, there’s nothing quite like the first full Saturday of college football. I could barely sleep last night, as thoughts of TCU’s defense, Brian Kelly’s debut in South Bend and Erin Andrews — on the set of Gameday … pervs — danced through my head.

Before I get into the five things you should look out for today, a brief introduction: My name is Paul Costanzo and I’ll be guiding you through your college football Saturdays this season. I’m not a college football expert, by any means. I’m just a huge fan who happens to have a journalism degree. I’m also a good friend of Anthony’s, so if I suck at this, you can direct all your hate mail to him. You can read me daily in the Times Herald newspaper out of Port Huron, Mich.

But enough about me, let’s get to the games. Read the rest of this entry »

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