Last season Brian Kelly showed why his time coaching at the Division Two level has paid dividends since taking over a Division One program at Central Michigan. At the D-II level coaches must make the most out of their players and move guys around to field the most competitive team their capable of placing on the field.
Having won two National Championships at Grand Valley State and a finalist for a third, Kelly proved he understood mixing and matching players the big-boys didn’t want any part of. For that success Kelly will be inducted into the Grand Valley State Hall-of-Fame this weekend in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
At Central Michigan, Kelly would start to see what he could really do when he upgraded his talent pool and took a once doormat Central Michigan program to a MAC Championship going 19-16 overall and placing the CMU program in a position to win a bowl game and continue to have success after his departure from the program.
Since arriving at Cincinnati, Kelly, as of Thursday night, has guided the Bearcats to a 28-4 record, Big East Championship and two bowl games (PapaJohns.com & Orange Bowl) while also winning the International Bowl after taking over the program when Mark Dantonio left for Michigan State.
Thursday night once again proved why Brian Kelly is one of the top football coaches in the country as starting quarterback Tony Pike went down and couldn’t complete the Bearcats game against South Florida.
While members of the media have picked up on what the Bearcats are doing under Kelly, many still want to call this third chapter of Kelly’s Bearcat tenure “cute” and not what it really is, solid football from top to bottom.
Zach Collaros taking over for Pike and finishing what was started was not “cute”. It was a player being ready to go on the field and a coaching staff ready to adjust to the player’s strengths by turning a card. Kelly was ready just incase he would have to replace Tony Pike in a game. He understands the game of football is one where a broken bone can’t stop a team from finishing the job at hand.
This is why Brian Kelly is one of the best college coaches in the country and will once again be the hottest name for any job that comes along. But while the media and those who follow Kelly have him headed out of Cincinnati, Kelly knows there are games to still be played and he’s got to find a starting quarterback if Tony Pike is out. Don’t worry, Brian Kelly has done this before and will have to do it again down the road.