Welcome back to my series on beloved Notre Dame “parody” twitter accounts. This week I had a chance to sit down and talk with FakeBrianKelly. “Coach” Kelly dishes with us about his “dream” job coaching the Fighting Irish football team, the upcoming 2013 season and our brand new jumbotron … oops, did I say that out loud. And without further ado…
Lisa: Today I have the honor of speaking with Notre Dame’s very own head coach, “FakeBrianKelly” @Not_Brian_Kelly. Thanks for stopping by, BK!
Q: What made you decide to use Twitter/social media to interact with the fans of Notre Dame football?
A: During the Navy game, after I knew we had it in hand, I wanted to ask @FakeSwarbrick, who was live tweeting the game, if he knew where I could get waffles. I knew I couldn’t ask him using my @CoachBrianKelly account, because some of the more uptight fans might not appreciate me leaving the game in the second quarter to get waffles. I thought, wouldn’t it be nice to have a Twitter account through which I could tweet whatever I was really thinking without repercussion? So I started this parody account so that I could pretend to pretend being me. If the fans and recruits (and the NCAA) do not appreciate one of my tweets, I have plausible deniability.
Q: What has been your best social media fan interaction? Your worst?
A: Clearly the most enjoyable, in general, is live tweeting during games. Certainly I understand some folks might view that it is an unnecessary distraction for the Notre Dame head football coach. But, hey, as long as I can get us on the scoreboard first, I have Bob Diaco directing @1IrishChocolate, and the boys, so why not have a little fun? Certainly a mention by @IrishElvis in his twitter recaps is an added benefit. As for people, I have particularly enjoyed bantering with the likes of @FatherSorin, @FakeSwarbrick, and @FirstDownMoses. I have also enjoyed reading the self deprecating but insightful musings of the lovable and occasionally helpful @Oaknd1. As for worst experiences, while I enjoyed the friendly chiding of some Alabama fans, there were a few parody Saban accounts that did nothing but troll. I find trolling to be mostly tiring, low-brow and petulant.
Q: Why is Notre Dame your dream job? … Wait, is Notre Dame still your dream job?
A: I have always dreamed of roaming the sidelines decked in green and silver, watching fans pelt Santa with snowballs. . . Oh wait, you said Notre Dame. Why is it my dream job? I think the real question is why wouldn’t it be the dream job of any competent coach (sorry Kiffin) with a soul (not so fast Saban and Meyer).
Q: Best part of job?
A: What comes almost immediately to mind is the opportunity to coach exceptional young men. Notre Dame men. Men of the highest intellectual caliber and moral character. But of course, what also comes to mind are the opportunities presented by the sheer number of attractive Diaco groupies who are nearly always around. Seriously, it’s insane. The man is a rock star.
Q: Worst part of job?
A: Trying to encapsulate my play calls in 140 characters or less; unbearable know-it-all message board fans; and having to step foot in Ann Arbor and that crime scene of a campus in Los Angeles every other year.
Q: How has the team’s attitude changed from the 2012 season … as compared with the team that you’re now preparing for the 2013 season?
A: First, I think we went from a team with a few strong leaders to a more mature team filled with seasoned leaders. Second, clearly, losing program changing players like #5 and #80 will be felt. But we also have turned certain positions, such as the secondary, from where we were pulling rabbits out of a hat to fill a two-deep depth chart, to a situation where we don’t have enough playing time for all the quality players we have. Thirdly, I think we have a number of players, led by Everett, who made such enormous strides by the end of last year, that I can’t help but be excited about the possibilities for this year. Finally, and most importantly, this team has tasted winning, and they are thirsting for more.
Q: What changes should we expect to see on the field during spring practice & the Blue/Gold game?
A: We are developing a short yardage package for @1IrishChocolate, and after three years of intense study, planning and tireless practice, we are ready to attempt returning punts. Seriously though, overall, you should see more overall competition for playing time because of greater depth. We have so many talented younger players that we will be hard pressed to keep some of them off the field. I am excited to see how they transition. Finally, because we have more depth overall, we will be able to really practice unconstrained. The lack of depth and healthy numbers really limited what we could do in practice last year.
Q: What are you most looking forward to with the addition of five ACC teams to the football schedule?
A: Quality Barbecue and great seafood. Football wise, I think it gives us the opportunity to get more exposure in some very fertile recruiting grounds. In addition, it gives us stability and some quality options relative to bowl opportunities. Finally, and most importantly, it allows us to tell Michigan to get fucked.
Q: Yeah, yeah … you knew this was coming … Is getting a jumbotron and/or field turf in the stadium a priority for you? Do you think it aids you in recruiting?
A: Lisa, you saw the helmets I approved for the Miami game, right? How do you think I feel about this issue? It absolutely helps with recruiting. Even the fans who think it heresy to paint numbers for yard markers on the field would concede this much. I think that a “jumbotron” can contribute to an advantage at home, in terms of noise and encouraging the fans to be in the game. We have taken steps to liven up the home atmosphere, and this is just a logical next step. I would like to see field turf of the type used in Green Bay installed, as it is difficult late in the year to maintain a quality surface, a surface on which we can play the style of game I envision for us. While these steps certainly reflect “change”, they do not insult our traditions, because I have never seen the noise level, visual displays and the type of surface we play on as part of Notre Dame’s “tradition.” Certainly projecting an air of professionalism and class is something we strive for; yet field turf and high definition display screens can be added in a tasteful way that does not destroy the aesthetics of the stadium or the experience in the stadium. For example, there does not need to be over commercialization in the use of the video boards. Notre Dame can be trusted to not chase the easy dollars, right? By the way, the last answer was brought to you by Xerox.
Q: You can create your own perfect 12 game schedule right now — who would be on it?
A: Certainly we start with Navy, Stanford and USC. Michigan State should also have a regular spot on the schedule. We then add our five ACC games. That leaves three games each year that we have flexibility in scheduling. I would like to see the end of the Shamrock Series as it otherwise means one less true home game and we now are effectively guaranteed frequent games in the south, on the west coast, and on the east coast. So with one of the three games, I would like to see a game with a Big Twelve or SEC team, and with the other two games, I would like to see us schedule home games against Division 1 teams who should be reasonably beatable year in and year out. One against a lesser BIG team like Purdue or Indiana and one against a non BCS conference team from the likes of the Mountain West or the MAC, against whom we can open the season. Having a “tune up” game is vitally important, even if most coaches won’t admit as much. While it would be tempting to say give me a healthy slate of teams like Idaho and Massachusetts, that wouldn’t be fun for our players or fans, nor would it give us the strength of schedule we need to be in the mix to be selected for the playoffs.
Q: If you could change the way the university lets you recruit, what would you change and why?
A:In my tenure, the University has actually been very supportive of our recruiting efforts. I do believe we have shown that early enrollees can and have been successful and certainly I think we should be able to accommodate larger numbers of early enrollees. Further, while I am not advocating for academic exceptions, I would like to see Notre Dame consider accepting a few student athletes who have done everything academically and testing wise, but who, for whatever reason, did not take all of Notre Dame’s prerequisite classes. The idea being that these students could use the summer session before their first fall semester to complete a missing class or two, such as a required math, science or language course. That’s it. Oh, and some SEC quality hostesses for recruits when they visit.
Q: What’s your best elevator pitch on selling South Bend to your recruits?
A: I sell the warm winters and vibrant social scene. Seriously, no one sells recruits by selling South Bend. Few students, let alone student athletes coming to Notre Dame because it is in South Bend. Instead, we sell Notre Dame; its academics, its values, its campus and facilities and mostly its people.
I’d like to give Coach, I mean, FakeBrianKelly a big thank you for chatting with me this week! If you are not already a follower on Twitter, please, do so RIGHT NOW! (Please?) @Not_Brian_Kelly