Again, using und.com’s remarkable archive for my source material, I compared each coach’s first three seasons in total yards, total passing yards, total rushing yards, points per game, and players drafted by the NFL. Though I will concede that the NFL metric is not very “coach-related,” especially in the first couple of years of any coach’s tenure, I thought it interesting, nevertheless, to see how ND’s draft-rate is as solid today as it was after Holtz’s first three years. In any event, here are the numbers:
|YEAR||TOTAL YDS||TOTAL PASS||TOTAL RUSH||PPG||NFL|
What you see is that the hype about Brian Kelly knowing how to move the ball was real. In 2011 and 2012, BK’s offense was remarkably consistent in total production and experienced a significant increase in yards on the ground, going from 2085 in 2011 to 2462 in 2012. These numbers illustrate the main difference, as I see it, between the two coaches: Lou ran the ball and fashioned his teams with that in mind, while Coach Kelly is looking to move the ball, however he can. I expect that as the quality of our backfields improve over time, our rushing and passing totals will reach a rough equality.
As you can see in the next table, BK’s three-year average offensive numbers stack up pretty well against Lou’s.
|COACH||TOTAL YDS||TOTAL PASS||TOTAL RUSH||PPG|
Using Coach Kelly’s three-year average, I then set about comparing it to any three year period from the Holtz years. While the Holtz years saw higher points-per-game averages and higher rushing averages, Kelly’s three year average beats them in total yards and passing yards.
|3 YEAR PERIOD||AVG. TOTAL YDS||AVG. TOTAL PASS||AVG. TOTAL RUSH||AVG. PPG|
After his first three years, Coach Brian Kelly compares quite well with the last coach to join the pantheon of ND greats. Two things Kelly lacks are, obviously, a championship and longevity. Who knows if last year’s flirtation with the NFL will be repeated or finally consummated. But if Coach Kelly keeps winning, he may just go on to surpass Lou’s legend. Here’s hoping his great reward is better than Mark May.