We have some coach beef.
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly wasn’t too pleased with the way that Vanderbilt’s defenders played in the Fighting Irish’s win on Saturday. Near the end of his news conference on Tuesday, Kelly was asked about tight end Alize Mack.
What Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly said
“Best game he’s ever played here,” Kelly said. “Now, when I say that, it’s the not wow you kind of game. He was in — I mean he was getting cut maliciously by their defensive end. It was bad football.”
Kelly wasn’t done there. He expounded on the follow-up question when asked about the legality of players going low before continuing to compliment Mack on his play.
“It’s legal, but it’s bad football,” Kelly said. “It’s just bad football. And I have no problem saying it. You know, we’re so concerned about frontal cuts and we got a defensive end chopping him on every play, and he hung in there every play, was digging him out, blocking in line.”
ESPN’s Cole Cubelic pointed out a few instances of Vandy’s ends going low on Mack:
These are the plays Brian Kelly is upset with….
There was one more on the TE & two more on pulling guards I couldn’t find online. pic.twitter.com/jPvArpCuHa
— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) September 19, 2018
Vanderbilt’s Derek Mason replies Wednesday
Mason was asked Wednesday about Kelly’s comments during the SEC coaches’ teleconference. He didn’t have much time for the Notre Dame coach.
“I don’t really care much about Brian Kelly’s comments about football. When you go back and watch that game from the holding to the post chops by Notre Dame, I thought it was bad football on their part,” Mason said.
“What it comes down to is that the game gets played on the football field. Nowadays, we’re asking defensive players to raise the target, lower the target, hit with their eyes up. All of these things are really a part of football. With Brian Kelly, Brian Kelly can take his comments and keep it moving. If he’s got something personal with me, he can come see me.”
Notre Dame almost lost Saturday’s game, so it would have been fun to think what Kelly’s comments about the Commodores’ play would have been if Vanderbilt’s comeback happened. Vanderbilt had a great chance to have first and goal for a potential game-winning touchdown with less than two minutes left but a fourth-down pass from QB Kyle Shurmur to WR Kalija Lipscomb fell incomplete.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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