Continued from page 1

Notre Dame tried to get Meyer when Willingham was dismissed in 2004, but had to settle for Weis when Meyer decided it was easier to scoop up blue-chippers in his backyard at Florida than try to lure them to South Bend.

This time the Irish caught the rising star, a coach capable of ending an era of errors.

In the last 13 years, Notre Dame is 91-67. Purdue went 92-69 during that same period. Essentially, the only thing separating the Fighting Irish and a middling Big Ten program has been a network television deal.

Taylor said Notre Dame has suffered from a lack of leadership more than a lack of talent.

“(Kelly) has identified the sense of entitlement that had encroached the Notre Dame program,” he said. “It became OK to be a me guy.”

Kelly had no problem with Taylor’s assessment.

“Self-inflicted wounds,” Kelly said when asked what has gone wrong with Notre Dame. “Not everybody rolling in the right direction.”

Kelly knows he needs to get the Irish rolling in a hurry _ a “five-minute plan” he has called it.

He’s accelerated the learning process with this team mentally and physically.

“It put a lot of pressure on guys to spend the time away from here to learn the offense, to learn the scheme, but there was never an issue of buying in or not buying in with these guys,” new starting quarterback Dayne Crist said.

Notre Dame’s first practice _ which began under a blue-gray sky if you’re looking for positive omens, Irish fans _ could be summed up in three words: fast and loud. The players run to where they need to be and when coaches need to get a point across, it’s often shouted from afar _ no time to walk across the field to correct a mistake.

“I need to get to Year 2 in Year 1,” Kelly said.

The Notre Dame brand still opens doors, but as Kelly out it, “the clock is ticking.”

“Up to this point, I can get in the game with the players I need throughout the country that can make us a championship football team,” he said. “But we got to win.”

The table is set for Kelly to do just that.

Story Continues →