We have a new rivalry on our hands – tension has simmered all offseason between LSU and Notre Dame, and it escalated this week when former Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron was pictured playing observe a spring training in South Bend.
Apparently spending time in Indiana with his two sons, Orgeron told the team, “What a great coach and coaching staff you have. Some of the best players in the country are here in this group. I don’t know when it will happen, but with this staff, this team, you will win everything.
Orgeron had tried to sign ND head coach Marcus Freeman to LSU as a defensive coordinator ahead of the 2021 season — Freeman eventually ended up as DC at Notre Dame, where he was promoted to HC within a year, and Orgeron was fired from LSU with a slick $17 million buyout. Coach O himself said it best – “it looks like he made the right decision for me.”
Coached by Freeman since that fateful week when Brian Kelly abruptly quit his 12-year-old gig to take over for Orgeron at LSU, Notre Dame has remained the subject of much of Kelly’s attention (see this piece from last week for the gory details). Continually shitting on administration, facilities, and even student-athletes, Kelly dissolved any remaining good faith between Notre Dame fans and their most successful coach of all time.
After a few fun and bizarre choices during Kelly’s first few months at LSU, including dancing badly with recruits for promotional videos and adopting a twangy accent less than a week after her stint down south, Kelly put on a friendly face and casual in interviews, but having experienced his version of “authenticity,” I find it hard to swallow the act.
Orgeron’s presence and statements in South Bend certainly can’t be dismissed as coincidence, and the passive-aggressive relationship between a Kelly-coached LSU and Notre Dame is coming to a head on social media. Following Kelly’s comments last week essentially blaming ND’s supposed lack of resources for his inability to win big games, the ND Football Twitter account posted pictures from a practice with the caption “no apologies here”. Also, we can’t forget Orgeron’s emphasis on winning everything ‘with this coaching staff’ in his speech to the team.
Then yesterday Special Teams Coordinator Brian Polian, one of the few coaches who left their same job at Notre Dame to follow Kelly to LSU, tweeted, “We are incredibly lucky to have the Performance Nutrition Center for our student-athletes – one of the best facilities in the country!”
Harmless without context, we can safely assume that Polian is referring to Kelly’s interview from last week, in which he detailed how Notre Dame’s cafeteria for athletes didn’t live up to its standards, and how much better LSU’s Performance Nutrition Center was. , part of a bizarre implication that Kelly failed to win a championship because football players ate pre-cooked meals rather than having a personal chef.
And THEN, just to demonstrate just how awesome this Dabo aw-shucks style routine that Kelly is trying to pull off really is, several screenshots were posted to Twitter yesterday of an Instagram story on Kelly’s official account that had been published and then quickly deleted – but not quickly enough.
The story was a screenshot of a tweet that reads: “All connected to sources inside the current program ARE [AD Jack Swarbrick] retiring in 2 years with president Jenkins…Jack wanted to please people so he didn’t look for a coach and hired Marcus, hope he did the right thing but I doubt it.
Yes, that’s right – a tweet from an unknown source with a profile picture of Pepe the Frog and a single like implying that not only is the president and athletic director of a major university planning a joint retirement in two years, but that Kelly’s successor – a man he himself hired and has spoken positively of publicly since being hired – was the wrong choice for the job.
The tweet was posted from an account created about a month after Kelly left ND. From the Instagram story, all tweets in the account have been deleted except a which reads “High school coaches know Freeman has been on shaky ground since day one. They tell their kids to find a more stable landing spot.”. Among the 17 stories tracked by the poster are Polian, Kelly himself, and Kelly’s three children.
Since this is only a screenshot, there is of course always the possibility that it is a photohop job – and, of course, there’s always another chance that it was hacked, or that a social media intern posted it by accident, or any number of situations in which Kelly himself doesn’t. didn’t post this tweet. But to be honest, with the way things went between him and his former employers, it wouldn’t be a shock if he had something like that saved, or, as some assume, if it’s actually from Kelly’s own Twitter account. . The retirement rumour, if true, would come as a huge shock to the Notre Dame community and fans, as neither Jenkins nor Swarbrick have even come close to implying that their leadership will end at some point in the near future.
At this point, I’m just hoping that a home-and-home series is scheduled between schools in the next five years or so. If it continues like this, there’s going to be so much animosity between the teams that it’s going to be a thriller.