This turned out to be a pretty quote worthy week when it came to Notre Dame Football. The big quotes started with an Irish legend/father scorned ripping Brian Kelly for his choice of Everett Golson as starting quarterback, and reached its zenith on Wednesday with a radio announcer/former Irish running back
Allen Pinkett, the IMG Notre Dame Football Radio Network color analyst, first uttered these words on a Chicago radio station this week:
“I’ve always felt like, to have a successful team, you gotta have a few bad citizens on the team. I mean, that’s how Ohio State used to win all the time. They would have two or three guys that were criminals. That just adds to the chemistry of the team. I think Notre Dame is growing because maybe they have some guys that are doing something worthy of a suspension, which creates edge on the football team. You can’t have a football team full of choir boys. You get your butt kicked if you have a team full of choir boys. You gotta have a little bit of edge, but the coach has to be the dictator and ultimate ruler.”
He followed that brilliant line of thinking with:
“I don’t want any mass murders or rapists. I want guys that maybe get caught drinking that are underage, or guys that maybe got arrested because they got in a fight at a bar, or guys that are willing to cuss in public and don’t mind the repercussions of it. That’s the type of criminal I’m talking about.”
And he concluded with:
“Chemistry is so important on a football team. You have to have a couple of bad guys that sort of teeter on that edge to add to the flavor of the guys that are going to always do right. … You look at the teams that have won in the past. They always have a couple of criminals.”
Pinkett’s comments had the Twitter world buzzing by Wednesday afternoon and the whole thing was at a fever pitch as Pinkett was literally boarding the team charter flight to Dublin. Think that was a comfortable flight with everyone who is someone, including Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick, on the same flight as the mouth that roared?
Swarbrick, of course, issued the company response:
“Allen Pinkett’s suggestion that Notre Dame needs more ‘bad guys’ on its football team is nonsense. Of course, Allen does not speak for the University, but we could not disagree more with this observation.”
And Kelly had to answer questions about Pinkett’s remarks at Thursday’s post-practice media session in Dublin.
“I can’t comment on what he said,” Kelly replied. “There’s no thought process in that for me. I can just tell you what I want, I want tough gentleman. I want tough guys on the field that are gritty, that play the game the right way, that you can count on on 4th-and-1 that they’re going to knock you in the nose. And off the field, I want gentlemen.”
In the end IMG suspended Pinkett from Saturday’s broadcast. South Bend TV personality and regular IMG sideline reporter Jeff Jeffers will join play-by-play man Don Criqui on the broadcast from Dublin instead.
Irish linebacker Manti Te’o probably had the best quote of the whole situation though when he responded “Who’s that?” when asked if Pinkett’s comments were a distraction to the team.
The Pinkett maelstrom kept the words of another former Irish player from garnering bigger national attention. Joe Montana ripped Kelly in an ESPN on-line chat when he was asked by a fan his thoughts on Everett Golson as Notre Dame’s starting quarterback.
“Kelly can’t figure out what he wants,” Montana responded. “Every one of his QBs that he has he claims is his next star, but he doesn’t last long with him. He’s (Golson) probably the least talented thrower that they have, so maybe they’re looking to run the ball with him.”
Kelly did not have much to say in response to Montana’s comments.
“Well Joe Montana’s an icon,” Kelly said of the three-time Super Bowl MVP. “He’s entitled to his opinion about our football team. So, I think that’s probably all I’d say about that.”
Montana has not been as visible around Notre Dame since his son, Nate Montana, left the school after the 2010 season – Kelly’s first as head coach. The younger Montana was a walk-on at Notre Dame in 2008 before transferring to Pasadena City College in 2009. He came back to ND in ’10 and has since transferred to the University of Montana and is currently at West Virginia Wesleyan.
Nate Montana’s career passing totals include 714 yards, four touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Senior running back Theo Riddick has been around the block a few times, so he is used to sitting with the Notre Dame media. With Cierre Wood suspended for two games Riddick will be the starter in the backfield.
Riddick has one career start at running back after spending his first two seasons under Kelly as a slot receiver. When asked this week what excites him most about the trip to Dublin Riddick responded.
“I’m excited for this Saturday to showcase my talents.”
Riddick was also asked what he thinks he does best as a running back and replied:
“I kind of think I have it all. I can run between tackles or outside.”
Though he lacks experience in a college backfield at least we know Riddick does not lack for confidence.
Finally, probably the most awkward moment of the week came when a local TV reporter erroneously congratulated receiver John Goodman for being named a team captain. Goodman had a polite reply.
“I wasn’t named a captain. It’s all good.”