A former politician, Brian Kelly shines best with a big audience.
The Notre Dame football coach had the biggest media audience of his career Monday at Media Day, even bigger than the one when he was introduced as ND's 28th coach three years ago.
It makes, in his 3rd season, he has Notre Dame playing for a national title. He was asked Monday if he will consider running for Governor of Indiana if the Irish win its first national title since 1988 January 7th in Miami.
"Governor of South Bend," Kelly said with a smile." Is there a Governor of South Bend? I was driving by a muffler place and the sign read 'long live Brian Kelly.' So i have the muffler guy's vote."
Kelly's Irish are underdogs against Alabama despite Notre Dame being the undefeated #1 ranked team in the land but Kelly doesn't see this as an opportunity to use the underdog theme to motivate his guys.
"I've used that technique before but I don't know if its pertinent," Kelly said. "It's a one game deal. Preparation is more important than any fire and brimstone speech I can make. I don't see that as primary than what I'm spending my time on."
Preparation is the primary task for Kelly and that comes by way of quarterback Everett Golson. The first year starting quarterback who has yet to lose a game will be in his biggest spotlight game in three weeks, but Kelly isn't concerned.
"You can't say for certain, there won't be some nervousness," Kelly explained. "But He's been on some key stages. USC and 3 to 4 games on national television--at USC, at Oklahoma or at Michigan State. I would be very surprised that he can't handle the moment. He will be like anyone else, the nerves will settle down. Once you see him smile a little bit, that's when everyone knows he'll be at his best."
Kelly feels Golson has come along way from mid season, when the Irish were still replacing him with Tommy Rees in order to ensure victory.
"There had to be questions at time 'does coach Kelly want me to be the guy here?' is this my job or Tommy Rees' job?" Kelly said of what Golson was probably asking himself.
But Kelly feels Golson now has the confidence that can lead the Irish and he will be needed against one of the top defenses in the country.
"We aren't going to be able to run the football at will against Alabama," Kelly said. "[Everett] has to be a guy that creates plays from the quarterback position."