When Brady Quinn was the quarterback of Notre Dame, he experienced a head coaching change.
Although Tyrone Willingham being fired and replaced by Charlie Weis before the 2005 season doesn’t compare exactly, Quinn sounded off after Brian Kelly left the program late Monday night to take the LSU head coaching job.
“This was about money,” Quinn, currently an analyst for FOX Sports, said on 2 Pros and Cup of Joe. “This was about ego, him looking at LSU and saying: ‘I’ve played against them. I know what they can recruit. I know the difference in restrictions that you have, the hurdles you have to jump over at Notre Dame versus LSU to recruit and I want to try and go win a National Championship.’ And he might feel like he has a better chance there.
“But the irony of it is his team could literally be playing for one this year and really the next two years. They have two Top 5 recruiting classes right now. So he’s leaving all of that. I think the way he did it was more about his ego and how he feels he was treated at times at Notre Dame.”
Notre Dame is 11-1 and was No. 6 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings that came out Tuesday night. And though the program has finished its regular season schedule, the Irish could theoretically make it into the four-team playoff if teams above them lose this weekend in conference championship games.
“At the end of the day, you don’t leave the way he did, literally out on the road recruiting, leaving a recruit’s house after this news breaks and having other coaches out there who are on the road recruiting,” Quinn continued. “You don’t leave in a classless way like that, after becoming the all-time winningest coach, unless there’s more to it and you want to try to spurn, or you want to try and do this in a conniving way.”
Kelly, who was introduced at LSU Wednesday afternoon, has faced harsh criticism over his departure, which included a late-night text message Tuesday night to Notre Dame’s players in which he apologized for not telling them the news in person.
On Wednesday, Kelly met with the players in a team meeting and offered a short address before he left.
“I don’t really know what there is to explain,” Quinn added. “I mean, you’re leaving these players. And again, with a chance to at least play in a New Year’s 6 game — they may have a chance to play for a National Championship.”
No. 3 Alabama (11-1) will face No. 1 Georgia (12-0) in the SEC Championship Game Saturday and a Crimson Tide loss would help the Irish cause.
The No. 4 Cincinnati Bearcats play the No. 16 Houston Cougars in the American Athletic Conference Championship Game and No. 5 Oklahoma State plays No. 9 Baylor in the Big 12 Championship.
“I know we talk about players opting out of bowl games because they have the chance of an injury risk if they go to the NFL,” Quinn said. “This is entirely different. This is just a guy walking out. It’s a classless, classless move.”