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Swarbrick gives us a progress report

Jack Swarbrick chatted it up with the South Bend Tribune’s Eric Hansen about the progress Brian Kelly is making and the state of Irish athletics in general. It was a pretty expansive read and you should check out the whole thing, but if you’re short on time, here are the highlights:

On the timing of Brian Kelly’s hiring, in light of the USC / Tennessee situation:

This is fundamentally why you can’t wait. You have to - if you find the right person, and I’m confident we did - have to close that out.

“It’s the same with NASCAR drivers at the end of their season. In every sport, there’s this fluidness, this change. If you don’t control your own fate, someone else is going to control it for you.”

On how the transition to Brian Kelly has gone:

“Oh, spectacularly. I’m really pleased. What I like, first and foremost, is Brian’s sort of systematic approach to each of the elements and getting them done in a very orderly, effective fashion - building a staff, contacting recruits, getting integrated into the university.

“The other thing I love about it is how much he embraces being here, whether it’s having lunch at the South Dining Hall or taking the time to walk through this building (Joyce Center) and meet people. He has just been so good at reaching out to the rest of the Notre Dame family, and that’s been great.”

On flexibility in the 7-4-1 scheduling model:

“We have the goal of the 7-4-1 model, but there may be some years where an opportunity presents itself that we may go to 6-5-1 or 7-5. We’re open to those sorts of modifications.”

On the time table for training table:

“Sooner rather than later. As we’ve come back into the new year, we’re focused on trying to work through the details, but I don’t know exactly when it’ll firm up yet.”

On the impact the Comcast-NBC merger will have on the television contract:

“It certainly impacts us, but it’s too early for any of us to understand exactly how, and that will play out over time. I think it’s very significant in terms of the landscape of major media.

“I think its significance will be great overall. But I can give you a scenario where it’s great. I can give you a scenario where it’s not so great. We just to have to stay engaged and let it play out over time.”

On staying in touch with Charlie Weis:

“No, but a lot of texting back and forth. I sent him a note when he landed Kansas City. He sent me one on New Year’s Eve, so we have not had a phone conversation but do text each other.”

On the contingency plan of bringing back Charlie Weis as the offensive coordinator:

“I wouldn’t describe it as ‘contingency plans.’ That wouldn’t be fair at all. I think if an incoming coach didn’t have a plan for an offensive coordinator, it would have been an interesting conversation, one I would have been happy to facilitate, but there were no plans. We weren’t out there in our search for a coach having that be a contingency, for example.”

Another great job by Eric Hansen. While people complained about Kelly’s timing and the decision making process, Swarbrick was absolutely correct on the necessity to make a quick decision. Notre Dame had their first offer accepted. Tennessee got turned down by the Air Force coach. What a difference 45 days makes...