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Brian Kelly: No, the Alabama game did not expose Manti Te’o

Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Kelly stands with linebacker Te'o during their NCAA college football game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in South Bend, Indiana Reuters

Before Manti Te’o was exposed as a gullible dope who fell for a bizarre hoax, he was exposed in Notre Dame’s national championship game loss to Alabama as a player who can get run over by elite competition. But that’s not how Fighting Irish coach Brian Kelly sees it.

Asked by Andrew Siciliano on NFL Network if he senses that NFL personnel people think Te’o was exposed in the Alabama game, Kelly answered, “No.”

Kelly then went on to say that just because Alabama played well and Notre Dame didn’t play well in one game, that doesn’t mean Notre Dame’s players can’t compete with the best, in college or in the NFL.

“I at first felt that we got pushed around a little bit, but as we watched more film, I think our guys didn’t play their very best, and Alabama obviously played very well in that game,” Kelly said. “But I think as people watched more film, and saw Manti Te’o and his body of work over the last four years, they came to their own conclusion that this is a very, very good football player.”

Te’o was a very good football player for most of his senior season. But he wasn’t going up against future NFL offensive linemen very often in his senior season — until the Alabama game. That one game may not have exposed Te’o, but it at least raises concerns that when Te’o faces the best competition, he disappears.

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54 Responses to “Brian Kelly: No, the Alabama game did not expose Manti Te’o”
  1. bmore44 says: Apr 16, 2013 6:39 AM

    Lol he disappears. Like his girlfriend. poor dude is doomed. Lol

  2. Iknoweverything says: Apr 16, 2013 6:40 AM

    Umm, Brian….. Yes it did.

  3. billsfan1 says: Apr 16, 2013 6:40 AM

    makes sense… why not wait until a week before the draft to come out and defend your star player… Im not saying its true or false, nor am I saying he doesnt mean it, but timing is everything and timing has NOT been in Te’o’s favor in any situation the past 6 months..

  4. stoutfiles says: Apr 16, 2013 6:46 AM

    The Alabama game didnt expose him; Deadspin did.

  5. pinchekeith says: Apr 16, 2013 6:52 AM

    Why does Te’o get all the blame?

    Even good linebackers can have trouble taking on lineman in the pro level, and Notre Dames defensive line left it so that Te’o was running into lineman throughout the game. Where was his defensive line to help him? Where was the rest of the defense? I think its unrealistic to say one linebacker should take on a line of NFL prospects by himself.

  6. cooklynn17 says: Apr 16, 2013 6:54 AM

    We are talking about the 2013 game, correct?

  7. thesaint257 says: Apr 16, 2013 6:54 AM

    I’m not a college football coach but I am an experienced football fan. 29 years of experience! And in my expert opinion, Te’o was exposed in that Alabama game

  8. remyje says: Apr 16, 2013 6:55 AM

    Everyone Else: Yes, the Alabama game did expose Manti Te’o

  9. thesteelers says: Apr 16, 2013 7:00 AM

    Yeah, it did.

  10. therealkenjones says: Apr 16, 2013 7:19 AM

    People saying T’eo got exposed are just like the people who said Jamarcus Russell had his “coming out party” in the 2006 Sugar Bowl.

    People love to disregard a player’s entire body of work and say the last game defines everything about him. There’s tape of Ray Lewis getting boxed out by guards and missing tackles, Tom Brady throwing 3 INTs and throwing tantrums on the sideline, etc. I guess they got exposed, too.

    I think Manti T’eo will be a very good–if not great–instinctive, high-motor ILB. He can help a lot of teams. I’d be happy to have him on the Chargers next to Donald Butler.

  11. enochmh2 says: Apr 16, 2013 7:25 AM

    It just showed how vastly overrated he was,i was not surprised at all by his performance

  12. spankygreen says: Apr 16, 2013 7:42 AM

    This guy was a finalist for the Heisman for gods’s sake….He did not give a good account of himself and should for that fact alone…..He met the best set of athlete’s all year and did not do well against them.

    in college, most schedules are loaded within powder puff teams. ND had quite a few….I think they only faced 1 or two good teams all season unlike the gauntlet which is the SEC…..

    In the NFL you face Bama type talent every week, so if you take his performance in the one game with good talent across the board, then one can only guess that ole Manti is in for a rude awakening on Sunday’s…….

  13. thedoubleentandres says: Apr 16, 2013 7:50 AM

    Im so saddened by this asinine lowering the helmet rule for running backs…how magical would it have been next year to watch someone like Marshawn Lynch Trucking the $*1t outta Te’o

  14. thethunderofgunns says: Apr 16, 2013 8:00 AM

    He was exposed and humiliated.

    I hope he never wears Silver and Black.

  15. ravenatorlikesboysbeeholez says: Apr 16, 2013 8:16 AM

    This poor guy set the world record for letting a snowball roll into Mt. Everest. How many of us have lied and let something go much further than it should? That kind of guilt and shame is emotionally/physically debillitating. I love Manti’s attitude, humility, and passion. Even if he’s not Ray Lewis he’s at least Paul Poslusnzy. He can be one of my inside backers any day of the week.

  16. raiderufan says: Apr 16, 2013 8:22 AM

    Te’o should be perfectly fine with all the junk floating around him.

    Chances are that a drop gets him to a pretty good team looking for one piece and anywhere in the first means a contract full of money most of us can’t imagine.

    And you know what I think? I think much like many of the guys allowed to drop for reason that really aren’t reasons he’ll succeed…Marino dropped….Suggs dropped….those are just 2 that popped into my head but many many more exist and he didn’t murder anyone or get multiple DUI’s. He also is allowed one bad game in which his whole team had a bad game.

    I think someone is getting a final piece type of steal if they want him in the end of the first.

  17. Michael Trush says: Apr 16, 2013 8:22 AM

    Everyone wants to condemn T’eo for his lacklustre performance against the Tide. And rightly so. He played poorly.

    What I have not seen yet is an example of a linebacker who DID play well against Alabama.

    Kevin Minter got rolled in Tiger Stadium in early November and Alec Ogletree was completely overmatched in the SEC Title game.

    If the top three ILB’s in this draft looked bad matched up against Alabama, it might say more about the Tide than these prospects.

  18. mazblast says: Apr 16, 2013 8:31 AM

    This is more proof that Brian Kelly doesn’t see things that everyone else knows are there.

    “There’s not much wind today.”

  19. steeelfann says: Apr 16, 2013 8:34 AM

    I have seen Ray Lewis get pancaked a myriad of times by fullbacks, not only offensive linemen. Lewis is one of the best ever in my opinion.

    All this T’eo talk over 1 game, especially again at this point in time, is merely media drivel..

  20. gbar22 says: Apr 16, 2013 8:42 AM

    Calling someone a “gullible dope” what a classy writer

  21. jack3dsd says: Apr 16, 2013 8:42 AM

    the whole notre dame looked like they hadn’t even put on pads in a long long time whereas I’m sure the nicktator had his players popping each other two weeks out from the game

  22. stigman2012 says: Apr 16, 2013 8:49 AM

    Brian Kelly is technically correct. The Alabama game exposed Brian Kelly and his coaching staff. It exposed the true difference in recruiting talent between N.D. and semi-pro SEC schools. It exposed the entire program. Teo wasn’t the only one that played poorly. The game plan stunk. The entire team was out of their league.

  23. thegenoatkinsdiet says: Apr 16, 2013 8:51 AM

    Let’s see… Golden Tate, Jimmy Clausen, Brady Quinn, Jeff Faine… What’s to worry about a highly touted pick from Notre Dame?

  24. kordogg says: Apr 16, 2013 8:52 AM

    Why do people hate this guy? My guess is because he played for Notre Dame. People always hate the team that gets the most press and are talked about like they can do no wrong I get it. Give the guy a chance. He played at D-1 and is getting drafted. This guy worked hard to get this opportunity and the whole Notre Dame defensive line left the linebackers out to dry. He missed tackles but one game doesn’t destroy everything he did. He had an off game but maybe I’m wrong and he was exposed but still he hasn’t even played one preseason game yet and you’re all screaming bust. Let’s see what happens before saying anything drastic.

  25. bills4 says: Apr 16, 2013 8:56 AM

    So what you are saying Mr. Kelly is that he was always this bad. Gotcha!

  26. getyourownname says: Apr 16, 2013 8:58 AM

    What else would a coach be expected to say to the media about one of his star players if he hoped to keep recruiting in the future?

    Now, what would have been interesting is a smart follow-up, like “So coach, you are saying your defensive line is not NFL caliber players?”

  27. bobzilla1001 says: Apr 16, 2013 8:59 AM

    Any college team that nearly lost (at home, no less) to the University of Pittsburgh should not have been playing for the National title.
    Notre Dame’s entire football team and coaching staff were exposed by Pitt long before that god-awful game against ‘Bama.

  28. mgmac says: Apr 16, 2013 9:00 AM

    this from the same coach that took NO responsibilty for the student filmers death

  29. teambringitstrong says: Apr 16, 2013 9:02 AM

    Alabama exposed an ass whupping disguised as a National Championship game.

  30. Rick Spielman is a Magician says: Apr 16, 2013 9:05 AM

    Not really a Te’o fan, but it really seems like that game is being overblown because everybody saw it. Did none of the other top draft prospects ever have a bad game? If so, they probably had it against a team that was worse than Alabama. Look at the body of work.

  31. massappeal12345 says: Apr 16, 2013 9:07 AM

    It looked like one team was high on deer piss and the other one wasn’t.

  32. dtrb10 says: Apr 16, 2013 9:09 AM

    Expect no less that Rick Spielman will draft this guy. Doh k like he wasn’t exposed in that game. Was he watching the same game as the rest of America?

  33. israelvaquera says: Apr 16, 2013 9:34 AM

    Everybody’s acting like that one game defined his whole career. The whole team had a bad game. Not just him. And last time I checked, USC, Oklahoma, and Stanford are pretty big programs with solid players as well. Everyones acting like they played conference usa teams all year.

  34. fdhamilton says: Apr 16, 2013 9:36 AM

    Some of you amaze me, a powderpuff schedule…..it was in the top ten in the country…..do I think he’s slow, yes, but he has a nose for the ball….you don’t get that many interceptions by being lucky. First round material is questionable, but still a very good linebacker.

  35. EJ says: Apr 16, 2013 9:41 AM

    I have watched clips from that game. There was good and there was bad plays made by Te’o, but I’ll say one thing, he seemed to be by himself out there. His lineman weren’t doing their jobs, they were not soaking up blocks, they were not making any sort of penetration. If you ask me, It looked as if the whole ND Defense was being tossed around, not just Te’o.

  36. burntorangehorn says: Apr 16, 2013 9:48 AM

    therealkenjones nailed it. People who only see highlights, or only see one game, or only see one other sample of a player’s body of work quickly jump to the conclusion that this is what the player does all the time. They disregard the empirical for the anecdotal. It’s a logical disconnect.

    Teo wasn’t exposed. He clearly did have a down game, but more than that, his tackles weren’t occupying any blockers, so he had no room to work. That’s not an excuse, but an explanation.

    If this were a player in consideration for a top-ten pick, yes, I’d say that game would hurt him more. But even before the Alabama game, I don’t think anyone projected him in that range. You know a guy in the 25-45 range is going to have some holes in his game, down performances, etc., and heck, even your top-five picks have those. His performance vs. Alabama was slightly disappointing for what I would’ve expected of him, but considering the context and the rest of his body of work, I don’t think it should really hurt him much. He’s still a 25-45 player, IMO.

  37. wdnemesis says: Apr 16, 2013 9:50 AM

    He just does not want to land with a bad team.

  38. fighting69th says: Apr 16, 2013 10:15 AM

    London Fletcher is undersized, and slow…..

  39. pjrhc says: Apr 16, 2013 10:18 AM

    I think he’ll be decent. Reminds me a lot of Lofa Tatupu, really.

  40. taylormade311 says: Apr 16, 2013 11:02 AM

    Maybe this isn’t the best comparison, but I watched the SEC championship game and Jarvis Jones got annihilated by Alabama too. Maybe Alabama’s line was just damn good, its not like any LB this year against them dominated.

  41. bighittz56 says: Apr 16, 2013 11:44 AM

    Calling someone a “gullible dope” what a classy writer

    – Said the exact same thing earlier and got moderated. You will likely see your comment disappear. They don’t much like criticism here.

  42. dashrendar1 says: Apr 16, 2013 11:45 AM

    Ha yeah ND plays nothing but cupcakes huh? They only played Michigan, Michigan St, Oklahoma, Miami FL, Stanford, and USC last year.

    Oh yeah and ND has never played a 1AA school, ever. Wheras the Alabamas, Floridas, Ohio States and Michigans do year after year after year.

    The one thing you actually cant make fun of ND for IS their schedule. They played the 2 best teams in the Pac 12, 2 Top teams in the Big 10, The best team in the Big 12 and “down right now” Miami FL

  43. dean919929 says: Apr 16, 2013 11:54 AM

    I love how you all say Manti was exposed in the National Championship while he had 10+ tackles and was the only sign of life on a whole defense that was exposed.

  44. swagger52 says: Apr 16, 2013 11:54 AM

    If NFL Caliber Guards make it past college DL, then they will manage an NFL Caliber LB.
    Ray Lewis needed Sam Adams and Sirigusa, then Ngata.

    Ti’O is going to be a force in the NFL. He takes the correct angle to the ball and nails the ball carrier square. That is the exposure that I care about. I hope the Ravens draft him.

  45. bigj7769 says: Apr 16, 2013 12:00 PM

    Their offensive line bullied their entire defense! Plus Te’o couldn’t bring down Lacey to save his life. He looked out of place the whole game.

  46. whatjusthapped says: Apr 16, 2013 12:07 PM

    You need to keep in mind that Kelly is constantly recruiting the next wave of football players to come to ND.

    If he admits that Te’o was exposed, its more of a knock on the ND program. So his only option is to deny and deflect and hope his next class of recruits can play better in the big games.

    That said, I hope Te’o becomes a Viking. He will do well in the Minneapolis night life, wink, wink.

  47. raiderlyfe510 says: Apr 16, 2013 12:08 PM

    “Gullible dope”

    Gotta love the level of journalism on this site. It’ll be hard to judge a player solely based on how he played in a game after a month and a half layoff.

  48. majormeatcurtains says: Apr 16, 2013 12:08 PM

    His girlfriend is not gone. She’s using her new found fame to publish her life story, penned by a ghost writer and available soon as a e-book for the Kindle Fire and Nook e-readers.

  49. ivo11 says: Apr 16, 2013 12:30 PM

    The earliest i would draft him is in the 3rd round but he will obviously be gone by then which is why i wouldnt bother touching this guy.

    Didnt face much NFL talent his senior year

    I didnt see anything special from him in the Nat Championship game

    Combine numbers were just as bad as he looked in the Nat championship

  50. chomper33 says: Apr 16, 2013 1:17 PM

    Who did Alabama’s offensive line not make look bad playing MLB? Minter and Ogletree both got overpowered. The whole Bama o line was nfl caliber with Warmack being pro bowl caliber. Those saying he struggled because that was the only good team they played, USC and Stanford are solid teams. Oh and how many of you have played linebacker before? It’s pretty damn hard when your defensive line is getting zero penetration and not filling any gaps.

  51. melkipershero says: Apr 16, 2013 1:53 PM

    Teo ended up with 10 tackles..that should show the tackle stat is overrated. He only had 2-3 SOLO tackles. He was 57th in the country in tackles per game. Yes, what a stud.

    Ogletree actually played damn good in the SEC Championship. ND gets all hype because of the money the bring in to the sport. If you pick Teo round 1 you will be throwing away a pick, like Brandon Weedon.

  52. cometkazie says: Apr 16, 2013 2:48 PM

    Consider the source.

  53. onbucky96 says: Apr 16, 2013 5:11 PM

    Sure. And the “Experts” on Ancient Aliens on History Channel ate telling the truth. Whatever.

  54. rheffero says: Apr 17, 2013 10:26 AM

    OK, then so the failure of so many of SEC defensive talent, how many first round LB’s (Upshaw 40 was even slower than Teo!), Ogeltree was “exposed for 350 yards”, Jones was “exposed” with his 4.9. never mind the LSU LB’s who ran slower than lineman.

    Lacy is the latest over rated Bama RB Richardson, Ingram (break a 1000 anyone)

    Teo had a great college career, and a bad game. End of story.

    For the SEC trolls, do we really need we go through every overrated 1st round defensive pick from that conference that was an absolute failure in the NFL to try and make the point.

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