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.