Captains cleaned the locker room. Exemplary players earned the right to wear green jerseys. `Swat teams’ were created to measure accountability. Losing teams were required to report at 7 a.m. and run.

It was all part of the tough off-season love Brian Kelly introduced as he prepares for his eighth season at Notre Dame.

A lot of this stuff sounds like things a new coach would do. I remember Lou Holtz imposing a boot-camp-like martial law when he arrived at Notre Dame in 1986, intent on picking up the pieces of Gerry Faust’s disappointing regime.

The difference is, Kelly isn’t a new coach—although he sounds like he intends to be after a dismal 4-8 campaign. Would he have been fired if he hadn’t signed a six-year extension in January of 2016 after guiding the Irish to the Fiesta Bowl?

We’ll never know.

What we do know is that Kelly sounds like a man who has turned over a new four-leaf clover. Not necessarily because another ugly season in 2017 might be his last at Notre Dame.

But rather, because he has proven himself to be a top-notch coach, and a feisty competitor who doesn’t like to lose. The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here.