Kelly: Te'o didn't show signs of hoax stress
BY TOM COYNE Associated Press
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
1/30/13 at 5:16 AM
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o didn't show any signs of being affected by the girlfriend hoax leading up to the BCS title game, but his play indicates it may have taken a toll, coach Brian Kelly said Tuesday.
"Hindsight is 20-20. I didn't think going into the game he was affected by it. But he didn't play his best. Alabama had something to do with that, clearly. But I really don't know," Kelly said.
"It's a lot to weigh on the shoulders of somebody. I think we can make the leap that maybe it did. But I think Manti would know for sure."
Te'o said in an interview with ESPN after the news of the hoax broke that it did not affect his performance in the title game blowout.
Kelly spoke to reporters Tuesday by conference call for the first time since the Irish were beaten 42-14 by Alabama in the BCS title game on Jan. 7. He said his interview with the Philadelphia Eagles was mainly to get more information about coaching in the NFL, and his heart remains in college football.
Kelly said so far everything that has come out about the girlfriend hoax matches up with what Te'o told him when he called him on Dec. 26.
Kelly said he wasn't sure what to think initially. Despite all that's happened, Kelly said he will still remember Te'o as one of the best teammates and leaders he's been around in 22 years of coaching.
"He showed the way how to be a great teammate. His work ethic, his commitment, all of those things," he said. "He was special to coach."
Kelly said despite losing by 28 to Alabama, he's still excited about the Notre Dame football program.
"We know that we're capable of getting back to the national championship game," he said. "And we started that journey two weeks ago."
Original Print Headline: Kelly: Te'o didn't show signs of hoax