Did hoax affect Teo’s play?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.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — 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 the Philadelphia Eagles was mainly to get more information about coaching in the NFL, and his heart remains in college football. He’s also working on a contract extension with Notre Dame.
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 contacted athletic director Jack Swarbrick immediately after Te’o told him what happened.
“Obviously, we all heard the story. It just sounded so crazy that the first thing I wanted to make sure we did was get the right people on top of this immediately,” he said. “That was my first thought, to find out ‘What the heck is going on here.’”