I'm not interested in judging Kelly as a public speaker or as a politician or a witness subject to cross-examination.
Your first two sentences pretty much sum it up.
I don't find Kelly's tendency to throw his players under the bus consistent with the character necessary to be successful or acceptable for a very public representative of Notre Dame. Frankly, I think his propensity for doing so is well-established and whether this particular episode does or doesn't qualify for that lengthy list of transgressions is of little concern to me.
As you allude in your first two sentences, there is no satisfactory answer. A coach with Kelly's experience and at this point in his tenure shouldn't be figuring out in player exit interviews that the S&C program is inadequate. A coach with Kelly's experience shouldn't be just now figuring out that we've done a crappy job of developing Trumbetti (and countless others).
There may or may not be answers -- but under these circumstances, none of the answers is satisfactory.
With respect to Kelly's Duke post-game comments about Van Gorder, if that's the best he can do to dodge a question until he can figure out he's going to fire him the next morning .... well, then, he's pretty much as stupid as I feared. For the love of God, it's not like he should have been caught off guard by a question about Van Gorder.
What I suspect -- although this is one more thing we're unlikely to ever know with moral certainty -- is that Swarbrick forced Kelly to fire Van Gorder. Even Kelly isn't crazy and stubborn enough to defend Van Gorder with that level of defiance and smugness only to fire him of his own volition 18 hours later.
And it's funny, most people are at least implicitly taking Kelly at his word that Trumbetti is now being properly developed -- and we're more than two weeks away from the first snap of the season.
That's the beauty of Notre Dame football in the post-Holtz Era: every single problem that we failed to recognize and fix before the final snap of the preceding season is magically "fixed" every August. Until it's not.