Eight weeks ago Brian Kelly deferred comment on how to get Notre Dame Stadium louder. He began holding Thursday practices there this season so the aura of the place wouldn't be quite so bright when his players took the field two days after. The school then launched its "Take a StaND" initiative to engage the crowd, and the atmosphere has since become a non-story following end-of-game scenes against Michigan and Stanford that will be remembered for years to come.
Winning takes care of a lot of things, but after the Irish won by 17 Saturday night in the house of the then-No. 8 team in the country, it is worth wondering why their four home victories have been by a total of just 20 points.
"There's a lot of layers to the question," Kelly said. "I don't want to make more out of it. I think teams that come into Notre Dame Stadium play their very, very best. We have to match that intensity. And we have to do it each and every weekend, because it is a battle. There's no question.
"But our players know that, and we're in the process of understanding how important it is to prepare even for our home games in the same fashion. You know, yes, it's at home. It's easier, you're sleeping in your own bed. But our guys know that they have to play with a lot of energy at home as well."
Notre Dame's four victories away from home have been by 112 points. Quarterback Everett Golson has turned the ball over just once outside of South Bend and has never been pulled for performance or injury-related reasons. His three home starts feature five turnovers, two yankings and a concussion that forced him to sit the end of one game and miss the next one.
Still, with his team hanging onto the No. 3 BCS spot by a thread and with three teams sporting a combined 10-14 record awaiting the next three weeks, Kelly is following the same rules he has directed toward his players when it comes to avoiding the noise, meaning he is worried more about internal improvement than external beauty points.
"Sports information director," he said, pointing to media-relations director Brian Hardin. "I let him worry about that. He'll come in my office and give me his opinion on it, but I really do not waste any of my time during the day on those issues because I really don't, first of all, have the time to do it. And I've got great people that can fill me in on all those things, and that's their job to feed you guys all that information as it relates to the politics.
"I got out of politics once. I'm not getting back in it."