Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Kelly, players putting distractions aside
By Matt Fortuna
Brian Kelly received a card from Ara Parseghian this week, just like he does every week. Kelly picks Lou Holtz's brain from time to time as well, seeking advice from coaches who have won national titles at Notre Dame.
The gestures aren't limited to legends, though.
"Charlie Weis knows Notre Dame," Kelly said during his Tuesday news conference. "I got a wonderful note from Charlie last week. It was heartfelt, and it talked about the seniors and wishing them the best, and it was really a terrific note from Charlie. It was very classy. We get a lot of that communication with the former Notre Dame coaches and it's really nice."
As much as the players have been showered with attention in class and online, as much as campus has been buzzing about being home to the nation's No. 1 team, Kelly has heard from all corners as well, saying he received a handful of congratulatory texts when Kansas State and Oregon fell and that the communication lines have been open with Notre Dame icons past and present.
"I get my weekly card from Ara each week; he hand writes a note to me," Kelly said. "The great thing is he's so unassuming. He's done this and been there, but he'll write a note like he doesn't want to assume anything. He's never given any advice, just talking as a Notre Dame fan and alum. It's just great to get that combination with him.
"As it relates to Lou, I talk to him about some specific things that I would like his opinion on. Ara's much more of a fan, supportive. I invite him up every home game to my box and he politely declines because he thinks he's got the best seat in front of the television. That's our conversation. And then with Lou it's more about some specific things."
The players, meanwhile, have noticed the No. 1 sign lit up atop Grace Hall, so Kelly hasn't ignored the obvious.
He insists, however, that whatever celebration period there may have been is now over, and the team is back to the usual business of reviewing its Wake Forest tape and preparing for Saturday's game at USC.
"It's a lot better when that light's on than when it's not on," Kelly said. "I'm sure it's better going to class. I'm sure it's better in the dorms. I'm sure it's a better feeling, a more positive approach to everything. That's unquestionable. But does it affect way they way they come to work every day? No, it does not."