Brian Kelly isn’t worried about his players being distracted by College Gameday or any of the outside noise this week due to Notre Dame’s 5-0 start and #7 ranking.
The Irish are playing Stanford---a team this group has yet to defeat and one Kelly says has physically beat up the Irish over the last several years.
"We'll have to get better as a football team this week,” Kelly said Tuesday. “We need to build on our performance against Miami to beat Stanford."
Kelly feels Stanford’s linebackers are top notch.
"They have really caused havoc with so many teams,” Kelly says. “Not just this year, but last year as well."
On the other side of the ball, Kelly had high praise for Stanford running back Stepfan Taylor who Kelly called “the heart of their football team.”
Notre Dame is ranked 7th in the country at 5-0. Stanford is ranked 17th at 4-1. It’s the first time two Top 20 Associated Press teams are playing two Top 20 academic institutions from the U.S. News and World report.
“It doesn’t get enough attention that you have two outstanding academic institutions that show you can do it in the classroom and on the football field,” Kelly explained.
Kelly has seen first-hand that academics don’t have to be a reason a program can’t win at the highest level.
“From my experience at Notre Dame, no way do I believe you can’t be a competitive BCS football team year in and year out,” Kelly said.
And this week is a major academic week for the Irish who have midterms this week. Kelly says the coaches have to be quite aware of the schedule and be flexible with the players.
Midterms, facing an opponent like Stanford all makes it possible for the Irish to stay focused and not be distracted by the outside world. Kelly says while sometimes he may talk to the media about big picture things, that never comes up with the players.
"We don’t talk from that level of 30,000 feet because it really doesn't do us any good,” Kelly said.
Coverage on Saturday for Notre Dame and Stanford begins at 1pm on WNDU-TV with Inside Notre Dame Football. Countdown to Kickoff takes over at 1:30 live from Notre Dame Stadium with Jeff, Angelo and Chuck. At 2:30, NBC presents an NFL Films special that documents a behind the scenes look at the Irish program from the Michigan game to the Miami game called “Onward Notre Dame: South Bend to Chicago.” Then it’s Notre Dame and Stanford at 3:30, all on Channel 16.