All season long, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly has been talking about avoiding the “noise” of national media attention.
That noise is no longer avoidable.
With previous No. 1 Alabama’s loss to Texas A&M this week, the Fighting Irish moved up to No. 1 in the computer rankings, but are at No. 3 in both polls.
The Irish’s standing in the USA Today coaches poll, however, isn’t Kelly’s fault: Kelly said on Sunday that he voted his team No. 1.
And the Irish are starting to make their case — one Kelly says is rooted in defense.
“Each team has their own distinctions. The distinction of this football team is it’s the No.1 scoring defense in the country,” Kelly said on his conference call with reporters a day after his team’s 21-6 victory over Boston College.
“It’s proven that against very, very good teams all year. ... If you look at national championship-caliber football, you’ve got to look at a defense, and so that’s why we feel strongly that our football team has put themselves in the discussion. We’ll let others decide, but I think we’ve played our way into the discussion.”
Kelly’s case begins with the fact that the Irish have allowed 111 points in 10 games, tied with Alabama for fewest in the nation. He also pointed out that Notre Dame has played every game against an FBS foe; Oregon played Tennessee Tech, and Kansas State played Missouri State — both FCS division teams.
In other topics arising out of Saturday night’s win over Boston College, wide receiver DeVaris Daniels had surgery Sunday morning on a broken clavicle.
Daniels will be lost for the rest of the (regular) season, but the Irish will have him back for a bowl game, however, Kelly said.
Kelly was also pleased with the continued development of sophomore quarterback Everett Golson.
“I think setting his feet, I thought he did a much better job,” Kelly said. “There are areas that we can do a better job with him. And then I like the way he ran north and south. He stuck his foot in the ground and really picked up some key yardage for us in running the football, and I think what we’re going to see here is a guy that can hurt you both at throwing it, escapability and then throwing the football. Ball execution was really good, and if we trend that way and continue, then we’ve got the makings of a quarterback that’s getting to the level we need him to be.”