Don’t mess with tradition
Wayne Belock | Tuesday, October 25, 2011
It felt like an away game, not a Notre Dame home game.
The effect of the misguided effort to artificially increase crowd noise resulted in a blowout loss to our archrival that we have not beaten at home for a decade. While USC coach Lane Kiffin focused on preparation, our staff was preoccupied with its latest effort at meddling with Irish tradition, confusing our team into its worst performance of the season.
Coach Kelly may have seen his first Notre Dame game last year. I saw my first of over 200 games in 1969. As a Double Domer and parent of two Notre Dame graduates, I saw Parseghian, Devine and Holtz win because they focused on football and respected tradition. I experienced deafening crowd noise when the stadium seated 59,000. The issue is not the crowd. It’s attention to detail, preparation, not failing to play hard at the beginning of the game, using timeouts and not quitting (Michigan went 80 yards in 30 seconds; Auburn beat Utah St. down two touchdowns with two minutes left.) Overlooked in the effort to copy the Michigan atmosphere is that we took the lead with 30 seconds left. Irish mistakes lost that game. Artificial stadium noise didn’t win it.
The misplaced concern over crowd noise ignores the fact that our team feels comfortable and plays well at Notre Dame Stadium. Look at the Michigan State game — arguably our best game of the season over a quality opponent. No gimmicks. Just solid football.
New truck, new Player Walk route, new helmets do not win games — solid football does.
Want to increase crowd noise? Play better. Want more musical noise? Properly mic the band. We have the most famous fight song in college football and best band in the nation — use them. Notre Dame is a family. The decision makers need to remember that.
Notre Dame requires excellence from its students and staff. We should expect no less from our football program.
Class of 1979, 1982