Notre Dame lost to Michigan last week but showed huge improvements over the week from last season's Michigan loss. While coach Charlie Weiss complained all season about officials (and the fans followed his lead, unable to accept that the team simply did not play very well), the Irish continued to demonstrate an entitlement mentality and proved they were not very good. This season, Brian Kelly has made it clear the loss was on his players, and has not made any excuses.
Notre Dame likely would have won if not for a Dayne Crist injury on the first possession of the game, yet Brian Kelly has not used that as an excuse. Weiss left the program worse than he found it, but Kelly has not used that as an excuse. Kelly demands excellence from his players and himself, he wants victories, and he wants accountability.
Irish fans should be proud of their first year coach for handling the situation correctly, for demonstrating that a strong personality and a good attitude have not vanished from Notre Dame. The players have a role model leading them. They are looking for national championships rather than NFL pay-days. They are playing for the blue and gold, for their teammates, for their fans and their classmates, rather than a higher draft pick.
While these improvements have not yet resulted in on-field victories, they are the qualities that the great Notre Dame coaches have always instilled. These are the high-quality personality traits that Irish fans have not seen in years, and that has resulted in Notre Dame fans being some of the worst in the nation during the Weiss era.
Win or lose on the field today, Notre Dame players and students have already won in a much higher place where it matters more.