Blue and Gold Illustrated

December 2015 Issue

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 28 of 92

BY LOU SOMOGYI E very season in football usually marks the birth of a catchphrase for that campaign. At Notre Dame this has ranged from "Tradition Never Grad‑ uates" prior to the 3‑9 meltdown in 2007 to the this year's "Culture Beats Scheme" mantra, which reportedly was swiped from Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly back in 2014. In August, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly explained his affinity for the statement and its purpose — to create an atmosphere that lives up to the name of "Fighting Irish." "It's not X's and O's," Kelly said. "It's not individuals. It's not any‑ thing about singular. It's Team 127 [in Notre Dame's history]. It's the c u l t u re o f t h i s p ro g r a m , w h i c h means you hold each other account‑ able. There is an attention to detail. The mission is more important than keeping your guys happy … and that goes to culture and that mindset. "We know we've got a collection of good players. That's not going to win. But culture will win. If every‑ body's bought into that culture; if ev‑ erybody's bought into team. … Some guys are going to have to give up some carries. Some guys are going to have to give up some accolades for this team to get to the playoffs. That's why we push that messaging." In summary, it is another way of saying the whole must be greater than the sum of its parts. That has been put to the test this year when close to two dozen top players have been lost at various times with various injuries or other rea‑ sons — yet as the 10‑1 Irish departed Thanksgiving weekend to Stanford, it was still legitimately in the hunt to make the four‑team College Football Playoff that will be announced Dec. 6. Notre Dame's injuries have been so extensive and the players' resiliency following them so impressive that Kelly compared the situation to a Revolution‑ ary War battle heading into the regular‑ season finale at Stanford Nov. 28. Two more prime figures were lost Hurting unit MarcHes On In the 2015 battle of attrition, Brian Kelly has highlighted Notre Dame's culture

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