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Lessons From Napoleon Help Notre Dame Ignore 'Outside Noise'

Notre Dame Head Coach Brian Kelly has repeatedly stated how important it is for his team to ignore the 'outside noise' as they go about their weekly routine of preparing for and playing in highly watched and scrutinized college football matchups.

This has been particularly trying given all the negativity that surrounded his team after the 45-14 loss at Michigan and the early-season struggles of quarterback Ian Book.

Brian Kelly walking into Notre Dame Stadium before his team's matchup with Navy (Photos by Andris Visocks)
Brian Kelly walking into Notre Dame Stadium before his team's matchup with Navy (Photos by Andris Visocks)

Kelly also wants them to avoid overly positive praise and stay even-keeled or, as he and his team often put it, be the same person every day, no matter what's going on around them.

To help his team accomplish this feat, he provided them with wisdom from one of the most famous military leaders of all time, Napoleon Bonaparte.

"We're trying to just equate some things that have happened in history and one of the things Napoleon made a habit of was that he wouldn't read the mail for three days," Kelly said at his weekly radio show. "That was because a lot of the mail had things in it that would generally get taken care of by the time he got to the mail three days later."

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This lesson applies to the 2019 Notre Dame Football team according to Kelly, who says that down the road, all the criticism his team has received will be taken care of by their play, so there is no need for them to listen to it in the moment.

This can be applied to Book. After the losses at Michigan, many people were calling for Phil Jurkovec to get a shot at the starting quarterback position. By listening to that noise, Book would have been accomplishing nothing.

But a few weeks later he took care of it by throwing nine touchdowns combined against Duke and Navy in blowout victories over quality defenses.

"What was important at that time is not important later," Kelly said. "So a lot of the things that were said at that time were really just [seemed important] in that moment, and they're different now and some times it's good just to not read the mail.

"Unless there are bills. You should pay the bills."

Boston College is a "Bigger Navy" When it Comes to Running the Ball

After a dominating 52-20 win over Navy, Notre Dame will now face another team that prefers to run the football and, despite having different offensive schemes, the Boston College Eagles actually has some strong similarities to the Midshipmen.

"BC in a lot of ways is a bigger Navy team," Kelly said. "They're going to run the football. If they can and it works their way, they could run the ball as much as 85% of the time. You're going to get a similar kind of try to control the ball through running the football, condense formations and then take some shots, very similar to Navy."

Twice this season, Boston College has run the ball at least 80 percent of the time. Both times this resulted in blowout victories.

The first came in a 45-24 blowout victory against North Carolina State, where Boston College ran the ball on 60 of its 75 offensive plays (80 percent) and gained 429 yards on the ground.

Two weeks later against Syracuse, a 58-27 win, the Eagles ran the ball on 65 out of 75 percent of offensive plays (86.7 percent) and 496 yards on the ground. In this game, they also were able to use the run to set up several big plays through the air, completing eight passes for 195 yards, an average of 24.4 yards per reception.

The only game where the Eagles had close to a 50/50 run-pass ratio was in a 48-24 blowout loss to Kansas, in which the team threw the ball 41 times and ran it 47.

Kelly also compared the Boston College rushing attack to Georgia's in terms of physicality. The Eagles employ two prolific running backs that weigh more than 240 pounds in AJ Dillon and David Bailey. Combined they have accumulated 2,211 rushing yards on the season, almost 500 more than the entire Notre Dame team.

Chase Claypool has had Three Dislocated Fingers this Season

Chase Claypool has had an outstanding senior season and, in 10 games, has caught 49 passes for 768 yards and nine touchdowns. He's averaging 15.7 yards per reception.

But Claypool has really gone up to another level over the past three weeks, where he's caught 20 passes for 332 yards and five touchdowns.

What's even more impressive is that he's played much of the season with some pretty serious injuries, at least as far as a wide receiver is concerned.

"He's played with three dislocated fingers this year," "He easily could be a guy that didn't play on a couple of occasions this year because of those dislocations. But he is just one tough competitive guy that just keeps playing no matter what the situation. He loves to play the game of football.

"He impacts the game not only from catching the football but runs after the catch blocking."

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