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Editorial: It’s too early in the N.D. climb to panic

Published 10:45pm Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Thursday, Sept. 23, 2010

It’s hardly panic time for Notre Dame football fans, but that won’t stop some of them.

Brian Kelly’s first team is off to a 1-2 start after the Fighting Irish were “tricked” by Michigan State last Saturday in overtime.

Notre Dame’s woes could get even bigger after Saturday when the Stanford Cardinal come to town with a perfect record and a No. 16 national ranking.

Stanford, coached by former University of Michigan standout quarterback Jim Harbaugh, is looking good so far in 2010.

The Cardinals are aggressive, well-coached and have plenty of talent on both sides of the football.

Starting quarterback Andrew Luck is one of the top players in the country and his name is already drawing Heisman Trophy mention.

Notre Dame fans must take a deep breath and roll with the punches as the Fighting Irish undergo the growing pains of a new system on both offense and defense.

At times this season Notre Dame has looked pretty good on the gridiron, while at other times it looks like a team that doesn’t have a great deal of experience and one that is still trying to adjust to a new coach.

Fighting Irish faithful should also remember that Lou Holtz started out 5-6 his first season and then went 8-4 and 12-0, winning the national championship on 1988.

Perhaps they should also take a step back and think about the previous three coaches — Bob Davie, Tyrone Willingham and Charlie Weis.

They all started with high expectations, but were not able to keep up the pace.

Davie ended up 35-25, Willingham 21-15 and Weis 35-27.

Meanwhile, the slow-starting Holtz ended up 100-30-2 in his 11 seasons.

Now we are not predicting that Kelly will end up with a record similar to Holtz’s or that he will win the national title in his third season.

What we are saying is that it takes time to build a championship-caliber football team and you have to do it step-by-step.

This first step may or may not turn out the way Irish fans want, but if you are patient, we are sure you will be rewarded with a team of which you can be extremely proud.

One that returns to the top of the college football mountain and its rightful place among the nation’s elite programs.

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