Noie: When it comes to Notre Dame football, it's time ...

Tom Noie
South Bend Tribune

A $400 million renovation project in and around Notre Dame Stadium has delivered plenty of fancy stuff of today and tomorrow for a college football program that too often has found itself stuck in yesterday.

There is an exclusive club on the south end. Members only, please. Big buildings on the east and west sides. Stadium suites with sweeping views on campus. VIP seating where the media once called home. New concourses. Better bathrooms. Updated seating areas. A massive video board that takes football fans into this century. The Campus Crossorads project nears completion under rave reviews.

What there isn't, at least in plain view around the seating bowl when the video and ribbons boards are turned off, is a clock, one that's been ticking on a Notre Dame program to again be good. Really good. Right now. This year. Next year. The following year.

What time is it?

Time for Brian Kelly to stop reinventing himself and his program as the Irish head coach and start winning games. A lot of them. Games he should win, and maybe a few that he shouldn’t.

Time for Kelly to show why athletic director Jack Swarbrick has so much faith in him when a growing chunk of the fan base believes it’s blind.

Time for the program's six new assistant coaches to hit the ground running with the understanding that there’s no easing into this program.

Time for the close contests that come down to a play here or there to go Notre Dame’s way.

Time for the Irish to do something to make sure that happens.

Time for the group that bursts down the north tunnel of Notre Dame Stadium just before 3:30 Saturday afternoon to just go and play. Block and tackle. Catch and run. And not do so with the collective weight of Notre Dame Nation on its shoulders.

Time for this group to be as strong in the fourth quarter as it is in the first.

Time to see how this group responds to some adversity. Like when the offensive commits a turnover in the red zone. Or the defense gives up a big play off a sudden change of possession. Something. Anything.

Time to make sure the product on the field of Notre Dame Stadium matches all the hype about the finished construction additions around it.

Time for Brandon Wimbush to turn potential into production.

Time to again have a Heisman Trophy finalist with a Notre Dame next to his name.

Time for tailback Josh Adams to be a 1,000-yard back. And then some.

Time for the left side of the offensive line in tackle Mike McGlinchey and guard Quentin Nelson to live up to their preseason hype and play like All-Americans, like future first-round NFL draft picks, like a pair that will dominate every single player lined up across from them every single week in the coming months.

Time for hope that this season can be something special to see come November. Late November.

Time for center Sam Mustipher to become a really good college center instead of forever being known as the guy who couldn’t execute the snap in a hurricane.

Time for someone to step from the shadows and have a special season. On either side of the ball. How about both?

Time for an embarrassment of riches to surface when it comes to offensive playmakers. Who’s making the next big one? This guy? That guy? How about every guy?

Time for the “U” in “Tight End U” to stand for unbelievable with the current Irish group instead of underachieving.

Time for running back coach Autry Denson, the school’s all-time leading rusher, to be the second or third or fourth-best back on the sideline on game days.

Time for the execution level, at every position, from every player, to match the expectation level.

Time to see how all the work and strides the Irish have made in the offseason under new director of football performance Matt Balis translates to games.

Time for defensive coordinator Mike Elko to live up to his impressive resume. This defense needs something, and Elko might just be it.

Time for Chip Long to show why he's considered the next whiz kid of offensive play calling.

Time for someone on the defensive side of the football to step in and make the big plays when big plays are needed. And even when they’re not.

Time for Jerry Tillery to cause the right kind of havoc on the field.

Time for Nyles Morgan. And Drue Tranquill. Andrew Trumbetti. Jay Hayes.

Time for cornerback Shaun Crawford to avoid another early season-ending injury.

Time for someone in the secondary to play the way that tells opposing skill guys, not today.

Time for Todd Lyght to recruit a Todd Lyght for the back end of the defense.

Time to return the “special” in special teams under back-again assistant coach Brian Polian.

Time to keep average teams from hanging around longer than anyone expected.

Time to stop losing games that Notre Dame simply cannot lose. Ever.

Time to embrace the changes of Notre Dame Stadium, be it the video board, the FieldTurf, the Campus Crossroads project, and stop living in the past of 59,075 and the days of Holtz and Devine and Parseghian.

Time for fans to have a hope that the season never ends, instead of wishing it would.

Time to stop longing for Nick Saban and Urban Meyer, Jon Gruden and Bob Stoops.

Time to start building toward another run toward a national championship, or at the least a solid chance at the college football playoff. Every. Single. Year.

Time to put nearly 30 years of near-misses and what-ifs and sometimes complete collapses forever in the rear-view mirror.


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Twitter: @tnoieNDI

It's time for quarterback Brandon Wimbush and Notre Dame. (Tribune Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN)