Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick is calling out the average Irish fans: The ones that come to the game, sip their sodas, eat their hot dogs and, most importantly, sit on their hands.
A week ago, Swarbrick gave an impassioned speech to the student body in a dining hall asking them to be loud for Saturday's night game against USC. On Tuesday, he changed his stance a little bit, said the students were doing a good job of creating a loud atmosphere at Notre Dame Stadium, but that the rest of the fanbase had to pick it's game up:
"What I intended to say on both occasions, I got right in one dining hall and got it wrong in the other," the Notre Dame athletic director said of his pep talks about crowd noise to the ND students.
"The accurate version is that I think our students are as loud and as engaged and effective as any in the country. The other seven-tenths of the stadium could do better and needs to match the students' enthusiasm and intensity. In that regard we are a quieter place to play."
Swarbrick said visiting athletic directors tell him as much, as they recount their positive Notre Dame experiences. His hope — and his mission — is to make sure former ND football broadcaster and current USC AD Pat Haden has a different take this weekend, when night football returns to Notre Dame Stadium for the first time in 21 years.
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly backed his athletic director, saying his players go to places such as Michigan and see the entire stadium cheering for the home team. Notre Dame doesn't have the same home field advantage and Kelly said it starts with creating exciting plays on the field.
"I think we've got to get the crowd into it," Kelly said. "Play exciting football, and I think those other things will naturally come. I'm sure we'll look at all of those things closely. It's not really on my radar right now. It's more about getting our team ready for USC."
Kelly even hinted that the team might bust out the green jerseys for the occasion, but wouldn't give a definitive answer. Both Notre Dame and USC are unranked heading into Saturday's game, just the tenth time in 82 meetings when neither team is in the polls.