Notre Dame's offense gained 1,021 yards in losses to South Florida and Michigan to start the season.
In wins over Michigan State and Pittsburgh, the Irish had 756 offensive yards.
That swing in offensive yards does not have coach Brian Kelly worried, because the lower yardage totals have come in back-to-back wins.
"Well, you know, I look at the first two weeks where we averaged over 500 yards in offense and we lost both games. You know, so really for me it's really about winning games and making certain that we do that," Kelly said Tuesday. "I'd rather do that and be out coached and, you know, win ugly and do all those things but at the end of the day win the football game. Beauty points, style points, I'm not really interested in those things.
"Would I like to play better? Certainly. … But I don't think this is a matter of we're not moving forward. I think it's still about building some more of those important components that I believe are necessary for long-term winning."
Set in the middle
Linebacker Carlo Calabrese and Dan Fox are sharing a spot in the middle of the defense along side Manti Te'o.
While Te'o was a known entity entering this season, Calabrese and Fox came into the year still looking to make a name for themselves.
As far as Kelly is concerned, both are doing well. Each linebacker has 15 tackles and a sack through the first four games.
"Both of them have really done some great things," Kelly said. "You know, we got matched up a couple of times one-on-one with the backs, so it forced us to go to nickel because we didn't like that matchup. But by and large our will linebacker has been outstanding in pass coverage. Calabrese has had a couple of really good plays in pass coverage for us. Danny's done a great job. We've got some really good plays, especially on his pass coverage from our will linebacker position."
Young QB updates
Sophomore Andrew Hendrix and freshman Everett Golson have not played this season, but both quarterbacks are staying involved in the offense in practices, Kelly said.
With the help of quarterback-turned-receiver Luke Massa on the scout team, Hendrix and Golson are getting between 10 to 20 percent of the snaps at practice with the first or second team.
"I don't want to send them down to demo squad and not see them again until April," Kelly said. "You know, so we're trying to keep all those. And then we were short on a couple of things, so we asked Luke to help us out (on the scout team), but that was just a part-time role for him."