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Irish enjoy success, but not too much

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly is still on guard when it comes to his team becoming overconfident.

The Irish (4-0) are ranked No. 9 in the Associated Press Top 25 and a BCS bowl berth looks like a real possibility with every team remaining on this year's schedule having at least one loss.

But Kelly, whose team travels to Chicago's Soldier Field to play Miami (4-1) on Saturday night, said any talk about how well the team is doing and can do for the rest of the season is just noise.

"I know that when I came before our team on Monday, and I talked about listen, for the last couple of days you've been getting patted on the back, and told how great you are. And they're talking about games down the road that you haven't played yet," Kelly said during his Tuesday news conference. "The response that I got to my front row, my front row are my seniors. The response that I got catching their eye was, coach, we tune that out.

"I was about to finish saying, and that's warranted, OK, as long as you keep it in perspective.… I'm pretty confident that our veteran players, in particular, they have been through this enough to know that the focus needs to be on the next practice."

Kelly said he doesn't want his team to completely block out what it has accomplished in the first month.

He also pointed out how being undefeated going into a bye felt a lot better than when the team was 4-5 going into the off week in his first season at Notre Dame in 2010.

The Irish entered that 2010 bye coming off a tragic week. Declan Sullivan, who was a junior film student from Long Grove, Ill., died when the hydraulic lift he was filming football practice on toppled in a 53 mph wind.

"It's also important that they understand the success that they're having, because this bye week was a whole lot better than the bye week after Tulsa. They remember that, and I remember that," Kelly said. "It's important that there's a balance there. You don't just put blinders on. But what you ask them to do is focus on the task at hand, so there is a balance there as well."

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