Despite winning for the third straight week, Notre Dame was under the microscope for the way it won for the second straight week. Blame that on its lack of style points.

Give Brian Kelly credit for standing by his men.

“[I’m] really proud of my football team and the way they competed,” the coach said, addressing the grumbles. “Yeah, there’s things we’ve got to work on. It’s the third game of the season. If you’re a finished product after Game Three, you’re destined for greatness. We’re not there yet. We’re not destined for greatness. So if anyone wants to write that greatness column, I would tap the brakes. But [I’m] proud of their effort, proud of the way they competed. They played Notre Dame football. We’ve got some things to clean up. But, boy, I really, really like our football team.”

Analysis: This is what coaches say when they like their team’s heart more than its talent. And for some teams in some seasons, heart goes to the heart of the matter.

Here are Three Things we learned about Notre Dame football in Week 3.

1, This season is a work in progress.

After the big opening win vs. Michigan, it was tempting to put Notre Dame in an elevated category—to say the Irish were a legitimate playoff contender.

After the slogs past Ball State and Vanderbilt, it’s tempting to say, “No way.’’

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