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Help from the past

Brian Kelly has gotten plenty of help navigating being the head football coach at Notre Dame.

Ara Parseghian sends Kelly a card every week, and Lou Holtz has been available at times to offer Kelly advice.

But communication with past Notre Dame coaches is not limited to just those who led the Irish to national championships.

"Charlie Weis knows Notre Dame," Kelly said during his Tuesday news conference about the coach who preceded him at Notre Dame.

"I got a wonderful note from Charlie last week. It was heartfelt, and it talked about the seniors and wishing them the best, and it was really a terrific note from Charlie. It was very classy. We get a lot of that communication with the former Notre Dame coaches, and it's really nice."

Kelly said it is also nice to be able to touch base with Parseghian, who won two national titles with Notre Dame, and Holtz, who led the Irish to their last national championship in 1988.

"I get my weekly card from Ara each week; he handwrites a note to me," Kelly said. "The great thing is he's so unassuming. He's done this and been there, but he'll write a note like he doesn't want to assume anything. He's never given any advice, just talking as a Notre Dame fan and alum. It's just great to get that communication with him.

"As it relates to Lou, I talk to him about some specific things that I would like his opinion on. Ara's much more of a fan, supportive. I invite him up every home game to my box, and he politely declines because he thinks he's got the best seat in front of the television. That's our conversation. And then with Lou it's more about some specific things."

Kelly said it is extremely valuable for him to be able to talk with past Notre Dame coaches as the No. 1 Irish (11-0) prepare to play at USC (7-4) on Saturday with a win moving them into the national title game.

"(Holtz) knows Notre Dame, and Ara does as well," Kelly said. "Those are great assets."