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Irish Insights

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Kelly's plan

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly wasn't sure what to do the morning after a 28-24 loss to Michigan.

But that can be expected from a coach who lost his first regular-season college football game since Oct. 25, 2008.

"I made that comment this morning at a breakfast we had with recruits, that I'm not really sure how to handle myself here this morning after a loss," Kelly said during his Sunday teleconference. "I can tell you, it doesn't feel good, and I'm sure that this mood will not change until we get a chance to win again."

What Kelly was sure of was how to handle practice this week leading into Saturday's 8 p.m. at Michigan State.

"I think it's so important to focus on the reasons for losing," Kelly said. "If our team lacked emotion and they didn't play hard, we'd have some different issues this week. I might be throwing a fit out there all week. I don't have to do that.

"These kids know they are going to play the game. Now we have to play it cleaner. We have to be better at the execution end on offense. You can't throw three interceptions. And you certainly can't miss assignments against a very good offense like Michigan. That's what we will focus on this week."

While Kelly was proud of his team from coming back from a 14-point deficit in the second half to momentarily take the lead against Michigan, he said the Irish are done focusing on just playing hard.

Kelly said Notre Dame (1-1) has to have a win after putting forth great effort in games.

"You showed that you are going to play hard; that you are going to fight," Kelly said. "That is a great dynamic to have in a football team. But that's not the end all.

"What we have to do this week is we have to win football games. That means, quite frankly, we've got to execute better. We got to lineup in the right position. We got to be assignment correct. That happens on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. We're going to make sure that gets coached hard during the week, and there won't be any smiling faces around here until we get another win."

One area of emphasis this week to help Notre Dame be in a better position to win will be getting backup quarterbacks Tommy Rees and Nate Montana better prepared to enter a game.

When starting quarterback Dayne Crist missed a quarter and half Saturday, the Irish sputtered on offense.

Kelly took the blame for Rees' and Montana's struggles, and he said he will continue to work with them and not think about going to either Luke Massa and Andrew Hendrix, who are both freshman.

"We're not going to play Massa, and we are not going to play Hendrix," Kelly said. "I gotta get ready those two kids (Rees and Montana). Flat out, that's my job. We're going to have to do some things a little differently during the scripting of our No. 2 reps to make sure that I got a package they can handle. It was too much for them. The can't take the same plays that our first group does. Doesn't mean we can't put a successful package for them, but it's gotta be different for those two guys. I got to get that done this week."

Right call

Kelly wasn't pleased with Rees throwing an interception Saturday, but the coach was fine with the play that led to it.

Rees attempted to connect with Theo Riddick on a pass after a flea flicker, but Michigan's Jonas Mouton stepped in front of Riddick to pick off the pass.

"It was a singular read, it was go down the sideline, and he chose the option we didn't want," Kelly said of the play. "We put it in there because of the ability to not have to read anything. Tommy decided to go down to a secondary read off of it, and it turned into an interception. I don't have problem with the play because it eliminated a lot of the reads that he had on the play. It just was a bad decision."

Going wild

Kelly said Notre Dame could use a wildcat package on offense this season.

But the reason will not be because Crist isn't available, and the package likely will not be implemented until the Irish have a better grasp of the spread offense.

"I certainly can see the merits of it as a change-up within your offense and obviously allowing a gifted quarterback who can also throw it to do some things," Kelly said. "But until we get Dayne Crist settled down into his position and know what he's capable of doing, that's not an option for us until we have a better feel for what our No. 1 and No. 2 can do."