Notre Dames practice Tuesday gave coach Brian Kelly a good indication that the Irish (7-5) are ready to play Miami (7-5) in the Sun Bowl on Dec. 31 in El Paso, Texas.
It was supposed to be tag-off (Tuesday), and it ended up being tackling. Thats a good sign, Kelly told reporters Tuesday. Ive been on teams that didnt want to play the bowl game. They just wanted to get through it and get the season over and get out of here. These guys want to play the game. They got a lot of gas in their tank, and thats a good thing at this point.
Notre Dame completes practices in South Bend today before the team disperses for Christmas, and the coaches and players will reconvene in El Paso on Sunday.
The Irish used this week to install the game plan, and Kelly said one of the keys to a good bowl game is proper planning.
We try to create a very solid schedule for them and do a lot of the preparation work before we get there, Kelly said. We want them to enjoy the bowl experience. If you can enjoy it knowing youve got a lot of that work taken care of, I think it helps you leading into the game.
The Irish will head to Texas with no major injury issues.
No ankles, no hamstrings, Kelly said. (Receiver Duval Kamara) has got a bit of a ligament, thumb whatever they call it. We kept him out (of practice Tuesday). I dont see that to be a long-term problem.
Kelly is also making sure there is no chance his players will wander into Juarez, Mexico, which is plagued by drug-related murders, by taking their passports.
Thats serious. Dont go over the border, or you may not come back, simply, Kelly said. Now I know El Paso is the safest city in the country, but its serious. This isnt, Hey, lets give it a shot, guys, and jump in the car and see what its like. You cant go there, or nobody is going to be able to help you. Theres just been too much turmoil. You take the passports, they cant get back. These guys are smart enough to know that.