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Irish Insights


Kelly still believes ... other notes

Notre Dame's Brian Kelly has no choice but continue to believe his team can turn things around.

And the second-year Irish coach made it clear that he hasn't lost faith despite a 0-2 start that has been plagued by turnovers (10) and penalties (8.5 per game).

"I understand the frustration, but we're building it the right way," Kelly said during his Sunday teleconference. "We'll get them there. We're not there yet, I know this journey all too well. I've been on it before. It's frustrating, it's disappointing, it's all those things. But there are too many good things happening out there for us not to break through."

The Irish had plenty of good things in Saturday night's 35-31 loss to Michigan, just like there were positives in a 23-20 season-opening loss to South Florida.

Notre Dame put up its second straight 500-yard game, held a 24-7 lead going into the final quarter and limited the Wolverines (2-0) to 223 yards, six first down and seven points through the first three quarters.

But everything unraveled in the fourth as Michigan gained 229 yards, 10 first downs, scored 28 points and for the third year in a row defeated Notre Dame in the closing seconds.

Denard Robinson's 16-yard touchdown toss to Roy Roundtree with 2 seconds remaining this year was the following act to his touchdown run with 27 seconds to play last season and Tate Forcier's touchdown pass with 11 seconds left in 2009.

"I still believe we are going to be a good football," Kelly said. "The chance to be a good team is all the things we are doing right now. We are not giving ourselves the chance to be a good team."

Injury update

Kelly said backup tight end Mike Ragone (knee) and backup linebacker Danny Spond (hamstring) are scheduled to have MRIs today.

Ragone's absence for part of Saturday night's game put the Irish in a bind at tight end.

"We got shorthanded at the tight end position with Alex Welch (foot) being out as well," Kelly said. "We are hopeful to get him and Jake Golic. We were down three tight ends at one time going into the third quarter there. Hopefully, we will get a couple of those guys back."

Cutting back

Kelly was adamant that receiver Theo Riddick would continue to be Notre Dame's punt and kick returner after a rough start against South Florida.

But against Michigan, former Bishop Dwenger standout John Goodman was back to returning punts.

"We though both was a little too much for him," Kelly said of relieving Riddick of punt return duties.

Riddick responded well offensively to the lighter workload, catching six passes for 62 yards with two touchdowns. He also returned five kickoffs for 99 yards.

Goodman had three punt returns for a total of 10 yards with a long return of 13.