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Irish Insights

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Irish players respond

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly promised after the 31-17 loss to USC that the week of practice leading up to Saturday's home game against Navy (2-5) wasn't going to pretty.

"If we have to go back and tackle every day, we'll tackle every day, because they know how I feel about the way we played," Kelly said after the loss to the Trojans.

During Tuesday afternoon's news conference, Kelly referred to the day as "Intense Tuesday" and said he planned to have his 4-3 team hit each other Tuesday and Wednesday.

"I think we have to get into a routine that we, you know, we practice similar to the way that we want to play without, you know, putting our team at risk for injury. You know what I mean?" Kelly said. "But certainly we have to have a very spirited practice during the week so that our football team is prepared to play the right way on Saturday. And that falls on me in terms of the preparation."

The players said Tuesday's practice was intense, and it went well.

"That's the way it should be. I thought we had a good, physical and intense practice," tight end and former Bishop Dwenger standout Tyler Eifert said.

"It was a really physical practice today," linebacker Dan Fox added. "We were getting after it for about two hours. It was a good practice.

"The guys responded well. We're not going to pout about it. We're not going to do anything. We are just going to practice every day."

Kelly said Monday was mainly about mentally preparing to play the Midshipmen, who ran for 367 yards in last year's 35-17 win over the Irish, but he also paid close attention to how his team reacted after the loss to the Trojans.

"I was looking for a read on our players (Monday)," Kelly said. "We had a lot guys running (Monday) for a lot of different reasons. I wanted to see their body language, how they reacted. And every single one of 'em had the right language, their body language, their attitude.

"It just cemented in my mind that our guys want that. They need that. They need that kind of disciplined structure. Here's where you need to be and at this time. Maybe we didn't have that last week and that affected the way they played. Because I got to look at everything when it comes to why we didn't play early on the way we should have played. Got behind 14-0, I think what galvanized it in my mind (Monday) was it was a discipline day, and they were locked in."

Kelly said that discipline was lacking in the lead up to the loss to USC because Notre Dame had a bye week and then the players were off because of winter break before playing the Trojans.

"We had an unusual situation, and one that I haven't experienced before," Kelly said of the two weeks before the USC game. "Our players are a very disciplined group. They're used to getting up early, going to class, being on a regimen. During the week, it was a bit of a battle because there wasn't that regimen during the week. I could sense it. I screamed about it. I yelled about it. But ultimately, it's my responsibility to get the football team ready.

"I think we all saw by the way we played in the first 20 minutes of the game, we didn't play the same way that we played all year. So I told our team yesterday, I'll take full responsibility for the preparation. You need to take full responsibility about the way you play and the level that you need to play at."

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