Notre Dame (4-3) will be kicking off against Navy (2-5) trying to put a bad loss and a bad off-field controversy behind it today.
Coach Brian Kelly, who dealt with the fallout from a crushing 31-17 home loss to USC all week, also had to mend fences with his own team Friday, according to multiple reports.
Kelly ruffled the feathers of the upper classmen when he told reporters Thursday, "You can see the players that I recruited here. You know who they are. We've had one class of recruiting kids that I've had my hand on. The other guys here are coming along. But it's a process, it can't happen overnight. They're getting there. They're making good progress.
"We're 4-3, very easily could be a lot better than that. If we take care of the ball when it's 17-10 on the one-yard line, who knows what happens. I don't want to paint a picture that we're so far away that we can't get to them, but it's a process, we keep banging them every day. It's the old cliché, keep banging the sledgehammer against the wall and you don't see the cracks and then one day it cracks down. We're still banging at it."
That comment led to responses on Twitter from the veteran players who came to Notre Dame under the Charlie Weis regime.
Now Notre Dame needs to respond against a team that it should be able to defeat.
Navy comes into Notre Dame Stadium as losers of its last five games, and the Midshipmen will be guided by sophomore quarterback Trey Miller. Starter Kriss Proctor is not expected to play because of an injury.
The Irish should be able to get on track no matter what's happening off the field and take the first step to salvaging a season that has lost hope of ending in a BCS bowl game.
Prediction: Notre Dame: 24, Navy 14