Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly was happy with the outcome of last Saturday's 20-17 victory over Purdue, even if he didn't like everything he saw from his team as a whole.
"Spent a lot of time reviewing the film, and there are certainly some great performances individually to point out, but collectively, as a team, we did not play our best football," Kelly said during his Tuesday news conference. "There is a higher standard for the way we should play, offensively, defensively … but again, I will tell you any time you beat a Big Ten opponent, you are pleased with the outcome."
The No. 20 Irish (2-0) will have a chance to improve and please their coach this Saturday when they travel to play No. 10 Michigan State (2-0).
It's Notre Dame's first trip to Spartan Stadium since Michigan State pulled off a fake field goal in overtime to defeat the Irish 34-31 in 2010. Notre Dame defeated Michigan State last season 31-13.
Kelly said he expects a close game like two years ago against the Spartans.
"We know playing at Michigan State and playing them last year, it is going to come down to a couple of plays," Kelly said. "I think our focus has strictly been on each and every play can make a difference in the game as evidenced in 2010."
Kelly also reiterated his desire to have Everett Golson be the Irish's quarterback for each and every offensive play.
Tommy Rees ran the game-winning drive against Purdue instead of Golson, because of Rees' experience running the 2-minute offense and because Golson was nursing an injured thumb at the end of the Purdue game.
The key to keeping Golson, who will make his third start and first in a true road game against Michigan State, is how well the sophomore can clean up some areas of running the offense.
"When you look at the film, you see him, physically he does really good things," Kelly said. "We want him to clean up the other areas – communication, getting in the right play, which he's very capable of doing. He's got to make the next step, which is today. Today, Wednesday and Thursday are really important days in the development of Everett Golson."
Kelly also said the numerous players who were injured against Purdue have been cleared to practice, but the Irish will be cautious with receiver DaVaris Daniels.
Daniels injured his ankle against the Boilermakers and was in a walking boot on Sunday.
"We will be very careful with him today," Kelly said of Daniels. "Most of his stuff today will be stretch, move around and some individual. We will be cautious with him today and hope to pick it up a little bit more on Wednesday."
Notre Dame will also have outside linebacker Danny Spond back in the mix this week. Spond missed the first two games as he has dealt with migraines since fall camp.