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Irish Insights


Notre Dame ready to rebound

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly was confident during his Tuesday news conference that his team can bounce back from its first regular-season loss since the end of the 2011 season.

He was flummoxed when asked whether the No. 21 Irish (1-1) would be in danger of overlooking Purdue (1-1) when Notre Dame traveled for Saturday's 8 p.m. game in West Lafayette.

"Let down? They just lost. They lost a football game," said Kelly, whose team fell 41-30 at No. 11 Michigan (2-0) last Saturday.

"Look, we've got to worry about all the things I just talked about – the attention to detail, the way we work, all the things that we have to do. We've got our own work to take care of. We've got to be smarter, more disciplined. We've got to practice better. We've got to take care of a lot of things on our own.

"You know Purdue's going to be ready for Notre Dame. We have no doubt about that, and we respect our opponent. But, look, we've got to put blinders on and we've got to focus on ourselves. We're not a finished product. We've got some work to do."

While the Irish have work to do, there is not a complete overhaul for a defense that gave up 460 yards to Michigan or an offense that Kelly said needed to be more efficient and score more against the Wolverines.

"I think by and large, what you see is what you got, and we need to continue to get better," Kelly said of the defense. "I thought we got better inside. I thought that the combination of (middle linebackers Jarrett) Grace and (Carlo) Calabrese and (Dan) Fox, their play was considerably better from Week 1 to Week 2. We'll continue to improve there. We've got to get consistently better at the corner (and) safety position. I thought (safety Matthias) Farley was better. We've got to continue to get better there.

"So it's, again, what you see out there, you're going to see some other guys get some playing time during the year obviously because you're going to get guys banged up and nicked up. We just need to continue to progress and continue to get better, and be more consistent as a defense."

As for the offense, Kelly said the team just has to be at its best in what defenses are giving the Irish, and he isn't concerned that Notre Dame threw the ball on 53 of its 72 offensive plays against Michigan.

"Look, I want balance just like everybody else in America wants balance," Kelly said. "But look, we have to throw the ball effectively when we are called upon to throw the ball, and we have to run the ball effectively when we are called upon to run effectively.

"You know, balance is this panacea that everyone looks for, but you need to win football games and whatever it takes to win football games, we'd better be good at it. We'd better be good at scoring points running the ball, and we'd better be good at throwing the ball when the situations call for it."