Notre Dame didn't just get its first win over ranked team this season on Saturday when the Irish defeated then No. 22 Arizona State 37-34, the Irish got a needed boost going into their first off week of the season.
Notre Dame (4-2) had been searching for answers after falling to Oklahoma 35-21 on Sept. 28, and a second loss in a row would have left more questions for an Irish team that went 12-0 during the regular season last year.
"I think it's for our guys, you know, winning they know how difficult it is to win, and when you're on a stretch of games that they were on, and they knew a bye week was coming up, it was a very important game for them, and they understood the significance of winning, and they clearly knew the difference between 4-2 and 3-3 going into a bye week," Kelly said. "They are feeling pretty good. You know, again, I think the most important thing for them is they now look at it as a six-game schedule and they have got to be perfect for six weeks."
Notre Dame is off until it plays host to USC at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 19.
Kelly said he will use the bye week to rest veteran players, while giving younger players more practice reps.
"I don't think we need to see anything more from Louis Nix, or we don't need to get more reps on Danny Fox or Carlo Calabrese or even TJ Jones, but (freshman running back Tarean) Folston has to get more work; (first-year starting center) Nick Martin has to get more work. We'll balance those guys that need to continue to work their skills and get better at their positions versus those guys that need some rest.
"So I'll take it I'll take it as our practice will look like that; in other words, we'll work those guys that need to continue to get some more work, and we'll look at those guys that need some time off to really get healthy."
Two freshmen who will get plenty of work this week will be linebacker Michael Deeb and safety Max Redfield.
Deeb, who hasn't played this season, could be needed to add depth to the inside linebacker positions after the Irish lost starter Jarrett Grace to a broken leg.
"I'm still kind of putting that together in my own mind, and I'll talk to (defensive coordinator Bob) Diaco about it a little bit more in detail in the next day or so. You know, Kendall Moore is really the next man in, and then Michael," Kelly said. "Dan Fox has played a lot at Will, too, so now you're changing the volume of reps at the will linebacker position for Carlo. So there's a couple of factors that we have to figure out."
Redfield, a five-star recruit, has been used on special teams, but he is listed as the backup to starter Elijah Shumate.
"We just want to keep working with him, keep getting him more reps now," Kelly said. "He's getting a ton of reps right now. He's getting closer and closer. There's so many calls, so many things going on out there. It's a quarterback position when you're out there at that safety position. It's not just dropping into cover two.
"We had to show so many different looks last night in the secondary, so we are hoping to get him some work this week, as well as some of our younger corners that are playing a little bit, and some guys on offense. We want to see Folston and (freshman receiver Will) Fuller, certainly (freshman offensive lineman Steve) Elmer, we want to get those guys some work this week, too, because we are going to have to count on them in the second half of the season, too."