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The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 1:50 pm

Brian Kelly named Dodd Trophy Coach of the Week

CHRIS GOFF | The Journal Gazette

The national recognition keeps coming for ninth-ranked Notre Dame.

Irish coach Brian Kelly was announced Tuesday as The Dodd Trophy Coach of the Week. The honor comes on the heels of Notre Dame's 49-14 win over No. 21 Southern California on Saturday.

"Coach Kelly and the Irish put on a show against USC," Jim Terry, chairman of the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation, said in a release. “With the first College Football Playoff poll being released next week, the Irish will surely be a topic of discussion amongst this year’s selection committee.”

That was not a topic of discussion Tuesday at Kelly's weekly news conference, but here's what he did have to say:

  • In preparing for this week's matchup with No. 14 North Carolina State, the Irish aren't looking back at last year's 10-3 road loss against the Wolfpack. The game was played in heavy rain and winds in the midst of Hurricane Matthew. The decisive score came on a blocked punt that was returned for a touchdown, and the Irish threw the ball 26 times with just nine completions for 54 yards. "It was a poorly designed game plan by me," Kelly said. "Nothing there we really want to go back and look at. We've changed our punt protection since that time, which obviously the punt was a huge play in the game. There's really nothing that we could garner from that game."
  • Kelly told his team to be proud of a 53-point turnaround against USC in just 11 months. Notre Dame lost by 18, 45-27, a year ago on the Trojans' home field, then pulverized them by 35 this year. "What we talked about was the net differential in points from last year to this year," Kelly said. "Coming back and winning this year in the fashion that we did is indicative of all the work that they put in over the past year."
  • Kelly said his safeties, Nick Coleman and Jalen Elliott, "tackled fairly well" Saturday but must continue to ramp up their communication. "Those guys are giving us all that they have every single snap," Kelly said. "I think if you would ask our safeties if they were in here right now, they would want to communicate better. That's what we'll have to continue to work on."
  • In the short history of the CFP, no team with at least two losses has been included in the field. Kelly feels his players have been handling pressure ever since their Sept. 9 defeat to Georgia. "We've been in the playoffs since we lost to Georgia," Kelly said. "Every game is a playoff for us."
  • North Carolina State is one of the season's biggest surprises, going 6-0 since a season-opening loss to South Carolina. "A deserving team where they're ranked, no question about it," Kelly said. "It's going to be a great challenge, one that our guys know they'll have to play very well to win the football game."