Irish turn the page to Purdue

83 Comments

It might not be as easy for fans, but with a football game this Saturday night in another hostile road environment, Brian Kelly and the Irish have turned the page on the loss to Michigan.

The Irish, who slid to No. 21 in the polls while Michigan jumped to No. 11, will prepare for Darrell Hazell’s Purdue squad, a team that took the Irish to the brink last year in a squeaky early season victory that required Tommy Rees to come on in relief.

Kelly spoke with the gathered media today, answering more questions about the Michigan game than what lies ahead, but did give clarity to a few burning questions Irish fans had. As we discussed yesterday, Kelly got into the particulars of the offensive play-calling, talking about the decision to throw the ball nearly three-quarters of the time last Saturday.

“There’s eight guys on the line of scrimmage. If the box is plus‑one and plus‑two, there’s not much of a running game,” Kelly explained. “When we had two‑shell and we had the ability to run the ball, we ran the ball effectively. And then we got behind. We were down two scores.  We had to speed the game up and throw the football.”

Falling behind was a product of a lack of execution on both sides of the football. And while this loss aggravated some of the Kelly detractors who have gone back to their bedrock argument of running the football and focusing on old-school (and somewhat archaic) fundamentals, Kelly was candid about how he wants to play the game.

“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.

“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.”