Brian Kelly met with the media this afternoon, a few days into preparation for Louisville. While there were certainly questions about how the Irish were going to challenge a Cardinals team with some really exceptional personnel on both sides of the ball, the focus was mostly on the guys inside Notre Dame’s locker room.
Notre Dame will be without Sheldon Day on Saturday, an MCL sprain adding to the Irish’s injury woes. They’ll also be without Daniel Cage, who suffered a knee sprain as well, though should be back in time for USC. Kelly received better news on Everett Golson’s shoulder, with the senior quarterback full-go for Tuesday afternoon’s practice after receiving treatment and getting checked out all weekend.
But with the Irish coming off their most head-scratching loss of the season, the focus continues to stay inward.
“I think really it’s about how we play,” Kelly said. “I think it’s pretty obvious that we’ve got to make some plays defensively. Slow some people down. And take care of the football. Those are the two things. And then our kicking game has got to get back to where it was.”
Kelly gave more than just a vote of confidence to Brindza, saying “I still think we’ve got one of the best kickers in the country,” while acknowledging that he and his senior specialist talked about the challenges that come with being a one-man special teams unit.
“It’s one of those things where we might have gotten in Kyle’s head a little bit,” Kelly said. “The tough part about it is when he does all the jobs, you know, it starts to affect everything. I think he learned a great lesson, that he can’t let that affect him.”
Speaking of learning lessons, Kelly seems to have done some of the same soul-searching as he looks at the troubles that continue to plague the offense.
“What we’re looking for is we’re going to run our offense,” Kelly said. “We want to minimize risk within our offense, knowing full well we need to score points. But we want to make sure that our players understand how crucial it is to take care of the football. They have to have that mindset. They cannot turn the football over under any circumstances.”