Bring on the ByeUntil we hear anything to the contrary, it's safe to consider slot receiver Theo Riddick (ankle) out for this week's game with Tulsa. With junior target Michael Floyd unable to play over the weekend vs. Navy (hamstring), his status remains in doubt, especially with what would be a 21-day break between games available to Floyd should he sit vs. the Golden Hurricane and return on November 6 vs. Utah.
Add to that list Ian Williams (leg) and Carlo Calabrese (apparent hamstring) who had MRIs performed Sunday and Brian Kelly's first Irish squad - one that was considered a picture of football health entering Week Six - now appears ready to limp into its Week 10 Bye.
"We'll probably have better information first thing in the morning," Kelly said of his senior nose guard Williams. "He wasn't able to finish the game. I think it'd be too soon for me to give any injury update until we get.
"We're going to have to look at Carlo; he has a bit of a hamstring. I think he could have come back in the game but he wasn't 100 percent. T.J. (Tai-ler Jones) had a little issue with a hamstring, I think he was fatigued more than anything else, we didn't see anything today.
"We upped his (game) reps a bit; clearly there was a bit of fatigue there and the rest of (the team) was just the traditional bumps and bruises."
Those bumps included a few in the road, especially for formerly solid starter Taylor Dever who gave way to classmate Matt Romine on the right side. Dever sat out the previous two contests with a hamstring injury.
"He got a little tired a little later in the game but he came out of it okay," Kelly said of Dever who played in relief of Romine.
"Romine and Dever are giving us what we thought: they're hard-nosed kids that are going to battle every play. We're trying to get the most out of both of those kids right now and they're giving us everything they have," Kelly said when asked about Romine's struggles in pass protection vs. the Midshipmen.
"I think both of those kids are going to continue to share that position. We have to play better inside/out. Romine and Dever will battle it out and keep playing at that position." When asked if right guard Trevor Robinson - a right tackle candidate through the spring - could bounce outside due to the team's perceived depth at guard, Kelly responded.
"Trevor has his hands full where he is."
Plenty of liquids…maybe a Red-eye or Bloody Mary?The Irish have plenty to fix on both sides of scrimmage, but Tulsa won't feature the veer or triple-option that Navy astutely employed in dissecting Bob Diaco's defense. Do Saturday's defensive failures have any correlation to this week's preparation? What about the team's collective psyche after such a debilitating loss?
"If you look at it from a carryover effect we certainly don't want Navy to influence how we play against Tulsa," Kelly addressed of the dreaded hangover that tends to plague college programs after a devastating loss. "We'll have that addressed and we'll move forward. It's very important to understand you can't have the lingering effects of one game filter into how you prepare the next week."
Kelly was inundated with questions regarding his planned method of recovery following the greatest option beat down involving Dame since Tony Rice left campus.
"Let me make it clear. We're responsible for option; whether it's mid-line, whether its veer, speed, load it doesn't matter. You're responsible for all those phases. Our kids played really, really hard. They did what we asked them to do.
"From that standpoint, this is an accountability and responsibility that we have as coaches to make sure our players are well-prepared. We can't use the excuse well we haven't seen that before. We're responsible for option. All of our coaches believe that, I believe that and we're going to make sure that we're prepared for all forms of option growing forward."
Kelly noted Sunday's film review was particularly important as the Irish have one more option team remaining on their schedule: the November 20 matchup in Yankee Stadium vs. Army.
Remember, it's not a 5-year planJust as former head coach Charlie Weis refused to acknowledge the rebuilding aspects of his third season (2007), Brian Kelly brushed off talk of two, three and five year plans for his Notre Dame program. His half-joking "five-minute plan" a thing of the past, Kelly acknowledged that no loss is acceptable…but it's something they've had to endure nonetheless.
"Let's put it this way, if we play like we played defensively (Saturday) there won't be a Year 5 and 6 for me," Kelly offered when asked if such a loss would be less acceptable down the road. "We have to execute better, clearly, on both sides.
"We see glimpses of it. We just haven't been able to grasp it in a consistent form," he added.
Irish fans have reacted and overreacted (that's actually possible) to Saturday's humiliation in the New Meadowlands. Some will cut Kelly slack for Saturday given the apparent reclamation project on his hands. Others not so much, especially considering the relative height/weight ratio of the conquering opponent.
The lunatic fringe has probably begun penning letters to one Jack Swarbrick.
Kelly's most debilitating defeat was unacceptable regardless of the early stage of his tenure.
"I would be less than truthful to say it's okay to go through it now, and it won't be okay to go through it moving forward," he admitted.
One national columnist asked Kelly a question that has populated Notre Dame message boards for the better part of the new century: Is there something inherent to the culture at Notre Dame that is "disturbing"?
"Not disturbing. That would not be a word that I would use at all," Kelly stated emphatically. "We're learning how to play this game. We're playing it a little bit differently. We're playing it with a lot of inexperienced players that are growing each and every week.
"What we do on a day-to-day basis is based upon who I am and my personality. We're getting to know the way I want a game conducted and played and how we come to work everyday. That's work-in-progress. That's not going to change depending on whether we win or lose a football game. That's something that happens every single day.
"But I would not use ‘disturbing' would be a word I'd use in Year One here at Notre Dame."