Irish Trying to Bounce Back

The Notre Dame football team was back at practice on Tuesday after an emotional loss to Boston College last week. The Irish have the week off from playing a game, but they don't have the week off from practice. We spoke to a number of coaches after Tuesday's practice to get a feel for what will happen this week, and how the Irish will bounce back from such a difficult loss.

Defensive coordinator Kent Baer has watched the film of Saturday's game and said the problems were just as he thought.

"The disappointing thing to me is we missed a lot of tackles in crucial situations," Baer said. "We're better tackling team. I think I counted up 16 or 17 missed tackles. For us that's a lot."

The real question is can the Irish put the loss behind them?

"What's really glaring to me is how many guys are around on Sunday and Monday," said Baer when asked how his team will rebound from such a disappointing loss. "We've had a lot of guys around when they don't have to be. So that tells me a lot right there."

The third-year defensive coordinator said this week of practice will be very similar to any week of practice.

‘It's not really any different," he said. "We're practicing like we normally practice—Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, a lot of the same scripts. We'll try to get some guys healthy, but other than that, we're practicing almost like it's a game. We worked on Tennessee today."

Offensive coordinator Bill Diedrick also looked at the Boston College tape and found very few mistakes in the second half, but the few he found were very costly.

"It probably (was) three plays in total that cost us our execution and didn't allow us to continue drives," Diedrick said when asked why his unit struggled in the second half.

The week off from playing a game will allow the Irish to heal. Many of the Irish running backs have been banged up and Diedrick said the off week couldn't have come at a better time.

"I think it will help in not only in the running backs, but I think in most other positions as well," Diedrick said. "It will get us an opportunity to get healthy, especially at the running back position. That will be very beneficial."

We asked Diedrick how he'll get his unit back up after such a disappointing loss on Saturday.

"They're a football player aren't they? If they're a football player, they usually find a way to get themselves back up," he said. "I don't think there's any question whether it's a very hard loss. It's one that hits you right in the gut. You've got to get up."

Diedrick said the loss was difficult for everyone involved.

"That was a hard loss for our alums. That was a hard loss for our fans, our students. It was a very difficult loss for our players and our coaches," he said. "It's not world ending, but I'll tell you what, it cuts your heart out. It probably takes about 72 hours to bring a little bit of life back to you."

Head coach Tyrone Willingham was asked if he just tried to push his players along this week as fast as he can to help his players forget about the Boston College loss.

"Honestly, that was not my focus. I think that will come in time. I still think it was a bitter loss for us and our football team," Willingham said. "I think our football team is hurt, but I do think we'll get over it. Our focus today was number one to get healthy and get some players back, and at the same time get us some work and up our tempo a little bit, and start the process of getting back where we need to be."

Willingham was also asked if the loss could be a positive in some sense.

"I think that is always a part of it. If it doesn't hurt, then why are we doing it?," he said "So I know they hurt. I know they gave the best they could."

With the Irish now at 5-3, Willingham knows his team can go one of two ways at this point in the season.

"We have backed ourselves into a position that you always say you don't have much margin of error," the third-year Irish head coach said. "Right now we have three games remaining and those three games really make your season."

The Irish having a bye week this week is an advantage for the Irish according to Willingham as long as they take advantage of it.

"When you have a bye situation, you have to learn to use it to your advantage, and right now, the advantage we have is it does give us some extra time to get rid of this feeling that we have and now get back in the saddle," he said. "Sometimes you can have what I call a hangover from a defeat, so hopefully the time that we have, the extra week, will give us the opportunity not to have that; to lose it and be really able to focus on Tennessee." Top Stories