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Notre Dame Football News and Notes: Kelly Hopes For A Culmination In Final Two Games

It has been an up and down season thus far for the Irish, but Brian Kelly hopes for it all to come together in the game’s final two games.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame vs Army Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Despite Notre Dame’s 44-6 romp of Army last week, it can be argued that they have yet to play a complete game this season. The Irish have shown flashes of what they are capable of, but have yet to put it all together for four quarters. That is what Brian Kelly is hoping for over the last two games. This will be quite the challenge for the Irish, as Virginia Tech and USC will be without a doubt the two best teams Notre Dame will face this season.

Kelly told the media on Tuesday that he hasn’t thought about accepting a bowl bid if the team is 5-7, but honestly there might not be much to think about. Notre Dame has such a young team that Kelly would gladly take the extra bowl practices.

Hard to disagree with Kelly on this one. Rochell and Onwualu could have packed it in weeks ago, but they haven’t. They have brought it week in and week out. They have been great leaders for the young guys on the defense and will definitely be missed next season.

After the Fulton County Five incident in August a good number of Irish fans were asking, “Where is the leadership on this team?!” Well look no further than the seniors on this team.

The seniors have kept this team together throughout this year. Yes, they are 4-6, but those six losses have come at a combined 29 points. They have been in every game and they have all come down to the wire. Heck, when you think of the amount of close losses they have had, that could have given them even more reason to crack. You gotta hand it to these seniors, and this team in general.

It’s going to be interesting to see if Kelly sticks with Martini or goes back to Te’Von Coney this week against Virginia Tech. Everyone knows that Martini has been great against the option throughout his career. He reaffirmed that over the past two games as he racked up a combined 20 tackles against Army and Navy.

Martini is playing so well right now that it might be hard to take him off the field. Kelly noted that he’s been much more physical, which has helped his game out. It shouldn’t matter if he’s playing against an option team or not, if he’s playing well he should play. That doesn’t mean that Coney won’t rotate in, but for now it should be Martini’s job until he proves otherwise.

Other News and Notes

  • Daniel Cage is still being monitored day-to-day for a concussion.
  • Kelly admitted that Saturday could possibly be DeShone Kizer’s last game in Notre Dame Stadium.
  • Kelly said that is the importance of making a bowl game is that the players want to keep playing.
  • Kelly said that they should be getting Torii Hunter Jr. back this week, but he is considered day-to-day right now.
  • Kelly compared Virginia Tech’s QB, Jerod Evans, to Kizer in that he’s a big, physical runner.
  • Kelly said that Notre Dame’s young players have became confident and decisive, and that their demeanors have changed for the better.
  • Kelly said post-option practice will be more about good on good vs. practicing longer.
  • Virginia Tech has three quality receivers (Isaiah Ford, Cam Phillips and Bucky Hodges) that will test the Notre Dame secondary.