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Notre Dame Football: Waking up for the Tennessee State game

Body clocks

NCAA Football: Navy at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish put together a very sharp performance against Navy in Ireland. While there’s a strong tendency to say, “it was only Navy,” the full scope of the game won’t be known until after this week’s matchup against Tennessee State.

Stop with the eyerolls.

Notre Dame needs to recover from the international trip, and be crisp enough to build on its performance in Dublin. In 2012 we saw just how sluggish a team can be after making the trip to the Emerald Isle. Marcus Freeman held his Monday presser, and he has been very vocal about Notre Dame’s plan that they had before the Navy game, and now, the recovery plan for the Tennessee State game.

Part of this preparation includes a return to a weekly schedule more like Notre Dame had when Brian Kelly was walking the sidelines.

“We weren’t able to do a normal Sunday. But right now the plan is for this season to not do what we did last year, and Sundays will be their off days, and Monday’s we’ll meet and have our practice on Mondays, which is a similar schedule to what it was like before I became the head coach.

So, it’s not a huge change for them but through the off-season, I kind of made a decision to go that route. So, now we get the opportunity to come back home and play, obviously, in our stadium. I know for a lot of the new guys, there’ll be a chance on Friday to participate in the Rockne Rally.”

Now the real recovery begins to be back in peak shape for the game on Saturday.

“A lot of those guys did not sleep after the game.

So, I think we got back to our hotel a little bit after 12:30. I think the first bus took off at 5:30 in the morning, or 5:15, the second bus was at 5:30, and the last bus was at 6:00 (AM). (Laughs). They probably thought they were going to be able to sleep on the plane. But to sleep on a plane is not an easy thing to do.

So, we decided to give him yesterday off, encourage them not just to sleep all day because we want to try to get their cycles back to where it needs to be and try to stay up, try to go on a walk, and do some different things when you got back.

I know a lot of them got good sleep last night. But even me and our coaching staff, you don’t feel 100 percent probably until you get two nights. The same thing as when we went there. When you’re changing time zones, it’s going to take two nights to really get adjusted.

So, we have to be smart on what we’re going to do today. We’re not going to do a whole bunch. We’re going to meet. We’re going to watch the game. We’re going to put it to rest, and then we’re going to start moving forward to Tennessee State and go out and have more of a jog-through instead of a practice on a Monday.

As I looked at Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, the work is the work. The scout work is the work. But where I could tweak it in terms of maybe an individual period, taking off a couple minutes of practice to really, ultimately, everything we do is to make sure Saturday they’re ready to peak and perform at 3:30.

So, that’s kind of just the small changes we’ve made since they’ve come back.”

We shouldn’t expect this game to be close at all, but it goes beyond the final score. Notre Dame is gradually working towards the Ohio State game (no matter if anyone wants to admit it or not). Being fresh enough to keep improving is crucial for this game — as well as the next two games against Central Michigan and the NC State Wolfpack. So... I’m sure we will be very aware if the plan worked or not by halftime.

Freeman talked about a number of other things in his presser such as Audric Estime’s fumbling, Deion Colzie’s efficient performance, and the depth of the defensive line. You can watch the full press conference in the player below.