SOUTH BEND, Ind.--- During Saturday’s game against Rice, the Irish played well in all three areas.
Obviously the big attention goes to the return of quarterback Everett Golson, who was outstanding in his first game back since the 2012 season. However, the Irish defense also put in a very solid performance in their first game under new coordinator Brian Van Gorder.
“I just really thought that we were going to be able to hold up very well, and Joe Schmidt with Jaylon were outstanding,” said Notre Dame Coach Brian Kelly.
Schmidt did a great job starting in his first game leading a unit filled with young players. However while most people were surprised by the Irish D's play, Schmidt saw room for improvement.
“I think we were tenacious today,” said Schmidt. “Obviously there were some mistakes that we have to clean up, especially for me, but I think on the whole, you learned we are going to fight as a defense, that we are going to handle adversity and we're never going to stop throwing punches. When we get in there, we have a lot of guys that just bow up, and we want to win so badly, so that's something you learned about us today, and that's what we want to do."
The Irish will certainly find out whether their defense, and in particular their secondary, can hold up next Saturday against a much more potent passing attack in Michigan.
That game is a 7:30 p.m. contest at Notre Dame Stadium.