When Brian Kelly spoke to the media following Notre Dame's 7 point loss at Pittsburgh he looked exhausted. A close game had just slipped away from the Irish along with their BCS hopes and you could see it had taken a toll on their head coach.
Fortunately for Kelly and the Irish they are off this Saturday which gives them a chance to get some much needed rest. A full week for banged up players to heal and get themselves ready for Senior Day against BYU.
The 6-3 Cougars beat Texas by 19 in the second week of the season and last week lost to Wisconsin by just 10. The Irish know that they still have plenty to play for and if they don't refocus they could struggle these last two games.
"There is a lot of football left," Irish captain Zack Martin said. "We play two great opponents to finish the season, so if guys think they are going to come in and just go through the motions these last two games it is going to be embarrassing. We have to get ready during the bye week and BYU week to play a great football team. The seniors on this team know that we don't want to go out on the wrong note so we are going to prepare the right way and get ready for BYU."
"The ability to go out there and play for Notre Dame is incredible," fellow senior and Inside linebacker Dan Fox added. "We aren't really thinking of it as 'Oh we aren't playing in the BCS so all is lost.' We are going to battle."
If history is any indication the Notre Dame football program has done a great job of battling when coming off of a bye. The program as a whole has won 79% of their games following the bye week since 1900.
Head coach Brian Kelly is 14-2 in his career following a bye and he said he isn't planning on doing anything differently following the loss.
"I've been preparing my football teams now for 23 years," Brian Kelly said. "There won't be any changes relative to how we prepare. I mean its execution, it is playing the game and it is coaching the game."
Kickoff against BYU on the 23rd is set for 3:30 p.m and will be televised on WNDU.