The Countdown to Kickoff for Notre Dame's home opener continues. The Irish will host South Florida Saturday at 3:30 with NewsCenter 16's "Countdown to Kickoff" leading you up to the game starting at 2:30.
For the big show, Irish coach Brian Kelly sat down with Jeff Jeffers to talk about just about everything, including the possibility of the Irish winning a national championship this season.
That's a far cry from where Notre Dame was heading into last year's Notre Dame Stadium finale against Utah. The Irish were 4-5 at the time and in serious jeopardy of not making a bowl game.
Jeff: What was the turning point?
Kelly: I think if you take one specific play and a lot probably will probably question this but I think it would be the blocked punt against Utah. Finally I think our guys said 'oh we're going to get a break once in a while.'
it just seemed up to that point that everything had gone against us. We were feeling like we just needed a spark. I think that was a spark for our team that we got a chance to see the other side of it so to speak. It really gave us some great momentum.
Jeff: You go on a winning streak. You finish very, very strong. A lot of positive energy around this program. It showed in recruiting, conditioning, spring ball. What have you done to capitalize on that positive energy?
Kelly: You have it because they are confident. Now you lose two or three games, you lose all that positive energy. But I think our guys know we can build on the success that we have had. It's not just that's as good as it's going to get. They really believe there are bigger and better things out there so we just keep talking to them about the little things we did to get to this point and you gotta go win because that obviously makes it stronger and builds it deeper.
Jeff: You have said your goal is to win a national championship here at Notre Dame. Is that possible this year?
Kelly: Absolutely. I think every year you go in and believe, "why can't you win them all?" I just have never gone into a game thinking, "I don't know if we can win this one. This one's going to be tough."
We go in believing we can win every game. We know it's going to be difficult but I have never set my goals any lower than let's win of all our games.
You can see more from this 1-on-1 conversation Saturday at 2:30 here on channel 16. Join Jeff Jeffers, Angelo Di Carlo and Chuck Freeby for "Countdown to Kickoff." Notre Dame and South Florida will follow and then stick with Angelo for complete post-game live from the Stadium immediately following the game.