Kelly, #22 Notre Dame turn the page to Purdue

After a 50-10 win over Navy in Dublin in the season opener, Notre Dame is now ranked 22nd in both the Associated Press and Coaches' polls.

The notation matters little to Irish coach Brian Kelly as he prepares his team for the home opener Saturday at 3:30 at Notre Dame Stadium against Purdue.

The Irish will face a Boilermaker team that also rolled to victory in week one as Purdue beat Eastern Kentucky 48-6. Robert Marve led the way at quarterback, completing 30 of 38 passes and three touchdowns.

But Marve won't start against the Irish. Purdue coach Danny Hope returns the keys to the Boilers engine to Caleb TerBush, who was the starter for all of last season. TerBush was suspended for the Eastern Kentucky game due to a violation of team rules.

TerBush as the starter doesn't mean Marve or Rob Henry won't see action. Hope said Tuesday had TerBush been available against Eastern Kentucky, all three quarterbacks would be on the field.

Kelly knows the Irish will to be on their toes.

"You have three very capable quarterbacks," Kelly said. "We'll attack the game plan knowing we'll have to deal with all of them."

Purdue's plan could be to attack the Irish secondary, which remains a question mark for the team heading into week two due to its lack of experience at the cornerback position.

But the Boilers could also run the ball a lot more this week than last week due to TerBush being at quarterback. Kelly feels TerBush is a much great running threat than Marve.

Either way Notre Dame will count on its front seven to bring pressure, something Kelly pointed out was a strength against Navy and something he's felt will be an Irish strength all season.

A strength for the Irish--at least for one week--has been the turnover margin. The Irish improved drastically in the area from this time last year when they coughed up the ball five times in each of the first two games.

Against Navy, Notre Dame did throw one interception but also took the ball away from the Midshipmen four times. Kelly says their has been a constant emphasis on takeaways during practice and that even the very 1st defensive drill focuses on it.

One of the big positives in the turnover margin area was the play of 1st time starter Everett Golson in week one. Golson threw just one interception, but even that is too much for coach Kelly. With that said, Kelly continues to point out the major positives Golson has shown.

"What I like most is his comfortable place on the field," Kelly explained, noting that Golson never appeared overwhelmed on the field or on the sidelines.

Tommy Rees returns from suspension this week and will battle Andrew Hendrix for the backup quarterback duties. Kelly said Rees will likely see the bulk of the 2nd team reps this week just to get back up to speed since he didn't do much during fall camp.

The Purdue game could also be the first appearance of USC transfer Amir Carlisle at running back. Carlisle is now cleared to practice after coming off an off season injury. The Irish will still be without Cierre Wood, who is suspended for the first two games.

George Atkinson III was dinged up at the end of the Navy game but Kelly says he's fine. Atkinson and Theo Riddick should once again see the bulk of the work on Saturday with Cam McDaniel also available.

Kelly also feels the Irish have great energy coming back from Dublin and doesn't feel that will provide any issues this week.

"No excuses," Kelly said.

Kickoff Saturday is at 3:43pm at Notre Dame Stadium and can been seen live on WNDU-TV. "Countdown to Kickoff" gets you started at 2:30 on Channel 16.

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