After losing his first regular season game since 2011, Brian Kelly fielded question after question about Michigan Tuesday at his Purdue preview press conference.
"Are they any Purdue questions out there?" Kelly asked 13 minutes in.
Kelly was then asked about the Boilers' struggles this season and whether the Irish could suffer a potential let down because they would anticipate an easy victory over a team that had to hang on to beat Indiana State.
"Let down? [Our players] just lost," Kelly pointed out. "They just lost a football game. We have our own work to take care of. Purdue is going to be ready for Notre Dame. We respect our opponent. We have to put blinders on. We are not a finished product."
Kelly was asked if he saw Purdue as a rival. Kelly had a big smirk on his face as the question was being asked based on what he went through last week when answering similiar questions about Michigan.
"I think any time you play a game in state, there is a recognition that that is a rivalry game," Kelly answered. "Our guys know Purdue & how tough that is. This is an instate rival that certainly plays well against us, we just have to look at last year's game."
Notre Dame needed Tommy Rees to come in during the final minutes of last year's home opener to engineer a game winning drive in last year's contest at Notre Dame Stadium.
Kelly emphasized after Saturday's loss at Michigan, that his team had to become smarter and more disciplined.
"We're talking about execution," Kelly said. "We have to look at the details. It comes down to performance, practice and preparation. Any time you lose, you want to get back on the field. Our guys have an opportunity to get back to work."
"They know what winning looks like. They get it. My job is on a day-to-day basis is to remind them of the little things. I'm very confident that we will do all the little things in practice to be ready to execute when needed to execute."
"Dinner doesn't taste good, meetings are a lot harder, practice is more spirited. It still comes down to attention to detail. We have to be smarter and more disciplined as a football team."
Kickoff Saturday night is set for 8pm in West Lafayette. It will be broadcast nationally on ABC.
Stacking the box against Rees
--Kelly says Notre Dame threw the ball more versus Michigan because the Wolverines put eight players in the box. The Irish ran the ball when the option was there. Kelly warned that the strategy Michigan used against ND isn't one teams should try and do moving forward.
"I have no question in my mind that if you want to play us that way against Tommy Rees, you will pay for it."
Running back pecking order
---Kelly liked the way both Amir Carlisle and George Atkinson played on Saturday. He said he didn't anyone should read too much into Carlisle playing more in key situations as a sign that Carlisle will now be the main guy at running back. Kelly said it is still to early to figure that out.
Evaluating the defensive line
--Kelly was very high on the play of nose guard Louis Nix.
"Louis nix was a beast," Kelly declared. "They couldn't block him. Played as well he could play for us."
Kelly says Nix has had a renewed focus.
"He hasn't spoken to the media a lot because he wanted to focus on football more. He thought he was getting too much into social media."
Kelly felt Sheldon Day played outstanding and Stephon Tuitt played well but that the Irish do need to play more guys on the defensive line.
Zaire still limited
---Kelly says freshman quarterback Malik Zaire, who has been out due to mono, has been cleared for cardio but still not cleared for contact yet. "We're moving in the right direction."
Luke Massa will continue to serve as the emergency quarterback behind Tommy Rees and Andrew Hendrix until Zaire returns.