Notre Dame hosts Purdue Saturday

Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 9:10 PM EDT
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NOTRE DAME, Ind. (WNDU) - Notre Dame is 2-0 on the season, but Irish eyes aren’t exactly smiling.

Instead, those eyes look more like the “surprise emoji” after close calls in each of the first two games. And those eyes are looking at what areas the team needs the most improvement.

Head Coach Brian Kelly sys the offensive line is young. And that may be true in terms of working together, but there’s a sixth-year and a fifth-year senior in that unit.

And you can’t let the defense off the hook. They have given up more 60-yard plays in Marcus Freeman’s first two games than they did in Clark Lea’s three years as defensive coordinator.

But, and this may surprise critics, at his press conference Monday, Kelly said the improvement has to start at the coaching level.

“When we talk about coaching better, there’s a number of things I would put in that category,” Kelly says. “One is put your players in a position where they’re not making mistakes. Maybe that falls on coaching to keep it simple so those guys can go play and play fast and play free. I think the second thing is to get players on the field that are fresh so we don’t have guys that are fatigued and making mental mistakes. I think that’s probably the next thing. We gotta get rotations. We gotta get guys on the field, keep it more simple so we can get multiple players on the field even if they are more inexperienced. Let ‘em go play!”

Looking ahead at Notre Dame’s next opponent, it’s hard to believe that Purdue and Notre Dame haven’t played since 2014. The Boilermakers are also 2-0 on the season after getting past Oregon State and demolishing UConn.

Sadly, former Marian running back Zander Horvath will not play after breaking his foot Saturday. He’s out four to eight weeks. But make no mistake, the Boilermakers are fired up to resume the rivalry.

“When I got here, you look at the different important games against IU, Illinois and the past history and you hope you can get that back going,” Purdue Head Coach Jeff Brohm says. “And fortunately for us, we get that opportunity to do that. Yes, I know our fans, I’ve heard it for the last six months that they’re looking forward to this game and getting the chance to watch to go up there and watch Purdue play at Notre Dame. So yes, I’m happy we have that opportunity and hopefully we can take advantage of it.”

And just a reminder, Notre Dame returns to its rightful place on WNDU this Saturday, your home for Notre Dame football.

Countdown To Kickoff starts at 1:30 p.m., followed by kickoff against Purdue at 2:30 p.m.

16 News Now will have the highlights and reaction immediately after the game.

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