Brian Kelly wants his team to do the ordinary things better. If Notre Dame did that through five games, the Irish may be 5-0, as they have a "razor thin" margin for error that they were able to tread successfully during their perfect 2012 regular season.
Kelly recently showed his players clips of last season's tight home wins against Purdue, BYU and Pitt -- three games decided by one possession -- in order to drive that point home.
He hopes they keep that in the back of their minds as they prepare this week and try to forget about the fact that there will be no repeat national title game run.
"We've been together. These guys have been together for four years and it's the constant day-in and day-out relationships," Kelly said during his Tuesday press conference. "Everybody knows what's expected. Everybody knows what to do on a day-to-day basis. Again, I think when you're talking about a program that has won a lot of football games over the last couple of years, they just want to go out and play better football, that's really their goal.
"It's interesting and we talked a little about this: They're not walking around campus flashing their 12-0 rings. They don't have a 12-0 ring. They're not wearing a conference champion ring. They have an immense amount of pride of what they accomplished, that's what drives them, is winning, and they want to win. They want to win football games. They can play good football week-in and week-out, so what drives them, what the goal is for them is to go out and prepare and play good football week-in and week-out. Not what the the destination is for one game, not whether they play in Florida or Texas. It's taking that week of preparation and going out on a Saturday and playing really well and the satisfaction of doing that."
Notes: Sheldon Day (ankle sprain) is expected to be ready Saturday after missing the last two games. … Ben Councell's targeting appeal was denied so he will miss the first half of the Arizona State game after his fourth-quarter ejection against Oklahoma. … Kelly did not know how the government shutdown could possibly affect the Irish's games at Air Force (Oct. 26) and against Navy (Nov. 2), but he did joke that he would love to replace one of those games with an FCS opponent if it came down to that: "I'd probably be one vote in a room of probably 'Nos.' " Notre Dame has never faced an FCS school.