Goshen News, Goshen, IN

November 25, 2013

Kelly likes Irish's physical play

Notre Dame head coach says similar effort needed against Stanford.

By DAVID VANTRESS
david.vantress@goshennews.com

---- — SOUTH BEND - Looking back on Saturday night's 23-13 win over BYU, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly liked his team's physical play.

Another gritty, hard-nosed effort will be needed this Saturday as the Irish (8-3) wrap up the 2013 regular season on the road at Stanford, the Notre Dame mentor asserted on Sunday during his weekly teleconference with area media.

"You cannot play finesse football against Stanford," Kelly said. "Oregon showed that you can't go in there and try to finesse them and play fast-break football. You've got to play physical football against Stanford to have a chance against them. What we have to do is prove we can do it consistently."

The kind of physical play the Irish showed on Saturday is something Kelly wants to see every week against every opponent. The Irish haven't always been as physical as they should have been this season, Kelly said.

"We want tough gentlemen. I want tough guys on the field, I want gentlemen off the field. There have been times we've played like gentlemen, and I don't want to play like gentlemen," he said.

Notre Dame had success running the ball against the Cougars, with 47 rushes for 235 yards after rushing just 21 times in the Irish's 28-21 loss to Pittsburgh Nov. 9.

"This is Notre Dame football. This is the way we need to play. This is what we're capable of playing," Kelly said.

The Irish moved back into the Top 25 in both the AP and USA TODAY/Coaches polls after the win over BYU, showing up at No. 25 in both.

The Irish have an opportunity to finish strong and catch the attention of bowl committees, Kelly said.

Kelly said the Irish recognize the opportunity before them.

"It does so much for you to finish strong, especially against a team like Stanford and a ranked opponent," Kelly said. "They know the wins they have and they're disappointed in the losses they have."

In injury news, Kelly said center Nick Martin is done for the year after apparently injuring a knee against BYU on Saturday.

"Nick has a significant knee injury. He'll be out for this game, and he will not be able to play in the bowl game," Kelly said. "We're still getting a little bit more information. We had an MRI. I'll probably have a little bit more specific details, but he's out for the season."

Follow sports editor David Vantress on Twitter at dvantress_tgn.