Kelly: Desire to win, not fear of losing, motivates Irish

Publish date:

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) Coach Brian Kelly isn't interested in talking with his players about a history lesson as Notre Dame tries to avoid one of the school's worst finishes in 128 seasons of playing football.

''We don't spend time talking about worst or bad or all-time negative, things of that nature. We are who we are. We're 2-5. We know where we are. So that's not really going to be a solution to us,'' Kelly said. ''If I've got to get them motivated to be successful by using, `You guys don't want to be one of the all-time losingest football teams,' then we recruited the wrong guys.

''These guys have got a ton of pride. I don't have to hit them in the nose with a newspaper and remind them of that. So we don't talk about that. We talk about how do we get a win,'' he said.

There would be plenty of negatives to talk about.

A loss to Miami (4-3) on Saturday would be the fourth straight at home for the Irish (2-5), dropping them to 1-4 in South Bend with a game left against No. 25 Virginia Tech on Nov. 19. The only two times the Irish have lost four or more games in a season at Notre Dame Stadium were in 1960 and 2007.

The 1960 team under Joe Kuharich lost four straight at home to finish 1-4 in South Bend and 2-8 overall. In 2007 under Charlie Weis, the Irish lost six straight at home to finish 1-6 at Notre Dame Stadium and 3-9 overall. The 1933 team finished 0-3-1 at home and was shutout in all four games, finishing 3-5-1 overall.

Kelly blames poor play defensively to start the season and inconsistent play on offense for the disappointing home play this season.

''Those inconsistencies are a product of inexperience and coaching that needed to be probably better adept at managing that situation,'' he said.

A loss to the Hurricanes, who have lost three straight, would mean the Irish couldn't finish above .500, something they've failed to do only 19 times. Notre Dame has had 13 losing seasons in its long history .

Despite Notre Dame's struggles this season, athletic director Jack Swarbrick told last week that Kelly will be back at Notre Dame next season. Kelly, who turned 55 on Tuesday, has a 57-28 record at Notre Dame and is two losses shy of tying Lou Holtz, who coached the Irish for 11 seasons, for most losses by an Irish coach.

Kelly, who agreed to a six-year contract in January, said he was disappointed Swarbrick felt like he needed to give him the vote of confidence.

''Any time that your athletic director has to come out and say that, as a head coach you're disappointed that any kind of comments like that have to be made. I didn't ask him. That was his decision. But I clearly understand what he was doing. He was probably sick and tired of being sick and tired, too,'' Kelly said.

Notes: Kelly said there is no change in status for cornerback Devin Butler, who was suspended indefinitely from the team before the season after being arrested. He pleaded guilty last week to misdemeanor resisting law enforcement and under a plea agreement will avoid jail time and complete 24 hours of community service.


Online: AP college football: