Football: Short-term memory
By Mike Monaco | Wednesday, September 11, 2013
The last time Notre Dame lost a regular-season game and had to play again the next week was October 2011. The Irish lost to USC, 31-17, and squared off with Navy just seven days later.
After Notre Dame’s 41-30 loss to Michigan on Saturday, the Irish will have to bounce back this week against Purdue after what had to seem like an eternity.
“Any time you lose, you want to get back out on the field,” Irish coach Brian Kelly said Tuesday. “Our guys will get an opportunity to get back to work, and you know, obviously there’s a number of things we’ve got to get better at.”
In 2011, Notre Dame responded to its loss to the Trojans by dismantling the Midshipmen, 56-14. Irish senior receiver and tri-captain TJ Jones, who had three catches for 28 yards against Navy as a sophomore, said the key to bouncing back this time around is to flush last week out of the system and start anew.
“Really pay attention to the 24-hour rule,” Jones said Wednesday. “Learn from the mistakes, learn from the game and then come into this week ready to prepare.”
Senior cornerback and fellow tri-captain Bennett Jackson advocated a similar approach. Jackson said while the Irish certainly use the loss to motivate them, they’ve already moved forward.
“You use it as motivation,” Jackson said. “At the end of the day, even if we were to win the game, we know we have a 24-hour rule. When Monday comes along, it’s Purdue. We’re on to the next opponent. Obviously we wish we would have won that game but our thoughts aren’t really on it anymore.”
While Notre Dame won’t reflect on its first regular-season defeat in 22 months, the Irish have used the game for more than motivation, spending time studying the film and improving from the mistakes made against the Wolverines.
“We just lost a football game,” senior defensive lineman Louis Nix said. “We went back already and evaluated the film and looked at a lot of mistakes that happened in the game and we’re moving forward to Purdue.”
Kelly said he is not worried about his team suffering a letdown against the Boilermakers on Saturday. Cincinnati buried Purdue, 42-7, in the opening week of the season, and the Boilermakers barely snuck by FCS school Indiana State in week two, defeating the Sycamores, 20-14.
“Let down? They just lost. They lost a football game,” Kelly said. “Look, we’ve got to worry about all the things I just talked about: the attention to detail, the way we work, all the things that we have to do. We’ve got our own work to take care of. We’ve got to be smarter, more disciplined. We’ve got to practice better. We’ve got to take care of a lot of things on our own.”
While the Irish would certainly rather be 2-0 heading into Saturday, Jones called the loss a stepping stone and said the team has been upbeat while preparing for Purdue.
Nix, meanwhile, said the loss may have been a necessary evil.
“We probably needed that loss just to bounce back,” Nix said. “Coming off last year, got to the national championship, I think we just needed that. When we watched film and we evaluated it, we saw we made a lot of mistakes. We didn’t play Notre Dame football.
“So I think that will set us in the right direction because I know I don’t want to lose again.”
Contact Mike Monaco at [email protected]