Inadequate prep doomed Irish
One reason why Notre Dame didn't perform well against USC was the players concentration waned last week, according to coach Brian Kelly.
"The word "preparation" is interpreted so many different ways," he said. "Preparation for me is the practice format and how we go about practicing. That doesn't change by any standards. It's when you show up for those two hours, where is your head at? What's your focus level?
"We had an unusual situation, and one that I haven't experienced before, in that we had a bye week followed by mid-winter break. Our players are a very disciplined group. They're used to getting up early, going to class, being on a regimen.
"During the week, it was a bit of a battle because there wasn't that regimen during the week. I could sense it. I screamed about it. I yelled about it. But ultimately, it's my responsibility to get the football team ready.
"We all saw by the way we played in the first 20 minutes of the game, we didn't play the same way that we played all year. So I told our team yesterday, I'll take full responsibility for the preparation. You need to take full responsibility about the way you play and the level that you need to play at."
Kelly said he saw his players' focus return during Monday's workout.
"We had a lot guys running yesterday for a lot of different reasons. I wanted to see their body language, how they reacted. And every single one of 'em had the right language, their body language, their attitude.
"It just cemented in my mind that our guys want that. They need that. They need that kind of disciplined structure. Here's where you need to be and at this time. Maybe we didn't have that last week and that affected the way they played.
"I've got to look at everything when it comes to why we didn't play early on the way we should have played. Got behind 14-nothing. I think what galvanized it in my mind yesterday was it was a discipline day yesterday, and they were locked in."
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