Irish trying to improve special teams
Coach Brian Kelly is painfully aware that poor special teams play has haunted the Irish this season.
"It is an emphasis," Kelly said. "We're working hard at it. We know it's an area that has to get better, has to improve. But like anything else, we're up late. We're looking at everything. We're examining everything that's being done, every person out there, every player, every scheme. There's no hurt feelings here when it comes to special teams. This is raw in a sense that everything has to be examined because we've got to get better there."
The national rankings paint a grim picture. Notre Dame is ranked 110th in net punting, 117th in punt returns and 37th in kickoff returns. Kicker David Ruffer, who set a school record with 23 straight field goals to begin his career but is 3 of 7 this year.
"What I really try to do is examine all phases of the game and find out whether it's personnel, whether it's teaching, or simply is it scheme?" Kelly said. "I try to break it down in that area.
"While I believe we spend the appropriate time on special teams, we would be a whole lot better if we got better play. That doesn't exonerate the coaches. We're part of that as well. But we need better play. We need to up our standard of play."
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