Notre Dame is coming off a tough loss, and will enter famed Michigan Stadium for the stadium's first ever night game, with kickoff set for 8:00 pm. Michigan enters the matchup after a trouncing of Western Michigan in a game that saw a renewed offense and defense under first year coach Brady Hoke.
Brian Kelly berated players on the sidelines, and, as noted by fans and critics alike on Facebook and Twitter, did not represent the university very well. The worst part for the Irish is that Kelly seemed to have absolutely no control over his team or himself. If he fails to gain control of his emotions, his players will never be able to play to their best.
Irish coach Brian Kelly must prepare himself for a tough team with a great new coach who has utilized his players in a remarkable way. Denard "Shoelace" Robinson will be difficult for the Irish defenders to contain. Robinson, known in the past for running first and throwing second, only ran 8 times for 46 yards while completing 9 of 13 passes as the Wolverines utilized a more pro-style power football game.
Sophomore Fitzgerald Toussaint ran 11 times for 80 yards and two scores, and the Michigan defense scored twice while shutting down Western Michigan. Brady Hoke invigorated one of the worst defensive units for the past three seasons when "Rich Rod" failed miserably as the head coach.
Brian Kelly has to know that Michigan will come in with more plays and formations than they showed in the first game. The Irish were ill-prepared for the mental part of the game, which is where South Florida shined. Michigan figures to utilize a similar reliance on defense, and a more solid offensive attack, which should greatly stress the Irish defense and Brian Kelly's patience.
The lone improvement noted this week for Notre Dame is that Rees, who is 4-0 as a starter, will get the nod in this game. But will it be enough to overcome one of the best defenses Michigan has seen in years?
Most likely not. But as long as the Irish do not turn the ball over, they could pull out a victory. They have more talent, they have more experience, and they have more talent. It should be a close one in what will likely turn into a defensive affair, where the Irish should emerge victorious for their first victory of the season.