SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly has bigger things to worry about right now than defending national champion Alabama.
With the national championship game between top-ranked Fighting Irish (12-0) and the Crimson Tide (12-1) more than a month away, Kelly’s main concern is making sure his will be ready to play after 44 days without a game.
“We’re just trying to be better than Alabama on Monday, Jan. 7,” Kelly said. “So our entire focus will be on a one-game season, trying to be better on Monday, Jan. 7. So you can understand, we don’t want to be better than Alabama on the 27th of December.”
Running back Theo Riddick said the Irish are still working.
“You basically have to watch more film, do all the little things that got you here. You can’t really relax,” he said.
Defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore said he’s not worried about the long break.
“I don’t care if we have to prepare for two months. We’re playing for all the marbles. I think we’re going to do a good job with this preparation,” he said.
Kelly said his goal during the six weeks between games — two days longer than the time between the sixth game of the season against Stanford and the final game of the regular season against Southern California — is for the Irish to heal, improve and be ready Jan. 7.
“It’s a one-game deal,” he said.