Brian Kelly: 'I'm excited'


SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The world isn't coming to an end with Notre Dame off to an 0-2 start. In fact, Brian Kelly has been encouraged by his team's performance through two games.

"I think you can sense that I'm not, 'Oh my God, we're 0-2, what did I get myself into?'" Kelly said at his weekly news conference. "I like our players. I like where we're going. I know you've got to win, I get that. But we're where I believe we should be -- we should've obviously taken care of the football better, made a couple plays here and there, coached a little bit better. We're all disappointed, it's not acceptable to lose, especially at Notre Dame, but we're on the journey that I'm excited about."

Kelly corrected a reporter who began his question suggesting he said he had a good football team, but the second-year head coach added that he doesn't think his team has been beaten through two weeks.

Kelly compared last year's loss to Michigan to this year's in showing the difference between the capabilities of the two teams.

"I said we have a chance to be a good team; we're 0-2 right now," Kelly said. "It's been what I've expected it to be. And they're not pleased with their performance, they're not happy where they're at, coaches are not pleased with our performance. We're all in this together. It's not, 'Hey, they did this, we're smart, they're not.' We're all in this together. I'm 0-2. But I did tell them this: I said I really believe that you haven't won a game yet but you haven't been beaten.

"Last year we were beaten. We got beat by Michigan last year, as much as I don't like to say it. They beat us last year. We've really had a hand in beating ourselves and that's the big difference. If we do not beat ourselves, we've got a chance to be the kind of football team that we all believe that we can be. I can see it. I've coached almost 250 football games. I can feel and see a football team coming together. They've got to take care of the football. They've got to execute better and they will. I know it's just a matter of time for them."

Notes: Kelly also said reserve tight end Mike Ragone will undergo season-ending surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament. ... Alex Welch (foot) and Jake Golic (broken arm) have been cleared to practice. ... Danny Spond (hamstring) is questionable. ... Sean Cwynar (broken bone in hand) is regaining strength and doing better.