- Matt Fortuna, ESPN Staff Writer
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Four misses and a whiffed extra point over the past three games have not affected Kyle Brindza's confidence.
If it did, Brian Kelly would be much more concerned.
But the last thing the third-year Notre Dame head coach is worried about nine games in is the mental makeup of his kicker, who took the job in Week 2 because of Nick Tausch's groin injury.
"I know Kyle Brindza," Kelly said Tuesday. "I've seen him kick in high school. I know what he's made of. He's won a state championship. He's going to move on. For him, [it's] consistency of mechanics.
"But the pressure -- I always look for, is the game affecting a player? Are the circumstances affecting a player? That doesn't affect him. It's mechanical, and I'm going over there saying, 'Hey, listen, get on the side, kick it again, we're going to need you. How do you feel?' 'I feel good.' That's all I am looking for."
Brindza bounced back Saturday from a missed 43-yarder at the end the first half and the wide extra point to send the game into double overtime with a 37-yarder, his third made field goal of the day.
The sophomore is 17-of-23 on the season and 17-of-18 on extra-point attempts, though he's been the victim of some bad snaps, as well. Brindza's longest make is 47 yards, and he remains one of the key cogs of the Irish's special teams, which reared its ugly head Saturday with a number of misplayed punt returns and poor return coverage.
"I guess the area that we need to continue to grow towards consistency is the skill area," Kelly said. "It's fielding all those punts. It's kicking the ball consistently. It's snapping the ball consistently. I guess those are the areas that I want to see improvement on.
"But by and large, our special teams have not been a reason for me to stay up all night. It's those catching the punt, snapping, it's holding, it's kicking. Those are the things. Those are skill players. That's a craft that they just practice every day, and we've got to keep them going."
14dEdward Aschoff and Greg Ostendorf