It already has been a long day for the University of Notre Dame football team. As the Irish begin to acclimate to a five-hour time difference (and a 9 a.m. Eastern kickoff) for their Saturdaymatchup with Navy in Dublin, coach Brian Kelly scheduled a 6 a.m. practice today. Kelly said he breathed a “sigh of relief” at 5:20 a.m. when all players were accounted for because “I made it clear anyone not on time was staying in South Bend.”
Today’s early-morning workout was the equivalent of a normal Thursday practice, including down-and-distance and late-game situational work, according to Kelly. On Wednesday afternoon, the Irish will meet, weight train, leave via bus for the Michiana Regional Airport a little after 5 p.m., then fly on their Delta charter at 6:45 p.m. Kelly said he hopes the players will sleep during the flight. After arriving early Thursday Dublin time, the Notre Dame team will head to its headquarters hotel, have breakfast, then head back to Aviva Stadium for a midday workout. Irish players and coaches will be available to the media after that workout.
Kelly said this won’t be the first time he has been to Ireland. He previously made a trip to the west coast of Ireland to play golf. “I really enjoyed it and I learned a lot about Ireland,” he said.
At noon today in his last visit with about 20 media members before his team leaves for Ireland, Kelly said he feels good about his 2012 squad eventhough there are several spots with young and inexperienced players. Said Kelly, “It makes you confident when you feel like you can run the football and stop the run on defense.”