Te'o said there’s still room for improvement.
“We’ve always believed that we could be great. Slowly, but surely, these little steps we’re taking, it builds our confidence,” he said.
For example, the Irish have forced 13 turnovers, one shy of their total for last season.
No one is talking about the Irish having a championship-level offense, though, which could well be a problem.
Another history lesson: What separated the three 4-0 teams since ‘82 that vied for national championships and the two squads that stumbled down the stretch were their offenses. The contenders all had rushing attacks that ranked in the top 10 nationally and were 36th or better in total offense. Willingham’s 2002 Irish ranked 108th; Faust’s team was not up to par, either.
So far this year, the Irish are 87th in rushing offense at 140 yards a game and 96th in total offense at 351 yards a game. Only three teams in the past decade have finished a season in the top 10 with an offense ranked 95th or worse.
The problem so far has been consistency, Kelly said. Ten players will run a play well, but one player makes a mistake.
“I don’t think it’s a particular scheme as much as it is we just have to continue to practice and hone in on everybody doing their job,” he said.
The focus has been on sophomore quarterback Everett Golson, who didn’t see action as a freshman. He played well against Navy and Michigan State, but last year’s starter, Tommy Rees, came in and led the Irish to wins over Purdue and Michigan.
Golson will have to be if the Irish are going to have a chance at their first national championship in 24 years.
Since then, Alabama has won three national titles, leaving the two schools tied for the lead with the most national championships in the Associated Press college football poll with eight apiece. And Michigan has passed Notre Dame as the school with the best all-time winning percentage, Texas has moved past the Irish for second place on the NCAA’s list of schools with most victories and Southern California has had three Heisman Trophy winners and Ohio State has had two to tie Notre Dame with the most winners with seven each.
For Irish fans, there’s nothing to do but wait _ and hope.View Entire Story
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