Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly is about to take his team into his favorite month – November.
Kelly is 10-1 in the final month of the season in his first three seasons with the Irish, and he is 20-2 over the last six seasons in November when you include his three seasons with Cincinnati.
He is 58-14 overall in the second to last month as a head coach.
“October is for pretenders, and November is for contenders,” Kelly said Sunday. “We try to ingrain that within our players’ and coaches’ minds this is now the time to kick it into gear. This is where you get the opportunity to play for championships.”
The Irish will begin the final month with a home game against Navy (4-3) on Saturday. Notre Dame then travels to play Pittsburgh (4-3) on Nov. 9, and after a bye, it plays host to BYU (6-2) on Nov. 23. The Irish finish the season with a trip to No. 6 Stanford (7-1) on Nov. 30.
Kelly credited part of his teams’ November success to strength and conditioning coach Paul Longo, who has been with the Irish coach since he was at Central Michigan in 2006.
“He’s part of our team,” Kelly said of Longo. “He’s been with me for a long time. Part of the foundation of this program is built in the player development area. You can’t have a great November without a great plan as it relates to your conditioning. That goes back to January. That goes back to what you do in June. If you are trying to win the battle in June and July and August, you are probably going to come up short in November.
“We want to make sure that the tank is full in November, and we’ve done a pretty good job of it.”