Story by 89 WLS web staff
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team has enjoyed the past week they've gotten to spend in Miami, but that hasn't distracted them from the reason for their trip. The Irish have their sights firmly set on a BCS National Championship title.
"We've been treated great all week," Head Coach Brian Kelly said during a media day press conference. "Our kids have enjoyed Miami. They've enjoyed all of the venues. But you can sense and you can feel that they're ready to play, and I know as a football team we'll be ready to play Monday night."
The Fighting Irish will face off against the Alabama Crimson Tide Monday night in the BCS National Championship game in Miami at 7:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on WLS 890 AM.
When asked about speculation that the NFL was beginning to show interest in him after Notre Dame's successful season this year, Kelly said that his priority right now was winning Monday night's game.
"My focus -- this is the biggest game that I've ever been involved in, so my focus is 100 percent on this football game," he said. "All that other stuff, that happens when you're winning football games. I've been through this a lot in my career. It's flattering if there is interest, which I don't know that there is, but again, that is such a secondary topic for me right now, it's all about this game."
Notre Dame finished its regular season with a 12-0 record, and Kelly said the team would approach Monday's game with the same attitude that they brought to every other game this season, despite the pressures that come with a national championship.
"As we get into Monday night we're going to play the game the way we've played it all year," Kelly said. "We're going to play fast, we're going to play aggressive because we don't carry all those perceived burdens."
Notre Dame's football program has a lot of lore and history behind it, and its passionate fan base has high expectations for the team. However, Kelly said he tries to keep as much of that pressure off of the team as possible in order to let them focus on playing the game.
"They're 18 to 21 year olds, they have no idea what that history means," he said. "We do, our fan base certainly does, but what I've tried hard to do is let our kids go play the game and let their actions speak, and not let all of this outside perceived pressure for the entire Notre Dame nation to weigh heavily on them."