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Article updated: 11/12/2013 5:53 PM

Not much at stake for Notre Dame now

Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees talks with head coach Brian Kelly during a timeout in the fourth quarter of last Saturday’s loss to Pittsburgh.

Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees talks with head coach Brian Kelly during a timeout in the fourth quarter of last Saturday's loss to Pittsburgh.


Associated Press

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By Associated Press

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly isn't worried about his team having a lack of motivation for the final two regular-season games.

There's not much at stake for the Fighting Irish (7-3), who were eliminated from a possible BCS bowl berth with a 28-21 loss to Pittsburgh last week. The Irish must now wait to see which conferences are unable to fill all their bowl affiliations.


"It's still about week to week at Notre Dame. Whether you are playing for the national championship or not, its' really one game. It's trying to get to a national championship and next year, obviously, the playoffs. So whether you're playing in Miami or New Orleans or whatever your destination is, they're all runner-up games. So it's really about winning the next game."

Nose guard Louis Nix III, a senior who has a year of eligibility left, says he hasn't decided what he'll do next year.

The last chance for Notre Dame (7-3) to get to a BCS bowl ended with a 28-21 loss to Pittsburgh. The Irish must now wait to see which conferences are unable to fill all their affiliations to see what second-tier bowl spots are left. With four weekends of football left to play, many possibilities exist.

The Irish have a week off before their home finale against BYU (6-3) and then a road game at Stanford (8-1). Players say they're not worried about where they're headed in the postseason. They also say they aren't worried about a lack of motivation.

"It's not over yet. That's the big thing for me," quarterback Tommy Rees said. "I'm just focused on spending this time with my teammates and getting ready to play BYU and having a great senior day."

That was a common theme among players, who said they wanted to win for each other.

"We're playing for pride," guard Chris Watt. "Just having a lot of pride in this university, and how we play is important. Being able to go out there and wear the helmet is bigger than the individual and being able to showcase what we can do the rest of the season is important."

Kelly said he's more worried about his seniors getting caught up in the emotions of playing their final home game at Notre Dame Stadium than he is about motivation.

"Letting emotions get in the way of playing a good football game to me is counterproductive to the memories of what you want to carry with you," Kelly said. "You don't want to carry a loss with you in your last home game."

It could be the last home game for nose guard Louis Nix III, a senior who has a year or eligibility left. Nix toyed with the media Tuesday about whether he'd be back for another season, saying he didn't know what he was doing. He then said he wouldn't mind if Kelly put him in at quarterback for a play against BYU, like he did in the spring game.

"I wouldn't mind going in for one last time. Oooo, one last time," he said, breaking out in a hearty laugh. "I've got to stop messing with y'all."

He said he wasn't worried about motivation.

"My mindset is just on winning that game," he said. "I just want to win. Go out with a blast."

Kelly said the Irish won't practice at all during the off week because too many players are injured. The Irish added to that list against Pitt. Defensive linemen Isaac Rochell and Jarron Jones are in walking boots with sprained ankles, Kelly said. Center Nick Martin fractured a bone in his hand in expected to play with a cast on it.

Kelly said it's the first time he's not held a practice on an off week.

"The guys that I'd be practicing, they would need to play considerable time for us against BYU and Stanford," he said. "It's in my estimation we could have a situation of diminished returns and put us in jeopardy."

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