Kelly feeling better about the travel plans to Ireland

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ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon had a little fun with Notre Dame yesterday based on my story in Sunday’s Sun-Times, about the logistical problems the Ireland trip poses. Irish coach Brian Kelly said today, though, that everything is in order and his concerns have largely been allayed after meeting with the team’s support staff.

“I’m a lot more at ease knowing all the thing have been covered,” Kelly said.

It’s still a very hectic schedule for the next few days. The team practices this afternoon, then tomorrow morning at 6:15 a.m. (South Bend time) for about an hour. Players will then go to class, then weight train around 2:30 and head to the airport.

“It’s going to be a long day for our players, and that’s purposeful,” Kelly said. “We want to get them up early and keep them moving throughout the entire day so they sleep on the flight over to Ireland.”

The team lands early Thursday morning, will eat breakfast at the hotel and practice in the early afternoon. Kelly said there’ll be an early bedtime on Thursday so that Friday can be a mostly normal day, with a walkthrough. So getting that sleep schedule right tomorrow can make all the difference.

“Tomorrow’s an important day in terms of getting acclimated to the change,” Kelly said.

Kelly initially planned for nearly two weeks of early morning practices, but eventually cut it down to one day.

“As I thought about it more and got a feel for our team, (and) where they are preparation wise, physically — college students have a tendency to cut back on sleep more than anything else,” he said. “I didn’t want to be the person to add to that and have it hurt us possibly later in the year.”

Of course, getting up early is nothing new for Notre Dame’s opponent, Navy.

“They won’t be late to the game, I know that,” Kelly said. “Certainly, I might have been more concerned if it was Week 4 or 5. But it’s the opener. My gosh, if you can’t get excited for the opener, I don’t know what we’re doing playing football.”

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