SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Notre Dame's offense, when not playing in a hurricane, has been plenty explosive, although not at all dependable.
"We haven't done a good job of going out and keeping our pedal to the floor the whole game," quarterback DeShone Kizer said. "We hit lapses, and that's the truth. That's the reality of how this season has started and those lapses have come back and ended up with four losses," he said.
Left tackle Mike McGlinchey says the Irish are better than their 2-4 record.
"We feel as though we have one of the best offenses and one of the most prolific offenses in the country. At times we don't show that full capability," he said
The offensive line in particular hasn't met expectations. It was expected to be a strength, with McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson returning, but the Irish rank 92nd in the nation in rushing at 149.5 yards a game. That's 58.1 yards a game worse than last year and on pace for its lowest average since 2011. They also rank 88th in sacks allowed, 2.5 a game.
Coach Brian Kelly believes the line is getting better.
"I like the fact that there's five guys there that have a great chance of all playing together for a couple more years. So I think that's the real test. Where do you see them down the line, more so than right now," he said.
The Irish need them to get better now, though, if they are going to turn around one of the worst starts in the school history. The Irish have just two wins against opponents with combined records of 16-17. The only opponent they've face who now has a winning record is North Carolina State (4-1), which also is the only opponent with a win over a Power Five conference opponent.
In the second half of the season, which starts against Stanford (3-2) on Saturday, the Irish face No. 16 Miami (4-1), No. 17 Virginia Tech (4-1), No. 25 Navy (4-1) as well as Army (3-2) and USC (3-3).
"It's really just about having that demeanor and toughness and that will that regardless of the circumstances, we're going to get it done," Kelly said. "It's about exerting your will, and I think our guys are working toward that and understand it and what has to happen. It's more about exerting will than anything else."
He's stressing on the need to do it late in games because the Irish have had the chance to tie or win the game in every loss and have failed to pull it out.
The coaches have been spending more time on the two-minute drill and other game situations.
"We're going to do it every day to prepare ourselves for that and to truly build the confidence that's needed to go out and win those games," Kizer said.