Purdue presents a return to normalcy for Notre Dame

Purdue presents a return to normalcy for Notre Dame
September 7, 2012, 4:04 pm

A week ago, Notre Dame was in Dublin, Ireland, preparing for their quarterback's NCAA debut against a team that runs an unorthodox offense. This Saturday, things return to normal for the Irish as they welcome Purdue to Notre Dame Stadium (2:30 p.m., NBC) for their home opener.

"It's going to be tremendous, man. It's going to be real crazy," quarterback Everett Golson said of Saturday's game. "Playing in Dublin, I guess my nerves were a little bit low because you didn't really know anybody in Dublin, or at least I didn't. Playing in front of 81,000 fans that you actually know, the nerves are still going to be there but I'm just going to stay calm and stay the course."

Golson got his first-game jitters out last week, and perhaps won't be under as large of a magnifying glass going forward. But the spotlight may continue to shine on Notre Dame's secondary, which struggled at times as Navy was forced to pass more than expected last weekend.

While Purdue won't start pocket-passing QB Robert Marve, Caleb TerBush -- who was suspended for Week 1 -- will still present a challenge through the air, at least compared to what Notre Dame prepared for against Navy.

"Defensively, we are now going to enter into a different plan," coach Brian Kelly said. "Now you go into your entire defensive mode and fronts and different coverages, nickel, dime, all that has to be worked through this week.

"I don't know if there's an alarm that I'm trying to set off relative to, hey, keep an eye on it, we're in big trouble here -- I don't believe in that. There were a lot of things we were not able to do defensively that were part of our plan that we need to get to work on."

The Irish are likely to see TerBush, Marve and Rob Henry under center, although linebacker and captain Manti Te'o doesn't see that rotation as being a potential headache.

"It doesn't make it difficult at all. Purdue does as Purdue does," Te'o said. "They'll line up and run Purdue plays. You look at the quarterback and their tendencies, you find out what's the best way to attack them."

Notre Dame's 50-10 win over Navy was one of the more impressive victories from around college football's opening weekend, but Kelly and his coaching staff will know a lot more about where the Irish stand after Week 2.

This isn't the same Purdue team Notre Dame pasted last year in West Lafayette -- they've improved, and they represent the next hurdle for the Irish to clear as they head into a few potentially season-defining contests against Michigan State and Michigan.