SOUTH BEND – Notre Dame’s cornerbacks will get a better grasp of where they are at this weekend.
Junior Bennett Jackson and freshman KeiVarae Russell made their first starts in last week’s 50-10 win over Navy in Dublin, Ireland.
While both faced some challenges against the Midshipmen’s passing game, the corners will be tested more when No. 22 Notre Dame (1-0) plays host to Purdue (1-0) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
For this game, there is more passing; you don’t have to worry about such a quick triple-option and what not, Jackson said.
It’s a completely different style of play. Really, we are just back to how we usually play.
It’s good, because this is the majority of how teams are going to play.
Irish coach Brian Kelly said he saw some good things from his cornerbacks against Navy, which threw for 192 yards against Notre Dame.
There are fundamental and technical areas we have to improve on, (but) from a big-picture standpoint we leave the game knowing that those guys are going to be able to play our system, Kelly said.
Purdue proved in its 48-6 win over Eastern Kentucky last Saturday that it can hurt teams with its passing game.
Twelve players had receptions against Eastern Kentucky, led by receiver O.J. Ross’ eight catches for 71 yards. Antavian Edison, Gary Bush, Gabe Holmes and Justin Sinz each had a touchdown reception.
Purdue quarterback Robert Marve threw for 295 yards with three touchdowns, and Rob Henry added 77 passing yards and a touchdown. But both quarterbacks fumbled and were intercepted.
Those turnovers led Purdue coach Danny Hope to name Caleb TerBush the starter for Saturday’s game. TerBush, who was suspended for the season opener, threw only six interceptions last season.
Jackson said the cornerbacks will adjust to facing a passing offense, and that there is no reason to panic even though Navy started the third quarter with a three-pass, 75-yard scoring drive.
With a team like Navy with the triple-option, it brings you to looking into the backfield a lot more, Jackson said. This week, I’m definitely going to have my eyes on my keys. I don’t think it’s a worry, for us at least. People are going to catch passes on you. It’s going to happen. But we rallied back, and we really didn’t let up too many passes after that. You try to prevent the big plays, but when they do, you just lock in more.
Note: The Notre Dame IMG Radio Network announced that former Irish All-American Mirko Jurkovic will be the analyst for Saturday’s game, and former Irish receiver Tim Brown, the 1987 Heisman Trophy winner, will be the analyst for the Sept. 15 game at Michigan State. They are filling in for the suspended Allen Pinkett.