Brian Kelly says Notre Dame football defense is built for the long haul this season

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By: Tom Coyne/AP Sports Writer

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly believes the Irish defense is better built for the long haul than last year’s defense, which unraveled during the season.

Kelly says the defense the Irish showed against Texas in a 38-3 victory looked much improved, but added it’s a small sample size. The ninth-ranked Irish (1-0) play Saturday at Virginia (0-1), which ranked 98th in the nation in total offense last season and was held to 336 yards of total offense in a loss to UCLA last weekend.

Kelly says he was pleased with the way the Irish defense communicated and how they recognized Texas’ offensive intentions. He says if the Irish stay healthy and continue to improve, he believes they can play the kind of defense necessary to compete nationally.