Playoff experience benefits Kelly as Irish prepare for Cotton Bowl

Brian Kelly // WSBT 22

Nine years ago Monday, Notre Dame introduced Brian Kelly as its head coach.

In 19 days, Kelly will lead the Irish against Clemson in the college football playoffs for the very first time.

Notre Dame held its first bowl practice on Saturday.

That's a full 21 days to get ready to face the Clemson Tigers.

Here's something you should know. Since arriving at Notre Dame, Brian Kelly is 20-6 when he's had more than a week to prepare for an opponent.

Clemson definitely has playoff experience on its side when the Cotton Bowl kicks off.

The Tigers are making their fourth straight appearance in the national semis.

But Brian Kelly has playoff experience too. In fact, he built his early career on playoff success in division two.

In 13 seasons at Grand Valley State, Kelly took the Lakers to the playoffs six times. On three different occasions, advanced to the national championship game.

WSBT 22 asked Kelly about the nuances of preparing for the playoffs .

"Yeah so this is a comfortable area for me,” said Kelly. “I built who I am on playoff competition and being in the playoffs and understanding how to prepare during playoff competition. So, I've got a pretty good sense of how we need to prepare. And now we have exams going on and you've got to take that into consideration. But you've also got to get them peaking for December 29. Peaking in the sense of execution and tackling and special teams and all those things. You've got one shot at it so you’ve got to have all those things humming at a high level against great competition."

There will be plenty of competition on the field at the Cotton Bowl on December 29.

Monday Notre Dame corner Julian Love was named a first team All-American by the AP and the Football Writers Association. This is the third first team honor for Love in two days.

Teammates Jerry Tillery is a second team All-American and LB Te'Von Coney makes the third team.

Clemson has three players make the All-America 1st Team.

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