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Irish coaches also are looking at some tactical changes as well, including how much cushion Irish defenders are giving opposing receivers.
It's not just the secondary, though, that's struggled. The entire defense isn't playing up to expectations.
"We're better than what we've shown" Notre Dame linebacker Brian Smith said. "We're giving up way too many plays on things we know they're going to do. We just have a breakdown mentally or physically or what have you. We just can't have that breakdown."
The Irish coaches can look to last season for hope. After five games last season the Irish were rated 84th in total defense and after six games they were 75th. They finished the season ranked 39th in total defense.
They already have shown some progress against the run, giving up 4.8 yards a carry through the first three games and 3.7 yards a game the next three.
"You've got to learn from your mistakes and grow from your mistakes," defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta said. "Obviously that's one thing we've done in a lot of areas. We've got to continue to grow in that aspect."
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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