LSU drew a big-name bowl opponent, facing off with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the Music City Bowl on Dec. 30. Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly spoke with the media on Sunday after learning about the bowl game.

Here’s what he had to say about the Tigers.

On the similarities between the two young teams

Well, we wanted to be challenged again. There’s no sense going into this Bowl game situation and feeling like you’re not going to be challenged. I feel like there are matchups there that don’t give you the same kind of challenge. This is one that we wanted. Again, they’re a formidable opponent, very good SEC team. You can see what their record indicates and what they can do.

On how close his team was to a strong season

We’re, obviously, a few plays here and from having a really good football season and talking about different situations. But we are who we are, and we think that this game in particular allows us to continue to not paint a false picture of who we are, but where we need to get better as we look towards 2015.

On dealing with LSU’s physicality and how the Irish will prepare

We’re going to practice physical even if we have to put out guys that are not going to play this year.  We’re going to bang and play physical because that’s the kind of football we’re going to see.  It can’t be flag football here for the next eight practices.

Even if we’ve got to line up some offensive linemen and put them in defensive linemen roles, we’re going to do whatever is necessary to physically prepare our football team for a very physical football team in LSU.

On facing an SEC team

We knew that an SEC matchup would be most favorable, and then certainly it became outside of our control what that ultimate matchup would be with the SEC because of how they tier their football teams.

So if there’s anything that we controlled, it was that we picked up the phone and said, we hope you like us like we like you.  I guess that’s the best way to put it.