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September 9, 2012

Kelly optimistic on injury front

Notre Dame will head to Michigan State looking to answer plenty of questions.

One that Brian Kelly believes will already have resolution by kickoff is the Irish injury report, which grabbed hold of the narrative in Notre Dame’s 20-17 win over Purdue on Saturday. After meeting with the team’s medical staff on Sunday morning, Kelly believes the Irish will have a full complement of talent at kickoff against the No. 10 Spartans.

“Everything looks to be okay for not ruling anybody out for this game,” Kelly said.

As for ruling players in for practice this week, it appears Notre Dame will have staggered returns. Kelly said Tyler Eifert (concussion) and Jamoris Slaughter (shoulder) have already been cleared to return to practice. Kapron Lewis-Moore (calf) is close and should do some work on Monday. DaVaris Daniels (ankle) may be the furthest away.

“We’ll progress him during the week,” Kelly said. “He should be able to answer the bell.”

Other minor injuries included Everett Golson (thumb), Manti Te’o (bruised sternum), Sheldon Day (dehydration) and Ishaq Williams (elbow contusion).

Kicker Nick Tausch could miss time, although he could also be beaten out by Kyle Brindza. The reserve connected on 2-of-3 field goals against Purdue, including the game-winner from 27 yards with just seven seconds remaining.

While there’s little upside to a battered roster, Kelly did get to test his depth while relying on Tommy Rees, Day, Elijah Shumate, Tony Springmann, Matthias Farley, Jalen Brown, Troy Niklas and John Goodman, among others.

“I think anytime you get contributions from so many different players, that’s what you try to prepare for,” Kelly said. “When you get that chance and you get that opportunity, we have high expectations for you.”

While much of the depth on display against Purdue will be tested again this season, Kelly doesn’t anticipate making a habit of playing two quarterbacks moving forward. The Irish have rotated quarterbacks in each of the past four games, with the Navy blowout the only time Kelly rested his starter because of a big lead.

“I don’t see it as a role, I see it as if we feel like Tommy can help us win a game or he can come in a situation where we believe it’s the right fit, then he'll be prepared to do so,” Kelly said. “I used this baseball analogy: We like our starters to finish the game. We want them to go all nine innings. Occasionally we might need some help. Maybe we need long relief, maybe we need short relief.

“I don’t want to take anything off the table, but we’d like our starter to start it and finish it.”

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