BlueAndGold - Brian Kelly Post-Practice: Sept. 15
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Brian Kelly Post-Practice: Sept. 15

Brian Kelly will lead the Irish on Saturday against Michigan State at 7:30 p.m. on NBC. (Bill Panzica)

A recap of Brian Kelly’s Thursday press conference…

• The seventh-year coach said senior receiver Torii Hunter Jr. is expected to play against Michigan State on Saturday. Hunter missed the Nevada last week with a concussion.

It took Hunter a few days to get back to normal.

“When you take a week off in our offense where there’s so much volume for those wide receivers, you lose a little bit of that,” Kelly said. “He was a little sore, muscular soreness not anything with the head or neck. It’s kind of getting the kinks out, but today he looked pretty much back to where he had been.”

• Junior cornerback Nick Watkins has had positive signs in terms of bone growth in his broken right arm. He had a scan and get another scan next week, which will determine whether he will play this year.

Watkins practiced “very hard” this week, Kelly said. Best case scenario is another two weeks for Watkins.

“He’s a kid that started for us and played pretty good in the bowl game,” Kelly said. “He’s in pretty good shape, his volume is really good in practice.”

• Sophomore cornerback Shaun Crawford, who tore his Achilles in the first quarter against Nevada, suffered the injury making the play, not on the celebration, Kelly said.

• Kelly was asked about the team’s plans for defensive ends Jay and Daelin Hayes, who have seen limited action in the first two games.

“Before it’s all said and done, both those guys will play a role in our defense,” Kelly said. “Now we’re really looking at getting all these guys to the point where they can contribute. I’m very confident that you’re going to see both the Hayeses play more football. You’ll see (Julian) Okwara playing more football, Jamir Jones. There’s a lot of guys that we have yet to see that will have roles for us on the defensive side of the ball.”

On that same note, Kelly isn’t worried that Notre Dame has zero sacks through two games. It’s an overrated stat, he said, and with the way offenses operate, passes batted down are more important. The idea is to hurry the quarterback and pressure him.

• To beat Michigan State, Notre Dame will need to take its chances down the field and win some one-on-one matchups at receiver, the coach said.

• Kelly said former Notre Dame coach Ara Parseghian drops him a note about every week during the season. Kelly has a book of Parseghian’s cards. Parseghian and Lou Holtz are both expected to be in attendance Saturday.

• There’s no update from the University on the status of Te’von Coney, Kevin Stepherson, Ashton White and Dexter Williams in regard to the Office of Community Standards.