Notre Dame used its late season bye week to rest last week – literally. Notre Dame didn’t practice last week because of all of the mounting injuries the Irish have dealt with in 2013 – specifically on the defensive side of the ball. With a full week of rest under their belts, Brian Kelly wasn’t ready to rule anyone out for this weekend’s game with BYU.
No. There’s nobody at this point that’s definitely out,” Kelly said on Tuesday. “I think everybody is at this point where their focus is to get out there and give it the best shot to play against BYU,” he added.
With the full week off, Kelly utilized Monday for a rare, full practice session – something he and the staff normally coming off a normal Saturday game. They did so this week in order to get an early handle on the injury status of the walking wounded on defense.
Kelly later specifically addressed the status of some of those defensive players who have been banged up.
- Kona Schwenke – Missed the Pitt game after getting hurt against Navy. Schwenke practiced Monday and Kelly said that he was pleased with how he held up. Schwenke spent some time during the bye week in a walking boot with the plan on him coming back for BYU and it sounds like that is still very possible.
- Jarron Jones – Got banged up in the loss to Pitt but practice on Monday as well and didn’t suffer any setbacks.
- Isaac Rochell – Like Jones, Rochell suffered an ankle injury against Pitt but was back out on the practice field and it sounds like he should be set for the weekend.
- Ishaq Williams – Williams was the only member of the defense who Kelly sounded less optimistic calling him “day to day”. The original plan was for Williams to be back for BYU after getting hurt against Air Force and missing the Navy and Pitt games, but if the “day to day” designation for Williams is similar to that of which we’ve heard Kelly classify other injured players this year, his chances of coming back this weekend don’t sound great.
If Notre Dame has Schwenke, Jones, and Rochell on the field to go along with Louis Nix, Sheldon Day, and Stephon Tuitt, the defensive line should be in the best shape we’ve seen it in since the beginning of the season. That depth of front will be needed this weekend with a tough, hard-nosed opponent in BYU who will be coming to town upset minded after the Irish narrowing escape the upset last year in South Bend.