Notre Dame has been relatively lucky thus far in fall camp on the injury front. There’s been a few bumps and bruises here and there, but until Monday the status of no staters was uncertain. That changed Wednesday when Brian Kelly announced that Jay Hayes has a high ankle sprain and is in walking book.
“He’s grade one, high ankle sprain. Not a severe one,” Kelly said of the projected starter at WDE. “(He’s) been in the boot now, I think this is his third day, fourth day. That’s generally seven to ten days but we’ll take it each day,”
As for Hayes status for the season opener, Kelly sounded optimistic but not certain. “We feel good that we’ll have him ready for the Texas game.”
High ankle sprains have a tendency to linger – especially for big men like Hayes. They are the kind of nagging injury that can hamper a player for weeks or months if they are rushed back before fully healed.
Should Jay Hayes be unable to give it a go on September 4, Notre Dame will likely look to junior Andrew Trumbetti to start but could also increase the workload of freshman Daelin Hayes as well. The younger Hayes has received rave reviews in camp and Kelly has said repeatedly that he will play often. At 250 lbs, however, the younger Hayes might need more time in the weight room to handle up against the run.
As for Trumbetti, the junior received some encouragement from Kelly over the weekend. “Andrew I thought had a good camp. He’s played fast, he’s played with great second effort,” Kelly said over the weekend. “It’s always about Andrew’s confidence and really making sure that he believes in himself. We believe in him.”
While the staff believes in Trumbetti, it sounds as though the former Under Armour All-American is battling some confidence problems. “At times, he’s his harshest critic,” Kelly said. “He’s given us the kind of effort that we want, and we think he can give us the pass rush we need. Sometimes he beats himself up too much.”
Hopefully some first team reps for the next week or so help Trumbetti build that confidence back up because the Irish will certainly need him throughout the season.
With the weakside defensive end position being one of the biggest question marks on the 2016 roster, even a minor injury like this one is bad news for Notre Dame. Jay Hayes was just starting to assert himself in practice and at a minimum will miss 7-10 days and then have to get back into the swing of things during game week.
On the good news injury front, freshman Devin Studstill was back at practice on Wednesday after missing a few days. Studstill needs all the reps he can get this summer given the depth issues Notre Dame has in the secondary. Josh Adams meanwhile took part in some drills but wasn’t involved in any contact. He remains limited with a hamstring injury.