Brian Kelly knew the question was coming on Tuesday and he was ready for it. Weird right? A college head coach knowing a difficult question would come and being prepared to answer with lying? (Take notes Urban). Anyway, when asked about the status of senior RB Dexter Williams, Brian Kelly remained vague with the season set to start in a few days.
“He’ll be dressed and he’ll be on the sideline and we’ll see what happens when we kick it off,” Kelly said. And that was it. There were no follow ups or further clarification.
Conventional wisdom still says Notre Dame will be without Williams when the #12 Fighting Irish take on the #14 Wolverines Saturday night in Notre Dame Stadium. Still, there’s been the tiniest bit of rumor and conjecture over the last 24 hours that Notre Dame might just have the electrifying runner available this weekend.
Williams only fueled that speculation on Twitter Monday night with a series of tweets.
And this one.
Earlier this summer Kelly was asked about the status of Williams after rumors swirled all off-season that he was facing a four game suspension similar to that of Kevin Stepherson last year. At the time, he would neither confirm nor deny the rumors but he did praise the work Williams put in during the off-season.
Note: if Williams is facing any sort of disciplinary action from the University, Kelly cannot legally comment on it due to privacy laws. So all the conjecture here is because Kelly legally can’t say if Williams is actually facing a University imposed suspension.
Kelly has handled the Williams situation differently than the Stepherson one last year though. At the time, Kelly was clear that Notre Dame wouldn’t reward playing time just based on talent and that Stepherson had work to do to see the field. He hasn’t done that with Williams.
The most telling indication of Williams’s real status for Saturday though has been in where Williams has been in the running back pecking order throughout the summer when the media has been able to see practice. Williams has been buried behind the young running backs all summer.
Now that could have been to get the young running backs ready for the season if Williams was not going to be available and perhaps now Williams has complete some sort of unknown requirements to play. Or it could just be because Kelly knew all along he wouldn’t have Williams early in the season.
Again, all signs are pointing to Williams staying on the sidelines all game long and not seeing the field. Anything else would still be a surprise. Still, Kelly’s differences in handling of the situation vs. the Stepherson case last year and Williams’ twitter activity the last 24 hours will only fuel more speculation over the next few days regarding the senior running backs status.