Brian Kelly gave the media some good injury news on Thursday when discussing the availability of junior defensive end Daelin Hayes. According to the Notre Dame head coach, Hayes has been cleared and we could see him as early as this weekend.
“He’s looking great. He’s cleared,: Brian Kelly said earlier today when addressing the media. Hayes missed the Virginia Tech game last weekend after suffering a shoulder stinger in Notre Dame’s win over Stanford two weeks ago.
Notre Dame will also get Julian Okwara back at DROP DE this weekend after the junior missed the second half last weekend due to a targeting penalty called at the end of the first half. Having both back gives Notre Dame their full pass rush rotation. In their absence last week, Notre Dame received some strong contributions from freshman Julian Okwara and converted LB Jamir Jones.
One thing to keep in mind here is that Kelly is not obligated to give accurate injury updates like NFL coaches so while he said Hayes is cleared to play, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he will. We won’t know that for sure until Saturday.
If Hayes does play, maybe this weekend will be the game when Hayes finally get his first sack of the season. Hayes had 10 QB hurries in the first five games of the year but hadn’t recorded a sack.
Troy Pride Still Banged Up
Junior corner Troy Pride Jr hurt his ankle last weekend and is still being bothered by it according to Kelly. He said that he thinks he will play but that we will also see Done Vaughn as well. Again in coachspeak, this could mean that Pride will play if needed but that is just conjecture by myself.
If Pride is not able to go, Notre Dame would turn to Vaughn and could give some more playing time to freshman Tariq Bracy who has already played some corner this year.
Tony Jones Jr a Go
Tony Jones Jr suffered a sprained ankle against Stanford and while he was active last weekend, he only carried the ball two times all night. Part of that was Dexter Williams having himself another good night, but some of it appeared to be Jones not being fully 100%.
With Jones Jr’s history of ankle injuries, Notre Dame might be wise to rest him this weekend if possible. That would mean relying heavily on Williams again, but also getting some carries to either Avery Davis or one of the freshmen running back – C’bo Flemister and Jahmir Smith.