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Notre Dame Football: Brian Kelly Expects Dexter Williams, Te’von Coney to Play Against Michigan...For Now

Coach offered hopeful, but cautious, tune when asked about two key Notre Dame players.

Notre Dame v Syracuse Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

For the first time in Brian Kelly’s nine-year tenure, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach says there are zero outstanding academic eligibility issues following the culmination of the spring semester.

That doesn’t mean the Irish are without question marks with 90 days remaining before their Sept. 1 kickoff against the Michigan Wolverines.

There are rumors that running back Dexter Williams, a rising senior, will be suspended the first four games of the season for a violation of team rules — allegedly a second positive screen for marijuana.

When asked about it, Kelly said there was no change in Williams’ status. (The video is courtesy of ND Insider.)

“Not right now,” the coach said at his Kelly Cares Foundation Golf Invitational. “I think Dexter — we’re expecting him to be there for us. We had a pretty good spring with him. Our expectations is that he’s ready to answer the bell for us.”

When pressed about Williams being read to play on Sept. 1, the coach continued, “We hope so. There’s always things behind the scenes you’ve got to sort out. But our expectations, right now, is that he’ll be there for us in the opener.”

The Irish are facing an unexpected shortfall at running back after the dismissals of C.J. Holmes and Deon McIntosh, but are also currently over their scholarship limit by one.

Kelly was asked about a “path back” for Holmes, a rising sophomore, and McIntosh, a rising junior.

“Right now, they’re not with the program, but I haven’t closed the door totally,” said the coach. “There are so many different things that are in play here. ... There are things that have to be worked out if either one of them were to come back.”


Te’von Coney’s legal exposure from a August 2016 traffic stop still continues. Fulton County Court has scheduled a “change of plea agreement” for June 19 for the misdemeanor marijuana possession charge.

“He’s got to clean it up,” Kelly said of Coney’s charge. “We’re not going to wait until Aug. 1 [the date of Coney’s bench trial] for all this stuff. That’s on him. He’s got to take care of his business. If he takes care of it in the manner that I expect him to, he should be full go and ready to play when we go to camp. But he’s got some things he’s got to take care of. I don’t think that they’re insurmountable in this situation.”


Jonathan Bonner, who was held out of spring practice to nurse a wrist injury, is a “full go” when workouts resume.

“I thought we were very cautious with him,” Kelly said of Bonner, who is the favorite to start at nose guard. “We could have gotten more out of him, but we had kind of gone into this with the idea that, ‘You’re not going to get involved much in terms of contact.’ But, he’s excited. He’s worked really hard to put himself in this position to come back, so we’re excited about him.”

Kelly had additional comments regarding the team’s effort in the classroom, as well as about the construction of the Irish Indoor Athletics Center. The South Bend Tribune’s Eric Hansen has that story.