Despite all of the unknowns that a spike in COVID-19 cases brings, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are still set to return to play and take on the Florida State Seminoles on October, 10. Head coach Brian Kelly addressed journalists Thursday to provide a status update.
Breaking it Down By the Name Drops
Fans will see a number of Irish players get back on the field who had previously sat out from injuries. On Kevin Austin, Kelly said the wide receiver “is in a running program right now. He ran the last couple of days. He will be modified over the next couple days with practice. Right now we’re on track for him to compete against Florida State.”
On safety Kyle Hamilton and wide receiver Ben Skowronek, Kelly said, “Hamilton is in great shape right now. We expect him to be at full-go. Same thing with Ben. He’s feeling no ill effects from the hamstring. Obviously Kevin is going to be the guy we modify for Florida State, but the other two guys should be at the top of their form.”
The coach outlined the team’s philosophy when it comes to deciding the safety and logic of an upcoming game regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Kelly explained it all comes down to the consistency of testing and a certain level of confidence the team has no ongoing spread. He also emphasized the necessity of putting a team on the field that is “at least resembling in some fashion the competitiveness of your group. Kelly explained avoiding radical position changes in a jam will prevent lacking coverage.
After connecting a recent spike in COVID-19 cases on the squad to a recent team dinner, Kelly addressed plans to change team meal plans and explained, We’ll be using another facility across the street that gives us much more room and allows us to socially distance but also from a meal preparation standpoint, control it to our liking.”
As for the upcoming Florida State game, Kelly said, “In our constant communication with South Florida, they did not have any positives. As it relates to the on-field spread, in that instance, there was some chance there it could have spread, and it did not. The way the game is played, where there is not the duration of contact over a long period of time, it minimizes the spread.”
Kelly explained the team’s current conditioning and practice plans and explained the team met for conditioning on Monday, for weight training on Tuesday and for voluntary conditioning on Wednesday in which the whole team participated. The coach plans to hold practice Thursday and Friday, weight training on Saturday and a live scrimmage on Sunday.
On the schedule shakeup, Kelly said, “These guys have played the game, they know the speed and know what they need to be ready for. We’re going to have to go against each other and go live… But two weeks is not two months. There will be some challenges. But once the game gets going, this group has played a lot of football and I’m confident we’ll be able to get up to snuff pretty quickly.”
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