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Football

Kelly discusses Wimbush’s injury, red zone efficiency

| Wednesday, October 4, 2017

On Tuesday, Irish head coach Brian Kelly announced that junior quarterback Brandon Wimbush was in a walking boot due to foot soreness suffered during Notre Dame’s 52-17 win over Miami (OH) this past weekend.

Irish junior quarterback Brandon Wimbush scrambles with the ball during Notre Dame's 52-17 win over Miami (OH) on Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium.Emmet Farnan | The Observer

Irish junior quarterback Brandon Wimbush scrambles with the ball during Notre Dame’s 52-17 win over Miami (OH) on Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium.

“I think we’ll take it day-to-day right now,” Kelly said on the injury. “We had an MRI and an X-ray both came back clean, no structural damage, no ligament damage. We just want to be really cautious with him, and we’ll begin the process of practicing and see how he progresses during the week.”

Kelly remained noncommittal on when Wimbush would resume practicing and whether the junior would play this Saturday against North Carolina.

“It’s his first injury. We’ll work through the process with him,” Kelly said. “We’re not going to push him really hard today. I think we’ll get him probably moving a little bit, throwing, making sure that — but I’m not in a position where we need to have him practice today. My vision would be more towards getting him out there Wednesday for practice.

“ … We know we’ve done our due diligence here. […] He’s got to feel comfortable, and a lot of this is not just medical. This has got to be he’s got to feel comfortable and he’s got to feel 100 percent like he can put his foot in the ground and do the things that he can do. And so this will be a decision that we’ll have to make together.”

Kelly said that the injury was diagnosed during the team’s noon Sunday check-in. Despite speculation that the injury happened after the game while Wimbush was out, Kelly dismissed those claims.

“I have no reason not to trust 100 percent what Brandon tells me,” Kelly said. “He went out and felt his foot was not right, and he went home. That’s what he told me. I believe him. I have no reason not to believe him based upon my relationship with him over the last three years.

“ … He wants to play. He’s a competitor. We’ve seen how competitive the young man is. We’ll examine all of those possibilities.”

Red zone

After another perfect outing in the red zone against the RedHawks (2-3, 1-0 MAAC), the Irish (4-1) are one of six programs to have played five games with a red zone conversion percentage of 1.000, as Notre Dame are now 22-of-22 with 20 touchdowns scored.

“I think it has a lot to do with the running of the football and then what we’re setting up off of the run, more so than trying to take shots on first down in the end zone,” Kelly said on his team’s success. “We’re staying ahead of the chains down there. We’re leveraging our calls down there through the run game is the best way that I would put it to you, and that leveraging is allowing us to do other things other than trying to attack the front pylon, the back pylon and the back of the end line.”

National anthem 

With the recent controversy surrounding the national anthem, the NFL and President Donald Trump, Kelly said the Irish have no plans to protest the anthem and would need to have a conversation together about a team response if the topic ever came up.

“We’re in a college environment, a college setting and we want our young men to be free thinkers and have the ability to voice their opinions,” Kelly said. “That’s what college is about. But we’re in a team structure, as well, and so we have to be able to get together — if we had that current situation that they have in the NFL, which we currently don’t and we’d have to have a conversation about how we would move forward.

“As a football coach who’s working in a team, you know, not with individuals, we would obviously prefer to do something if we were to do something as a team and I think that that’s the difficult part when we get into team structure.

“All the other stuff is really, for me — becomes an issue of the flag and politics, and I really have had very little time to delve into all of those issues. If I had to, I probably would sit down, but in talking to my leadership group, it’s not something that we’ve had to sit down and discuss.”

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About Tobias Hoonhout

Toby is a junior PLS/Economics double major from Smithtown, New York.

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