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Brian Kelly: Academic hearings for five players could conclude by end of next week

| Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Irish head coach Brian Kelly said he was informed Friday that an academic committee has been formed and, if all things move accordingly, Notre Dame’s five withheld players could have their hearings for suspected academic misconduct concluded by the end of next week.

Irish junior cornerback KeiVarae Russell, senior receiver DaVaris Daniels, senior defensive end Ishaq Williams, graduate student linebacker Kendall Moore and senior safety Eilar Hardy have been held out of practice and competition during the probe into “suspected academic dishonesty.”

ND CB KeiVarae RussellOe Kenesey

Notre Dame announced its investigation Aug. 15. The University said “evidence that students had submitted papers and homework that had been written for them by others” was initially detected at the end of the summer session and referred to the compliance office in athletics July 29. Notre Dame said the Office of General Counsel then initiated “an immediate investigation.”

Asked for an opinion of the process and its timeline, Kelly briefly paused and smiled.

“I don’t have an opinion. And I really wouldn’t want to share it publicly,” Kelly said.

Kelly said he has conversations with Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick regarding the process.

“It’s a very complicated situation, obviously,” Kelly said. “There are a lot of pieces here. There are NCAA implications, certainly. We’re probably going down a path that [we have] never gone before.

“These are dialogues that Jack and I are having not after the season — we’re having them as they occur. Because there are clearly ways that we believe, internally, that we need to get better.”

Kelly later said he has no knowledge of vacating wins or other NCAA implications.

“I think I would have been informed of all those things if we were in that kind of immediacy,” he said.


Musical chairs on the offensive line?

Notre Dame has explored shuffling its offensive line during the bye week, potentially moving or inserting four players into new starting positions. After racking up 281 rushing yards against Rice, Notre Dame has tallied just 193 yards on 69 carries (2.8 yards per rush) in its last two games. The offensive line, which surrendered just eight sacks during the entire 2013 season, has already allowed six sacks this season.

“Physicality at the guard position, more than anything else, is what we were looking for at that position,” Kelly said.

ND OG Chris Nick MartinOe Kenesey
In the newly released depth chart, Notre Dame lists the starting offensive line as follows: junior left tackle Ronnie Stanley, senior left guard Nick Martin, senior center Matt Hegarty, sophomore right guard Steve Elmer and graduate student right tackle Christian Lombard. Of the five, only Stanley has started at his projected position in the first three games.

Kelly did say the moves aren’t finalized and the Irish need “a couple more days before we really solidify that.”

“It’s too early,” Kelly said. “We’re trying to move the pieces around on the offensive line, so you can see some of the changes there that we’ve moved, and we’re still in the process of figuring out what the best five are on the offensive line.”

Martin would shift from center, Elmer from right tackle and Lombard from right guard. Hegarty has played in all three games and started at right guard against Purdue with Lombard nursing a sore ankle.

Lombard started at right tackle in 2012. Hegarty started the final two games of the 2013 season at center after Martin suffered a knee injury.


Injury updates

Senior slot receiver Amir Carlisle (MCL) is out for Saturday, and Kelly said Carlisle is “questionable” for the Oct. 4 matchup with Stanford. Carlisle had his second platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment Monday and will likely start moving around at the end of this week, per Kelly.

20140906, 2014-2015, 20140906, by Zach Llorens, Football, michigan, Notre Dame Stadium, Win 31-0

Graduate student safety and captain Austin Collinsworth (MCL), who was injured two days before the season opener, is listed as sophomore safety Max Redfield’s backup. Collinsworth practiced yesterday, and Kelly said both the coaching staff and the captain were pleased with how he responded.

“I believe he’s going to be able to help us on Saturday,” Kelly said.

With Carlisle out, sophomore receiver Torii Hunter Jr. (groin) is listed as the No. 2 slot receiver. Hunter Jr. practiced “aggressively” Monday, Kelly said, and the Irish expect him to make his Notre Dame debut Saturday.

Sophomore cornerback Cole Luke (head) and freshman defensive end Andrew Trumbetti (head/neck/chest) are listed at their standard spots on the depth chart.

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About Mike Monaco

Senior Sports Writer Mike Monaco is a senior majoring in Film, Television and Theatre with a minor in Journalism, Ethics, and Democracy as well as Business Economics. The O’Neill Hall native hails from the Boston area and is an aspiring play-by-play broadcaster.

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