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Kelly previews Purdue week

| Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Irish head coach Brian Kelly provided no new updates on the five players being withheld from practice and competition during his weekly Tuesday press conference.

Earlier in the day, Kelly told ESPN’s Colin Cowherd on “The Herd” there could be progress this week.

“We’ve gotten close here to where I think that the hearings should be happening hopefully this week,” Kelly said. “I know we’re trying to get this thing done the right way. It happened for us a little bit earlier because we were in preseason camp but school didn’t start — now this is only the third week — so the normal timetable has been about three weeks. We’re into the third week, so our expectations are that something should happen this week.”

Kelly said Thursday evening he was told Sept. 1 that the honor committee hearings for the five withheld players were going to occur “very quickly,” but Kelly said it was his understanding the hearings hadn’t happened yet.

ND CB KeiVarae RussellOe Kenesey
KeiVarae Russell

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.”

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.”

Prepping for Purdue

Following Notre Dame’s 31-0 domination of Michigan on Saturday, Kelly and the Irish will be looking to avoid a letdown.

You’re always on guard the next week,” Kelly said.

Despite Purdue’s recent struggles — a 1-11 mark in 2013 and a 38-17 loss to Central Michigan on Saturday — Kelly pointed to Notre Dame’s last two matchups with the Boilermakers (1-1) to emphasize the need for focus and preparation. In 2013, Purdue carried a lead into the fourth quarter before the Irish won 31-24. Two seasons ago in South Bend, Notre Dame won 20-17 after kicker Kyle Brindza drilled a 27-yard field goal with seven seconds remaining in regulation.

We know a lot about the kind of challenge it will have from an in-state rival in Purdue,” Kelly said.Made it clear to our team that it’s really about our preparation again this week and how we prepare is going to be really what we focus on this week.”

Heading into Saturday’s matchup, Kelly said the Irish still has plenty of room for improvement. Kelly said the Irish coaching staff counted 34 mental errors (about 36 percent of the time) committed by its defense against the Wolverines. In the season opener against Rice, Notre Dame was closer to 44 percent, Kelly said.

We obviously have a lot that we can talk about this week in terms of getting better, and they saw the film last night and can see a shutout and know that there is a lot there that they need to clean up,” Kelly said.You can’t get a better teaching environment than that. You’ve shut out an opponent, and there are all these errors that need to get cleaned up.”

Injury Updates

Irish senior linebacker Jarrett Grace (leg) is making “slow progress” each week, Kelly said, but there is no timetable for his return.

We’re going to continue to press,” Kelly said when asked about the continued push for a return this year. “I think we have to keep that for him the thought of playing this year. There has to be something there for him to keep pushing and motivating factors to play football this year. There is still a lot of football out there.”

Kelly said Irish sophomore receiver Torii Hunter Jr. (groin) is set to begin work against live bodies Tuesday during practice. Notre Dame will see how Hunter Jr. responds to that, Kelly said.

Irish graduate student safety and captain Austin Collinsworth (MCL) is out for Saturday, Kelly said.

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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.

Contact Mike