Fans clamoring for freshman running back Greg Bryant to see the field consistently might have to wait a while. Maybe even until 2014, in fact.
Freshman running back Greg Bryant is likely out for the season with a knee injury, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly announced Thursday.
At his weekly media briefing Thursday, Kelly said Bryant will probably be out around four weeks with a “severe case of patella tendinitis” and will undergo plasma replacement (PRP) on the knee.
“He does not look like somebody that we’re going to be able to play this year,” Kelly said.
Kelly had more positive news on the status of sophomore defensive end Sheldon Day, who missed the past two games with a sprained ankle. He said Day will “definitely” play against Arizona State on Saturday.
“We were able to get a little bit more out of him [Thursday],” Kelly said. “I think we’re at that plateauing where I think he’s going to kind of see gains as we kind of give him a little bit of a break too. I think we’ll see some gains over the next 48 hours … I don’t know that you’re going to see 50-60 reps, but you’ll see him on the field Saturday.”
Kelly said he noticed an increase in focus from senior quarterback Andrew Hendrix after the backup saw game action for the first time in the 35-21 loss to Oklahoma. Kelly had previously indicated that Hendrix will play this weekend.
“I thought he was a lot more engaged, just locked in a lot more relative to every little detail of the offense,” he said. “I think you probably hope to expect that from someone who played last week, but I thought he had a great week. Really contributed to what we’re doing this week.”
Despite the success of the two tight-end package in recent weeks, Kelly said he will not focus on that exclusively because the offense needs to be versatile to be most effective.
“I don’t think it’s the only thing we can do,” he said. “I don’t think our offense can sustain the balance that I’m looking for just out of two tight ends. I think it has to be a significant part of what we do, but I think we have to spread the field as well. Last year it was a significant part of what we did and a lot of it was because it simplified a lot of the reads for [suspended quarterback] Everett [Golson]. When you get two tight ends, you take a lot of those calls away from the defensive teams. I don’t think it’s the only thing, but I think it’s got to be part of what we do.
“We’ve got to continue to get better at our one-back sets, our 11 personnel if you will, which is three wide receivers and one tight end. I think that’s the area I want to see some more growth.”
- The university installed new sod in Notre Dame Stadium on Thursday that Kelly said will hopefully remain in place through the rest of the season. Maintenance workers had to come onto the field during several television breaks Saturday to take care of divots. In reference to field turf, Kelly said, “I made it pretty clear what I want for a surface and that has not come to fruition at this point. We’re going to put the grass down and we’re hopeful that will get us through the season.”
- Kelly said Notre Dame is hopeful that it will be able to play both the Air Force and Navy games as scheduled, regardless of how long any government shutdown lingers. The Irish travel to Colorado Springs, Colo., and are in talks with a third party that would finance Navy’s travel to Notre Dame Stadium. Thursday marked day two of the government shutdown.
- Freshman third-string quarterback Malik Zaire will not see the field at this point unless there is an injury, but Kelly said the team has “not closed the book on Malik playing this year.”
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