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Nix Out, Watt, Shumate, Day In

At his media briefing Thursday, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said nose guard Louis Nix will not dress for Saturday’s game against Navy.

The senior did practice this week and is “getting closer,” but Kelly said he didn’t feel comfortable playing him without preparing for the triple option. Senior guard Chris Watt (knee), sophomore defensive end Sheldon Day (ankle) and sophomore safety Elijah Shumate (hamstring) will play against the Midshipmen.

When asked about his coaching career, Kelly said he has only implemented a limited amount of the option into his playbook.

“The only principles of option that I kept were some goal line belly option, some read option stuff on the goal line,” he said. “No veer option principles, but some triple option principles with belly, QB, and pitch, but no true veer scheme options.”

Three years ago, in Kelly’s first season, Navy torched the Irish defense to a 35-17 victory. The head coach said “we did not forget 2010.” Shortly after that game, the Notre Dame rush defense elevated its play and has been a hallmark of Kelly’s four seasons at the school.

“There’s only been a couple of times since we’ve been here that we’ve felt like we let the players down,” said Kelly, who added that the game itself didn’t lead to any defensive improvement. “As coaches you never want to feel that way. I take full responsibility for that. You watch your team prepare and that’s why we’re in this profession is to prepare our kids and we weren’t prepared properly.

“We redoubled our efforts based on that game to make sure that never happens again.”

Kelly also touched on quarterback-in-exile Everett Golson, who interviewed with Sports Illustrated this week. He said — because Golson is away from the program — he does not advise him on such matters.

Golson, if reinstated, will be welcome back to practice with the team during bowl preparations, Kelly said. The quarterback is expected to be in South Bend “sometime in the next few weeks.”

“He can [practice], but again, a lot of this is theoretical,” Kelly cautioned. “If he’s admitted back into school on Dec. 15, he would be eligible to practice. So if that’s the case, then we would practice him. He would not of course [play in a bowl game].

Kelly confirmed that Golson would be on track academically if he returns because of he enrolled a semester early in Jan. 2011.

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