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Irish Insights


Slaughter available in emergency situation

Notre Dame safety Jamoris Slaughter will be in uniform and can play in an emergency situation Saturday against Michigan, coach Brian Kelly said Thursday.

Slaughter injured his ankle against Purdue, and Zeke Motta will start in his place against the Wolverines.

"He moved around better," Kelly said of Slaughter. "I think what we are going to do is we are going to dress him out. My guess right now, we would have to have a situation of an emergency to put him in there. I believe if he continues to improve like he did today, we can dress him."

Notre Dame's options at safety have thinned out with the recent announcement that Derek Roback is transferring to Ohio University.

Kelly said he is good with the four safeties – Harrison Smith, Dan McCarthy, Motta and Slaughter – the team is currently using, and he would be OK with playing senior walk-on Chris Salvi.

"He's on all our (special teams)," Kelly said of Salvi. "He'll be our fifth guy, and we are not afraid to put him in the game if we have to."

Here are some more items from Kelly's news conference after Thursday's practice:

On if Notre Dame held anything back in its season-opening 23-12 win over Purdue: "If we were playing a lesser opponent, maybe a non-BCS opponent, maybe you would have a tendency to not throw all of it out there. But when you are playing a Big Ten opponent, we threw out as much as we are capable of handling at this point.

"If we were in a position where we felt very comfortable running our entire offense, everything that we have, we would do it. We are not there yet."

On when his team would get a point where it could hold back some plays for a specific opponent: "It is just game experience. It is the quarterback seeing an overhang blitz, and going, you know what I'm changing the protection, a run to a pass, a pass to a run. From a defensive standpoint getting into a hands check, where we get into an entire new coverage based on what they are doing. That is all in our experience and communication, and when we get more games under our belt, we will be able to do more of it."

On decorating the lobby of the football building with the national championship trophy and Heisman Awards: "I think there is significance, the tradition here can be talked about all we want. And it can be read about. You can also see it tangibly when you walk into this football facility now. Obviously, with the national championship trophy on display, it is real when a recruit or an alumnus or a former letter winner comes in. You can tangibly see the success of Notre Dame. It is not just what is talked about."

On Notre Dame's running game: "We have experienced backs. I think that is where it starts. It starts with Armando's experience as a BCS back. My last couple of stops, we didn't have one. I think what we have to do to continue to be a good running team is be more efficient in third-down situations. If we decide on third-one or -two, we have to be able to exert our will. That will be the next element of evaluation in our running game. Can we exert our will? In other words, everybody knows we are going to run the ball on this down, and we are going to run it. That's the next stage for us."

On players standing out on the scout team: "Daniel Smith continues to impress. Bennett Jackson lasted a couple of days, we brought him up from triple-A. He's proved to help us out in special teams. I'd say Daniel Smith has been really solid for us. That's the one guy that was talked about a lot this week.

"They are asking him to play tight end, wide receiver, a little bit of everything. He is trying to perform a multiple-role situation. He's a guy that can help us in a lot of ways."

On what he expects from the home crowd Saturday: "I just think a loud stadium with a fairly young offense in Michigan. Denard Robinson is still a young player going on the road. Just a raucous, loud, excited environment, where our crowd is really working for us. I think that is what we need, and that is what I expect to see from our crowd."