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Irish Insights

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Safety issues

Notre Dame has taken a hit in the health of its safeties.

Jamoris Slaughter (ankle) and Dan McCarthy (soft tissue injury) were both unavailable for Saturday's loss to Michigan.

That meant Harrison Smith and Zeke Motta had to play more snaps than coach Brian Kelly would want them to.

Kelly said there is a chance that Slaughter and McCarthy could be available for Saturday's road game against Michigan State.

"(Slaughter) moved around (Monday), and I think we are closer with him and McCarthy," Kelly said. "I think it is going to be probably Wednesday before we know for sure."

McCarthy's injury seems to be harder for the Irish medical staff to figure out to be able to get him on the field.

"We have gone to everything. I think we start acupuncture and incense this week," Kelly jokingly said.

What Kelly didn't joke about was that it has been a struggle to get McCarthy able to play, but there are some good signs.

"He is such a competitive kid, and he wants to get out there, so we are really struggling trying to get him out there," Kelly said.

"I think there is some good news there. We saw some better things from him. Hopefully, we'll be about to get him over the hump."

If the Irish have only two healthy scholarship safeties again this weekend, Kelly said cornerbacks Robert Blanton and Lo Wood could be used in the nickel package where Motta typically plays.

"We are in a more difficult situation with the lack of those two safeties," Kelly said. "Blanton is the next guy. Lo Wood could have to see some time as well. Hopefully, we can get one or two of those safeties back where we won't have those problems."

Kelly said he doesn't particularly feel he has to use another safety in the nickel package, but he said Motta has the skills needed to fill the role.

"I think what you are looking for is somebody who can blitz off the edge as well as cover routes," Kelly said. "If you've got somebody who can do that and bring something like a Zeke Motta, who's a physical kid, you want to look in that direction."