When Notre Dame and Michigan play in the first night game at Michigan Stadium on Sept. 10, there will be a touch of the past.
Irish coach Brian Kelly revealed Friday that the teams will wear throwback uniforms for the game, which is scheduled to kick off at 8 p.m.
Kelly wouldn't go into detail on what the uniforms would look like, only saying that they would be similar to the uniforms the team wore in the Joe Kuharich era. An interesting choice, since Notre Dame went 17-23 under Kuharich from 1959-62.
"I'm just trying to help you guys piece together what it's going to look like, without me saying and then getting yelled at by our adidas people that we blew the surprise for them," Kelly said. "But yeah, we're going to have throwback uniforms. As they will.
"I can tell you what theirs look like. They have a block M on them, and a number and a number on their helmet. How's that? The adidas people at Michigan are going to be (mad) at me."
Kelly also had current fashion on his mind when he talked to reporters after the sixth practice of the spring session Friday.
The coach talked about the new techfit pants some of the players wore at practice as the Irish test the new equipment.
"They look hideous, but our kids seem to like them," Kelly said. "They are very comfortable. That is the new style that adidas is presenting to us. I think the New York Giants wore them last year as their game pants, so now they are moving them into the college line. We are trying them out to see if it is something we want to pursue."
Kelly said the new pants, which are white, do not have panels or stitching and are lighter.
"When you don't have the belt, you don't have all that extra weight," Kelly said. "They are trying to be faster. The entire line of clothing, apparel and shoes is faster, let these athletes be faster.
"I really don't care. If they like them, and as long as they are gold, I'm good with that."
Receiver Daniel Smith is still not participating in all of practice as he recovers from a hamstring injury.
Kelly said it is a grade-1 injury and an MRI revealed that there is a superficial tear.
Smith will not be cleared to fully participate in practice until he completes the team's rehab process for an injured hamstring.
"We are doing some aggressive things with him right now, and during that period of time, we're not going to practice him," Kelly said.
Kelly said he wants to see a better understanding of the offensive system from Smith by the end of spring.
"We are a little bit behind relative to the knowledge base," Kelly said. "We still think we are going to get him ready. We've got 15 days. I think it is realistic for us to believe that he is going to be able to play in the spring game (on April 16)."
Notre Dame could have a decision soon on suspended receiver Michael Floyd's future with the university.
Floyd is scheduled to have a hearing with the university's Residence Life and a ruling on if the senior-to-be will be suspended for the upcoming semester after his drunken driving arrest March 20 will soon follow.
With Floyd out because of the suspension and Smith slowed by a hamstring injury, the Irish are going through the spring with a depleted receiving corps.
That has meant using more two tight end sets, Kelly said.
"I think we are really deep (at tight end), and all of them have made really good progress," Kelly said. "We've got a young man coming in in Ben Koyack that's going to be able to compete for us as well. That's helped us handle that load of not having all the receivers at the ready.
"As this thing shapes out, we've got plans to make sure we are four deep at running back, obviously for me, I need seven receivers. I need two deep and a swing. As long as I have that, which we believe moving some pieces around and we've got some kids coming in that can play on both sides of the ball or could play a number of different positions, we think we've got the right pieces coming in in the fall. Right now, we just kind of got to hang in there and use some personnel groupings to take the load away from those receivers."
Kelly said he has seen plenty of players step up to fill the leadership role in Floyd's absence.
"I think everyone of our offensive linemen brings that every single day," Kelly said. "Cierre Wood has been outstanding, and I would look toward Theo Riddick and Tyler Eifert as guys who have really set a great example."
As far as running backs go, Kelly said he is pleased with how Wood, the team's top returning running back, is performing, but he still wants to see more out of Jonas Gray.
"Cierre has been electric in every thing that he's done, and retention has been a big thing now," Kelly said. "He's retained everything that we worked on last year. There was a lot of pounding relative to the learning process with Cierre. He has retained all that.
"Jonas Gray is getting there. He is still not there. We ran power today, off-tackle power play, and he bounced it all the way back to the D gap. That's not what I want from him, and he knows that. We made it clear, you are going to jam that thing on the front side tackle. I'll give you the A gap, but no more. We are still in that process of that 227-pound back playing like 227 pounds. He is getting there. He is making the good progress that I want, but he is not there yet."