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Injury updates and more

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly updated reporters after Thursday's practice on the health of the team going into Saturday's game against No. 15 Michigan State.

Kelly said backup linebacker Danny Spond has responded well to treatment on his injured hamstring, but he said the sophomore could use another week to fully heal.

"Guys are different in terms in how they respond," Kelly said.

Kelly also said that freshman Ben Koyack will back up tight end and former Bishop Dwenger standout Tyler Eifert this weekend.

Koyack has been pushed into the No. 2 role because of the season-ending knee injury Mike Ragone suffered in last weekend's game against Michigan.

Sophomore tight end Alex Welch, who was held out last week because of a foot infection, will be available but is questionable to play, Kelly said. And junior tight end Jake Golic, who broke his arm in training camp, is also available.

Kelly said Koyack, who is 6-foot-5 253 pounds, will be taking up some of the blocking duties that Ragone filled before the injury.

"Michigan State, they are a pretty stout team," Kelly said. "In the Big Ten, there are a lot of power running football teams. We know we are going to have to pick our spots, but we are going to have to try it with Ben."

Nose tackle Sean Cwynar is available for Saturday's game after regaining the strength he needed in his broken hand, Kelly said.

Kelly also addressed the condition of the field in Notre Dame Stadium. Against South Florida, it appeared at times that the field was being torn up by the players.

Kelly said he didn't notice the field affecting the game.

"We turned the ball over on the 1-yard line. We turned the ball over all over the place. It wasn't the field," Kelly said. "You had two teams competing, and I didn't see a field that gave us a disadvantage in any way."

Kelly also talked about the Irish's turnovers. Notre Dame has averaged five turnovers in the first two games and is last among the 120 FBS programs in turnover ratio.

"I promise everybody that we've been working on ball security and not throwing interceptions," Kelly said with a smile before seriously addressing the turnover problem. "They hear from me any time the ball is on the ground or we throw an interception. I'm not happy about it. Our coaches aren't happy about it. Our players don't want to do it. We just got to get it done on Saturday."

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