The only thing better for Notre Dame than pulling off a close 20-17 victory over Purdue on Saturday is that the Irish players who were injured in the home opener appear to be ready to play this weekend at No. 10 Michigan State.
Irish coach Brian Kelly said on his teleconference Sunday that there does not appear to be any issues that will keep a number of players who were hurt Saturday off the field for No. 20 Notre Dame.
- Tight end Tyler Eifert, a Bishop Dwenger graduate, suffered a slight concussion.
- Safety Jamoris Slaughter injured his shoulder.
- Quarterback Everett Golson hurt his thumb, helping lead to the decision to have Tommy Rees run the game-winning drive.
- Defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore strained his right calf.
- Defensive end Sheldon Day was dehydrated and started to cramp up.
- Receiver DaVaris Daniels sprained his ankle.
- Linebacker Manti Teo's has a bruised sternum.
- Linebacker Ishaq Williams suffered an elbow contusion.
- And even kicker Nick Tausch, who didn't play because of groin injury, is on the mend.
Kelly also reiterated that while Golson's thumb injury factored into the decision to play Rees at the end of the game, it wasn't the only reason the switch was made.
Rees took over for Golson with the game tied a 17 with2:12to play. The junior, who was suspended for the season opener, guided Notre Dame 55 yards to set up Kyle Brenda's game-winning 27-yard field goal.
"I had already begun the conversation with (offensive coordinator Chuck Martin) about installing Tommy into that situation," Kelly said. "The knowledge of running our 2-minute trumped any kind of injury that (Golson) may have had.
"Now, it contributed to making it an easier decision for me."
Kelly said he does not plan to use Rees all the time when the Irish run their 2-minute drill, and he stood behind Golson again as Notre Dame's clear starting quarterback.
"If we feel like Tommy can help us win a game, or he can come in a situation that we feel is the right fit, then he'll be prepared to do so," Kelly said. "We'd like our starters to finish the game. But occasionally you may need some help.
"I don't want to take anything off the table, but we'd like our starter to start and finish it."
Along with backing Golson, Kelly said Theo Riddick will still be the Irish's starting running back even with the return of Cierre Wood from suspension. Wood, who started last year, was benched the first two games because of violation of team rules.
While Riddick will start and George Atkinson III will still be a part of the running game, Kelly said Wood will have plenty of playing time as well.
"He's a really good player," Kelly said of Wood. "We like good players. We want to get him on the field and get him involved."
Kelly also addressed why he made only Tee's and left tackle Zack Martin, who are both captains, available to talk to the media after the win over Purdue.
"I had to do what I felt was in the best interest of the team," Kelly said. "Last night, I thought I it was best for our team to have a couple of captains speaks, and I will just leave it at that."