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Mahone returns, Zaire still out

Notre Dame will only be without a freshman quarterback when the No. 14 Irish (1-0) play at No. 17 Michigan (1-0) on Saturday.

Irish coach Brian Kelly told reporters Thursday that Malik Zaire will not make the trip to Ann Arbor as the continues to recover from mononucleosis. Receiver Luke Massa, who came to Notre Dame as a quarterback, will fill the third-string role again this weekend.

Receiver DaVaris Daniels will play against the Wolverines. Daniels suffered a slight groin injury in last Saturday's 28-6 win over Temple, and he was cleared to practice Tuesday.

The Irish will also have running back Will Mahone back.

Mahone didn't play against Temple as he recovered from a high ankle sprain he suffered in fall camp. Kelly said the sophomore can be used at running back or slot receiver.

"He's going to have to work his way back, but he's earned his way to being on the travel roster," Kelly said. "We didn't put him on it, just because. He did a lot of good things before he got injured and had a good week. He earned seat on the bus."

Here are some other thought's from Kelly from his final meeting with the media before Saturday night's game:

On playing freshman against Michigan after using 10 in the season opener: "I think you go in and you play them. And you find out how in the flow of the game they measure up. For us, we've already decided that they're going to play. We went into Game 1 and put them in there. None of them are critical roles, all of them are complementary players for us. Maybe (linebacker and former Bishop Luers star) Jaylon Smith could be considered more a front-line guy because he did have a starting role. All of them are going to play, and we'll just see how it plays out. Again, I think we'll just have to see how it goes. We've already talked to them about the atmosphere. We're going up there to win a game. If they're nervous, can't handle it, then we probably recruited the wrong guy."

On the kicking game: "We had a good week. Kyle (Brindza) continues to kick the ball well. I think we still have (kicker) Nick Tausch and (punter) Alex (Wulfeck) if called upon they can come out and help us."

On Brindza, who also punts and kicks off, being the first to kick field goals: "We'll see what happens as we get to game time. I think I made it pretty clear. We like Brindza, but you never know what might happen. There is a lot of kicking that goes along with what he's doing. We like what he's done, but I'm not going to paint myself into a corner. If I need to use those two guys (Tausch and Wulfeck), they're ready if needed."

On the pressure to win being on Michigan: "They've got to win at home. For us, we're going to go up there swinging. Go on the road, we're going to have to play well. It's a very good football team, we know that."

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