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Notre Dame's Rees is day to day

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said Sunday that Tommy Rees is day-to-day but could be available for Saturday's road game against Air Force.

Rees was knocked out of the Irish's 14-10 home win over USC on Saturday when he was sacked on the first play of the team's second offensive series of the third quarter.

Kelly said after the game that Rees suffered a neck strain on the hit, and on Sunday, the coach said he believes the senior will be able to practice on Tuesday.

"He's feeling better today, still a little sore. It will be a day-to-day situation," Kelly said.

Rees threw for 166 yards with two touchdowns before being escorted to the sideline, examined by trainers and then taken back to the locker room in the third quarter. The Irish (5-2) gained only 25 more yards with backup Andrew Hendrix in at quarterback.

Kelly said Rees, who is 19-6 as a starter, could handle the mental aspect of preparing for the game, but he wants the quarterback to practice a couple of times this week to be able to start against Air Force (1-6).

"We had this situation with Everett (Golson, last year's starting quarterback who is suspended for this semester because of an academic issue) a couple of times. I've had it in times past. The quarterback really needs to get into a rhythm out there," Kelly said. "We are not at a point where we can afford to just role out there on Saturday. He's going to need a couple of days of practice.

"This is more physical. He needs the physical work, the repetition, and more than anything else, with our receivers. Other than (receiver) TJ (Jones), where he has a pretty good feel of where TJ is going to be, he has to work with all of our receivers. That would be the missing piece more than anything."

Kelly also said safety Elijah Shumate, who had started the last three games, didn't play against the Trojans because of a hamstring injury the sophomore suffered at practice Thursday.

The Journal Gazette's Assistant Sports Editor Tony Krausz covers The University of Notre Dame. Krausz, a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and a native of St. Louis, has been assistant sports editor since October 2005. Prior to joining the JG, he worked at two papers in Mississippi covering high school and college athletics.