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Irish Insights

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Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees cleared to practice

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said Tuesday that quarterback Tommy Rees was cleared to practice after the senior suffered a neck injury in last Saturday's 14-10 win over USC.

Rees is expected to play this Saturday when the Irish (5-2) travel to play Air Force (1-6).

"As long as Thursday looks good and he feels great on Thursday, then we move into Saturday without any hesitation," Kelly said.

Rees left the game against the Trojans after being sacked on the first play of the Irish's second drive of the third quarter.

Notre Dame gained only 25 more yards with backup Andrew Hendrix in at quarterback.

"I think there's better days for Andrew Hendrix," Kelly said. "He's a better player than what he showed."

Kelly said Rees will not be "overworked" in practice this week, and he said Hendrix and freshman quarterback Malik Zaire will get plenty of reps this week.

But all signs point to Rees being ready to play against Air Force.

"The medical team is going to make any decisions as it relates to any neck injury," Kelly said. "When you are cleared on Tuesday, your first day of practice, I don't think there is any hesitancy to go out and play somebody when he is cleared so early in the week."

Kelly also said safety Elijah Shumate, who missed the game against USC with a hamstring injury, is ahead of schedule in his recovery.

"I'm not ready to declare him ready to play Saturday," Kelly said. "He will go through drill work today. I will have more to say on him later in the week. He's questionable right now. He is not out."

Nose tackle Louis Nix III is sore after hurting his shoulder against the Trojans, Kelly said. But Nix is expected to play Saturday.

"We are going to be careful with him," Kelly said. "We need big Lou. Option football is not his cup of tea. He was battling every play" against USC.

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