1.) It's going to be difficult
2.) September is manageable at worst, while October and November appear hellacious
3.) Two byes would be needed to navigate such a slate -- and they're exceptionally well-timed.
Point No. 3 became relevant following a 30-14 win over Purdue as the first of two byes over an 8-game span arrived at an opportune time. Still down five suspended players plus co-captain Austin Collinsworth, head coach Brian Kelly was dealt a few extra blows on the injury front Saturday night in Indianapolis.
"Cole Luke had a head injury, and he'll go through our concussion protocol," said Kelly of his starting sophomore cornerback. "He was feeling pretty good today, we'll still take the steps that he'll need to go through to be cleared for practice this week. We're confident that he'll be able to work through that.
"(Slot receiver) Amir Carlisle is having an MRI on his knee. He's got some laxity in there. We don't believe it's the severity of Austin Collinsworth, which was I think about four weeks. So we're hopeful that the MRI turns out well and that we'll have him back for Syracuse. But we'll know a little bit more on him when we get the MRI results. (The doctors) felt pretty confident that this is not a severe knee injury.
"And Nick Baratti, unfortunately his shoulder needs to be taken care of again, so he's going to have to have surgery and he's gone for the year."
Baratti missed the 2012 season due to a pair of (left) shoulder surgeries. He concluded April's Blue Gold Game with a third, though to his right shoulder. The junior had worked his way into a starting kick coverage role Saturday night but was also called upon after sophomore starter Max Redfield was ejected from the contest for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Purdue quarterback Danny Etling.
Baratti's injury, this time to his right shoulder on which he was reportedly to play the season while wearing a harness, occurred one snap later.
Notre Dame's safety unit enters the bye without Baratti, Collinsworth, and suspended senior backup Eilar Hardy. Starters Elijah Shumate and Max Redfield will be backed by freshman Drue Tranquill and senior nickel Matthias Farley, the latter a necessity until either Collinsworth and/or Hardy return.
Farley is the Irish starting nickel and has played well over half of the team's defensive snaps through three games. Kelly offered that sophomore Torii Hunter, a player yet to make his collegiate debut due to injuries, will be evaluated heavily as a slot option this week in Carlisle's stead.
Hunter was the Irish Scout Team Player of the Year in 2013.
The bye week will also allow starting right guard Christian Lombard (ankle) and part-time starting defensive end Andrew Trumbetti (head, neck) to return for Notre Dame's next game, September 27 in the New Meadowlands vs. Syracuse (3-0).
Both sat out Saturday night.
"Trumbetti, he's going to be fine," said Kelly. "I think he's pretty much -- without getting the clearance officially, he's cleared to practice on Monday and I think with Christian, we could have played him (Saturday night).
"We wanted to use this week and the bye week to get him back to 100 percent, and we think we're going to have him pretty close to 100 percent. So both those guys, very confident that they are going to be at their best."
No News, but You Knew That Already, Right?Total press conferences presided over by Kelly since news broke of possible academic dishonesty among his players: 12.
Total press conferences in which he was asked about a potential resolution: 11
Resolution or information provided to that end: None.
From Sunday's teleconference:
Q. And anything on the five suspended guys?
-- COACH KELLY: No, I have no update at all.
Q. Just to clarify that, do you know if they have had their hearings yet and are appealing?
-- COACH KELLY: They have not. I talked to a couple of the guys; as of Friday, they had not had their hearings.
The season has reached its quarter point.