C.J. Prosise will have a diminished role next weekend.
The scale of that change remains unclear the day after Notre Dame’s star running back exited late in the first quarter against Pittsburgh with a concussion and nagging shoulder injury. Prosise did not return, finishing with a season-low five carries for 28 yards in the 42-30 win.
Brian Kelly said Prosise is undergoing concussion protocol on Sunday and the head coach is optimistic the running back will be available for practice this week. He did not say whether he believed Prosise would get enough work to play against Wake Forest.
“He landed on his shoulder and kind of whiplashed his neck,” Kelly said. “He got down to the ground and a player landed on him.
“He was better today. He'll go through a physical conditioning tomorrow. If he obviously passes that, then we'll move to the next stage. But we're hopeful that if he takes the steps necessary, we'll have him back out on the practice field this week.”
Regardless of the comeback schedule for Prosise and how quickly he returns to practice, the senior figures to see his workload reduced after Josh Adams put up 20 carries for 147 yards. Both marks were career highs as the freshman continues to surprise in his debut season.
That rushing output left Adams one yard shy of the single-game school record for freshman running backs, trailing Jerome Heavens’ 148 yards, set 40 years ago in the Rudy game against Georgia Tech.
“I think (Adams) proved to everybody that he's capable against a very good defense in Pittsburgh of getting deserved carries, earned carries,” Kelly said. “He earned that opportunity in this game. I think he can lessen the load for C.J. and provide us with another option in there, as well.”
Dexter Williams remains Notre Dame’s third option behind Prosise and Adams, with former walk-on Josh Anderson the likely fourth choice.
Williams, Notre Dame’s other freshman back, finished with three carries for six yards at Pitt. He also missed a blitz pickup that helped lead to Brandon Wimbush’s lost fumble that turned into a Panthers’ touchdown.
“We’ll have to play Dexter as well,” Kelly said after the game. “He’s gonna have to get up to study real quick. We’ve got to get him more reps and quicker. We’ll see what happens with C.J. I don’t expect him to be too long.”