SOUTH BEND — Notre Dame will not just be a player short at quarterback when the Irish open the season against Navy on Sept. 1 in Dublin, Ireland.
Linebacker Carlo Calabrese, along with quarterback Tommy Rees, is suspended for the first game because of a May 3 arrest.
But coach Brian Kelly said Friday there is enough depth at inside linebacker to make up for Calabrese’s absence behind starters Manti Te’o and Dan Fox.
“We’ll rotate in (junior) Kendall Moore. We’ll rotate in (sophomore walk-on) Joe Schmidt and (sophomore) Jarrett Grace,” Kelly said Friday. “So there will be five inside linebackers that will prepare for Navy.”
Notre Dame is replacing the graduated Robert Blanton and Gary Gray at cornerback, and Kelly said while Lo Wood, Bennett Jackson, Josh Atkinson and Cam McDaniel do not have a lot of experience, he is comfortable with those four in the rotation.
“They haven’t played a ton, but that’s what college football is about,” Kelly said. “People graduate, and it’s the next guy’s chance.”
Kelly also said sophomore Jalen Brown continues to improve, and freshman KeiVarae Russell was moved from running back to corner to add depth.
Kelly raised some eyebrows when he said he expects FieldTurf to be installed at Notre Dame Stadium soon. The coach clarified that statement Friday.
“I want to go back on that one a little bit and add one word,” Kelly said.
“I said FieldTurf is coming. I want to say, I hope FieldTurf is coming. As you all know, and I’ve said this a million times, that is above my pay grade. I’m not the one who is rolling out the turf.
“So certainly, (athletic director) Jack Swarbrick, that is his domain. I do not want to do Jack’s job. I’ve got enough to do with my own.
“But I think I’ve made it clear to all of you that I hope that’s where we go, but that is clearly not my decision.”
Kelly said safety Austin Collinsworth is the only player who will not be able to practice when fall camp starts today.
The 6-foot-1, 202-pound junior is recovering from surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder, and Kelly said Collinsworth will not be able to play until late October or November.