Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 9, 2015 Issue

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 117 of 118

THE FIFTH QUARTER LOU SOMOGYI T o redshirt or not to redshirt? That is the question the Notre Dame coaching staff has to deal with yearly with its freshman — and sometimes sopho- more — class. The 23-man freshman group signed in February has been split down the middle this season. Eleven of the 23 have seen action, mainly on special teams. As ex- p e c t e d , k i c k e r J u s t i n Yoon, defensive tackle Jerry Tillery and tight end Alizé Jones are the most visible members out of need. Tillery's 241 snaps en- tering the Temple game (almost 35 per game) have been val- ued because of the season-ending knee injury to senior Jarron Jones in August, and his early enrollee status last spring gave him a significant head start. Alizé Jones, with 121 snaps through seven games, also had to be more prominent after junior starter Dur- ham Smythe was lost for the season in game two at Virginia. The top surprise probably is running back Josh Adams, who had redshirt written all over him in 2015. That was until junior Greg Bryant became aca- demically ineligible and transferred to ASA College in Miami in August, and junior Tarean Folston suffered an ACL tear seven plays into the season opener versus Texas. Through seven games, A d a m s ' 2 6 5 r u s h i n g yards and 7.8 yards per carry were second on the team while playing only 83 snaps. Kelly lauds him as one of the quicker studies he's been around among rookies. He also is an example of why Kelly doesn't automatically tell a freshman he is going to be redshirted. "I don't want to take a w a y t h e i r c o m p e t i - tive spirit from week to week," Kelly said. "I could tell you I have for- mulated in my mind those guys that we want to protect. You can never say, 'I'm not going to play him regardless of the circumstances,' because if inju- ries show themselves, you've got to be ready. "What I like to do is prepare them without having the conversation of, 'You're in the two-deep. We're going to take you to all the games. We're go- ing to give you significant reps — but I don't think we're going to play you.' "I don't have those kind of con- versations. I have them with myself. I'd have them with somebody off the record, but publicly I wouldn't have Redshirting: Luxuries & Necessities F r e s h m a n w i d e r e c e i v e r Equanimeous St. Brown is ready to play according to head coach Brian Kelly, but is not going to take snaps away from star junior Will Fuller. PHOTO BY JOE RAYMOND

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