SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Brian Kelly is a lifelong Red Sox fan, so he had to have been happy when David Ortiz blasted a dramatic game-tying grand slam off Tigers closer Joaquin Benoit on Sunday night in Game 2 of the ALCS.
But whatever enthusiasm he felt probably was tempered a bit given Torii Hunter, who barreled into the Red Sox bullpen trying to rob Ortiz' blast, is the father of one of his players.
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Freshman wide receiver Torii Hunter Jr. won't play this year — an expectation that's been set since August — while recovering from a broken leg, but he caught the eye of Kelly and Notre Dame's coaches during the bye week. And it wasn't just for the iconic image of his father faceplanting into the Fenway Park bullpen.
"I just told him he can't have his dad throwing his body around like that," Kelly laughed. "We don't want him to get hurt like that."
Kelly also added, from his conversation with Hunter Jr.: "He said his dad should have made the catch."
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As things relate to Hunter Jr., the wide receiver has Notre Dame coaches excited for next year, seeing as they don't think he's lost any of the playmaking ability that made him a four-star recruit out of high school.
"He's a young man, probably without the injury, would probably be competing for playing time," Kelly said. "Great speed and quickness, very shorthanded, has a lot of the attributes that we thought he did."