SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Notre Dame junior nose guard Daniel Cage will undergo further evaluation as his concussion-related symptoms persisted into a second week, coach Brian Kelly said Tuesday.
Cage will see Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher, the same neurologist who former wide receiver Corey Robinson saw after suffering his third concussion earlier this year, for a second opinion.
“He’s made some progress,” Kelly said. “Any time that somebody’s in their second week and has not fully gone through the stages as we see them, we like to get a second opinion and make sure that everything is good.”
Freshman cornerback Julian Love and junior safety Drue Tranquill, who both sustained concussions on Saturday against Navy, will participate in Tuesday’s practice in a non-contact manner, Kelly said. Both players could be cleared for contact by Wednesday’s practice if all goes well Tuesday.
Freshman wide receiver Chase Claypool dealt with a hamstring injury last week but is “back in the mix” for Notre Dame this week, Kelly said.
Preparation, Jarron Jones and the triple option
Coming off the best game of his career — in which he racked up six tackles for a loss against Miami — graduate student nose guard Jarron Jones only played two series on Saturday against Navy.
It’s worth noting that Jones was in on Notre Dame’s two best defensive drives of the game, though Kelly wouldn’t reveal much as to why Jones saw decreased playing time outside of pointedly vague comments about practice.
“I think you know that one guy does not stop the option,” Kelly said. “Preparation is important. Preparation is important. That's all I'll say.”
The 6-foot-5, 315 pound Jones was — and is — a prime candidate to be cut block by triple option offenses like Navy and Army. But so are the rest of Notre Dame’s defensive linemen.
With Cage likely out for Saturday’s game against Army in San Antonio, Notre Dame certainly could use Jones in the middle of its defensive line to take away the fullback dive. Kelly, though, was coy as to whether Jones would see significant playing time this weekend.
“I think all of our guys get the use equal opportunity to prepare during the week, and then we're going to play the guys that prepare to play the option,” Kelly said. “And so each and every week we've got a number of guys that — … you've seen the amount of guys we're playing on defense. They all get reps and they all get a chance to get in there. And it'll come down to preparation, and if they prepare the way that they need to prepare, they'll all get a chance to play.”
Freshmen DBs adjust to the option well
For cornerbacks Julian Love, Donte Vaugh and Troy Pride Jr., and safeties Devin Studstill and Jalen Elliott, Saturday’s 28-27 loss to Navy was either their first time facing a triple option offense or, at least, facing one at the college level that’s far better than anything they would’ve faced in high school. Love in particular played well until he sustained a concussion, Kelly said.
“Probably as good as I've seen freshman play, a true freshman,” Kelly said. “I don't know if I've seen a true freshman play the triple option as well as he did. He was really good before he got dinged. He was running to the football, playing off cut blocks, playing physical, playing smart, very, very good. His play was — it was top, in terms of assignments, in terms of physicality, in terms of tackling it was really good.”