Upon further review
Kelly on Sunday vehemently decried the 15-yard excessive celebration penalty sophomore receiver TJ Jones received as a blown call.
Apparently, the Big Ten agrees with him.
Big Ten officials presided over ND’s 31-13 victory over Michigan State Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium and flagged Jones after he scored a touchdown and put his gloves together to form the Fighting Irish logo.
Kelly had been told before the season by both Big Ten and Big East officials, specifically, doing that would not be ruled a penalty.
“We got a clarification that, in fact, is not a penalty,” Kelly said during his regular Tuesday meeting with the media. “That was clarified (Monday) by the Big Ten officials. Now, if he does that and puts it in somebody's face or jumps into the Michigan State band, then that would be an unsportsmanlike penalty.
“We literally went over this specifically (before the season), because our gloves have the Fighting Irish (logo) on the inside. So when you put your gloves together, the Fighting Irishman is on the inside of the gloves.
“So that's my job immediately, because I saw that. That's like giving your 8-year-old a lighter, you know what I mean? I knew this thing was going to be something that we were going to have to deal with. Certainly we brought it up and got the green light, so there was miscommunication along the way.”
-- The family medical emergency that caused starting sophomore linebacker Prince Shembo to miss Saturday’s Michigan State game continues to move in a positive direction.
IrishIllustrated.com had reported that Shembo’s father, Maurice, suffered a brain aneurysm Friday night while in South Bend for the game. ND officials have not provided those kinds of specifics to this point.
“That family matter that we talked about has really turned out to be quite remarkable,” Kelly said, “so we're happy for Prince and his family.”
Shembo was back on campus Sunday, in class on Monday and has been practicing with the team this week.
-- Backup cornerback Lo Wood’s MRI over the weekend gave Kelly some optimism that the sophomore would be available for Saturday’s Pitt game.
But Kelly still has a Plan B in place, just in case, at perhaps ND’s thinnest position group.
Senior safety Jamoris Slaughter could flip to cornerback and freshman cornerback Josh Atkinson will also get some meaningful practice reps this week.
“It's more of a chronic acute tendon in the quad that has fired up,” Kelly said of Wood’s injury. “There's no structural damage. When he decelerates and engages the quad, he's got a lot of soreness there. We think we can get him through that. We'll manage him this week.
“But our expectations are that he's going to continue to get better and he'll be available for us this weekend.”
-- Special teams coach Mike Elston confirmed Tuesday after practice that a number of new potential punt returners were getting auditions this week.
That groups includes junior Robby Toma and freshmen DaVaris Daniels, George Atkinson III and Cam McDaniel.
Junior Theo Riddick and senior John Goodman have been the deep men on the 18 balls punted to the Irish this season. They’ve combined for three fumbles, two of them lost. The seven punts that were returned netted a total of five yards (0.71 average). Only six FBS teams have a worse average.
“When you’re in a punt return situation, the minimum you want to get is 10 yards,” Elston said. “We’ve been averaging going backwards. We’ve been making poor decisions.”
Senior backup quarterback Dayne Crist was named Tuesday to the prestigious 22-man Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.
Crist is the sixth Notre Dame football player since 1999 selected to the team that recognizes community service. The others were Tom Zbikowski, Bob Morton, Derek Curry, Courtney Watson and Grant Irons.
The Canoga Park, Calif., product has helped raise roughly $100,000 for St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a charity that raises money and awareness for childhood cancer research.
Staff writer Eric Hansen: