Irish not practicing during bye week

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Brian Kelly was wise to avoid a potentially fatal marketing opportunity when talking about Jarron Jones and Isaac Rochell.

"They're in our new line of shoewear called 'The Boot,' " Kelly said Tuesday of his defensive linemen. "They're wearing boots right now. They both have ankle sprains, so we're day-to-day with those guys right now."

Adidas is probably not in a rush to release such footwear for next year's Shamrock Series tilt -- where and whenever that might be -- but the injuries do underscore another issue facing Notre Dame from the fallout of its 28-21 loss at Pitt.

The Irish will not practice during this week's bye, Kelly said, the first time he has avoided bye-week practicing in his 23 years as a head coach.

"The guys that I would be practicing, we need," Kelly said. "They need to play a considerable amount of time for us against BYU and Stanford. We're just at that point where, look, if I knew going out and practicing two or three days was going to benefit us greatly in the BYU game, I'd be out there right now and we would not be talking. But it's in my estimation we could have a situation with diminished returns that would put us in jeopardy, so we're conditioning them hard. Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday will be the bulk of our work."

Kelly said that it is not all that different from the Irish's last bye week, following the Oct. 5 win against Arizona State, saying that the team held just one full practice then. But the fourth-year Notre Dame coach does need a few guys to get healthy again for their next contest, Nov. 23 against BYU.

Among the latest casualties was center Nick Martin, who broke his snapping hand in the first quarter of Saturday's contest but played through it the rest of the night.

He can play with a cast if need be.

"He's got a boxer's fracture, which as I'm told is a fracture right at the knuckle," Kelly said. "We're going to cast it, and he's working on it right now and he wants to play and we think we can make it work."

As for the other walking wounded, nose guard Kona Schwenke was slated to get the cast off his high ankle sprain Tuesday afternoon after suffering the injury late in the Nov. 2 win over Navy, while linebacker Ishaq Williams' ACL injury has been upgraded from a Grade 2 to a Grade 1 -- presumably sprain -- and he might be ready for the Irish's next contest.

"Is he 100 percent? Probably not," Kelly said. "But we're hopeful that he's going to be able to contribute."