Ian Williams expects to play

Notre Dame nose guard Ian Williams, who missed the final four games with a MCL injury, is expected to suit up against Miami in the Sun Bowl on New Year's Eve.

During a news conference Sunday announcing the postseason showdown between the two programs, Fighting Irish coach Brian Kelly confirmed that Williams (6-foot-2, 305 pounds) returned to practice Saturday and "moved around quite well."

"He's been cleared," Kelly said of the senior from Altamonte Springs, Fla. "We'll be careful with him and make sure we have the right, you know, amount of practice leading up to the game for him. We'll practice three times next week with weight training and conditioning. ... We don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves."

Williams, a stout run-stopper who watched his teammates improve in his absence, made it clear he's more than ready to get back on the field. The Irish allowed a combined 514 rushing yards against Pittsburgh, Western Michigan and Navy.

Williams went down against the Midshipmen and ND gave up 489 yards on the ground in its last four games.

"I think it's going to be fun," he said. "I'll be glad to be back and the team is very excited. I'm thinking [I'm] about 100 percent right now. I feel great."

Wes Morgan covers Notre Dame football for ESPNChicago.com.