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Sunday Notre Dame Notebook: Defensive rotation, RT duo and overall health

Temple v Notre Dame

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 02: Logan Marchi #12 of the Temple Owls tries to evade pressure from Jay Hayes #93 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the third quarter of a game at Notre Dame Stadium on September 2, 2017 in South Bend, Indiana. The Irish won 49-16. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

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It is not a statistic that shows up in a box score or deep within any performance-based analytics, but it is a positive indicator for Notre Dame moving forward, nonetheless. Two dozen Irish defenders played at least 10 snaps in the 49-16 victory over Temple on Saturday, per coach Brian Kelly.

Kelly also said during his Sunday teleconference that he fully intends to continue with that large rotation. The list of 24 includes at least eight defensive backs, five linebackers and nine defensive linemen, with both freshmen defensive tackles Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa and Kurt Hinish among that last grouping.

Next week, another body will be available to aid the defensive line interior. Junior tackle Micah Dew-Treadway did not dress for the season opener due to a knee sprain, per Kelly.

“We just felt it was best that we didn’t put him out there unless he was 100 percent,” Kelly said. “We expect to have him back this week.”

Graduate student tight end Durham Smythe is not yet cleared for action against Georgia after entering the concussion protocol Saturday, but Kelly was optimistic about Smythe’s week ahead since he is not suffering from concussion symptoms today.

On the right tackle rotation
Kelly and his coaching staff split the snaps at right tackle between sophomore Tommy Kraemer and freshman Robert Hainsey. That partnership will continue, at least for now.

“We’ll leave that open-ended in terms of whether we’ll have two guys there or not,” Kelly said. “I really like that fact that both of them competed and did some good things … I kind of like playing both of them right now, but we’ll see where that goes. I don’t want to be married to one concept there. We’ll let that play itself out and see where it goes.”

On playcalling
Once again, Kelly reiterated he has turned over all the playcalling to offensive coordinator Chip Long. Kelly maintains some input as far as reminders and advice may go, but Long makes the decisions.

“I’m not calling the plays. I’m managing the game. I’m involved in the offense, the defense and the special teams from a management standpoint,” Kelly said. “Helping coach Long on fourth down calls. Obviously when I feel like we need to be in a ball possession mode or recommendations.

“This is his game to call. I’m certainly, as the head coach, going to continue to manage as I see appropriate during the game.”

On Georgia’s sudden quarterback uncertainty
Bulldogs sophomore quarterback Jacob Eason suffered a knee sprain early in Georgia’s 31-10 victory over Appalachian State on Saturday. In his absence, freshman Jake Fromm took over and led the offense with little difficulty. He finished 10-of-15 passing for 143 yards and one touchdown.

Eason’s prognosis for next weekend is not yet clear, but it does not sound like Notre Dame’s preparation would be changed by who Georgia coach Kirby Smart leans on at quarterback. He is already leaning most of his figurative weight on another position.

“Both quarterbacks are at Georgia because they’re capable of being a starting quarterback,” Kelly said. “You’re going to respect the fact that Georgia has built their offense around two outstanding senior running backs. They’re not going to put either quarterback in the position where they have to go out and win the football game.

“They’re going to be asked to take care of the football, be smart, make good decisions. I think in both instances, Eason and Fromm, will do that. We know them both from recruiting. They’re both really good players, but again, this will come down to featuring two outstanding running backs.”

Those two running backs, Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, combined for 183 yards and three touchdowns on 31 carries Saturday, good for a 5.9 yards per rush average.

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