Injury ReportBoth the Wolverines and Irish defense will be without a key player today:
- Junior free safety Jamoris Slaughter will dress, but be used only in an emergent situation due to an ankle injury suffered in the season opener.
- Backup center Dan Wenger is out. The 5th-year senior's career is in question after a series of concussions suffered in August camp.
- Backup inside linebackers Steve Paskorz (knee) and David Posluszny (hamstring) also will not play.
- Freshman safety Carvin Johnson is out with a knee injury. Johnson started at OLB in the Wolverine's 3-3-5 defensive base last week.
- Junior wide receiver Junior Hemingway, a non-starter but member of the rotation, is considered doubtful (hamstring)
- Starting sophomore wide receiver Roy Roundtree is expected to play (ribs) after leaving the game following a big hit in the opener.
- Redshirt-freshman running back Fitzgerald Toussaint (has yet to see game action) will not play due to a knee injury
Pre-Game, In-Game, Game 11One addition to game day festivities in Saturday's opener involved the players' entrance. Prior to the official stretching session, a full-padded Irish roster emerged through the tunnel of the student section to take the field.
It's a practice Kelly plans to continue.
"We needed to come up with a way for us to thank our team and thank our students. And our team coming through the student section, we thought, was a nice touch of letting them know that we're going through this area and we recognize your importance to this program."
Saturday's contest falls on the 9-year anniversary of 9-11, Michigan and Notre Dame sideline personnel will wear red, white and blue themed apparel and headwear to celebrate, honor and thank those who have served the country.
"We're going to be wearing (interlocking) ND with the red, white and blue to commemorate 9-11," Kelly said.
"I think it was an effort launched by Michigan and Notre Dame and Adidas wanted to be part of that as well."
Cincinnati, Kansas, Louisville, Nebraska, NC State, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Wisconsin will also honor the anniversary with the adidas red, white and blue-themed apparel and headgear.
Green Out: While today's Stadium will feature a prevailing green theme in the stands, South Benders aren't likely to see the same on the field this season…unless they travel to Yankee Stadium in late November.
"We're considering the green jerseys for our Army game," Kelly said. "Because of the subway alums and what the green represents relative to our constituency, if you will, on the east coast. But as far as the green jersey here at Notre Dame for home games, I think I'm probably more (in keeping with tradition) relative to the color of our jersey."
Pre-Game MusingsI'd be shocked if Denard Robinson doesn't score; I'd be surprised if Michael Floyd doesn't score; it will be a good sign if freshman Tai-ler Jones puts up score No. 2 in as many weeks…Robinson won't make it through a Big 10 season toting the rock 25-30 times per game, but he's too tough for that to be an issue in Game 2 of 12 today…then again, hitting an option-QB early and often is always advised…Robinson's delayed draw runs (one second of hesitation to give the impression of pass) will be tough to contain today…Kelly used "option principles" to describe the Michigan spread attack; Robinson remains an "option-passer" too – he generally has two reads on a passing play from the pocket: one outside and a short slant or post…Of course, his third option – tucking and running – is quite effective…If the Irish front seven maintains its assigned gaps, Notre Dame will win going away, but that's easier said than done, because as defensive coordinator Bob Diaco explains: Michigan has players that can find and squeeze through both horizontal gaps (imagine a standard crease opening at the line of scrimmage) and vertical gaps (the crease is at the linebacker level; the quick-footed Wolverines runners can get there and scoot through)…
Our They're a Handful preview detailed the game's notable matchups, but another to watch is between Irish sophomore left tackle Zack Martin and Wolverines sophomore Craig Roh on the perimeter of the O-Line; the athletic Roh is No. 88 in your program and can be a handful as a hybrid OLB/DE in pass rushing situations…No Michigan cornerback showed well enough on tape last week to suggest he can keep Floyd from a huge afternoon; they'll all need (and receive) plenty of help over-the-top…Weakside linebacker Jonas Mouton (#8) can play, but I have my doubts regarding Obi Ezeh (#45)…Armando Allen ran for a career-best 139 yards vs. the Wolverines defense last September; the scheme has changed, the personnel is more mature, but there's not enough new blood to deter the Irish tandem of Allen and Cierre Wood from success over 60 minutes…Gone from last year's Michigan win: tailback Brandon Minor (more than 100 yards and a TD); the tandem that replaced him is quick, but nowhere near as physical or aggressive…
The Irish will miss the reliable tackling in space of Jamoris Slaughter today; not enough fans realize that his injury occurred in the worst possible week…Duval Kamara needs to continue to play when Cierre Wood is in the contest; the senior receiver's second-level blocking will turn Wood's 15 and 16-yard gains of last Saturday to 40 and 50-yard dashes to the House…I remain concerned about the inexperienced Dayne Crist in the face of heavy pressure…After five days of sun in South Bend, it's now overcast with threatening rain as this column hits the front page.
Game Day Position Projections
- OL MVP: LT Zack Martin…C Braxston Cave has the toughest assignment vs. NG Mike Martin (going away)
- TE MVP: A still-hampered Kyle Rudolph…look for Mike Ragone to make his 2010 debut
- WR MVP: Michael Floyd, for the foreseeable future
- RB MVP: Cierre Wood: most yards on the second-highest number of carries
- DL MVP: DE Ethan Johnson…NG Ian Williams has the toughest assignment vs. C David Molk
- LB MVP: Manti Te'o vs. the Wolverines RB tandem
- DB MVP: Cornerback Gary Gray for the second straight week in run support
- Special Teams: Freshman Bennett Jackson controlling the dangerous Darryl Stonum
- Michigan Offensive MVP: In a win: Molk; in a loss – Robinson will still pile up yardage.
- Michigan Defensive MVP: Jonas Mouton with a timely turnover
The official IrishEyes prediction remains: Michigan 30 ND 29
IrishEyes' in-game quarter recaps will appear on the home page following the conclusion of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd periods, with the final to be published after the post-game press conference.