Notre Dame players hurt by Navy, Air Force blocks, says Brian Kelly

Jonathan Daniel

After two straight games against option teams, the Irish are starting to feel the effects.

Two straight weeks of playing teams that use the triple option have taken a toll on Notre Dame, as head coach Brian Kelly said repeated cut blocks have caused multiple injuries on the Irish defensive front.

Williams suffered an ACL injury the week before against Air Force, but is expected to return in three weeks for the team's game against BYU. Day re-aggravated a previous high-ankle sprain but should be able to play against Pittsburgh. Schwenke, meanwhile, is out for the Pitt game with a high-ankle sprain.

Prior to the game against Air Force, Kelly was asked about his defensive line's mentality against option teams that cut block.

The guys do a really good job with defending themselves, not putting themselves in awkward positions. We're not talking about chop blocking illegally.

Again, they don't like it. Clearly they'd rather have teams that don't go below the waist. I think they've become so much more aware of how to defend and take on those blocks that it's less of a concern. I wouldn't say it's the kind of teams they enjoy playing against, but I don't think they fear injury when they play option teams.

Cut blocks, also known as blocks below the waist, are legal, if done right. Only offensive linemen can perform a cut block, and they have to be straight-on with the defender -- if you attempt to cut block a defender who is engaged with another blocker, that is an illegal chop block.

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