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Injury to Chris Tyree Could Shake Up The Notre Dame Backfield vs. USC

Notre Dame sophomore Chris Tyree is a game-time decision, and he can't play it will shake up the Irish depth chart

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said that sophomore running back Chris Tyree is a game-time decision for Saturday’s game against USC, which could shake up the depth chart for the Irish.

Tyree has been battling a nagging case of turf toe, which limited him to 14 yards rushing on three carries in a 32-29 victory over Virginia Tech on Oct. 9. Kyren Williams, the starting running back, got the bulk of the carries against the Hokies. He had 81 yards rushing on 19 carries. True freshman Logan Diggs had 29 yards rushing on six carries and added an important 15-yard catch late in the game.

Kelly said that running backs need to be 100% to play. He made it clear that Tyree wasn’t fully recovered on Thursday in his press conference.

“Chris Tyree worked out a little bit yesterday,” Kelly said. “I don’t know that he’s 100% right now so that will probably be a game-time decision on Chris.”

Notre Dame’s goal in the second half of the season is to amp up a lackluster running game, which is averaging just 2.8 yards per carry. If Tyree doesn’t go, Kelly will turn to Diggs and C’Bo Flemister. Flemister didn’t make the trip to Virginia Tech and has yet to carry the ball this season. 

Kelly said the Irish have enough depth to make it work without Tyree.

“We have confidence in both Diggs and C’Bo if Chris isn’t able to go at a high level,” Kelly said. “Chris can go right now but I don’t know that he’s at the level that we want to put him in the game yet. We’re going to have to take a look at him today and Friday and see if he feels like he can do everything. A lot of this with the running back is when you’re pushing on somebody, it’s when you are trying to break a tackle and make cuts it’s when you’re blocking. We’re not going to know until game time but we do feel really confident with those two kids.”

In other injury news, Kelly said that tight end Michael Mayer will start. Mayer missed the VT game with a strained abductor muscle. He said that Tyler Buchner “had a good week and will be a part of what we do offensively.” Buchner appeared to tweak his hamstring against the Hokies. Junior defensive linemen Jacob Lacey, who has an ankle injury, is “limited this week but we expect he’ll give us something,” according to Kelly.

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