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Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Carlisle could return; Nichols, Spond out

By Matt Fortuna

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Tate Nichols and Danny Spond will be bystanders again Saturday when Notre Dame hosts Purdue.

Amir Carlisle, meanwhile, could make his Irish debut after being cleared to practice.

Those were among the most newsworthy items to come out of Brian Kelly's weekly news conference Tuesday, as the coach moved on from a season-opening win in Dublin to focusing on the task at hand with the Boilermakers.

Kelly also said publicly for the first time what had long been expected -- that safety Austin Collinsworth is unlikely to see the field this season following spring shoulder surgery. The junior does have a redshirt available.

Spond, if all goes well, could return for the Sept. 15 game at Michigan State.

"Tate Nichols will go through some individual workouts today," Kelly said. "He will not be involved in any team. Last week he put a bar on his shoulder for the first time, so he was in the weight room. So he now he enters that next stage of re-engaging, if you will, in football-related activities. But he will not be available to us this weekend.

"Amir Carlisle has been cleared to practice today, so he will be part of our practice rotation. And Danny Spond has been cleared for everything but physical contact. We believe, if things go well this week, that he'll be cleared for next week. And again, it's contingent upon how he progresses through this week."

Assistant coaches, who usually speak to the media every Tuesday in-season, are not available this week. Players, who are normally available during three different sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday, will only speak to the media following practice Wednesday evening.

Kelly said there was no real thinking behind the changes to access.

"There wasn't a grand scheme to protect anybody as much as I wanted to make sure our players were focused," Kelly said. "Their schedule is so long in terms of their academics and study tape and all those things, we wanted to streamline it as best we could."

"Same thing with the assistants," he added. "They're 90 hours a week here. I really felt like for me I could take a lot of that off their plate so they could focus strictly on at the end of the day our preparation."