The Norman Transcript

Sports

December 4, 2012

Waiting game

(Continued)

SOUTH BEND, Ind. —

“He’s burned out. There’s no question. He’s on fumes,” Kelly said.

Irish players said they’re trying to make the most of their time away from the field.

“We’re not taking this period off. We’re not taking a break. We’re going to get after it. We’re going to let our bodies heal, give it the proper amount of time, but we’re still going to be doing some stuff to make sure we’re going to be on our A-game,” safety Zeke Motta said.

Running back Theo Riddick said the Irish are still working.

“You basically have to watch more film, do all the little things that got you here. You can’t really relax,” he said.

Defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore said he’s not worried about the long break.

“I don’t care if we have to prepare for two months. We’re playing for all the marbles. I think we’re going to do a good job with this preparation,” he said.

The Irish also have some distractions to worry about as some players weigh whether to come back for fifth-years, others put in paperwork to the NFL to get an idea about where they might be drafted and some coaches could be considered for openings. Defensive coordinator Bob Diaco has been mentioned as a candidate for several jobs.

“That’s a good thing, all three of those things,” Kelly said. “That means good things are happening in your program. Those are the kinds of problems I want to have to deal with on a day-to-day basis because that means that you’re developing your program in a manner that is putting you in a position to compete for championships.”

Kelly expects everyone to be ready to play against the Crimson Tide. Nose guard Louis Nix is recovering from a wrist injury and tackle Zack Martin is recovering from an ankle injury. Receiver DaVaris Daniels, who sustained a broken left clavicle against Boston College, also is expected to be back.

Kelly said his goal during the six weeks between games — two days longer than the time between the sixth game of the season against Stanford and the final game of the regular season against Southern California — is for the Irish to heal, improve and be ready Jan. 7.

“It’s a one-game deal,” he said.

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