The Notre Dame Fighting Irish will get two injured starters back for their Fiesta Bowl game against the Ohio State Buckeyes in Glendale, Arizona on Jan. 1. Both Jarron Jones and Durham Smythe returned to practice this week and head coach Brian Kelly says they are on track to play.
“Jarron Jones is cleared for full practice and participation, beginning Thursday,” Kelly told NBC Sports. “It’ll just be a matter of increasing the volume as we work through the bowl preparations… I think we can increase his volume where he can be playing for us and contributing.”
Jones was expected to be Notre Dame’s starting nose tackle this season, but a knee injury in training camp has kept him off the field all season. It appears Jones will make his first and only appearance of the season in the Fiesta Bowl.
Tight end Smythe injured his knee and shoulder in a Week 2 game against Virginia, causing him to have surgery on both of those body parts.
Kelly does not believe Smythe will need to shake off any rust and he can be a solid run-blocking addition to the offense.
“I know [head trainer] Rob Hunt thinks we can get Durham to where he was in August,” Kelly said.