Running back C.J. Prosise is on pace to play in the Fiesta Bowl. Brian Kelly updated the local media on Wednesday and revealed that the team’s leading rusher was a non-contact participant in the team’s final two practices in South Bend.
“He is getting better. I think he’s probably at the point where I think when we get to Arizona, we will be able to pick him up and accelerate him to contact situations,” Kelly said.
Notre Dame’s players and coaches will take a break for the Christmas holiday before reuniting in Scottsdale for Fiesta Bowl preparations. Having Prosise available would add another versatile weapon to the Irish’s offensive attack. Yet while Kelly’s updates from head trainer Rob Hunt appear as if everything is on track for Prosise’s return, it isn’t hard to figure out that there are still some lingering issues for Notre Dame’s 1,000-yard rusher.
“I think we will have to push him into a threshold of feeling confident in cutting and things of that nature,” Kelly explained. “He’s had enough time to be where we need him to be and we just have to get him over that hump of feeling like structurally he could do something. I think by the time we get into next week, we should have a really good feel of where he is.”
Confidence is a key to Prosise’s game. After getting off to a fast start, the second half of Prosise’s season was derailed by injuries. Held to a season-low of just 25 yards on 14 carries against Temple, Prosise suffered a concussion and a shoulder injury against Pittsburgh that kept him off the field against Wake Forest.
While Prosise returned against Boston College and was averaging over seven yards a carry in the first half (most came on a 31-yard gain), he looked tentative running against the Eagles even before he wrenched his ankle. He was held out of the Stanford game, where freshman Josh Adams ran for 168 yards and DeShone Kizer added 128 on 16 carries.