An injury to Jonas Gray and the inability of Cierre Wood to make an impact in the backfield have given Robert Hughes his chance to ascend into the two-deep at tailback.
Hughes has been the odd-man-out in the running back rotation, but looked very good when given playing time during the fourth quarter against Stanford. The 5-11, 245-pound running back could add a little power into the rotation behind Armando Allen, as the Irish prepare jump-start a running game that’s set to take on the No. 4 rated run defense in Boston College.
We’ll have more after Brian Kelly’s press conference, but here are are few other moves on the depth chart:
* John Goodman finds himself staying put as the starting punt returner for Brian Kelly, taking the job away from Armando Allen, who dislocated a finger against Michigan State and was beaten up pretty badly against Stanford.
Goodman also swaps spots on the depth chart, backing up TJ Jones this week, flip-flopping spots on the two-deep with senior Duval Kamara, who now backs up Michael Floyd. Goodman had his best day of the season last week in the lost to Stanford, and Kelly and the offensive staff seem to be showing more confidence in Goodman.
* While he made his first noise as a gunner on kickoffs, Brian Kelly is looking to improve his mediocre return game by trying speedster Bennett Jackson on kick-off returns.
Jackson is listed as the second option along with Theo Riddick to join Cierre Wood back deep on kicks. Last weekend was a disappointing one for Irish returners and Jackson certainly has the speed needed to break a big kick.
* For the second week in a row, the defensive depth chart is unchanged, with Jamoris Slaughter starting opposite Harrison Smith at safety again and Zeke Motta and Dan McCarthy backing them up. Darrin Walls and Gary Gray are starting corners, with Robert Blanton the third cornerback in and Lo Wood rounding out the two-deep at cornerback.
Anthony McDonald got significant time playing opposite Manti Te’o at middle linebacker, but Carlo Calabrese is listed as the No. 1 at the Will. Carlo has been one of the great surprises on the defense, playing tough run support in the middle, and even holding his own against the pass.