SOUTH BEND - Brian Kelly kept his opening remarks about Saturday's University of Tulsa football matchup short and shocking.
It took the first-year Notre Dame head football coach all of eight seconds Tuesday to launch into a favorable comparison between Golden Hurricane junior quarterback G.J. Kinne and NFL icon Brett Favre.
And that was well down the list of the scariest things the Notre Dame defense is having to deal with this week, just days removed from giving up the most rushing yardage to Navy (367) in the 84-year history of that series.
At the top of the ledger of bad news is that Notre Dame (4-4) will be picking up the pieces without senior nose guard Ian Williams, quite possibly ND's most consistent player on a defense that has been largely inconsistent this season.
Kelly confirmed Tuesday that Williams is expected to miss the next four to six weeks with a knee injury, a sprained medial collateral ligament that will not require surgery.
“It's an injury that some come back quicker than others,” Kelly said. “We'll be able to get a better feel for it, probably next week after we get it to calm down, and go from there.”
Where ND will go for reinforcements against an offense that has piled up 500 yards or better in each of its past four games is junior Sean Cwynar.
Junior Hafis Williams, a backup defensive end this season - out of necessity, will slide back over to his natural position to become Cwynar's tag-teammate at the nose. Freshman Kona Schwenke, the reigning Hawaii high school Player of the Year, will move into the two-deeps at defensive end.
Schwenke had been in line for a redshirt year but will instead start his eligibility clock on Saturday, in week nine of the season.
“This is still about winning, and we are in that mode where we have got to win some more games, obviously,” Kelly said of his decision to elevate Schwenke.
“Getting to a bowl game is very important, so this isn't one of those, ‘Let's ride out the streak here.' We need help.”
The Irish may need help at inside linebacker as well, though Kelly is hopeful sophomore starter Carlo Calabrese (hamstring pull) will be ready to play. If not, sophomore Dan Fox fills in.
Elsewhere on the injury front: