Notre Dame football: Banged-up Irish prepare for Pitt

South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND -- Each Tuesday, Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly meets with the media to discuss, for the most part, that week's opponent. This week, a good portion of the 30-minute session was more of an injury report.

Nose guard Louis Nix, who has missed the last two games with knee tendinitis, will practice on Tuesday and Kelly is hopeful that the senior will play Saturday night against Pitt (4-4). Kelly said that Nix will eventually have to undergo surgery for the condition.

Safety Austin Collinsworth, who is dealing with a neck injury, will not practice Tuesday and Kelly termed him questionable for the Panthers.

Kelly said that starting left guard Chris Watt, who sat out last Saturday's game against Navy, will practice Tuesday and the coach sounded hopeful that Watt will play against Pitt.

And Kelly was able to put a finer point on the injury that will sideline outside linebacker Ben Councell for the season. Councell suffered a torn ACL and will undergo surgery in the next couple of days.

With a banged-up defensive line, Kelly said that reserve offensive lineman Bruce Heggie will work with the defense in case an emergency arises.

The 7-2 Irish, ranked 23rd in the latest BCS poll, will have to contend with Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald. The senior had 11 tackles, all solo, six tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and a sack in last Saturday's 21-10 loss to Georgia Tech.

"Aaron Donald has been a one-man wrecking crew," Kelly said. "He will be somebody we have to gameplan (against)."

The recent series with Pitt has been filled with close games. The past five games have been decided by an average of four points, with two having gone to overtime.

Kickoff is set for 8:12 p.m. (Eastern) and the game will air nationally on ABC.

Notre Dame Head Coach Brian Kelly communicates with someone on the sideline after a Navy interception during the Notre Dame vs. Navy football game on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend. SBT Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN. SBT Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN