Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush has been cleared to run after spending the past couple days in a walking boot, but it remains unclear if the Fighting Irish starting quarterback will be cleared to play for Saturday’s game against North Carolina.
“He’s got a grade one strain, so he really doesn’t need the crutches,” Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said Wednesday, via 247 Sports. “I think he was using them (Tuesday afternoon) because the boot is a little awkward for him. I don’t know if you know anything about the boot, but it rolls, and the crutches are really just that, a crutch for him. He doesn’t need it because of the pain or anything like that. He felt awkward in the boot. The boot should be off today. We let him use it today to go to class because he’s walking around campus, and we don’t want any stress on the foot. But again, last night our orthopedic surgeon met with him last night, showed him again the MRI, grade 1, and he’s cleared to run for (Wednesday).”
Wimbush has led the Irish to a 4-1 record in his first season as the program’s starting quarterback and has accounted for 14 total touchdowns both through the air and on the ground.
“He’s mentally ready to go,” Kelly said. “He’ll move around today, and I think we’ve got plenty of time to get him ready. Yeah, it was a good day, and we expect more progress today.”
No. 21 Notre Dame travels to Chapel Hill to face a 1-4 Tar Heels program on Saturday, and Kelly is confident sophomore quarterback Ian Book can run the offense if Wimbush is unable to suit up.
“It’s not a one-man show here,” Kelly said. “This football team is built for the next person that steps up. It’s a next-man-in philosophy here. One player is not going to change how we go about and do our work. Brandon had a good day yesterday. We expect him to continue to progress. But if he can’t, Ian Book will be ready to play and run our offense, and we’ve got ten other players around him that will be ready to help him, as well.”
Book replaced Wimbush in the fourth quarter of Notre Dame’s blowout win over Miami (Ohio) this past Saturday and completed 3-of-5 passes for 51 yards. He also accounted for 37 yards on the ground and led the Irish on a touchdown drive in his second offensive series.
Notre Dame has a bye week following Saturday’s game against North Carolina and then host rival USC on Oct. 21.