It's hard to tell how much of a difference junior safety Jamoris Slaughter makes on Notre Dame's defense -- he had only started one game prior to this season and he suffered a sprained ankle in the opener this year against Purdue. All the Irish know is that they miss him.
But coach Brian Kelly said Tuesday that Slaughter is likely to start Saturday against Stanford (2:30 p.m., Ch. 5) at Notre Dame Stadium in place of sophomore Zeke Motta.
''That's what [it] looks like is going to happen,'' Kelly said at his weekly press conference. ''We'll have a great feeling after practice today. But we really liked the fact that when we needed somebody to go in at safety [when] Zeke had an equipment problem, Jamoris ran in the game without anybody putting him in the game. So he's anxious to get back out there.
Motta was inconsistent in Slaughter's place. He led the Irish with 11 tackles and also shared a tackle-for-loss in Notre Dame's 34-31 overtime loss to Michigan State on Saturday night in East Lansing.
''It's all about attention to detail with Zeke,'' Kelly said. ''Zeke is going to give you everything. If you ask for his arm, he'll give you his arm. That's not good enough, just to run around and be tough, you've got to be in the right position. You can't roll down over No. 2 and be three yards inside him when they run a bubble for 16 yards up the sideline. You're over the top of him. So those are coachable things. Those are things we feel like we can get him to that next step because he's a very good athlete, he's a tough kid. We've just got to have him pay attention to detail, and he wants to do that.''