SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Ara Parseghian knows a thing or two about winning football games at Notre Dame and the 87-year-old former Fighting Irish coach delivered a message to the current team Thursday.
As players gathered around in a huddle just after warm-ups, current coach Brian Kelly introduced the white-haired Parseghian, who then gave about a five-minute talk to the players, many of whom had never met him or heard him speak.
"It was really cool to be on the field and have him come out and really take control of the huddle," Kelly said
"This was not walking out a guy that doesn't have an aura about him. He walked out there, took over the huddle right away and talked about toughness -- mental toughness and physical toughness -- and what it takes to win. It was just a great message."
Parseghian was 95-17-4 in 11 seasons starting in 1964 and led the Irish to national titles in 1966 and 1973.
"It was just kind of neat to hear it from someone who was so successful here. It was just kinda of awesome," place-kicker Nick Tausch said.
"It was really inspirational. Actually I had never seen him or met him in person. It was a great experience," said linebacker Anthony McDonald, who was sidelined by a hyperextended knee and entered the practice facility using a cane.
Kelly, who had talked previously with Parseghian after taking the Notre Dame job, said he didn't go into great detail introducing the famous coach.
"I didn't preface it by talking about him other than here's somebody who's talking to you who's won two national championships at Notre Dame," Kelly said. "I don't think you can have a better message than this one."
McDonald, a potential starter, was hurt during a goal line stand drill when he got hit, his foot stuck and he got knocked backward. He could be back in a couple of days. ... NG Ian Williams is bothered by an infected toe and two players who've had concussion symptoms, C Dan Wenger and OT Matt Romine, are progressing but being treated cautiously because of the heat. ... Kelly said star TE Kyle Rudolph, bothered all camp by a sore hamstring, has been shut down until Monday. ... TE Mike Ragone, who'd been hospitalized last week for heat illness, was able to go full speed for half of the practice. Kelly said he expects all of the injured to be ready for the opener against Purdue on Sept. 4