Armstrong healthy as Irish continue Cotton Bowl prep


Playoff prep is now fully underway at Notre Dame.

With finals week in the rear view mirror and the Cotton Bowl 11 days away, Notre Dame hit the practice field Tuesday afternoon as they get ready to face Clemson in the national semifinals.

The Irish practiced Tuesday afternoon inside the Loftus Center.

One of the bigger challenges Brian Kelly has is that his guys are getting ready to play in their first college football playoff game. Clemson is about to play in its sixth in the last four seasons.

Kelly says the goal is to prepare them for their surroundings as best he can in an effort to eliminate as many distractions in Dallas as possible.

"It's not necessarily just that moment,” said Kelly. “It's just all that goes with it in preparing them so when they do see it, they understand what to be ready for more than anything else. So it's just getting them prepared for that moment, making sure they're aware of it. Getting them in tune with what it's going to be like and talking it out is most important."

One encouraging sight at practice Tuesday was RB Jafar Armstrong in full pads, running at full speed.

The sophomore had knee surgery midway through the season and despite returning to play in the final month, he didn't have the same burst as he did prior to the injury.

But with several more weeks to heal, Kelly says Armstrong is finally back to full strength.

“Well, he's healthy finally,” said Kelly. “You know, he was running with no arch really in that foot. I mean, he was no push, no arch, no explosion. He's back to where he was. You know, obviously he started off really well for us, and then suffered an injury that he came back from and then re-injured the same ankle. I think this is the first time that we've seen him. We think he's back to where he was earlier in the season."

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