Notre Dame got one of their offensive playmakers, Cole Kmet, back last weekend and it had a significant impact on the Irish offense. Another playmaker, Michael Young, looks like he is ready to return while the Irish inch closer and closer to full strength. They are still a few weeks away from that as they wait for Jafar Armstrong next, but overall, Brian Kelly gave a promising injury update to reporters on Sunday.
Michael Young Probable for UVA
The best news Brian Kelly had on Sunday was that junior wide receiver Michael Young is probable for this weekend’s contest with Virginia. Young had a fantastic camp before breaking his collarbone, and his return gives the Irish offense a much-needed infusion of firepower. Young has the speed on the outside to help stretch a defense and the athleticism to be a weapon in the short passing game as well.
In Young’s absence, only one wide receiver seized the opportunity – Javon McKinley who had a monster game against New Mexico. With Young potentially back in the lineup, it most likely means Lawrence Keys returns to the bench; but Keys has shown a lot of potential in the slot as well.
Jahmir Smith Probably Too
Notre Dame should also get backup running back Jahmir Smith back in the lineup this weekend. Notre Dame had a depleted running back depth chart in Athens with Smith and Jafar Armstrong unavailable. Smith’s return means less of a reliance on Tony Jones Jr who struggled to get any footing against the Bulldog defense.
Notre Dame relied almost exclusively on Jones and to a lesser extent Avery Davis on Saturday while C’bo Flemister and Kyren Williams watched from the sidelines. Davis’s role in the offense moving forward will be something to follow as Notre Dame gets healthier at running back.
Add Braden Lenzy to the Probable List
Sophomore wide receiver Braden Lenzy didn’t make the trip to Athens after getting banged up in practice during the week. The good news here is that Kelly listed the speedy wideout as probable along with Smith and Young. Like McKinley, Lenzy had a big game against New Mexico though his plays came once the benches started to be cleared. Lenzy’s speed is a weapon that Notre Dame should be able to use more and more this season, so getting him back now should allow him to continue to develop.
Jafar Armstrong Still Weeks Away
Notre Dame is still a few weeks away from getting starting running back Jafar Armstrong back, but for the first time since he got injured in the opener, Kelly gave an indication of his return. Notre Dame is targeting USC for Armstrong’s return. That means two more games without their best running back. Hopefully, the Irish can cobble together some semblance of a running game this weekend against Virginia.
In two weeks it won’t matter much who is at running back since Bowling Green shouldn’t put up much of a fight regardless. Getting Armstrong back in time for USC would be ideal, though, as the Irish will need a running game to get by the Trojans.
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah Evaluated for Concussion
When Alohi Gilman pulled Jeremiah-Owusu-Koramoah down as Georgia was going uptempo, the home crowd booed, and Gary Danielson accused Notre Dame of faking injuries. At the moment, it wasn’t a good look. It turns out the Georgia fans who booed and Danielson are the ones who looked terrible though. Kelly revealed that JOK went to the tent and through concussion protocol after the incident.
Gilman, an alert senior captain, noticed his teammate woozy and pulled him down so he could get off the field and get evaluated. Georgia blogs, however, have been trying to roast Notre Dame for this. Classy.
JOK returned to action eventually and should be fine this weekend. Now think about that one Georgia fans. Would Notre Dame fake an injury to the guy who led the team in TFL and sacrifice him for a couple of series just to save one play?
No Other New Injuries
Kelly revealed that Notre Dame left the hard-fought game with Georgia relatively unscathed. No new injuries popped up that should be concerning or alarming at this time. Interestingly enough, Kelly mentioned that Notre Dame typically leaves these physical games mostly unharmed.
Asmar Bilal went down during the same drive as JOK. Kelly told reporters that Bilal was suffering through some cramps at the time. Georgia fans are convinced that injury was faked too. Kelly seemed annoyed and offended, rightfully so, by the implication that his players were faking injuries when Georgia wasn’t even really playing that fast at the time.