Brian Kelly provided injury updates on a trio of Notre Dame starters who all miss either all or part of Saturday’s win over Duke – Braden Lenzy, Kyle Hamilton, and Bennett Skowronek. Two of the three could be back this weekend, although it sounded like just one of the three is likely to play against South Florida.
Kyle Hamilton Day-to-Day, Could Play
The Injury to Kyle Hamilton was the biggest scare out of the season opener. Initially, it looked terrible, but we learned quickly that Notre Dame avoided disaster and that the injury was just an ankle sprain. On Monday, Kelly said that Hamilton would be in a walking boot until Wednesday, and then they will see where he is at. He left the door open for Hamilton playing this weekend, and the official depth chart lists Hamilton as starting as of today.
Kelly said the team doctors officially think of Hamilton as day-to-day. While he didn’t rule Hamilton out this weekend, I’d be surprised to see Hamilton out there this weekend. Notre Dame should be good enough on defense to beat a team that was 4-8 last year featuring a new coaching staff without Hamilton, so why risk it? We know Notre Dame needs Hamilton to have a shot against Clemson and the more challenging games this year, so it makes sense to rest him and get Houston Griffith and Isaiah Pryor some reps.
We’ll see what happens throughout the week.
Braden Lenzy Should Be Back
Brian Kelly acknowledged reports over the weekend that Lenzy had a hamstring injury that kept him out against Duke. However, he did say that Lenzy should be close to 100% on Tuesday and, if he is, he will play this weekend.
That should have Notre Dame fans – and offensive coordinator Tommy Rees very happy. The Notre Dame offense sorely missed Lenzy’s game-breaking speed and playmaking ability. They tried to use Lawrence Keys on some jet sweeps, but they didn’t work how we saw them work with Lenzy in the second half of the year.
Bennett Skowronek Sounds Doubtful
While Kelly gave a promising update on Lenzy, his update on Skowronek wasn’t as sunny. He is likely out with the hamstring injury he suffered on the final drive of the first half. With the graduate-transfer out and Lenzy back, Javon McKinley moves back to the boundary and figures to start again this week opposite Lenzy.
Notre Dame hasn’t had the best luck with graduate transfer wide receivers and injuries. In 2017, Notre Dame started the season with Michigan transfer Freddie Canteen and Arizona State transfer Cameron Smith as starters. Neither made it out of September before their lone seasons at Notre Dame ended with injuries. Hopefully, Skowronek doesn’t suffer the same fate and can get back out there soon.
With Skowronek out in the second half, Joe Wilkins led Notre Dame receivers in receptions and could carve out a role in this offense because he did something you love to see in a receiver. He caught everything thrown his way.