As Notre Dame gets back into a somewhat normal swing of things following last week’s outbreak of COVID in the football program, the Irish got some really good injury news this week as well. Presumptive #1 wide receiver Kevin Austin is on schedule to be available for next weekend’s game with Florida State.
Notre Dame has been missing Austin since before fall camp after he underwent foot surgery on July 29 and his absence has been felt in the Irish passing game. Notre Dame’s passing attack just hasn’t hit on all cylinders just yet despite playing a couple of weak defenses.
While the news of Austin’s potential return next weekend is obviously a great development, Irish fans should temper expectations a bit for what Austin will be able to provide. All Brian Kelly said on Thursday was that Austin is on schedule to compete against Florida State. He didn’t say Austin will step in and immediately be the top option in the Irish passing game.
The Irish receiving corps in general has been bitten by the injury bug this year. Braden Lenzy missed the opener with a hamstring injury. Bennett Skowronek left the opener with an injury of his own and missed the week two contest with South Florida. All three should be available – injury wise – for the Florida State game. There is still the question of who may not be available due to the lingering effects of quarantining following the COVID outbreak.
Notre Dame fans have been waiting a long time to see what Kevin Austin can do for the Irish offense. Multiple players have spoken about Austin terrorizing the Notre Dame defense from the Scout team last year during this suspension that was never confirmed by the program.
Hopefully, that wait is almost over because Notre Dame needs a healthy Kevin Austin playing up to his potential by November when Clemson comes to town and the Irish have to hit the road to North Carolina. The way the Pitt defense is playing, Notre Dame will need Austin ramped up by the end of the month. The Panther defense gave Ian Book fits two years ago until Book tested them vertically to Miles Boykin for the game-winning touchdown.