Notre Dame Rose Bowl Injury Update: Lenzy Finally Healthy?

Brian Kelly updated the injury status of a few players on Monday, and the most significant nugget from Kelly’s comments was that he expects speedster Braden Lenzy to be a factor on Friday. Lenzy has been a non-factor all season long while dealing with a balky hamstring that has been an issue from the season opener.

Braden Lenzy will help us,” Kelly told the media on Monday. “He’s got speed, which you will need against this outstanding Alabama football team. He brings that element, and I think we’ll be able to see that on Friday for us.”

That sounds great, but at this point, you have to wonder whether Kelly is being fully transparent or if he’s posturing a bit so that Alabama spends some time preparing for Lenzy being on the field.

Lenzy missed the opener with a hamstring injury that he reinjured a few weeks later in the fourth quarter against Pitt. Since then, he’s rarely been seen other than getting the ball a few times against Syracuse. It appeared as though either that was done intentionally to give Clemson something to think about or that Lenzy aggravated the injury at some point because we didn’t see him on the field in the ACC Championship game when the Irish were desperate for some speed on the field.

Maybe two more weeks has been enough time for Lenzy to be ready to make an impact this weekend, but again, Notre Dame fans should be cautious with their expectations here. IF healthy, Lenzy can change the Irish offense significantly just by being on the field. Alabama would have to account for his speed, giving the other Irish receivers some room to work – even if Lenzy is just a decoy. Notre Dame could run some interesting misdirection plays off of fake jet sweeps to Lenzy to maybe give speedster Chris Tyree more room to work as well.

Aside from Lenzy, Kyle Hamilton should be close to 100% this weekend after suffering an ankle injury in the ACC Championship. The Irish need their All-American safety to have any sort of puncher’s chance at slowing down the Alabama offense enough to be in the game.

Kelly didn’t address Tommy Kraemer’s health, but the fifth-year senior told reporters that he feels back to 100% after his appendectomy. “It was a little challenging to get some core strength back and stuff like that because they had to go through my stomach. But I think I’m 100 percent now,” Kramer said. “Those couple of weeks was a little weird getting all that back, getting back into shape and moving around. But our medical team did an awesome job. I feel 100 percent now.”

Kelly didn’t directly address the health status of Zeke Correll, but he did say that Correll and Josh Lugg are splitting 1st team reps at center this week after Lugg started in place of Jarrett Patterson in the ACCCG.

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  1. Funny, but the closer we get to game time, and farther from the ACC Championship debacle, the more I get to thinking…what if?

    You know like, what if Kelly convinced Book to release the ball a tenth of a second sooner on slants or passes in the flat, or what if Book grew a set and sees this game as his pre-combine demonstration and trusts his 30 yd downfield pass…or, what if our DB’s actually know and execute their assignments. It cant be that they haven’t been schooled, can it?

    As usual, the ‘what-ifs’ melt away as soon as I see an 80+ TD completion as in Clemson game. Went back to watch my tape of that game…for the first 11-12 minutes, outside of amassing only 3 points in 2 red-zone trips, we looked pretty damn good. Our game went to sh*t after that play. Almost as though the team’s mindset became, ‘Clemson’s picking on our deep protection as in 2 years ago…here we go again, we lose!’

    Go back and watch that game again, following that play, it was… sloppy tackling, slow as sh*t rush, no-confidence/no-trust Book with nowhere to scramble.
    I don’t presume to know what it’ll take to win Friday, but Alabama got the formula from the Clemson beat-down on how to handle our offense. But, what-if Tommy Boy figured out how to beat that game-plan? There’s that what-if again.

    Enjoy the ‘rush’ during the prelude to game time, I’m afraid it’ll end unhappily again.

  2. Lenzy? Do we even know he can catch a pass? He’s decent at backfield tosses, sweeps, but an actual pass, I dunno. Maybe next year.
    Meanwhile, I’d like to see him in, if only to be a decoy. Alternate him and another speedster, using both as decoys. Then say, on 2nd and 1, throw him one downfield. What’s to lose, a down? It’s not complicated.

    1. “Another speedster”, ‘Subway’ ?
      I hear they have a few on the bench that don’t hardly ever play, especially vs. elite teams. (Johnson, Keys, Tyree), They all arrived with great hype, then became MIA.
      Throwing quick passes to your TEs, or to your RBs, might be worth a try when they pressure Book.
      Going 10-0, BK thought he had it all figured out. What he must’ve not figured was Clemson (and next, Bama) practice against what ND did vs. Clemson I, and adjust, by containing Book, which can be done with elite defenders. DC Lea adjusted well this season, the O’ scheme, not so much.
      If ND can dominate the LOS, they do well. Those who can often do. But against elite talent and elite coaches, that doesn’t happen to the extent that a team’s predictability can overcome.
      Re: O’ adjustments? At ND? It’s “just execute” even against those with superior talent and all’s good! Not good enough. Predictability might be why ND gets blown out so often vs. elite teams.
      Can anyone decipher what NDs O’ scheme was vs. Clemson II?
      It looked to me like pound the ball and see if Ian can escape on passing downs.
      He couldn’t. Who could? ND runs a predictable O’, believing if they just “execute better”, it’ll be good enough. And then they end up getting executed. History tends to repeat in these big games when ND’s O’ repeats the same predictability. If ND reverts to the same ‘old same ol” it could get ugly sooner rather than later. Turnovers often determine the outcome, but in the past big games chunk plays have been the difference provided by elite skilled speed. Run O’ schemes and plays they don’t expect and ND could have a better chance- but don’t expect that- and Bama probably won’t need to.

      1. MTA… “Can anyone decipher what NDs O’ scheme was vs. Clemson II?”

        I’ll try…’Since he is such a winner, put the ball in Book’s hands’. Clearly was not a great idea.

        Not a Book fan, too frustrating to watch. All season I kept counting down the games to his exit, but today I read something that made me retch … because of COVID, he might have another season of eligibility left. WTF!

        Kelly’s QB mindset makes me think that could be a reality… BK: “bye-bye Buchner, ciao Clark, pity Pyne, cant use you guys. Maybe following year…if you don’t change schools, that is” Is it wrong to root for a season (next year) ending injury?

      2. Gonna go out on a limb here and say yes. Rooting for a kid to get badly hurt is not a good look, but you do you.

  3. Many people think Lenzy is our offensive savior or something. I haven’t been all that impressed, even when he’s played while healthy. He is no Will Fuller and I know that’s who everyone was expecting him to be when hearing he’s a blazer. I think he can help us some but I just haven’t seen any consistency to tell me that he is this dynamic playmaker that is going to just own an opposing defense, especially ones like Alabama or Clemson. It’s not that big of a deal not having him in the lineup. My guess if he plays is he has less than five catches and under 50 yards against Bama. Any takers?

    Hamilton on the other hand…if he is out, we are straight screwed in the secondary haha!

  4. I,ll believe Lenzy will get playing time and a bigger role in the offense when I see it. Kelly has said many times through the years about players getting more playing time and a bigger role and it never happens.

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