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.