All week, there were rumors that starting NT and captain Kurt Hinish might not be available for Notre Dame on Saturday. This morning, Tim Prister of Irish Illustrated reported that his sources confirmed Hinish is unlikely to play for Notre Dame in their showdown with Wisconsin.
If Hinish is indeed unable to play today, it’s a big blow for the Notre Dame defense tasked with slowing down the Wisconsin run game that figures to be active this afternoon. The Badgers attempted 58 rushes in their only game against P5 school this season.
Howard Cross and Jacob Lacey are the official backups on the depth chart to Hinish, but look for Mike Elston to get a little creative with how he uses his defensive linemen if Hinish is not part of the equation today. Additionally, the Irish are expected to have VYPER Jordan Botelho back on defense today, allowing them to play Justin Ademilola more on the SDE, which could also let them play Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa on the inside some if need be.
We haven’t seen it from the Irish this year, but they could potentially look to play Rylie Mills and Jayson Ademilola at the same time on the inside if need be as well.
The good news for Notre Dame is that Wisconsin’s passing attack has not shown to this point that it requires additional attention, which could lead Freeman to stack the line a bit more than he would have otherwise to provide a little extra help without their big nose tackle.
Left tackle Michael Carmody is still a game-time decision at left tackle. At the same time, backup quarterback Tyler Buchner is expected to play for the Irish today after sitting out the 2nd half of last weekend’s win over Purdue.