Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly met with the media one final time on Thursday before Saturday’s Cincinnati contest at Notre Dame Stadium. During his media session, Kelly announced that senior captain Kurt Hinish will miss a second straight game this weekend but is expected back next weekend for Notre Dame’s trip to Blacksburg.
Notre Dame played without Hinish on Saturday against Wisconsin in Chicago and thankfully did not miss much of a beat. Sophomore Howard Cross and Junior Jacob Lacey filled in for Hinish, and both made their impact felt. Lacey specifically came up with a massive 4tth down stop early in the game that helped set the tone for Notre Dame’s best defensive effort of the season.
Without Hinish, Notre Dame still limited the Wisconsin run game throughout the contest. The Badgers vaunted rushing offense gained just 78 yards on 28 carries. Cincinnati’s offensive line is not quite as good as Wisconsin’s. Their rushing attack is not as potent, so while playing without one of their captains again this weekend is far from ideal, the Irish defense should be able to get by again this weekend.
The good news for Hinish is that Brian Kelly also said he should be back next weekend. Notre Dame will need Hinish’s experience for their trip to Virginia Tech as one of the few players on the roster who played against the Hokies the last time Notre Dame traveled to Lane Stadium.
While Hinish was in the concussion protocol last week, Kelly said his absence this weekend is something else.
Michael Carmody Expected Back
Notre Dame played the last two weeks without backup turned starting LT Michael Carmody, but Brian Kelly said on Thursday that they expect him to be back this weekend. “He too is improving each week. We think we’re in the right position for him to be able to play at left tackle on Saturday,” Kelly said.
Getting Carmody back would be a boost for an offensive line that has struggled mightily this season and has featured four different left tackles. Opening day starter Blake Fisher suffered a knee injury opening night in Tallahassee. Carmody went down the following week. Sophomore Tosh Baker and Freshman Joe Alt have both taken snaps there since, with Baker getting the start against both Purdue and Wisconsin.
Brian Kelly’s injury updates should always be taken with a huge grain of salt since he has no real incentive to provide accurate information, but this is one update that did sound promising.