Notre Dame enters game week for the Cotton Bowl showdown with Clemson relatively healthy. In fact, the Irish get a nice little boost along the defensive line with the return of sophomore Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa who has been out since the first week of the season after breaking his foot against Michigan. On Monday, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly told the media he expects him to play Saturday.
“Been very impressed,” Kelly said in reference to his sophomore lineman. “I think he’s capable of playing and playing well. Now, sometimes you get a player back and maybe he can give you a few snaps here. I think he can play, and I think he can play well for us.”
Tagovailoa-Amosa has not played since week one against Michigan but getting him back for the Cotton Bowl would be a real nice addition for the Irish. The Notre Dame defensive line has been stout in 2018 and has been able to generate pressure with just the front four all year long. Adding another quality lineman into the mix will only make Notre Dame’s defensive line rotation that much deeper.
With Tagovailoa-Amosa sidelined most of the year, freshman Jayson Ademilola and senior Micah Dew-Treadway have seen an increase in snaps. Those two could still see snaps even with Lord Myron back as Notre Dame could choose to give Jerry Tillery a slightly lessened work load to keep him fresher for the 4th quarter. Tillery has handled a rather heavy workload each week this season.
However Brian Kelly, defensive coordinator Clark Lea, and defensive line coach Mike Elston divide up the snaps, getting back Tagovailoa-Amosa back is a big positive for the Irish. Since he only played on one game this season, he can play this weekend and again next week should the Irish defeat Clemson and still retain a year of eligibility.
Clemson on the other hand could be missing one of their best defensive linemen for the Cotton Bowl. On Monday news broke that Dexter Lawrence along with two Clemson reserves are currently suspended for the game due to a failed drug test. All three Clemson players, however, are currently appealing the suspension and there is hope on the Clemson side that the “B samples” will come back on Wednesday or Thursday and vindicate the three allowing them to play Saturday.