Notre Dame 5th year senior linebacker Drue Tranquill practiced on Thursday but his status for Saturday night against Northwestern is still questionable. Brian Kelly told the media on Thursday that they will have to see how the captain BUCK LB feels tomorrow after practicing before determining how much, if at all Tranquill plays against the Wildcats.
The fact that Tranquill is even practicing right now is pretty remarkable. Anyone who saw Tranquill carted off the field last weekend with a towel over his head couldn’t have imagined at the time that Tranquill might be playing this weekend. At the time it looked like Tranquill might have been out for a while based on the reaction to the injury, but it turned out to just be a sprain.
Tranquill, a noted quick healer, and gym rat has spent most of his collegiate career overcoming injuries so this latest episode probably shouldn’t surprise anyone. As a graduate student with a lighter class load, Tranquill has a lot of time for rehab and treatment as well which could help facilitate his return.
Still, it remains to be seen if the staff will clear Tranquill for this weekend. Given what potentially lies ahead for the Irish, the staff will need to weigh how much they need Tranquill this weekend to keep their playoff hopes alive versus any risk of reinjuring or worsening the injury. It is, however, known that Notre Dame will be without starting tight end Alize Mack who reportedly suffered a concussion last weekend.
Should Tranquill not be able to play or be limited in snaps, look for Notre Dame to use a rotation of linebackers to fill the void. Last week Drew White made his debut on defense against Navy’s option, but this weekend either Jordan Genmark Heath or true frosh Shayne Simon could get the nod if Tranquill is unable to give it ago. Notre Dame could also give starting ROVER Asmar Bilal some looks inside at BUCK this weekend if need be as well.
Even if Tranquill does play, it’s very possible that Notre Dame uses more of a rotation than normal since considering Tranquill hardly ever steps off the field when he is healthy.
Tranquill is 2nd on the Notre Dame defense in tackles with 47 and fifth in tackles for loss with 6.0. Simon, White, and Genmark-Heath have 15 tackles combined this season.
Yoon Back to 100%
Notre Dame should be at full strength in their special teams department this weekend. Brian Kelly noted on Thursday that Justin Yoon is back to 100% this week after he sat out last weekend. Jonathan Doerer filled in for Yoon as the placekicker but Yoon should resume those duties Saturday night.