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Notre Dame Football

Kurt Hinish Embraces the Nose Guard Life

November 27, 2019

Notre Dame's defense is on a roll in the month of November as the Irish have made life extremely tough on the opposing offense. 

The Irish shut down a big play Boston College run game last week and nose guard Kurt Hinish believes it starts with each position. 

"Our front seven has been playing fantastic," stated Hinish. "The guys in the secondary have been playing great. They give us some time to get to the quarterback and make plays. Even when the ball is thrown, they make plays.

"Our linebackers are fantastic." 

The performance the last two weeks has been impressive as the Irish defensive line has suffered several injuries to its two-deep. 

Defensive ends Julian Okwara and Daelin Hayes are done for the year, while Jayson Ademilola and Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa are battling injuries. 

"We're all pretty banged up," explained Hinish. "We're all in good shape, but it's the end of the year. We have our aches and pains. I felt good and we all felt real well. That's why we do the rotation to feel fresh.

"We're all good. We're all practicing right now and we'll see what happens on Saturday." 

Hinish doesn't have a sexy job as he's the man who takes on a double-team every play. 

His seven tackles and two sacks on the year aren't going to jump off the page, but Hinish drew praise from head coach Brian Kelly earlier this week. 

"He's been steady, taking every snap, every rep," said Kelly. "You can't play the kind of defense that we're playing unless you have somebody that you can count on at that shade position like we have with him all year. He's been outstanding for us."

The Pittsburgh native isn't concerned about making individual plays, but that doesn't mean he wouldn't appreciate the chance to work against one offensive lineman every once in a while.

"If I'm having a good day in the jungle, I'm holding my double-teams down," stated Hinish. "The linebackers are flowing across making plays and I'm getting out of my double-team making plays.

"I always make fun of Myron and Jayson because they're always getting single blocked and I'm getting double-teamed. I make fun of them saying if they don't make the play, then there is something wrong with them. I'm just waiting for the day I get single blocked so I can make a play too." 

What's the key to having a good attitude when knowing your performance won't show up in the stat sheet? 

"Just using technique and being extremely tenacious," Hinish explained. "That's what it boils down to. Coach Elston always says in order to hold a double-team down and be a bad dude in the middle, you have to be a prick." 

Technique is always a work in progress for defensive linemen and Hinish has continued to master his craft. 

Hinish will admit he didn't know what he was doing as freshman. However, he learned from being thrown to the wolves and it's paying off. 

"I definitely learned what I needed to do going into my sophomore year playing as a freshman," Hinish stated. "I wasn't as strong as my sophomore year and this year. I had no technique my freshman year. I was just in there trying to make plays and I think everyone saw that.

"I tried to fix my technique last year and this year even more. The exposure I got to the game was great." 

Notre Dame will head to Stanford for the final regular-season game on Saturday. 

Hinish is aware the Irish haven't won in Palo Alto since 2007, but he's treating it just like another game.

"It's been brought up to us that we haven't won out there in a while," said Hinish. "We have to follow our traits and do what we're supposed to do to get a win." 

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