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Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame DL Kurt Hinish: 'I love the new scheme'

April 19, 2021

Notre Dame is quickly becoming a program known for defense and the unit got a big boost when Kurt Hinish decided to return for a fifth year. 

The NCAA gave players an extra year of eligibility due to COVID and the Pittsburgh native didn't take long to make up his mind.

"I love this University and I want to give my all to this University just like they've given a lot to me," Hinish stated. "After the game last year, it left a sour taste in my mouth. I had one more year that was offered and I took the opportunity to stay." 

Hinish hopes to end his collegiate career on a better note than December's Rose Bowl and it starts with a focus on improving his game. 

"There's always the ability to get better," explained Hinish. "No one is perfect. One of the things I'm focusing on this spring is the little details. My hand placement and how violently I'm throwing my hands when I'm working on my pass rush or keeping my pad level lower - just the fine details of my game that can take me to the next level. 

"It's really about the minor details that will take your game to the next level." 

Notre Dame has practiced 10 times this spring and Hinish has been impressive by all accounts. 

"I feel really good," said Hinish. "My strength is at an all-time high. I feel my hands are good right now. They're getting to be excellent. 

"Every time I step on the field, I try to tell myself to be the most violent and dangerous person on the field."

Defensive line coach Mike Elston has also noticed Hinish and other veterans raising their level of play over the last month. 

"(Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa) and the nose guard position between Kurt Hinish, Howard Cross III and Aidan Keanaaina - those four guys have been super productive and very, very disruptive," said Elston. 

Freeman's new defense has been a hit with the defense and Hinish expects to make a few more plays in 2021. 

"I love the new scheme," Hinish said. "Coach Freeman is a great coach. I'm able to be cut loose a little bit more. I get a lot more one-on-one blocks with the center, which I rarely lose. 

"I love the scheme and what we're doing right now. We play a lot more fast and free because the defense isn't as complicated as we've had in the past." 

Hinish is also stepping into a more significant leadership role in his final season in South Bend. 

The 6-foot-1, 296-pounder quietly led the Irish defense last year, but Hinish knows there is more there. 

"I've never been one of those rah-rah cheerleader type of guys when it comes to being a leader," said Hinish. "I always try to lead by example and that's something my father has always told me to do. 

"We had a lot of leaders leave and not that I wasn't a leader last year because I was, but it's just taking another step in that direction of leading this team and leading this defense. We have a lot of great leaders on this team, not only from the older guys, but you see some of the younger guys leading as well, which is great to see." 

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