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Notre Dame Football

Kelly updates Hinish, Lenzy; talks young WR impact and more notes

August 25, 2021

Brian Kelly estimated a half-dozen Notre Dame players, perhaps more, had utilized the Fighting Irish's preseason camp to wedge their way into the team's active-roster plans going into the 2021 season.

Notre Dame, top-10 in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls, is set to open its season at Florida State Sept. 5.

Kelly said a number of players had turned in strong camp performances to climb the depth chart and specifically touted two young wideouts as expected to play.

“Oh, yeah. I would think there were more than a few,” Kelly said Wednesday after the Irish wrapped practice. “I think on each side of the ball. You still have questions as you go into camp, weight training, conditioning is one thing. But actually applying that to the field. I think there was probably a half-dozen guys who put themselves in a position to where we think they can play for us now.

“I think Lorenzo (Styles Jr.) can. He's coming on. Seeing consistency from him. And I think Deion Colzie, he's going to be a really good player for us. I think those guys … I'm pretty sure you'll see them this year (in the wide receiver rotation).”


Graduate-senior defensive lineman Kurt Hinish is working his way through concussion protocols, Kelly said, and he also updated the status of speedy wideout Braden Lenzy, who has been dressed but not a full participant this week at practice.

Both players are expected to be available for the opener against the Seminoles.

“He cleared his cardio today, he's pretty good,” Kelly said of Hinish. “All signs look towards him probably being … we shift to Florida State tomorrow, points to him being in gear tomorrow, non-contact. So we should be in pretty good shape.

“(Lenzy) had a shoulder strain. Fell in a 1-on-1, (Clarence) Lewis fell on top of him on a catch. Had a strain. So we're just working him back in. We think he'll be able to be 100% in the next day or two.”


Kelly also revealed that timing was critical in getting second-year offensive coordinator Tommy Rees to the hospital Monday for an emergency appendectomy.

Rees had been experiencing discomfort for a few days and initially did not want to get his condition further checked out.

“He's lucky. It was a lot worse,” Kelly said. “We're fortunate everything's worked out great. Appendectomy performed at St. Joe's and really appreciate work Dr. (Matt) Leiszler did and forcing him to get over there and get checked out.

“It was cutting it close … it wasn't your standard hey we had plenty of time here. If this was left unattended a little bit longer, we could have had a much more serious situation.”

Kelly praised the offensive staff's work in Rees' physical absence, noting that running backs coach Lance Taylor had called plays and the unit also had leaned upon veteran assistant coach John McNulty.

Kelly also talked about his decision to be a routine guest in the Irish's quarterbacks' room.

“I don't know. I think you'd have to ask them. I think they would lie to you,” Kelly said when asked if the quarterbacks were grateful for his presence in their meeting room. “Whatever you asked them, they'd probably give you the (canned) answer.

“I don't micromanage it; I just like to be in there to know what exactly we're doing on a day-to-day basis. As the head coach, it's always good to know where the ball is.”


Brendon Clark, who's had a long road back from injury last season and this spring, has improved enough in recent weeks that Clark has positioned himself to perhaps run the Notre Dame scout team offense next week in its preparations for Florida State.

“We think he can get into the scout team work,” Kelly said of the third-year sophomore Clark. “He's made really, really good progress the last couple of weeks. A lot of this is confidence, too, in terms of his confidence. He wants to get in there.

“I think we gotta get him in there and let him go down there and obviously keep a pretty good cylinder around him. Let him go down there and get some work.”

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