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Notre Dame Football

Kelly says Carmody is game-time decision, indicates same for Hinish

September 23, 2021
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Two days before the first of his team's back-to-back games against nationally ranked opponents, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly indicated the Irish have just one lingering question in terms of available players.

The status of left tackle Michael Carmody, who's been consistently in a walking boot since spraining his ankle midway through Notre Dame's comeback-win Sept. 11 against Toledo.

Notre Dame faces Wisconsin inside Chicago's Soldier Field in the 2021 Shamrock Series (12 p.m., FOX).

“The only guy we have't made a decision yet on is Mike Carmody,” Kelly said Thursday, via Zoom. “He got some reps (Wednesday), we'll evaluate him today and tomorrow. I would say it will come down to game-day decision. He's making good progress. It's too early to tell whether we'll start Mike or Tosh there.

“I don't think anybody else on the two-deep that we have particular concern on at this point.”

Well, not exactly. In addition to Carmody's status, Kelly also kept a guarded approach to the available of super-senior defensive tackle Kurt Hinish, who has missed some practice time with an unspecified setback.

”There's always going to be guys that are questionable during the week that have lingering injuries from the week before,” Kelly said, when asked about Hinish. “We don't rule anyone out unless we're clear that they are not going to play. I think the only guy that clearly is not playing is the guys we told you that were unavailable earlier in the week. Other than that, some of these are game time decisions.

"I think each week you'll find there's going to be some rumors and speculation some guys may be available or unavailable. I'll let you guys know if someone is definitely not available leading into the game. I think there's always going to be a little bit of that from week to week."

C'Bo Flemister remains out for the fourth-straight week for unspecified reasons, in addition to the Irish's early-season spate of injured players.

Prince Kollie is available and could play on special teams or in a reserve linebacker role, Kelly has indicated.

Additionally, Kelly expects sophomore Jordan Botelho – who last week made his season debut – to carve a greater role this week.

"Jordan's much further along than he was last week,” Kelly said. “Just getting back on the practice field and didn't really have his legs underneath him last week. He should play a much more important role in what we do defensively.

“You'll see him on the field. He will register many more snaps on the defensive side of the ball."

Botelho didn't start on some special teams units last week in the Irish's win against Purdue and quickly flashed his physical presence, an approach that included Botelho obliterating a would-be Boilermakers defender on kick coverage.

BUCHNER READY

In both his sessions this week with reporters, Kelly indicated an expectation that true freshman quarterback Tyler Buchner would be available for the Irish offense.

Notre Dame, with offensive coordinator Tommy Rees, has developed a unique package designed to utilize Buchner's skill-set in the offense. Buchner helped fuel the rally past Toledo and played briefly against Purdue before he suffered a hamstring injury that Kelly labeled as not overly worrisome.

“Buchner's improving,” Kelly said. “We got him up to his miles per hour in terms of a full-out sprint was where we wanted him to be (Wednesday at practice).

“We'll add more to his load with the expectation of preparing him for his role at quarterback on Saturday."

Buchner's presence against the Badgers could be of particular importance in this game. Wisconsin has allowed just one rushing first down through two games and 66 total net yards on the ground.

While Notre Dame just posted perhaps its most effective ground attack of the season in the win against Purdue, it also has struggled through the first quarter of the season with 317 rushing yards and a 2.9-yard-per-carry average.

 
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