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Notre Dame Football

Coan alone: Notre Dame keeping same starting QB, more health updates

October 18, 2021
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It might not be a surprise, but it's now also official: Jack Coan is set to make his seventh-straight start at quarterback Saturday as No. 13 Notre Dame hosts rival Southern Cal, according to Irish coach Brian Kelly.

Notre Dame (5-1), coming off its bye week after another come-from-behind win away from home, this time a 32-29 victory at Virginia Tech, intends to continue with the Wisconsin graduate-transfer Coan while also mixing in rookie dual-threat Tyler Buchner as the Trojans (3-3) visit Notre Dame Stadium. Kick is 7:30 p.m. (NBC).

“I think from a quarterback standpoint, Jack Coan continues to be the guy that gives us our best chance to win,” Kelly said. “It's a mixture of him with Tyler Buchner.

“Drew (Pyne) has some done really good things for us, if we feel like we're in situation we need to call on him we would.”

Still, Kelly emphasizes, the coaching staff is in agreement on Coan's status as QB1.

“I think, in my mind, and I know in Tommy's, Jack would start,” Kelly said, referencing offensive coordinator Tommy Rees, “and we'll continue to get Tyler more work.”

Coan's completing 61.7% of his passes for more than 1,200 yards, 10 touchdowns and only three interceptions.

Too, he's consistently producing for the Fighting Irish in the clutch.

In a pair of Notre Dame's road wins, at Florida State and Virginia Tech, Coan's responsible for game-winning, late-clock scoring drives.

Kelly believes it's partly Coan's own characteristics and also the increasing counterpunch Buchner provides.

“Jack speeds up a little bit in late drives where the ball comes out quicker,” Kelly said. “So I think it's a little bit both (maximizing what Coan can do, but also the juncture of the game). I think the pass rush lays down a little bit later in the game. And then I think Jack's sense of urgency in getting the ball out is a lot more deliberate.

“We gleaned more of that in our bye week in terms of what we needed to work on and lean on for Jack to be more efficient.”

HEALTH REPORT

Kelly expects sophomore running back Chris Tyree and sophomore standout tight end Michael Mayer both to be available against the Trojans. Kelly also says “Buchner is looking good” and expects to play.

Tight end Cane Berrong is gone for the season with a torn MCL, according to Kelly, and it's a much more wait-and-see approach with defensive lineman Jacob Lacey.

“Jacob Lacey has an ankle sprain,” Kelly said. “We put him in a boot three days last week. He was out today, we do a short 20-, 30-yard movement. He looked pretty good there. But we've got to put him out on the field before I can get a better sense of where he's at.”

Tight end Kevin Bauman is set this week for a bone scan and is potentially only a couple weeks away from returning to the Irish.

In his continued absence and that now of Berrong, Notre Dame is utilizing Michael Carmody, who's previously started this season at left tackle after the knee injury to Blake Fisher, in some 13-personnel (three tight end) sets.

Joe Alt is continuing to work in as the Notre Dame starting left tackle; Andrew Kristofic now is in line to start at left guard.

DIGGING DIGGS

True freshman tailback Logan Diggs is coming off of his Irish debut, filling in admirably late in the game against the Hokies as Tyree was battling a foot injury.

Kelly says that the 6-foot, 206-pound Diggs is earning more trust from the coaches – and also showing some tantalizing intangible skills.

“We really liked what we saw,” Kelly said. “I thought that his poise, his ability to block and pick up some blitzes in a late-game situation, I think was probably, if there was one thing that gave us some confidence in him, that really stood out to us. His patience. All things that, I mean look, they're all coachable traits but some of them are not teachable. You either have it or you don't.

“I think those all kind of came to the forefront in a very action-packed environment. Pretty impressive.”

 
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