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Notre Dame Football

Instant Reaction: Holmes and Stepherson Suspensions

December 20, 2017

This certainly wasn’t the news anyone wanted to here going into the Citrus Bowl, but it's also not that unusual when you think back to Max Redfield and Jerry Tillery being suspended for the Fiesta Bowl two years ago.

I have no idea what this will mean for the long term future of both CJ Holmes and Kevin Stepherson. For now, I'll focus on the short term.

Stepherson is different than the other receivers on the roster. No one else has his ability after the catch or as a runner. No one else is the deep threat he can be. They won’t miss Stepherson as a blocker. His effort on a lot of plays in the run game left a lot to be desired. 

This should present an opportunity for Michael Young to be involved more and perhaps he can replace some of what Stepherson brought to the table. I would expect a healthy Cameron Smith to start instead of Stepherson on three wide receiver sets, but this opens the door for Young or potentially even CJ Sanders. With Chase Claypool out as well with an injury, the receiver group is now a bit thin heading into New Year’s Day.

The immediate loss will not be felt with CJ Holmes. He may have been able to see the field in a limited capacity in this game, but they would have to lose several running backs for him to have played a significant role. He might have seen an opportunity in certian offensive packages and that would have been the extent of it.

I believe Holmes really can thrivedas a receiver out of the backfield and I don’t see that with any of the other returning backs. So if this something that is going to be for a longer period of time, then they don't have anyone quite like him on the roster. Incoming freshman Jahmir Smith is more of a downhill runner and not polished as a receiver, but if Holmes is out for the spring, Smith will have a chance to leap over him on the depth chart.

This certainly doesn't help Notre Dame's offense heading into the Citrus Bowl. We'll see if the suspension and the impact of those last longer than that, though.

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