Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 9, 2019

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 10 of 55 NOV. 9, 2019 11 UNDER THE DOME S e n i o r r i g h t g u a rd Tommy Kraemer, a sec- o n d - t e a m A s s o c i a t e d Press Mid-Season All- America pick, suffered an MCL sprain at Michigan that won't require sur- gery but will shelve him possibly for the balance of the regular season. The estimated time for a re- turn from such injuries is four to six weeks. Replacing Kraemer is a familiar figure in 6-3½, 292-pound fifth-year se- nior Trevor Ruhland, al- though 6-7, 307-pound junior Josh Lugg also will see action, per head coach Brian Kelly. Projected as the heir to three- year starting center Sam Mustipher (2016-18), Ruhland started five games at left or right guard during the 2018 run to the College Football Playoff. However, numerous surger- ies, to both his knee and shoulder, have slowed him to the point where he's not necessarily viewed as a full- time figure. He was sidelined during the spring, which is why the long- term solution at center was shifting sophomore left tackle Jarrett Patter- son to snapping the ball. Still, there is a reliability factor with Ruhland with regard to mobil- ity and assignment correctness. "Trevor's come in before and we've played next to each other in numer- ous games," junior right tackle and team captain R ob ert Hainsey said. "We're very cohesive together, I don't think we're going to miss a beat. He's been here lon- ger than anyone in that room and he knows the offense forward, back- ward, up and down." While it cannot be said that anyone excelled dur- ing the 45-14 defeat at Michigan, Kelly was en- couraged by Ruhland's showing. "We liked his activity, working up to the sec- ond level on linebackers — which we did not do a great job of," Kelly said. "We're pleased with his work in a situation where he had to come in right off the bench." Listed as the No. 2 left tackle, Lugg also has taken reps at guard and cen- ter and is considered the Swiss Army Knife figure along the line, or the "sixth man" who could fill in at any position. — Lou Somogyi JAHMIR SMITH ROUNDING INTO ALL-AROUND BACK On Oct. 26 at Michigan, Notre Dame sophomore running back Jahmir Smith for the first time led the Fighting Irish rushing attack. Unfortunately, it was a modest 15 yards on five carries in the 45-14 demolition at Michigan. With leading rusher Tony Jones Jr. sidelined against the Wolverines with an "upper-body injury" (believed to be ribs) and junior Jafar Armstrong still far from optimum level after suffering an abdominal tear in the season opener at Louisville, Smith is getting counted on more while earning the trust of the coaching staff. During a crucial 75-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter of the 30-27 victory versus USC Oct. 12, Smith had three straight carries for 23 yards. Versus Michigan, he earned positive reviews in another facet of his game. "He's progressed in pass protection," head coach Brian Kelly said. "Some reliability and trust, first of all is an important piece of this whole picture at the running back. "The second thing he's got good vision. He can see a jump cut. He knows when to spill it outside. He's got a burst, a quick first-step burst. Runs hard." As a pass receiver, Smith has been described as "hit and miss," but did snare a six-yard gain while getting hit. "He's starting to exhibit some of the traits necessary to gain more trust," Kelly said. — Lou Somogyi NOTRE DAME-MICHIGAN SET FOR 2033-34 On the morning of the game at Michigan Oct. 26, it was announced that the two schools would have another home- and-home series again … in 2033-34. The Wolverines and Irish will renew their rivalry with games on Sept. 3, 2033, in Ann Arbor and Sept. 2, 2034, at Notre Dame. This will be the third-longest hiatus in football between the two schools. The longest was 35 years after a home-and- home series in 1942-43 the two schools split before meeting again in 1978. Since then, the two have met 32 times (not including tonight), with Notre Dame holding a 16-15-1 edge. The two also had a 33-year lull from 1909 until 1942. Notre Dame director of athletics Jack Swarbrick released the following statement: "I want to thank [Michigan director of athletics] Warde [Manuel] and Coach [Jim] Harbaugh for helping us to secure the future of the series and for continu- ing to work with us as we look for additional dates when Notre Dame and Michigan might play. "College football is at its best when its top programs square off. This is an example of that as are Notre Dame's recently completed series with Georgia, future series against Alabama, Arkansas, Michigan State, Ohio State, Texas A&M and Wisconsin, and our annual rivalry games with USC and Stanford. "Having played in 13 of America's 20 largest markets during Coach [Brian] Kelly's tenure, Notre Dame remains committed to the uniquely national schedule that has long defined us." — Lou Somogyi While Kraemer's knee injury won't require surgery, the estimated recovery time could keep him sidelined for the balance of the season. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL Smith (above) came off the bench in relief of injured senior Tony Jones Jr. at Michigan. Smith finished with five carries for 15 yards and his improvement in pass protection is gaining the trust of the Irish coaches. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL Tommy Kraemer Sidelined Four To Six Weeks With MCL Sprain

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