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Notre Dame Football: The Martini Injury Comes at the Wrong Time

The junior linebacker could be the key to a victory over Navy, but an injury could prevent that from happening.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Stanford Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Fortunately for the most part injuries haven’t played that big of a factor for the Irish in 2016, but they might have suffered one of the biggest ones of the year on Saturday’s over Miami. Greer Martini only recorded one tackle before leaving with concussion-like symptoms. Now he’s questionable for this week’s matchup with Navy and it could be a huge blow to the Irish defense. Why, you might ask? Well Martini has been Notre Dame’s secret weapon against the option attack over the last two seasons.

NCAA Football: Georgia Tech at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Martini has been well criticized since the start of the year. Irish fans have wondered, “is this the best they can put out there?”, but the Irish need Martini this weekend. He’s had some of his best games against option offenses.

His career high in tackles came against Navy in 2014 with nine. Last season he racked up 17 tackles against Georgia Tech and Navy. What about the other 11 games? Only 18 combined tackles. He’s been absolutely great against the option.

As Pete Sampson of Irish Illustrated pointed out on Sunday, over the last couple of seasons almost all instances of concussions at Notre Dame have required at least one week off. So it looks like it would be a pretty good bet that Martini will not be availble on Saturday. Losing him would be a pretty big blow against Navy. Hopefully they could get him back for Army, who also runs the triple offense.

Expect the junior safety, Drue Tranquill, to play a big role over the next two weeks. He is much better when playing in the box, and with Army and Navy running the option Tranquill will get to play in his comfort zone. Last season against Georgia Tech, Tranquill was having one of his better games before suffering a knee injury.

The Irish are set to take on the Midshipmen in Jacksonville on Saturday in an early start. Kickoff is at 11:30 A.M. ET. Make sure to keep up with us here at One Foot Down throughout the week for the latest news and stories.