On Thursday, Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman gave some updates in regard to the roster as the Irish prepare to take on the South Carolina Gamecocks in the Gator Bowl on Friday.
Defensive Tackle Jayson Ademilola is out, and based off of prior word usage from Freeman — I doubt safety Brandon Joseph plays either.
“Jayson Ademilola won’t play. He was the one that I don’t think was out there. He won’t be able to go due to injury. Brandon Joseph practiced all week. He will be a game time decision. We’ll see how he feels. Jayson for sure is out though.”
Ademilola being out puts a little more pressure on the defensive line that liked to rotate heavily during the season. There’s a good chance we see much more of Rylie Mills at the 3 technique during the course of this game.
The absence of Brandon Joseph likely means Matt Salerno is the primary punt returner, and the trio of D.J. Brown, Ramon Henderson, and Xavier Watts will have more work on the table — maybe even Houston Griffith.
The secondary was already hit with the loss of Cam Hart at cornerback, but Freeman brought up freshman Chance Tucker as a player of note that could see some time on Friday.
“He’s gotten more reps. With Cam Hart being down, it’s giving some other guys the opportunity to get more reps. Chance Tucker was a guy that was getting reps with the ones and with the twos, but also getting reps in that developmental time before we got down here. That’s why bowl practice is so important. You get a chance to prepare for a great opponent, but also early in the bowl practice you get to really get a chance to develop some of those guys that haven’t got the opportunities throughout the season. He’s done a great job.”
Freeman also had some good things to say about starting quarterback, Tyler Buchner.
“He’s ready to roll. You talk about a guy that hasn’t played football for probably week two to week 12. He obviously had some time where he wasn’t on the practice field, but I think after 14 practices he’s ready to roll. He’s been magnificent in practices. He’s done a great job of leading the offensive, which to me, it’s not just throwing the ball. When you’re the quarterback at Notre Dame, it’s gaining the confidence of those guys around you. You’re the leader of that group. I think he’s done a good job of continuing to earn the trust of these guys that are surrounding him in that offense.”