Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 24, 2020

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

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Page 10 of 55 OCT. 24, 2020 11 UNDER THE DOME • Junior rover Paul Moala will miss the rest of the 2020 season after suf- fering an Achilles tendon tear against Florida State Oct. 10. The local product from nearby Penn High was the backup to se- nior All-America candidate Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and started on the punt coverage, kickoff coverage and punt return units on special teams. Before getting hurt, he had recorded seven tackles this season, which was tied for seventh on the team. Last year Moala played in 12 games, finishing with 14 tackles (one for loss) and also forcing a fumble against Navy that he caught in the air and returned for a touchdown. With Moala out, Ohio State gradu- ate transfer Isaiah Pryor is settling in as Owusu-Koramoah's top backup at the hybrid position. Pryor was not listed with any defensive snaps ver- sus the Seminoles, but did play on all four special teams units. A pair of current sophomore Buck linebackers, Marist Liufua and Jack Kiser, also had received some past training at rover, as did junior Shayne Simon. The 6-1½, 204-pound Pryor had been working behind sophomore Kyle Hamilton and junior DJ Brown at safety. • On the Thursday (Oct. 15) be- fore the Louisville game, head coach Brian Kelly revealed that for the first time since Sept. 8, no member of the football team was in isolation or un- der quarantine because of having tested positive for the coronavirus, or via contact tracing. Kiser and senior defensive tackle Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa — both unavailable for the game versus Flor- ida State Oct. 10 — were projected to be ready for Louisville "if everything goes well." • During the preseason, Kelly noted that sopho- more linebackers Kiser and JD Bertrand had become problematic on the scout team in practices — mainly because of how difficult they were to block for the starting offense. Kiser provided his own evidence of why when he started against South Flor- ida Sept. 19 (when Liufau and Simon were unavailable) and received the game ball for his team-high eight tackles and all-around play in the 52-0 whitewash. Against Florida State, Bertrand was the standout on special teams, including recognition from Blue & Gold Illustrated as that unit's player of the game. He recorded three tackles, two of them inside the 20-yard line on kickoff coverage. "He's as good of a scout team player that I've had," Kelly said, not- ing that has included current start- ing linebackers such as senior Drew White, junior Shayne Si- mon and junior Bo Bauer (pages 16-17), who was last year 's Special Teams Player of the Year for the Irish with 13 stops. • Junior wide receiver Kevin Austin Jr. was listed as the No. 1 punt returner with junior walk-on Matt Salerno for the Louisville game. Junior slot Lawrence Keys III had started the year there, but was under concussion protocol during the preparation for Louisville. Keys fumbled a punt that set up a Florida State touchdown. • Kelly said fifth-year senior wide receiver Bennett Skowronek did not play against Florida State because of a setback with the hamstring injury he suffered during Notre Dame's sea- son opener versus Duke Sept. 12. He was on track to return with no limita- tions before problems arose. "It has been nagging, quite frankly," said Kelly, who was hoping to have him back at least in a bit role for the Louisville game Oct. 17. "He hasn't been able to cut it loose. … It has held him back from us being able to get him in a rotation and factor him in." The graduate transfer from North- western played just the first half of the opener against Duke and did not have a catch. Despite the extra time off with no games on Sept. 26 and Oct. 3, the problem with the ham- string resurfaced. — Patrick Engel and Lou Somogyi Notre Dame Personnel News & Notes Junior rover Paul Moala (No. 13) will miss the rest of the 2020 season after suffering an Achilles tendon tear against Florida State Oct. 10. PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME ATHLETICS JD BERTRAND

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