RB Jafar Armstrong Set For Full Return Against Michigan
In his press conference previewing Notre Dame’s upcoming matchup against Michigan, Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly announced that junior running back Jafar Armstrong is back to full speed and will be an important part of the game plan against Michigan.
Armstrong entered the season as Notre Dame’s top back, and he carried the ball twice for 10 yards and hauled in a 16-yard reception on the season-opening drive against Louisville. That would be it for Armstrong, as a groin-area injury cost him the remainder of that game and all but four snaps of the USC game.
The bye week has given Armstrong a chance to get back to full strength and full speed, and it afforded the offensive staff the time to work him back into the lineup.
Armstrong’s return means Notre Dame’s offense will get to play at full strength for the first time all season. Standout tight end Cole Kmet and starting receiver Michael Young missed the Louisville game, and sophomore receiver Lawrence Keys III did not play against USC, a game in which Armstrong was limited to just four snaps.
With Armstrong back in the lineup expect to see Notre Dame get back to using its two-back alignment more frequently, which gives offensive coordinator Chip Long even more tools in his arsenal. With Armstrong’s background as a wideout and success catching the ball in 2018 (14 catches, 159 yards) he provides the offense with a great deal of versatility.
The season-opening series against Louisville showed how diverse of a weapon Armstrong can be.
On Notre Dame's first series against Louisville we saw both Armstrong and Tony Jones Jr. in the starting lineup. The clip above was the first play of the season, and Armstrong is lined up in the slot with Jones in the backfield.
Later in that series we saw Armstrong lined up outside.
On this particular snap, Armstrong was isolated backside as the W receiver, and Long used the three receivers to the left to run the defense offense, which opened up the crossing route for Armstrong, which resulted in a 16-yard gain.
On the very next play Armstrong was in the backfield.
The emergence of sophomore tight end Tommy Tremble and the presence of sophomore wideouts Braden Lenzy and Keys now combines with the return of Armstrong to give Notre Dame the flexibility to be explosive in a variety of personnel groupings.
Notre Dame will need them all to be effective to get a road win against the Wolverines.