Jared Pinkney vs. Notre Dame Linebackers and Safeties
The stage is set for Pinkney to be a featured target in the Vanderbilt passing attack this season. The 6-4, 255-pound tight end was the Commodores’ fourth leading receiver last season with 22 catches 279 yards and three touchdowns. In 2018, Pinkney has already accounted for nearly half of his previous season’s total of receiving yards.
It was clear in Vanderbilt’s first two games that Kyle Shurmur is going to look for Kalija Lipscomb and Jared Pinkney when he drops back to pass. The pair has accounted for 63 percent of Shurmur’s completions so far.
Through two games, the Notre Dame defense has held all opposing tight ends to just seven catches and 38 total yards. Their one blemish in this area was a touchdown reception in the fourth quarter of the Ball State game.
Linebackers Asmar Bilal, Te’von Coney and Drue Tranquill all have to cover tight ends throughout the course of the game. I worry less about these matchups because those guys are capable physically with opposing tight ends. The size mismatches arise when one of Notre Dame’s safeties has to cover a tight end. So far, starting safeties Alohi Gilman and Jalen Elliott have played well in pass coverage, and I’m confident they can continue to do so.