Notre Dame suffered another key injury last week when Brian Kelly told the media on Thursday that key reserve defensive lineman Tony Springmann would be lost for the season due to a knee injury that will require season ending surgery.
After “redshirting” as a freshman in 2011, Springmann played in all 13 games a true sophomore in 2012 as one of the key reserves for the Notre Dame defense. Springmann ended up collecting 11 tackles, 2 for loss, and a sack a season ago and was going to be tasked with providing breathers for all three of Notre Dame’s starting defensive linemen.
Springmann’s versatility will be a big loss for the Notre Dame defense this fall and will force freshman Isaac Rochell into earlier playing time than previously expected. Rochell’s been impressive in camp so far for a freshman defensive linemen, but it’s never good to have to count on a freshman on either the offensive or defensive lines.
With Srpingmann lost for the season, Notre Dame will look to 5th year senior Tyler Stockton and senior Kona Schwenke to backup Louis Nix while Rochell will need to fill in on the ends along with Jaron Jones and Justin Utupo.
Brian Kelly had already said that Ishaq Williams would be playing primarily as a defensive end with his hand on the ground rushing the passer before the loss of Springmann. Now it won’t be a surprise if Williams is asked to play an even larger role than previously expected.
Springmann’s loss is the second key defensive player lost for the season for Notre Dame already this year and the season hasn’t even kicked off yet. Senior linebacker Danny Spond was also lost for the season when complications from migraines forced the talented DOG linebacker to prematurely end his football playing career last week.
Freshman inside linebacker Doug Randolph was also lost for the season although he was not expected to play a major role outside of special teams.