NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Fighting Irish are on the road again this weekend where they will face Maryland. This week Notre Dame is working through injuries, which has them taking the motto “the next man in”.
Starting Center Braxston Cave is out for the rest of the season after going down in the second quarter of the Wake Forest Game.
“They've got to go in there and repair a ligament and so he'll be lost for the year. It’s a tough loss for us and Braxston's been a consistent performer for us over the past couple of years, so we feel terrible for Braxston and again he's given us everything over the past two years, but he will be back, and that’s the good part about it,” said Kelly.
That means it’s next in line, Mike Golic, Jr., at center. Golic played the rest of the game against the Demon Deacons after Cave left the game.
“Mike’s done a nice job and we have a great deal of confidence in him and that’s a next man in situation for us with Mike going in there,” said Kelly.
Andrew Nuss moves over to second deep on the depth chart at the center position.
Wide Receiver Theo Riddick will also sit out of the Maryland game with a hamstring injury. Kelly said the injury isn’t as bad as they first thought, but Riddick won’t be ready this weekend.
“He's tender today and that generally tells us you know he's four or five days back to full speed,” said Kelly.
Robby Toma will get the starting nod for Riddick, but Kelly said the wide receivers will actually work on three-way rotation with TJ Jones and John Goodman getting in the game.
The offensive line isn’t alone in their injuries, the defensive line is working through their own bumps and bruises.
Two players are managing ankle injuries. Manti Te’o and Aaron Lynch both played through the injuries against Wake Forest and will do the same against Maryland.
“Our ankle guys are our ankle guys. They'll answer the bell on Saturday. We'll just have to be smart with them during the week. Ankle guys are Manti and Aaron Lynch, but they've responded well to treatment and they'll play on Saturday,” said Kelly.
Kelly said they’re confident Defensive End Ethan Johnson will be able to play this weekend, which should help the line.
“Getting Ethan back is going to be obviously a key for us in the depth on the defensive line,” said Kelly.
Saturday is considered a home game for the Irish, but with Maryland’s campus just about 13 miles from FedEx Field the Terrapins will most likely have the home field advantage.
"I know it's technically a home game, but we're in Washington, D.C., and that’s Maryland's backyard, so we are mentally preparing ourselves to go in to play on the road again and all that goes with that,” said Kelly.
Saturday’s game is set for 7:30 p.m. at FedEx Field.