Cave out for season; Riddick out this week
Starting center Braxston Cave will miss the remainder of the season after undergoing surgery to repair a ligament in his foot, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said Tuesday.
"It's a tough loss for us, and Braxston has been a consistent performer for us over the past couple years," Kelly said. "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."
Senior Mike Golic Jr., who replaced Cave for three quarters in Saturday night's win over Wake Forest, will be the new starting center. Senior left guard Andrew Nuss will move from guard to center to provide depth.
"When you look at the center position, there's always a great concern because that guy is put in a very difficult situation --- shotgun snaps, changing up the cadence, calling out some of the defensive fronts and structures, but Mike has done a nice job and we have a great deal of confidence [in him]."
While Cave identified the fronts, right guard Trevor Robinson made all the line calls and will continue to do so.
In other injury news, receiver Theo Riddick will not play against Maryland on Saturday after injuring his hamstring. Robby Toma will start in his place. TJ Jones and John Goodman can also expect more playing time, Kelly said.
"It's not as bad as we first thought," Kelly said of Riddick's injury. "We thought we had maybe a couple-of-week kind of injury. It calmed down pretty good, but he's tender today, and that generally tells us he's four, five days before he's back to full speed. We don't see him playing this weekend."
Linebacker Manti Te'o re-aggravated an ankle injury that has bothered him for much of the season and will be limited in practice this week. Freshman defensive end Aaron Lynch also suffered an ankle injury but is also expected to play.
"He's got to practice," Kelly said of Te'o. "You know, he's such an integral part of our defense that he has to practice. We'll just be smart in the things that -- he'll spend most of his time on teamwork. He won't do a lot of individual work. We won't have him in run support. He won't be doing things like that, but he'll be involved in most of our team stuff."
Defensive end Ethan Johnson, who has not played since spraining his ankle against Purdue on Oct. 1, is also expected to play, according to Kelly.
"Getting Ethan back is going to be a key for us in the depth of the defensive line," Kelly said.
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