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Injury Updates: Councell lost, Schwenke sidelined, Nix returns

Nov 4, 2013, 3:02 AM EDT

Jeff Whittingham, Kyle Friend, Louis Nix III AP

After needing the night for medical reports to come in, Brian Kelly updated the status of a few key injuries on Sunday, detailing just how beat up his football team is with three regular season games to go and the Irish set to head to Pittsburgh on Saturday for (another) primetime kickoff.

The toll of playing Air Force and Navy on back-to-back weekends has shown itself, with Ben Councell suffering a season-ending knee injury. The Midshipmen also caught defensive lineman Kona Schwenke with a cut block that’ll keep him out at least for the week, with a high-ankle sprain dropping another key defensive lineman for the Pitt game. Sheldon Day also re-aggravated an ankle injury on a cut block behind the play, making him questionable for Pitt as well.

Ishaq Williams is still sitting out after a cut block sprained his ACL against Air Force. Kelly talked about the challenge of playing Air Force and Navy in consecutive weeks, acknowledging that low blocks were responsible for multiple injuries, but also understanding that they’re part of the game and scheme that the teams play.

“It’s unfortunate.  It’s the style of offense that the academies play,” Kelly said. “It is what it is.”

If there was a bit of good news on Sunday its that an MRI taken on Louis Nix this afternoon didn’t show any further issues and that the All-American defensive tackle will be on the field against Pitt. The Irish are in desperate need of Nix back on the interior of the offensive line, with sophomore Jarron Jones sliding inside to help along with fifth-year senior Tyler Stockton.

Fifth-year offensive lineman Chris Watt is learning to play with a PCL tear in his knee, an injury that doesn’t require surgery but does effect the way the standout lineman moves and does his job. Elijah Shumate should be activated at safety after sitting out multiple games with a hamstring strain. He will likely come in handy after Austin Collinsworth battled a neck strain throughout the Navy game.

But the focus for the Irish defense is finding core competency along the defensive line. Having Stephon Tuitt and Nix back as anchors is nice, but Kelly’s maxim of “Next Man In” is hard to fill when there just might not be anyone left.

“We are running out of next men,” Kelly said. “We’re at that point where from a defensive standpoint, and particularly the defensive line, we’re left with very few options It becomes an issue now where we have to be very creative in what we’re doing and how we’re doing it.

“We’ll figure something out. We’ll get 11 guys out there. It’s just not going to be one of those things where we’re going to have the same group of guys out there all the time.  As you know, we’re going to have to find a way to stop a big, physical offensive line at Pittsburgh, and that is the thing that concerns you the most.


100 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. bostonjan - Nov 4, 2013 at 10:48 PM

    I’d also add “Coach Ken” to the list of targets for a “cut block”. Oh gee wiz, couldn’t stop my momentum as I fell out of bounds. Take the scumbag out at the knees and hospitalize the SOB.

    • tucsonfan - Nov 5, 2013 at 5:04 AM

      he’s not worth you getting upset over, Keith. Some of the people on these boards must live miserable lives to be such jerks. Or worse.

      You’re doing a great job–I live in New Zealand, not an easy place to get good stuff on ND, so I love this site. Keep up the great work.

      • tucsonfan - Nov 5, 2013 at 5:05 AM

        Ooops, this posted out of sequence–my reply is to Keith’s note above to Notre Dan.

    • tucsonfan - Nov 5, 2013 at 5:08 AM

      That’s really classy, Boston. Totally something to be proud of as a Notre Dame guy, right?

  2. sfnd - Nov 5, 2013 at 12:05 AM

    Bowl Outlook.

    First choice would be a BCS bowl but I think that is a long shot. I hope I am wrong.

    For several weeks was predicting ND would play Rutgers in the Pinstripe Bowl. This week, it shows ND playing Rice in the Heart of Dallas Bowl on Jan 1. ESPN has two prognosticators — one says Pinstripe Bowl vs Rutgers and the other says Heart of Dallas vs North Texas.

    I do not know if ND has any Bowl contract / arrangement other than its deal with the BCS. For no good reason, I prefer the Heart of Texas Bowl over the Pinstripe Bowl. I would probably prefer the Poinsettia Bowl (Dec 26 in San Diego — Army is not eligible so the bowl will be looking for a replacement) playing against Boise State. While Boise St is not as strong as they have been in recent years, I think that could be a good holiday destination and a more interesting game.

    Any preferences if ND does not make the BCS?
    Any insights on other possibilities?

    • dutch31 - Nov 5, 2013 at 10:19 AM

      The way I see it is that ND, should they win out would almost certainly get to #14 in the BCS rankings. So until they lose their 3rd game that a BCS at large is 1st option.

      If they should lose San Diego is the clear choice.

      Go Irish!!!

    • getsome99 - Nov 5, 2013 at 10:54 AM

      I haven’t taken the time yet to look at all the auto bid bowl scenarios, but assuming ND doesn’t win out, any bowl game in Texas would be an acceptable consolation in terms of recruiting.

    • sfnd - Nov 5, 2013 at 12:12 PM

      I know it is bad form to reply to my own comment but I found this article from ESPN that adds more info.

      In summary, ESPN says HD should make a BCS bowl (likely Orange) if ND wins out.

      • sfnd - Nov 5, 2013 at 12:18 PM

        In summary, ESPN says ND should make a BCS bowl (likely Orange) if ND wins out.

  3. rocket1988 - Nov 5, 2013 at 2:41 AM

    Go ask Coach Ken who is a bigger game to him, Army or ND? I’m sure he’d say Army, but they haven’t beaten Navy in how long? He has venom for ND.
    Recruiting has nothing to do with the cut blocks. But Air Force doesn’t have anyone close to 300lbs on either lines. Navy had a 300+lb DT!?! How’s he going to fit in a submarine? I think we could take a break from the series to let Coach Ken know he has to cheap shot other teams. South Car. played Navy once a few years ago and I can say it was a one off because those big SEC lineman were getting cut blocked all over. I’m rambling, I’ll go now.

  4. yaketyyacc - Nov 5, 2013 at 6:32 AM

    to 1 historian. no it is no whopper. and yes, Father Ted said it. it was in the old field house, where seating for guests might be 200, and we the students stood on the dirt floor of the field house below.
    I know who the admirals were at Midway.
    had the honor of hearing the four horsemen speak, or three anyway, and Frank Leahy also. and Joe Boland who used to announce our games, and who would ask for the glockenspiel players to play something, as he liked that instrument. The point is, I was there.
    I was not at Gettysburg, but would not say that the speech Lincoln gave, did not happen or ranked as a whopper, and I know who the generals were on both sides.

  5. callenta - Nov 5, 2013 at 9:36 AM

    I agree with rationalnd. Notre Dan has no pe nis.

    • NotreDan - Nov 5, 2013 at 11:34 AM

      truncated vulgarity; the domain of odoriferous Concha everywhere.

      With a name like callenta, I’m sure you know what that means.

      • callenta - Nov 6, 2013 at 10:39 AM

        Nope. Not a chick, Dick. Really, Dan? “Odoriferous Concha?” You couldn’t just say smelly clam? Is that beneath you? Put the thesaurus away you aren’t impressing anyone. You sound like a jilted woman when you attack these articles. Did Keith beat you out for a job? Did he use “plethora” too often? Do you really not have a penis? So many questions…..

        And Keith – thanks for what you do. This has been the best source of free ND material since BlueGraySky went dark.

  6. sfnd - Nov 5, 2013 at 9:40 AM

    Why do some commenters make personal attacks in response to what others post?

    Some of the regular attacks…

    “You are an idiot”
    “Where did you play”
    “if you knew what you are talking about, you would be a college FB coach”

    If you do not like a comment, respond to the substance or simply skip it and move on to the next comment.
    Too often, the back and forth devolves into name calling.

    The majority of readers and posters want to see Notre Dame be successful. Some like Kelly, some do not. Some think Tommy Rees is the source of original sin, some see him as a flawed quarterback who has good plays and bad plays, good days and bad days. There are some anti-ND trolls who are just trying to provoke a response. I say ignore them, they will go away.

    I am not trying to quash debate and argument, I want to encourage it. I hope the personal attacks will end. This is suppose to be fun.

    Go Irish.

    • nudeman - Nov 5, 2013 at 9:49 AM

      I couldn’t agree more. That “you’re an idiot” and “I can see you’ve never played” crap is awful

      On the 4HL, there are about 8-10 guys who hang around there 24/7 waiting to insult other posters or call them names. That’s ALL they do EVERY day and it is the ultimate cesspool. Keith doesn’t have the resources to dig and report like they do, but this site WAY better because there’s so little of that crap.

      Another subject:
      Great article on Gholsen:

      • getsome99 - Nov 5, 2013 at 12:53 PM

        He was talking about you.

    • viktory2013 - Nov 5, 2013 at 4:24 PM

      Seriously. Been a hardcore ND fan since childhood (cried when they lost! ), but guys, it’s a game! We’re on the same side. I DO blame Tommy Rees for a rainy day,(justifiably, I might add!), but it’s all in fun; it’s sports, and we get worked up, but at the end of the day we laugh or bitch or shake our heads and it’s no big deal. We’re just a bunch of guys shooting the bull over our beloved team.

  7. ndgoldandblue - Nov 5, 2013 at 1:30 PM

    I just keep thinking about Lynch, Anzalone, and Vanderdoes. Those were three defensive losses that the coaching staff didn’t recoup. If Lynch had stuck around (and stayed in good shape) and Anzalone and Vanderdoes had gone through on their commitments, the Irish would be in considerably better shape right now.

    • nudeman - Nov 5, 2013 at 2:10 PM

      Lynch was NEVER going to make it through 3 years at ND, and has basically sh** the bed since. Down to about 240lbs, has one sack, still getting eprsonal fouls and has been disciplined more than once this year by the coach. Rue him being gone all you want, but to me he’s a train wreck.

      As far as Anzalone and Vanderdoes go, they’re no diff than a bunch of other guys who flirted with going to ND. Darby, Greenberry, Maty Mauk, Jordan Westerkamp, Nelson Agholor and about 20 others who never made it to SB. Can’t miss what you never had.

    • getsome99 - Nov 5, 2013 at 6:45 PM

      In theory, you may be 100% correct. In reality, this happens everywhere. Some of the high profile recruits don’t always pan out either. Ishaq Williams was not much further behind Lynch coming out of high school. If Lynch would have stayed and produced like Ishaq has, we would probably be very disappointed. The key to roster attrition is to keep filling the funnel with more players, which goes to your point from earlier that I do agree with.

      I think Anzalone has bust written all over him as well.

      • nudeman - Nov 6, 2013 at 9:46 AM

        That comment about Anzalone makes no sense. He was HEAVILY recruited by all the top teams and just because he’s been hurt this year, his stock hasn’t diminished a bit.

        I’d take him, right now, in a heartbeat. Still a stud.

  8. getsome99 - Nov 6, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    Possibly. Pure speculation on my part as I have seen nothing yet from Anzalone that makes me think he’s as good as once advertised. The point here is that we should have more capable players in the recruiting funnel to withstand the 2 or 3 defections that happen every year to every program.

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