Endless Amounts of Injuries Doom Notre Dame’s 2014 Defense


Prior to the beginning of fall camp, Notre Dame maintained a relatively healthy roster aside from players who had long term injuries like Linebacker Jarrett Grace. The post-spring Defensive depth chart follows:

  • DE: Romeo Okwara, Anthony Rabasa
  • DT: Sheldon Day, Chase Hounshell
  • NG: Jarron Jones, Tony Springmann
  • DE: Ishaq Williams, Issac Rochell
  • SLB: John Turner, James Onuwalu
  • MLB: Joe Schmidt, Kendall Moore
  • WLB: Jaylon Smith, Doug Randolph
  • FS: Max Redfield, Elijah Shumate
  • SS: Austin Collinsworth, Eilar Hardy 
  • CB: KeiVarae Russell, Matthias Farley
  • CB: Cole Luke, Devin Butler

Along the Defensive Line, Notre Dame suffered injuries with four out of eight players listed in the two-deep. This does not include injuries suffered by Freshman Daniel Cage and Andrew Trumbetti, players who vaulted their upperclassmen counterparts.

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At the Linebacker positions, two players ended up missing significant time during the year. Notre Dame suffered perhaps the most significant injury of the season when Middle Linebacker Joe Schmidt went down against the Naval Academy. This total does not include Freshman Greer Martini who went down against USC with a quad injury.

In the secondary, Redfield and Collinsworth suffered injuries. The University suspended Russell prior to the season. Cody Riggs, not in the spring depth chart, was hampered by an injured ankle for the second half of the season.

9 players listed in the post-spring depth chart ended up suspended or injured. Including players who were not in the depth chart but eventually were, 13 players missed significant time for the Fighting Irish.

The majority of the injuries occurred following the Florida State game. Before Florida State, the Irish allowed an average 14.71 points per game. Post Florida State, Notre Dame allowed a gargantuan 43.4 points per contest.

Although Defensive Coordinator Brian VanGorder bears much of the burden for Notre Dame’s poor performance following the second bye of the season, many coordinators would have failed with the amount of injuries the Irish suffered in the second half of the season.

With a healthier and more deep defense in 2015, VanGorder should find more success.

Indicates injured or suspended player.