Irish have big shoes to fill at LB

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The Irish took the field Thursday for practice #3 of spring ball, and a big question every year is how do you replace the guys who have left?

This spring in particular, the question is most pressing on the defensive side of the ball.

Notre Dame lost a lot of talent at every level of the defense, but especially at linebacker, where they have to replace Drue Tranquill and Te'von Coney.

Asked to do that will be a rotating cast of characters. Asmar Bilal returns for his fifth year, and Bo Bauer and Shayne Simon saw some limited action in their freshman seasons - but none of them have been relied on they way they will be this season.

Defensive coordinator Clark Lea spoke with the media Thursday for the first time since the Cotton Bowl, and he said to get comfortable with the uncertainty at the linebacker position, because the answer won't come for awhile.

"Be comfortable being uncomfortable," Lea said. "Just like any human, they want to know what to expect. They want to see a depth chart and I don't want to see one. I don't know why we need to determine this until we're teeing it up, and even then, it's like, what's your target for completion? This unit has to keep evolving, and we're going to line up and play our first game, and then by game five and game eight, we need to be better, and how that looks and how the parts shift, and if I can get a guy who ends up being a two to push himself up into the point where his number is called, then we'll be better for it when we need the next man in."

The Irish are next on the practice field Tuesday, March 19th.