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Notre Dame Football

Alex Bars Expected To Be Lost For The Year

September 30, 2018

Notre Dame captain Alex Bars left Saturday's game with an injury after having his leg rolled up on during the win against Stanford.

On Sunday, head coach Brian Kelly delivered bad news as Bars has an ACL/MCL injury and doctors fear the worst.

"It looks like that's an ACL/MCL, we'll get confirmation on his MRI here a little bit later but our doctors feel the worst is possible here with the knee," said Kelly. 

"Which is devastating for us, because we're losing a captain, and we're losing somebody that is respected and revered by so many in the program. It's not just editorial on my part. This is more I just feel so bad for the kid because he comes back as a graduate student and then you lose him. We've got other players that will go in and play and play at a high level. But to lose him in his senior year is really hard on us."

It’s clearly a big loss for the Irish. Bars’ mobility as a puller is a huge part of the Notre Dame running attack and his presence beside new starter Liam Eichenberg at left tackle was a big reason why Bars flipped sides of the line this season.

This leaves fourth-year guard Trevor Ruhland and sophomore Aaron Banks to start in his place. Ruhland did a fine job in the Wake Forest game filling in for Tommy Kraemer at right guard and stepping in for Bars versus Stanford. Ruhland will get thrown into the fire this week against a good front for Virginia Tech that will show immediately how big of a drop off this could be.

"We don't have to alter our game plan or calls when Trevor's in," stated Kelly. "He's very reliable. He doesn't have the size, necessarily, as Alex does, but he brings some other strengths to the position. As you know, he played a full game last week against Wake Forest. He's a really solid player, very instinctive, very smart. I think you're going to see him quite a bit in there.

"But you're going to see Banks in there as well. We're going to give him an opportunity. He's been playing really well. I would not discount having him as part of that rotation as well."

The offensive line has the depth to deal with this, but replacing someone who has played as much as Bars has is easier said than done.

Bars started 30 games at Notre Dame during his career and was named a captain during the spring. The Nashville native helped Notre Dame set the following school records: single-game rush yards per carry vs. Boston College on Sept. 16, 2017 (10.1 yards per rush), single-season rush yards (3,503) and single-season rush yards per carry (6.3 yards per rush). 

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