It has begun abundantly clear that Brian VanGorder's defense will look very different than the one Bob Diaco played. But for all the schematic tweaks and pressure packages, there remains one universal truth: The Irish need a building block in the middle of their defense.
As spring reveals new contenders for starting jobs and emerging players make their cases for a rebuilt coaching staff, the inside linebacker position still seems to be the one most in flux. After having Manti Te'o, Dan Fox and Carlo Calabrese essentially lock down the position for the Brian Kelly era, the Irish head coach is taking a wait and see approach as the contenders for playing time sort themselves out.
"I really think it is really too early to tell where we are at that position," Kelly said last week. "I think to use the spring to determine who the middle linebacker is with a lot of new things going in is not something that we’re concerned with at this point.
"It’ll take time to round itself out. That includes dipping into freshmen that will come in in the fall as well. I think this is a question that is not going to be answered until we move ourselves into the preseason."
Let's try to make some sense out of a position that remains one of the biggest question marks on the Irish roster.
*Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand. Follow @KeithArnold on Twitter.