Notre Dame starting right guard Tommy Kraemer will miss Friday's game against North Carolina after undergoing an emergency appendectomy last Friday night, coach Brian Kelly confirmed. Kraemer could return to football activity as early as next week.
Kraemer's absence means the Irish will be without two starting offensive linemen when they face the Tar Heels. Center Jarrett Patterson is out for the season with a foot injury that required surgery. In the place of those starters will be redshirt freshman Zeke Correll at center and redshirt junior Josh Lugg at right guard.
"We've got a great deal of confidence in Zeke," Kelly said. "Remember now, Zeke's a highly-recruited player [Correll was the 119th-ranked player nationally and No. 7 offensive guard in the 2019 class, per 247sports.com]. We've been waiting for him to get his opportunity and he has been waiting, more importantly.
"Josh Lugg has played quite a bit of meaningful football for us last year at the tackle position (after right tackle Robert Hainsey was lost for the year with a broken ankle). We'll move him to that slot at right guard. He was our sixth (offensive lineman) and he's ready to play and compete at a high level. We lose a couple of really good players and we plug them in with two equally fine players. We're excited about their opportunities."
The Irish offensive line earned a place on the Joe Moore Award Midseason Honor Roll on Monday – the second straight season it has been on the midseason list after winning the award in 2017 – but its depth will be tested against North Carolina.