The Notre Dame defense is counting on a workmanlike attitude to fill the void left by the departure of linebacker Manti Te'o.

Linebacker Dan Fox says the 14th-ranked Irish believe they can be better this year because the Irish have more depth and experience. Fox is one of seven returning starters from a squad that ranked seventh in the nation in total defense.

The last time the Irish put together back-to-back top 10 finishes in total defense was in 1973 and 1974, Ara Parseghian's final two years as coach.

Coach Brian Kelly says the Irish defense may not need to be as dominant because he's expecting better play from the offense.

Kelly also announced defensive lineman Tony Springmann will miss the season with a dislocated left knee and ligament damage.