If you're not an entrenched starter, or even a projected one, missing training camp is a big deal. The team has to move on and develop a pecking order at each position that could be difficult to puncture once the regular season gets going.
Notre Dame has two players in such a predicament, as coach Brian Kelly said after Thursday's morning practice that cornerback Nick Watkins and defensive tackle Micah Dew-Treadway each have long-term injuries.
Watkins, who had been competing to be the No. 2 or 3 corner, underwent an arm procedure designed to stimulate bone growth. He will be held out for at least a month, Kelly said, a timeline that would keep Watkins out of the season opener Sept. 4 at Texas.
That is certainly true of Dew-Treadway, who has a broken bone in his foot and is out eight weeks. He redshirted in 2015 after arriving on campus that January from Bolingbrook High School in Illinois.
He was a likely third-stringer, but, with this setback, defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder won't be able to assess Dew-Treadway for quite a while. Health can be a decisive factor with unproven players, particularly the lower you go on a depth chart.