But that’s the strange vantage point stomached by the fifth-year defensive end this spring as he works his way back from a torn right MCL suffered against USC. The problem for Lewis-Moore is that getting back into football shape means reestablishing himself ahead of potentially elite sophomores Aaron Lynch and Stephon Tuitt.
Halfway through spring practice, Lewis-Moore knows he still has work to do, well aware 29 career starts doesn’t mean he’ll automatically add to that figure this fall. Even if Notre Dame doesn’t have an official depth chart, Lewis-Moore recognizes he’s a slightly strange second-team for now.
“A little bit but at the same time I’ve just got to keep doing what I’ve got to do,” Lewis-Moore said. “I’ve got to keep working hard. Guys ahead of me are going to work hard too.”
Lewis-Moore is working his way back from a torn right MCL.
At 6-foot-4, 306 pounds, Lewis-Moore seems to have put in that winter work, coming back from last fall’s season-ending knee injury. It was the first serious injury of his career and that took getting used to, complete with a mourning period after getting rolled up from behind against the Trojans.
Lewis-Moore sought counsel from Dayne Crist, Ethan Johnson and Notre Dame’s new trainer Rob Hunt about returning from that MCL tear and surgery, then got to work late last season. It took some mental strength just to get started with rehab.
“There were times when I didn’t want to be around here,” Lewis-Moore said. “I love my teammates, but at the same time it’s kind of frustrating. Trying to keep a good spirit about it, I’d say that’s the hardest part.
“After my first two weeks of being a baby about it, I started getting my mind right.”
Lewis-Moore’s spring schedule is limited by his course load as he takes a strategic marketing course on Monday and Wednesday mornings. That means the only full spring practices that he takes are the Friday and Saturday sessions.
“It’s required to graduate for marketing.” Lewis-Moore said. “I kinda have to go to that one a little bit.”
Before long, Lewis-Moore figures to re-crack the starting lineup, rotating with Tuitt and Lynch in the first team. Regardless of where the depth chart ultimately shakes out, there’s no doubt the veteran will be a major player as the Irish look to flex their defensive line depth.
So while running with the second-team might require some adjustment for Lewis-Moore during spring practice, his perspective on Saturdays should be much the same as his past three years.
“Kappy’s really not a two, we don’t have twos,” said defensive line coach Mike Elston. “He runs with the ones a lot too. Mentally, he’s actually returned pretty well from that knee. That’s the thing, he was behind, running with a second group just to make sure he can get acclimated and get the speed right and he’s really come back nicely.”