Welch tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee when he went down during live action in Wednesday's practice, Brian Kelly said Saturday. But the head coach was still awaiting word on the status of Spond, who left that same practice with what was initially believed to be a concussion but has since been ruled as a non-head injury.
Kelly said that a little more work would need to be done on Spond before the linebacker could return to the field, and it remains unclear whether he will be able to return to fall camp. Spond, who was a high school quarterback, suffered a severe concussion during his senior year.
Ben Councell is the No. 1 dog linebacker in Spond's absence, and Kelly said that freshmen Romeo Okwara and C.J. Prosise have moved to the dog, with converted cat linebacker Prince Shembo able to return to his old position if necessary.
Meanwhile, Welch will miss the entire 2012 season, this after redshirting upon his arrival in 2010.
"Obviously both of them, we feel comfortable," Kelly said. "We played Ben last year as a true freshman, so we feel pretty good about him. And he needs to continue to get better at the point of attack, which he's committed to doing that. He's been really good in space for us. We're lucky. To lose a really good player like Alex, and to have three tight ends -- and Jake Golic's getting a lot more work, too. So we feel good that we've got depth at that position that we'll get the job done. That's not gonna stop us from winning the tight end position."