Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Notre Dame Football Position Preview: Offensive Line

Previously Covered
Halfback and Fullback
Wide Receiver
Tight End

Spotlight: Trevor Robinson

Also Returning: Braxston Cave, Taylor Dever, Paul Duncan, Andrew Nuss, Eric Olsen, Matt Romine, Chris Stewart, Jeff Tisak, Michael Turkovich, Dan Wenger, Sam Young
Lost: Thomas Bemenderfer, Jeff Tisak, Michael Turkovich (graduation)
Gained: Bill Flavin, Mike Hernandez (walk-ons), Lane Clelland, Mike Golic, Jr. (DNP as freshmen), Alex Bullard, Jordan Cowart, Tom Freeman, Zach Martin, Chris Watt (freshmen)

Notre Dame's troubled offensive line is out of excuses this year. They have depth, experience, and a new line coach in Frank "Don't Call Me Tom" Verducci. As for the spotlight player, Trevor Robinson: he originally earned the spotlight because his performance last year made him the first lineman off the bench in 2009, meaning he'd also be pushing to take someone's starting role. Well, it's still August and he's already done that. Robinson is currently listed as the starting right guard, pushing Chris Stewart to left guard, Eric Olsen to center, and Dan Wenger to the sidelines.

The current three-deep depth chart at offensive line should be a welcome sight to Irish fans for a number of reasons:
1. the fact that Notre Dame can actually list 15 different offensive linemen on their depth chart (16, really, since right guard is four-deep),
2. the fact that, outside of Robinson and Braxston Cave, the two-deep is comprised entirely of juniors and seniors, and
3. only two true freshmen - Alex Bullard and Chris Watt - are needed to complete the three-deep. Of course, I'm sure it helps that Bullard and Watt already weigh in at at least 290 pounds.

Yes, Notre Dame's offensive line depth has finally started to stabilize. In addition to bringing in five freshmen, the Irish will also add the services of Lane Clelland and Mike Golic, who did not see the field as freshmen, and walk-ons Bill Flavin and Mike Hernandez. That's nine players, or almost two full lines! Hernandez is especially one to watch for, as the walk-on not only made the squad this fall, but he's also listed as co-third string right guard with freshman Chris Watt.