O-line U didn’t look like O-line U last season, especially in the first half of the season. With four new starters and injury on injury at left tackle, the line wasn’t very good.
Things have improved with some personnel and philosophy changes to help protect some player weaknesses. The level of play wasn’t at the same level as previous years, but the improvement has led to a lot of optimism for the line in 2022. People are optimistic about the potential of Notre Dame’s offensive line this fall, Lindy’s ranked them first in the nation ahead of the season, but they still have to settle things in camp before anyone can anoint them as a Joe Moore Award contender.
The first thing to understand is Jarrett Patterson make the move to guard and which guard position he will play. One of the best centers in college football for the past two years, it’s a logical move both for his NFL future and for the line as a whole based on Zeke Correl take over at the center.
We’ll see if Patterson can be an All-American-caliber player at guard, but that should improve the line.
If Patterson is penciled in on a guard, that means there’s only one spot left. It should be a competitive battle between multiple players for that spot. Josh Lugg is the most experienced, but he has to get through camp healthy and he didn’t exactly look like a sixth-year senior in the spring.
He must earn the job. It will not be given to him.
Andrew Kristofic is the other starter back at guard and he’s shown enough potential to suggest he could be a multi-year starter for the Irish, but we haven’t seen the kind of jump in his level of play that we expected of him in the spring. For him and Lugg, experience is not enough to place them if they do not meet the standard demanded by Harry Hiestand.
how much is Rocco Spindler and Michael Carmody be in the game to beat the two veterans? They seem like the best candidates to at least steal some reps from the side and the good news for both is that Notre Dame’s interior defensive line has a second group that should be nearly equal to the first group. They will be tested if they are with the first team or not.
Carmody showed a great fight last season when he was introduced to the roster, but an ankle injury has delayed any progress for him. Spindler looked like a freshman last year and I know a lot of fans are cheering him on to establish himself as a starter because of his rookie ranking.
It will be very interesting to see the progress of the starting unit from the first day of camp to the end and see if things change. Lugg will likely be the one to go out with the first team on August 5. We’ll see if it stays that way.
Things are more settled at the tackle with Joe Alt and Blake Fisher respectively occupying the left and right sides. This is how it looked in the spring and it is expected to continue to look like this all season. Everyone expects a big year from the two of them and they will be tested in camp by Notre Dame’s top rushers.
The biggest question at tackle is about the next man. If it’s the right tackle, Lugg could be the choice even if it means leaving guard. tosh baker could change that. He’s a monster that looks like a future NFL starter, but he was a work in progress as a redshirt rookie last fall. It would be huge if he could get to the point where he could jump for Alt or Fisher in the blink of an eye.
Caleb Johnson is another candidate, but I think there is a rift between him and Baker from what I saw in the spring. It’s a huge camp/year for Johnson because of the players coming in as freshmen.
Johnson is probably better grouped with Pat Coogan (missed the spring with a knee injury), Amil Wagner, Billy Schrauth, Ty Chan, Ashton Craigand Joey Tanon. They’ll all fight to see if they can crack both depths, but the five freshmen are all likely to redshirt unless they prove too talented not to. It is far more likely that I will write about them in detail next year.
This camp should give everyone an indication of the quality of the starting five and their depth in terms of players Hiestand trusts to play this year. On paper, it looks like they could have eight or nine quality players to choose from. Men’s Half Zip Packable Jacket