Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

Patterson: 'No opponent is going to come in and fold for Notre Dame'

October 2, 2019

Notre Dame lost three-year starter Sam Mustipher to graduation in January and to the surprise of many, sophomore Jarrett Patterson moved to center at the start of the spring ball. 

The 6-foot-5, 300-pounder made the quick transition from tackle to center and now it’s about fine-tuning his game to life on the interior of the line.

“The experience I had at tackle helped me understand what is going on the edges,” stated Patterson. “Learning the playbook at center helped me understand what everyone is doing. I have a really good feel during plays and things like that.

“I think reacting faster to what defenses are giving us is one thing I did a lot better on Saturday. As far as getting better, I need to be more consistent in my technique every play.”

Mustipher experienced early growing pains as he took over for Nick Martin and Patterson is going through some during his first four games as the starter. 

The California native doesn’t have his focus on the past centers as he’s focused on himself.

“I don’t look into it too much,” Patterson said of the tradition of center play at Notre Dame. “I want to keep getting better every day. That’s the most important thing for me right now.

“Being more consistent and gaining confidence to be consistent every play. That’s the next step I’m trying to take right now.”

Every offensive line in the country takes pride in being a brotherhood, but Notre Dame takes it to the extreme. In fact, the other day, Robert Hainsey was walking into The Gug by himself and it stood out to me that he didn’t have any other linemen with him. 

“It’s really tight-knit,” explained Patterson. “We try to spend as much time outside of football, which is huge for us. We develop that chemistry. We try to help the young guys understand we have to be tight-knit all the time.

“We have pizza night on Thursday and watch football.” 

The excessive time spent with each other not only develops lifelong friendships, but it pays off on Saturday.

“The chemistry helps just to trust each other and know the other guys have your back all the time,” said Patterson. “That’s what it really means for us.” 

Notre Dame’s chemistry was on full display in the fourth quarter on Saturday against Virginia. The Irish offensive line paved the way for a Tony Jones Jr. touchdown and then the offensive line finished off the Cavaliers late. 

“It was great,” Patterson said of the fourth quarter. “It was a good confidence boost for us. It felt like we really finished a game physical and strong. We have to keep it going.

The Irish played a physical brand of football the last two weeks and it’s been a conscious effort led by offensive line coach Jeff Quinn. 

“You practice how you play,” said Patterson. “If you practice finishing on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday – that’s’ how you’re going to play on Saturday. That’s what Coach Quinn always talks about because that’s the offensive line standard here and that’s what we want to do every day.

“We have to hold ourselves accountable. No opponent is going to come in and fold for Notre Dame. We have to come out and play hard.” 

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