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Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame Fall Camp Preview | O-Line

August 1, 2022

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 after injury at left tackle, the line was not very good.

Things improved with some personnel and philosophy changes to help protect the weaknesses of certain players. The level of play wasn’t up to the same standard it has been in previous years, but the improvement led to plenty of optimism for the line in 2022. People are bullish on the potential of Notre Dame’s offensive line this fall, Lindy’s has them ranked first in the country heading into the season, but they still have to settle things in camp before anyone can anoint them as being a Joe Moore Award contender.

The first thing that needs to be figured out is Jarrett Patterson making the move to guard and what guard spot he’ll be playing. One of the best centers in college football the last two years, it’s a logical move for both his future in the NFL and for the line as a whole based on Zeke Correll taking over at center.

We’ll find out if Patterson can be an All-American caliber player at guard, but this should make the line better.

If Patterson is being penciled in at one guard, that means there is only one open spot left. It should be a competitive battle between several players for that spot. Josh Lugg is the most experienced, but he needs to get through camp healthy and he didn’t exactly look like a sixth year senior in the spring.

He needs to win the job. It won’t be given to him.

Andrew Kristofic is the other returning starter at guard and he showed enough potential to suggest he could be a multi-year starter for the Irish, but we didn’t see the kind of jump in his level of play that was expected from him in the spring. For him and Lugg, experience is not enough to slot them if they don’t meet the standard that Harry Hiestand will demand.

How much will Rocco Spindler and Michael Carmody be in the mix to beat out the two veterans? They appear to be prime candidates to at least steal some reps in camp and the good news for both is that Notre Dame’s interior defensive line has a second group that should be close to equal with the first group. They’ll be tested whether they are with the first team or not.

Carmody showed great fight last season when inserted into the lineup, but an ankle injury stunted any progress for him. Spindler looked like a freshman last year and I know many fans are rooting for him to establish himself as a starter because of his ranking as a recruit.

It will be very interesting to see the progression of the starting unit from day one of camp to the end and see if things change. Lugg will likely be the one who comes out with the first team on August 5th. We’ll see if it stays that way.

Things are more set at tackle with Joe Alt and Blake Fisher manning the left and right side respectively. That’s the way it looked in the spring and it’s expected to continue to look that way this entire season. Everyone is anticipating a big year from both of them and they will be tested in camp by Notre Dame’s edge rushers.

The biggest question at tackle is in regards to the next man in. If it’s right tackle, Lugg might be the choice even if it means moving from guard. Tosh Baker could change that. He is a monster who has the look of a future NFL starter, but he was a work in progress as a redshirt freshman last fall. It would be huge if he can get to the point where he could jump in for either Alt or Fisher in a pinch.

Caleb Johnson is another candidate, but I think there is a gap between him and Baker based on what I saw in the spring. This is a huge camp/year for Johnson because of the players coming in as freshmen.

Johnson is probably better lumped in with Pat Coogan (missed the spring with a knee injury), Aamil Wagner, Billy Schrauth, Ty Chan, Ashton Craig, and Joey Tanona. They are all going to be fighting to see if they can crack the two-deep, but the five freshmen are all likely to redshirt unless they prove too talented not to. It’s far more likely I’ll be writing about them in detail next year.

This camp should give everyone an indication as to how good the starting five is and how deep they will be 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

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