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Notre Dame Football

Joe Alt and Blake Fisher Pushing Each Other While Leading Notre Dame's Offense

August 2, 2023
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The rich history of Notre Dame offensive line play could see a new bar set as juniors Joe Alt and Blake Fisher look to pave the way back to the College Football Playoff. 

It’s rare to see an offensive lineman be three-and-out, but it’s a very real possibility for Notre Dame as Alt and Fisher have appeared in first-round mock drafts since the completion of the 2023 NFL Draft. 

Now, there is a lot of football to be played before either player makes a decision on their future and that’s just fine as both are living in the moment while making each other better. 

“Me and Blake are really close,” stated Alt. “For us, it’s just like the little bit of competition in just the basic drills. We’re not trying to compete, you know? You always want to be the guy who like, ‘That set looks good.’ 

“It’s always fun to compete. You don’t really know you’re getting better, but you’re like, ‘Wow, I feel so much better.’ It’s because you’re trying to compete with him. For me and him, it’s always working the pass game together, working our hands, working our feet. It’s been a lot of fun.” 

The competitive drive between the two players has also set a vigorous tone for the entire offense through the first week of fall camp. 

“I would say the work ethic and the consistency of everybody wanting to be great,” Fisher said when asked what has impressed him about the offense. “Everybody has something to prove. But I think everybody has the understanding that we can prove it together. And everybody can reach their overall goals when we're fighting for each other.” 

Perhaps the scary piece for opponents is both players still have plenty of room to grow. Offensive line coach Joe Rudolph has noticed Fisher take a step forward mentally, but also self-correcting his mistakes. 

“Well, I tell you what, the thing I've noticed from Blake more than anything is such an incredible mindset to always focus on what he can control whatever happened; whether it was the most successful play, whether it was a play he wanted to do better on, his focus is now always on 'man, I could have taken a better step' or 'boy, I needed to have a better job of getting my hands inside', whatever it was,” Rudolph explained. “That's winning. That's flat-out what you want. You're gonna be successful in everything you do and I think it's a real natural approach.

“Then secondly, just the natural progression into leadership for him I think has really helped as well because he's doing a great job with these young guys. Sully's on that right side and the way he communicates with him and helps him grow is outstanding.” 

Alt received national awards last year, but it hasn’t hindered his drive to master his craft and adamantly downplays those who think he’s a finished product. 

“I don’t think that at all,” said Alt. “Every day I’m trying to get a little better. That’s my focus. I don’t look at myself like that at all. I’m going to take this day and I pick two things, one in the run and one in the pass, and I want to get better at each of these things today. No, I don’t think I’m anywhere near that. I just want to get a little better every day and that’s my goal.” 

Notre Dame’s defense has also benefited from facing two of the best tackles in the country as both were put on the Outland Trophy watchlist earlier this week. 

Senior defensive end Jordan Botelho is stepping into a larger role on the edge and gets to face both players every day, which has allowed his game to develop. 

“Blake and Joe are probably the best in the country,” said Botelho. “Honestly, I’m very thankful they’re on my team. We’re going against them every day. Iron sharpens iron, so I’m blessed.” 

Junior Tuihalamaka made the transition to edge last fall as a freshman, so all he knows is Alt and Fisher. The California native admits it’s a challenge every day as both tackles are mentally advanced, which forces him to raise his level of play. 

“Just them switching up things. “They overset, they have a speed set and different things - even them watching film on me, counting my steps and sometimes even throwing their punch before I even start doing my move. 

“It’s kind of annoying sometimes because they’re so good, but that makes me better. I’m really happy I’m able to go against Joe and Blake.” 

Notre Dame will count on both to lead two new guards and the Irish offense, but at the end of the day, Alt and Fisher are focused on winning games and having fun. 

“It’s been really fun to work with him,” said Alt. “Right when we came in we were tight just because we were both tackles and we both wanted to get better. We both kind of had the same mindset.” 

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