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Notre Dame Football

Joe Alt and Notre Dame Focused on Preparation to Reach Full Potential vs. Ohio State

September 20, 2023
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Ohio State-Notre Dame.

Primetime. 

Recruits pick blue blood programs to play in big games. And make no mistake, it’s a big game as one can buy a ticket ‘as low as $445’ on Vivid Seats. 

There no hiding the importance of Saturday’s clash, but the key for each team will be taking it as a normal game to keep emotions from getting too high. 

“You have to take every opponent seriously,” stated Notre Dame All-American left tackle Joe Alt. “There’s no one team or one game where it’s different. It’s a football game for sure.

“It’s a good team. They’re a physical team. We have to focus on us and getting ourselves ready for this game, how we’re going to prepare for that, how we’re going to get a little better this week and get ready for the game.” 

The winner of this game will need to win the battle in the trenches and last year’s game should be a telling tale. 

Notre Dame ran for just 2.9 ypc against the Buckeyes, while Ohio State turned up the run game in the fourth quarter and took the soul of the Irish defense. 

Ohio State’s defensive front seven has many familiar faces and Alt knows it will be an all-night battle up front. 

“They have a really good front seven,” explained Alt. “They’re physical. They’re experienced. They have a lot of games played. They have a leader in the middle with their middle linebacker who’s played a lot of football for them. I think he kind of gets that group going.

“For us, it’s just how are we going to get ourselves ready to play this game, focus on us, focus on what are the things we need to improve in from last game, from this practice and get ourselves ready and focus on us. That’s the biggest thing.” 

Joe Rudolph’s first team offensive line has played every snap together that the first team has played, which is a positive compared to walking into Columbus without Jarrett Patterson last September. 

Left guard Pat Coogan has yet to play in a game of this magnitude, but Alt has been impressed with his classmate through the first four games of the season. 

“I think it’s just confidence,” Alt said of where Coogan has grown. “Obviously, getting your first start you’re nervous. It’s a faster game. For him, it’s the confidence play in and play out, getting more experience under your belt.

“He trusts himself more and more. He’s grown so much just by, ‘All right, I’ve played a game now. I can do this.’ Now your confidence just grows and grows and grows. The biggest thing is he knows he can be out there. He knows he can play confident. That’s been huge for him.” 

Where can this offensive line improve ahead of this weekend’s top 10 showdown? 

“Our communication has been very (good) so far,” stated Alt. “We know where we’re going. For us, it’s just continue to work the run game, hitting our targets, hitting our landmarks in the run. Making sure we want to be on those and that will allow us to get in position so we can actually drive off the ball. Then in pass pro, continue to work our hands, work our feet and making sure hands and feet never stop. We have to work that and fight through the interval.” 

As for Saturday, Alt and his teammates are taking day by day. The focus is winning the small moments this week as it will lead to Notre Dame reaching its ceiling. 

“The biggest thing is just reaching our full potential on Saturday,” said Alt. “That’s what we want to do. By doing that, it starts with each and every day and winning today. Winning what you want to do. Having an intent going into practice of what you want to work on, what the group wants to work on, and just going at each and every day and trying to win what you’re going to win. What drill am I going to win? What skill am I going to win? What technique am I going to win?

“Just stack those on top of each other each and every day and to reach our full potential on Saturday is always our goal.” 

Under Armour White Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2023 Motivate Half-Zip

 
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