Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

Tommy Kraemer Talks Joe Moore Award, Rotation and 2018 Signees

December 22, 2017
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The Notre Dame offensive line got some big news earlier this week as they won the 2017 Joe Moore Award, which goes to the nation’s most outstanding offensive line. 

Sophomore right tackle Tommy Kraemer was pleased to win the award, but it meant more to share it with offensive line coach Harry Hiestand and All-Americans Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson. 

“It means a lot,” Kraemer stated. “We put in so much hard work with Coach Hiestand. Mike and Q have really put everything into it, so to win this award when they are still here, it means a lot to us. We were so excited."

Notre Dame’s offensive line was definitely a cohesive unit this fall as they paved the way for an average of 279 rushing yards per game. 

Kraemer believes the chemistry and trust started off the field for the unit. 

“We’re just all so close,” stated Kraemer. “Every night we’re together whether it’s at Logan Plantz’s house, where there are three offensive linemen’s houses next to each other or in the hotel. We’re always together. 

“We enjoy being with each other. We get along and talk about the same stuff. We like the same stuff. It’s perfect. I don’t know if there’s a group that’s really like that. We just all fit together.” 

The 6-foot-6, 314-pounder redshirted last season and took over the right tackle position with true freshman Robert Hainsey this fall. Both players shared time and alternated every series throughout the year. 

It’s rare to a see a rotation on the offensive line, but neither player was upset by switching off the entire year. 

 “It was great,” explained Kraemer. “Rob and I are really best friends. When he is on the field, I am watching him. When he comes off the field, I tell him corrects. When I am on the field, he does the same. 

“It’s nice having someone there. Coach is watching all of us and making corrections for the whole group. Rob and I can make corrections back and forth. We’re really able to help each other.”

Hiestand and the offensive staff made sure everyone was comfortable with the rotation from the start of camp, including right guard Alex Bars.

“We did it all throughout practice,” said Kraemer. “Every practice, we rotated every four plays. We’re used to playing next to Alex and Alex is used to playing next to both of us. I don’t feel like it was anything lost. We practiced it so much that it’s just natural now.” 

While there were growing pains as Kraemer and Hainsey as hadn’t taken a snap in a college game heading into week one, Bars was there for them and brought them along. 

“Alex was great,” Kraemer said. “He went through the right tackle spot last year, so he knew some of the challenges there. He talked to us through the whole thing. When we had a good play, he told us ‘Good job. I know how tough that was’ or when we would make a bad play, he would tell us ‘Keep your head up. I was there last year, and I know what you’re going through.’

“He was a big help scheme-wise and mentally to get through it all.” 

Notre Dame added two offensive linemen on Wednesday as John Dirksen and Cole Mabry inked with the Irish. Kraemer has gotten to know both well over the last year and felt they will fit in well in South Bend. 

“They are great guys,” said Kraemer. “They were here a few weekends ago, and we got to hang out. They are going to be a good fit, and I’m excited to get them here. 

“John’s a quiet farm boy. He’s funny. I can see how he doesn’t talk to you because he’s a quiet guy, but he’ll fit well. 

“Cole is a little more outgoing. He’s like Bars. They are both from Nashville. He’s a country boy, and he likes to fish.” 

The Irish departed campus for home on Friday and will meet in Orlando on the 26th to start final preparations for the Citrus Bowl on January 1st. 

 “We really want to get to 10 wins,” Kraemer said. “That’s our goal right now. I don’t think it’s about how the season ended, but we really want to get to 10 wins and end the season on a high note.”

 
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