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Notre Dame Football

Young Offensive Linemen Impressing Mustipher

August 20, 2018

Sam Mustipher has been through it all and seen it all over his time at Notre Dame. As the 6-foot-2, 305-pounder enters his fifth season, Mustipher has taken on a significant leadership role as a captain, but outside of team leadership, he’s made sure the freshmen offensive linemen are being pushed each day.

“They’re working hard and doing what they need to do,” stated Mustipher. “They’ve done the right things so far. It’s kind of easy to lead a group like that with (Alex) Bars, but they have their heads in the playbook. They’re focused on learning technique and fundamentals.” 

The recruiting rankings are thrown out the door as soon as players step on campus, and Mustipher hasn’t noticed a difference in this group when looking back at some of Notre Dame’s offensive line hauls.”

“It’s about the same,” said Mustipher. “Notre Dame attracts a specific type of guy, especially on the offensive line. The kind of guy we get is consistent with the previous years, which is a good thing because they come in and fit right in. 

“Jarrett Patterson, Luke Jones, Cody Benjamin, Max Siegel, John Dirksen and Cole Mabry fit in well. They’re all doing well. You can’t ask for anything more than a guy to work hard.” 

Outside of the adjustment to being captain, Mustipher has a new face next to him at right guard. Tommy Kraemer has adjusted well to the right guard position, but he’s also been playing tackle with the injury to Robert Hainsey. 

Mustipher believes Kraemer is in line to have a big season as experience is crucial to development and consistency. 

“I definitely think he feels more comfortable inside,” Mustipher said of Kraemer. “He has a year of experience under his belt. He understands how the game works, but also the what preparation over the course of a season and week by week entails. 

“Tommy being outside or inside or wherever, I believe the comfortability and experience he has will help him tremendously.” 

On the left side, Notre Dame is breaking in a new left tackle in Liam Eichenberg. Head coach Brian Kelly has been open about building up Eichenberg’s confidence, and Mustipher has also done his part to bring along the 6-foot-6, 308-pounder. 

“It’s giving him positive reinforcement,” explained Mustipher. “I let him know what he’s doing right. My tackle experience is limited, but I had a chance to see Mike and Ronnie play tackle along with Tommy and Rob play last year. 

“I understand a little bit of what it takes, but it’s his confidence in himself and his understanding that he’s an elite player. He has all the traits to be as a good as he wants to be.” 

Another guy that has emerged during fall camp has been sophomore guard Dillan Gibbons. 

After a redshirt year, Gibbons has made sure to set a physical tone, which Mustipher greatly appreciates, but now it’s about fine-tuning the little details of seeing things through one set of eyes for the 6-foot-4, 313-pounder. 

“Dillan is a nasty and physical player,” said Mustipher. “He has huge hands. He wears like a 5X glove or something like that. I always tell him if he gets his hands on people that most of the time it’s over. It’s about him getting in the right body position and knowing his assignment each play. 

“When he’s comfortable, he’s capable of doing anything. Finishing is something he takes pride in. He’s a high effort player and even during summer conditioning, he took a lot of pride in that. It’s just about focusing and getting the little things down each play.” 

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