Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

Jarrett Patterson Creating A Buzz With Move To Center

March 10, 2019

There were many questions entering spring practice for Notre Dame, but the most significant centered around the center position. 

Sam Mustipher vacated the position after starting for three years and being named a captain last fall. 

Sophomore Jarrett Patterson has stepped into the role and there is a growing confidence around the program he could be the guy. 

The optimism starts with Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly. 

“I like his athleticism,” Kelly said. “He’s a smart kid. The one thing that stood out last year was assignment correct, emotionally stable and a sense every single day you got the same kid. We like that at the center position. He’s going to have some help with the guards in terms of they have experience and will be able to call out some things for him. 

“We have to continue to work on his technique snapping the ball. The ball wasn’t all over the place, but we have some work to do there. We feel like it’s a good position for him.”

The 6-foot-4, 300-pounder played left tackle last year, so consistently snapping the football will be the top priority this spring. 

Snapping isn’t entirely new to Patterson as Kelly said he worked as a center on the scout team last fall, but it’s another thing to do it in a game. 

Quarterback Ian Book has been impressed with the transition so far as the two have spent the last few months working on snapping. 

“We’re working on our chemistry,” explained Book. “When it comes to protections, I know the guys we have on the line, the older guys, are doing a great job of getting him ready. Jarrett is doing a great job and we have a bunch of other guys who are snapping and doing well.

“Over the last month, we’ve been getting snaps every day and getting reps. We want to create that chemistry and for the snap to be second nature for him.” 

There seems to be little concern if Patterson can handle the duties mentally and physically as he gained the respect of his teammates last fall.

“He’s really calm and listens well,” Book stated. “He’s having fun out there, but he’s an extremely hard worker. That’s what you want, especially in a center. It’s hard to snap and block. It’s great to see him out there having fun.” 

Patterson’s work ethic hasn’t just impressed Book but also the guys on the offensive line. 

“His technique was advanced when he came in and he was able to ride that,” said offensive lineman Robert Hainsey. “The reason he was moved to center was how advanced his football IQ is and he understands our offense well. Even though he was at tackle, he learned from Sam, who was the best center in college football. He was always able to watch him and pick up things. That was extremely beneficial to him to come in and play that center role while some of our guys are down.

“Jarrett is an outstanding young player. We saw that last year playing left tackle. He really stepped up in that backup position and got to play in some games, which a lot of guys don’t get to do their freshman year.” 

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