Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

Robert Hainsey Eager For Leadership Role In 2019

March 11, 2019

Notre Dame captains Alex Bars and Sam Mustipher left the program in December and the Irish are looking for new leaders on the offensive side of the ball. 

Enter the next wave of offensive line leaders. 

“Robert Hainsey has done a great job of seeing it was his turn and being that guy,” stated Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly. “Liam (Eichenberg) has done a nice job as well along with (Tommy) Kraemer. Those three guys have worked as one. They have provided the same kind of leadership that group has had every single year since I’ve been here and even more so in the last four or five years.

“They’ve seen that tradition passed on and that tradition doesn’t graduate. They’ve picked it up and have the personalities to lead. We put them in leadership positions and they are doing a great job.” 

Hainsey, a junior, is a fixture on the Irish offensive line at right tackle after starting all of 2018 and sharing time with Kraemer in 2017. The 6-foot-4, 298-pounder has embraced the new leadership role and looks forward to carrying on the tradition.

“I came in here early and I got the whole year with Mike McGlinchey, Quenton Nelson, Hunter Bivin and guys who taught me how to be a Notre Dame man, run my life and run the program,” explained Hainsey. “They left and Sam and Bars stepped up because they learned from them as well. I continued to learn from Sam and Alex throughout last year. They taught me a ton. They were great leaders and I do everything I can to emulate them to lead the way I know how to from past leadership roles.” 

Expectations for Notre Dame will be at an all-time high as the Irish are coming off an appearance in the College Football Playoff. 

The Cotton Bowl didn’t go as the Irish planned, but Hainsey believes it was a learning experience and has served as offseason motivation to get back to prove Notre Dame belongs. 

“It was disappointing the way that game went,” said Hainsey. “It wasn’t what we wanted to happen, but that’s what happened and we understand that. We looked at it and looked at it and realized our mistakes. We want to repeat what we did last year. We want to win all our regular season games and move on to the playoff.” 

Realizing a playoff berth doesn’t happen in one practice is the first step in the right direction for a program fresh off a 12-1 season. 

“We know that doesn’t happen today,” Hainsey explained. “We aren’t going to win all those games today. Today, we focused on our practice and doing the best we can. We’ll focus on lifting, meetings and understand what we did wrong from today to fix. It’s a day-by-day thing. You want to be the same guy and the same team every day. If we do that, we have a great staff, great coaches and everyone knows what they are doing. If everyone comes in and does their job every day with 100 percent, we’ll be able to continue to grow until we get to the regular season.” 

When it comes to his game, Hainsey believes he took a significant step forward as a sophomore and hopes to do the same this season. It will come down to mastering his technique and knowing the scheme as Hainsey has more than enough experience heading into year three. 

“I’ve been trying to correct myself steady and being the same guy every day,” stated Hainsey. “I’m trying to improve on all the little things whether it’s the smallest techniques or large schemes of plays. I want to always know my role and be able to execute to the best of my ability.” 

“Experience helped a lot knowing what to expect. I wasn’t super bright-eyed and bushy-tailed like I was my freshman year. I was able to relax and play more. At the same time, I need to find where I’m not too relaxed and work on my technique. I need to keep my hands inside, elbows in and head back. The little things are what get you through every play and allows you to dominate your opponent.” 

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