As Notre Dame prepares for the upcoming season, the coaching staff still needs to conjure up most of the position depth across the field. For my first two-deep report of the summer, I wanted to try and sure up the offensive line based on what I think coach Kelly would do, and what has actually been going on this offseason.
The shape-up in 2014 starts with Zack Martin and Chris Watt taking their talents to the NFL and opening both spots on the left side of the line. Martin’s brother and center Nick Martin has been out with a knee injury suffered late last season against BYU, and 5th year senior, guard/tackle, Christian Lombard continues to recover from a back injury suffered last season.
Matt Hegarty stepped in this spring and last season while Martin was out and proved he belongs on the field as a starter. Hegarty has battled back from surgery after an unreported mini-stroke uncovered two holes in his heart that had apparently been there his entire life. Based on his performance last season and this spring, and coach Kelly being so adamant about starting his “best five” offensive lineman, I expect to see Hegarty on the field with the starters this fall.
Sweeping across the line, and after a solid redshirt freshman season at right tackle, Ronnie Stanley took most of the first team reps at left tackle this spring and should be the starter moving forward. This move ensues the reload and shift of the entire line.
Steve Elmer moved around the offensive line as a true freshman last year and spent a lot of spring practice at left guard where he should be playing next fall.
Here is a quick look at my projected depth across the offensive line. Despite the changes from 2013, I still expect a physically imposing group built to bully the front-7 from every team on the schedule.
*Denotes extra year of eligibility
|Ronnie Stanley, Jr.*||Steve Elmer, Soph.||Nick Martin, Sr.*||Matt Hegarty, Sr.*||Mike McGlinchy, Soph.* |
|Hunter Bivin, Soph.*||Mark Harrell, Jr.*||Matt Hegarty, Sr.*||Christian Lombard, 5th yr||Colin McGovern, Soph.* |
|Conor Hanratty, Sr.*||John Montelus, Soph.*|