Notre Dame Football: Hiestand’s Offensive Line Ready to Lead Irish


Heistand leads potent line into 2015

Following the 2011 football season, Harry Hiestand was named offensive line coach for Notre Dame. His hiring did not receive a lot of publicity, but Hiestand’s work at recruiting and developing offensive linemen has made this unit one of the strongest on the team and one of the best in the nation.

Hiestand is a native of Malvern, Pennsylvania and a graduate of East Stroudsburg University. He has been coaching offensive lines most of his 33-year coaching career. He coached at the universities of Toledo, Cincinnati, Missouri, Illinois, and Tennessee. He also coached the offensive line for the Chicago Bears from 2005-2010, and reached Super Bowl XLI.

He coached the 2012 Fighting Irish offensive line which produced the only 200 yard per game rushing attack during Brian Kelly’s time at Notre Dame. Hiestand’s offensive line helped lead Notre Dame to the National Championship game against Alabama.

In 2013, Hiestand was instrumental in recruiting one of Notre Dame’s best offensive line classes – Steve Elmer, Hunter Bivin, Mike McGlinchey, Colin McCovern, and John Moltelus. He followed that up in 2014 by helping recruit Alex Bars, Jimmy Byrne, Sam Mustipher, and Quentin Nelson. His last class signed this past February included Tristen Hoge, Trevor Ruhland, and Jerry Tillery. Tillery moved to the defensive line this past Spring.

Hiestand is now leading what may be one of the best offensive lines in college football. It all starts with left tackle Ronnie Stanley, a two-year starter, who was projected as a first or second round draft pick for this year’s NFL draft. He surprisingly decided to return to the Fighting Irish and will lead the offensive line.

The left guard position is a battle between redshirt Freshman Quentin Nelson and Alex Bars. Nelson was a five-star recruit and Bars a four star. The center position is led by fifth year Senior and Captain Nick Martin. He played left guard last season but is at his best at center.

Junior and two-year starter Steve Elmer will again man the right guard position. Elmer was cited by Brian Kelly as one of the most improved players on the team this Spring. Mike McGlinchey will start at right tackle. The 6’7” Red-shirt Sophomore started and did well in his first two starts last season against Southern Cal and against LSU in this Music City Bowl.

More from Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame fans got a peek at the offensive line’s potential during the Spring game. The offense ran the ball for 198 yards and the offensive line dominated the game, especially in the first half.

With Malik Zaire now starting at quarterback for the Fighting Irish, the team will run the ball more. Zaire is great at the read option and has two experienced running backs in Tarean Folston and Greg Bryant. This Spring, C.J. Prosise split time between running back and slot receiver and he’ll be helpful at both positions.

For the running attack to be successful, the offensive line will have to be at its best. Expect Harry Hiestand to mold this offensive line into a unit that will pave the way to a powerful running attack. This will help Malik Zaire with the passing game and hopefully the combination of running and passing behind a great offensive line will lead the Fighting Irish to a memorable season.

Next: Comparing the Irish offense to the CFP teams