Notre Dame Football: Looking Ahead at the Offense Line

Apr 22, 2017; Notre Dame, IN, USA; The line of scrimmage in the second quarter of the Blue-Gold Game at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 22, 2017; Notre Dame, IN, USA; The line of scrimmage in the second quarter of the Blue-Gold Game at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports /

Notre Dame football fans have an offensive line to be proud of.

With left tackle Mike McGlinchey and left guard Quenton Nelson deciding to stay at Notre Dame and forego the NFL Draft, the Fighting Irish return their two best offensive linemen for the2017 season.

The 6’8” 320lb. McGlinchey is a two-year starter who has All-American potential. He will protect Brandon Wimbush’s blind side on pass plays and should be one of the nation’s best doing it.

His partner at left guard is 6’5” 325lb. Quenton Nelson, a former five-star recruit from New Jersey. Nelson is a road grinder in the running game and a very good pass protector. The left side of the offensive line is set to be very productive.

At center, it appears that Sam Mustipher, the 6’3” 310 red-shirt sophomores, has edged out redshirt freshman Tristen Hoge who is 6’4” 310. Mustipher, last year’s starter also started the Blue-Gold Game with Hoge on the second unit. Hoge will have an opportunity to win the starting position during summer camp., so it will be interesting to watch.

Must Read: DeShone Kizer Should be Pleased With the Browns

Starting at right guard will be 6’6” 320 lb. redshirt sophomore Alex Bars. Bars played a lot a right tackle last season and is known for his great technique. It appears he is moving to guard because of two great red-shirt freshmen who the Fighting Irish brain trust would like to play right tackle.

Those two are Tommy Kraemer and Liam Eichenberg. It appears the 6’5” 315lb. Kraemer has edged out Eichenberg who is 6’5 ½” 295lb. as he was the starter in the Blue-Gold Game. Both are gifts to Notre Dame from the state of Ohio. They are both a pleasant problem for the Fighting Irish to have and the contest between these two will continue during summer camp.

Backups who hope to make the two-deep are 5th year senior Hunter Bivin and surprisingly, early arrival and rising true freshmen Robert Hainsey at left tackle. Bivin who is 6’6” 320lb. played in some games last season and the 6’5” 295lb. Hainsey is a four- star recruit who made his mark during spring practice.

Behind left guard, Nelson is another early arrival and rising true freshman Aaron Banks, another four- star recruit who is 6’6” 310lb. As stated earlier, Tristen Hoge will probably back up Mustipher at center. Also in the mix is Parker Boudreaux, a 6’4” 290lb. sophomore. With Alex Bars at right guard, Trevor Rueland and Jimmy Byrne, both 6’4” 300lb. will vie for the two- deep spot. Finally, if Kraemer keeps his edge at right tackle, Eichenberg will be his back-up.

This appears to be one of the best offensive lines Notre Dame has had in the last ten years or so. There are great talent and experience at four of the positions and great potential in the Kraemer/Eichenberg battle at right tackle. With offensive coordinator Chip Long running a fast tempo offense with the running game being the foundation, this line should give the offense great advantages.

Next: Top Notre Dame Players of 2017

It will be nice to see the Fighting Irish running the ball down opponent’s throats and then having the passing game taking the tops off opposing defenses. If this practice becomes a habit, Notre Dame fans will be in for a treat and most importantly a great season.