Notre Dame football: The 5 best to play on the offensive line

Notre Dame offensive line (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Notre Dame offensive line (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Offensive Line
3. Bill Fischer(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

A key member of the multiple National Championship teams under Frank Leahy, Bill Fischer was a dominant member of the Notre Dame offensive line in the late 1940s. In addition to winning National Championships in 1946 and 1947, he was also a consensus All-American in 1947 and 1948.

After a stellar 1948 season, Fischer was also awarded the Outland Trophy. During that 1948 season, the Irish were a tied game with USC away from a third straight National Championship. Instead, the honor would go to an unbeaten and untied Michigan team.

Frank Leahy’s offense, like all offenses during his time, was a run dominant offense. Making the transition for the Rockne Box, to the T offense, there was room for the occasional pass. That didn’t change that the offense was designed to run the ball down opponents’ throats.

The T-Formation is named that due to its shape in the letter T. In this formation the quarterback is under center with the fullback directly behind them. Flanking either side of the fullback is two running backs. Out of this formation, the offense could attack the defense through multiple options, with lead blockers. However, this kept play within the tackle box for the majority of the time, adding to the immense pressure for offensive linemen to play under chaotic conditions.

Coach Leahy was known for more than just the T-Formation, though, he was also an advocate for single platoon football. Essentially, this means that all of his players played both sides of the ball. To go along with the physicality and domination that Fischer showed on the offensive side, he’d turn around and play defensive tackle too. That’s all game long, every single game.

To go along with his Outland Trophy, and All-American status in 1948, Fischer was also a team captain. He would go on to be the MVP of that season’s College All-Star Game. That’s MVP as an offensive lineman. No matter what the era is, it’s almost impossible to stand out as a single member of a 5 man group stand out enough to become MVP of a game.

Bill Fischer would be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983.