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Irish Insights


On the lines

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly is very happy with how his offensive and defensive lines are taking shape as he enters his second year with the Irish.

On the offensive line, Notre Dame is returning starters Trevor Robinson at guard, Braxton Cave at center and Zack Martin and Taylor Dever at the tackles. Plus, guards Andrew Nuss and Chris Watt played in all 13 games last year and will be competing for a starting spot.

And others have made strides to build depth on the line.

"Mike Golic is a guy now that we really trust," Kelly said of the backup center. "He wasn't physically at a position where we thought we could put him in there. He can play for us right now. We feel really good about him.

"I look at Chris Watt as a guy now that we believe he can be a starter for us. Who knew about Taylor Dever last year? Nobody never really knew. He's a solid, solid offensive linemen for us. It allowed us to get a young player that we think has a huge upside in Christian Lombard (time to develop). (Nichols) Tate got another year obviously because of Martin being the player he was. We took two young guys that didn't need to get pressed into action. That was a huge concern for us last year because we didn't want to have a play a true freshman out there. Now with a year, that's where that depth started to develop even more."

The defensive line has also developed depth with incoming freshmen Stephon Tuitt and Aaron Lynch headlining the new guys and Louis Nix III showing he has the potential to take over at defensive tackle between returning starting defensive ends Ethan Johnson and Kapron Lewis-Moore.

"One of my clear directives to our staff was that we have to build this on both sides of the ball with linemen, offensive and defensive linemen, and take our shots with the skill guys," Kelly said. "This is still about developing. We've done a nice job. As we move forward, we can now pay our attentions to some other areas. But, no, I would say definitively the charge was we needed to develop depth especially on the defensive line."