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Notre Dame offensive lineman Christian Lombard

Notre Dame offensive lineman Christian Lombard talks Monday about likely being a starter again this season, what he has learned from left tackle Zack Martin and squaring off against the Irishâ??s defensive line. By Tony Krausz, The Journal Gazette

Flexibility on the line

SOUTH BEND – Notre Dame has taken a couple of looks at the right side of its offensive line as it gets ready for the season.

The Irish have used a combination of having Conor Hanratty at guard and Christian Lombard at tackle along with Lombard at guard and Ronnie Stanley at tackle.

Coach Brian Kelly said Monday the changes are all in pursuit of being able to put the five best linemen on the field, and that search is aided by Lombard's flexibility.

"As it relates to Christian, he's going to have to fit with the best five," Kelly said. "It is not really about him as much as how to do we get the best five on the field? What it allows us to do is find out is it Conor Hanratty, is it Ronnie (Stanley), is it Steve Elmer? Who is it that gives us the best five?

"We are fortunate that (Lombard) gives us that flexibility for us to be able to have this conversation."

Lombard started 13 games last season at right tackle, but he did spend some time working at guard last season. While switching can be difficult, Lombard is ready to do whatever is asked of him to help the Irish play their best five linemen together.

"It's obviously different," Lombard said. "Tackle, you are dealing more with people in space. At guard, it's right in front of you. You have to adjust in that way. Your fundamentals have to be sharp.

"I wish I could say (it is easy to switch), but going against (our defensive line), it is not easy at any position on the field."