Blue and Gold Illustrated

Preseason 2018

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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76 PRESEASON 2018 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED IRISH IN THE PROS BY COREY BODDEN F or the past two years, Notre Dame fans watched the left side of the Irish offensive line be a strength of the program with two All-Americans lead- ing the charge — tackle Mike McGlinchey and guard Quen- ton Nelson. Then the duo became the first two offensive linemen drafted this past April, with Nelson going No. 6 overall to the Indianapolis Colts and McGlinchey three spots later to the San Francisco 49ers. Both players were drafted in the top 10 for one reason: help protect their respective franchise's $100-million quar- terback. The Colts want to shore up their offensive line after star Andrew Luck missed the en- tire 2017 season with a shoul- der injury, while the 49ers aim to help the ascending Jimmy Garoppolo avoid a similar fate. "Quenton looked good," Colts head coach Frank Reich told The Indianapolis Star fol- lowing the team's first pre- season game against the Se- attle Seahawks. "Certainly showed that he belongs where we picked him. Flashes of the strength and technique and power. "… We've all talked about how good of a puller he is and how efficient he is there. He did a great job when he was pulling." McGlinchey lined up against Dallas Cowboys All-Pro defensive end De- Marcus Lawrence in the team's first ex- hibition game to begin his NFL career. Lawrence got the better of McGlinchey early, recording a quarterback hit on Garoppolo, but the former Irish star adjusted. "I was really happy with Mike," 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters after the game. " … By no means was it perfect, but it was very easy to see that the game is not too big for him. … He's a guy who I think gets better as the game goes on because he is talented, but he also is very smart and doesn't get overwhelmed with things. "When he does make a mistake, he usually learns from it." Of the two, Nelson has received a lit- tle more hype and with that will come elevated expectations. Luckily for Nel- son, he can lean on center Ryan Kelly, a former All-American from Alabama and first-rounder that stepped in right away for the Colts in 2016. "It's tough being a rookie," Kelly told "I've been there. I've been in that situation where you're going to be the day one starter, and that's tough. It's tough to come in there with expectations. "… There have been a few times where he's been a bit frustrated with a few things. I've been [telling him], 'Look dude, you're 22 years old. You've been playing against guys who've been in the league six, seven years. Some of the stuff you did in college isn't going to work.'" On the flip side, Mc- Glinchey has Joe Staley, the 49ers' All-Pro left tackle, to watch and model his game after. "I just see so much potential in that kid," Staley told 49ers. com. "He's got the absolute right mindset to succeed in the NFL. The guy is really hungry to learn every single day. "He comes into meetings and asks the right questions. He's really smart and picks up the playbook really well." The early reviews from teammates and coaches are overwhelmingly positive for Nelson and McGlinchey, and it appears the former Irish duo will continue making an im- pact along the offensive line at the next level. NOTRE DAME IN THE NFL Through Aug. 20 • Josh Adams (Played at Notre Dame from 2015-17), RB, Philadelphia Eagles: Made positive noise during training camp and his first preseason game while trying to make the roster … Rushed for 30 yards on six carries in his first NFL action, but was inactive for the second game after suffering an injury to his left leg. • George Atkinson (2011-13), RB, New York Jets: Attempting to secure a spot on the Jets' roster after being signed this summer … Rushed for 43 yards on 16 carries in the team's first two preseason games … Also caught two passes for 31 yards. • Sheldon Day (2012-15), DL, San Francisco 49ers: Is set to be part of the 49ers defensive line rotation after joining the team mid-season last year … Re- corded five total tackles and a forced fumble in San Francisco's first two preseason games. • Tyler Eifert (2009-12), TE, Cincinnati Bengals: Did not play in Cincinnati's first two preseason games while recovering from a back injury that cost him most of 2017. • Matthias Farley (2011-15), DB, Indianapolis Colts: After totaling 98 tackles in 2017, will continue starting for the Colts in 2018 at safety. • Michael Floyd (2008-11), WR, New Orleans Saints: Caught one pass for 16 yards in two pre- season games with New Orleans … Will provide depth at the position for the Saints. • Will Fuller (2013-15), WR, Houston Texans: Will aim to stay healthy in 2018 after injuries cost him six Former Irish All-Americans Are Earning Positive Reviews Indianapolis Colts guard Quenton Nelson has made a strong impression on his new teammates and coaches in the NFL. PHOTO COURTESY INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

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