Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 21, 2013 Issue

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

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Page 31 of 108

The Right Way The Irish relied on the left side of the offensive line in 2012, but have featured an improved right side this season E By Andrew Owens arly in the fourth quarter of a vexing 10-10 tie with Michigan State, the right side of Notre Dame's offensive line sealed off the front end of the Spartans' physical defense and forged a gaping hole large enough to fit perhaps all five of Notre Dame's running backs. Junior Cam McDaniel jaunted into the end zone for a seven-yard touchdown run that boosted the Irish to victory. The play not only put the Irish up for good in that game, but it also provided tangible proof of the belea- Sophomore right tackle Ronnie Stanley appeared in just two games in 2012, but earned a starting position with his play in fall camp. Photo by Bill Panzica guered unit's development, as well as a coaching staff's willingness to trust it. The Irish rushed for 189.4 yards per game in 2012 en route to a 12‑1 finish, but a disparity in talent and production persisted between the left and right sides of the unit the whole season. When Notre Dame needed a yard or two, it almost always opted to run behind left tackle Zack Martin and left guard Chris Watt. Although that pair undoubtedly represents the most imposing duo among the Irish linemen, new starter sophomore right tackle Ronnie Stanley and right guard Christian Lombard (last year's starter at right guard) have instilled confidence in the program that balance is on its way. "They've done a good job," Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said. "Ronnie as a [sophomore], first-time

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