Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 30, 2017

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

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12 OCT. 30, 2017 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED UNDER THE DOME NOTRE DAME OFFENSIVE LINE ON JOE MOORE WATCH LIST Notre Dame's offensive line was one of 21 among 129 teams in the Foot- ball Bowl Subdivision named to the midseason watch list for the 2017 Joe Moore Award. Begun in 2015, the Joe Moore Award is named after the former college offensive line coach who became esteemed for the units and elite linemen he produced at Pitt (1980-85), Temple (1986-87) and Notre Dame (1988-96), and it is the lone award in college football that honors an entire unit. The voting committee is comprised solely of people who played or coached the position — including all of the current offensive line coaches at the Divi- sion I/FBS level — plus former players, coaches, colleagues of Coach Moore (including 1993 Notre Dame Lombardi Award winner Aaron Taylor) and select media. The voting subcommittee uses game film and coach-submitted cut-ups on The DragonFly Division I Network as the primary offensive line unit evalua- tion tool. Advanced offensive line data and statistics are provided by STATS LLC, which helps to support the film evaluation process by highlighting key situ- ations and moments over the course of the season, and they also consider items such as penalties, percentage of negative plays, how clean the pocket is on every passing situation, etc. This honor is based primarily on six traits: toughness, effort, teamwork, consistency, technique and finishing. Earning the inaugural Joe Moore Award was 2015 national champion Alabama. Last season the winner was Iowa — whose head coach Kirk Ferentz was a captain for Moore in high school. Among the 21 teams recognized at the halfway point only one was listed as possessing five of the six traits: the University of Wisconsin. Four other schools — New Mexico, North Carolina State, Notre Dame and San Diego State — had four qualities highlighted. Ironically, New Mexico is coached by 1997-2001 Irish head coach Bob Da- vie, who did not retain Moore, which then resulted in an ugly age discrimina- tion lawsuit that Moore won. The Notre Dame crew is spearheaded by captains and 2016 third-team As- sociated Press All-Americans Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson. Seniors Sam Mustipher at center and Alex Bars at right guard also have started every game the past two seasons, while right tackle duties have been split between sophomore Tommy Kraemer (who has also lined up at guard) and freshman Robert Hainsey. Notre Dame's identity this season has been physicality. "We stick to what we're good at," McGlinchey said. "We call plays that play to our strengths, and offensively we've just been able to keep grinding it out. Conditioning wise, we feel great, and execution wise we feel great. We've just got to keep rolling." The Irish offensive line was one of only 21 units nationally named to the midseason watch list for the third annual Joe Moore Award. PHOTO BY ANGELA DRISKELL Senior captain and Buck linebacker Greer Martini injured his knee (meniscus) in a practice during the bye week, underwent a procedure on it Oct. 12 and was sidelined for the Oct. 21 contest with USC. "There's a good chance we'll have him back for North Carolina State [Oct. 28]," Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said two days before the USC game. Martini and junior Te'von Coney basically were co-starters through the first six games at Buck line- backer, but Martini also took snaps at Mike to take some of the workload off fellow senior captain Nyles Morgan. Prior to the USC contest, Coney had taken 231 snaps to Martini's 228, and they ranked second and third on the team in tackles with 42 and 39, respec- tively, while Morgan paced the team in stops with 44. Martini also led the team with two forced fumbles. The second level of the Irish defense also fea- tured former safety and a third senior captain, Drue Tranquill, at rover, and he was fourth in stops with 34, highlighted by a team high 4.5 tackles for loss. He too could help inside if needed. "Drue and Nyles have been outstanding players for us at a high level," Kelly said. "Our [Buck] line- backer has been productive. Both Greer and Te'von have played well. But the higher level of play has been certainly the Mike and the rover position." Per Kelly, the Buck linebacker gets expanded more out into pass coverage, meaning the Mike and rover are more likely to be where the action is. In other injury news: • Junior defensive tackle Elijah Taylor has been ruled out for the balance of 2017 after undergoing Lisfranc surgery this spring from an injury he suf- fered the second day of spring drills. Taylor redshirted as a 2015 freshman and saw action in four games last season, recording all three of his tackles in the season finale loss at USC. He was projected to be the top backup to senior Jonathan Bonner, but freshman Myron Tagovailoa- Amosa instead has become the top option while also seeing work at nose guard. • Tagovailoa-Amosa suffered a chest contusion in the game at North Carolina Oct. 7, but was prac- ticing with the team again in preparation for the USC game. According to Kelly, the freshman likely would have been medically cleared to play Oct. 14 had the Irish not had a bye. • Junior running back Dexter Williams continued to battle an ankle sprain that was expected to limit him, if see any action at all, versus USC. • Junior quarterback Brandon Wimbush, who did not start at North Carolina while mending from a foot injury, practiced at "100 percent," per Kelly, while preparing for USC. During self-scouting and analysis in the course of the bye week, Kelly noted how Wimbush has been more effective than the passing numbers (96th nationally in passing efficiency) might indicate on paper. "He's been really productive in a number of areas — moving the chains, fourth-down conversions, third downs, big plays …" Kelly explained. "There has to be some improvement in some other areas. "But from a productivity standpoint, he's done some really good things, and he's only going to get better." Linebacker Greer Martini Injures Knee During Bye Week At the midway point of the season, Martini ranked third on the team with 39 tackles and had a team-high two forced fumbles. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA

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