Maybe a failing grade is harsh, but the offensive line did nothing all game long. They’re an experienced unit, who was expected to take a leap forward from last season. Every national pundit who is looking for something good to say about Notre Dame, brought up the offensive line a dominant unit. So far, that’s not the case.
They let Ian Book get hit early, which made a quarterback who doesn’t thrive in the pocket want to avoid the pocket at all costs. Those happy feet Book gets are because he doesn’t trust the offensive line to hold its blocks long enough for him to make throws from the pocket. Oftentimes, he was right, but even when they do hold up that lack of trust messes with the rhythm of the passing game.
The line also struggled to push Duke off the ball in running plays, especially up the middle. They’re bigger and stronger. They’re more naturally talented. Still they failed. This comes down to technique and desire. Notre Dame’s offensive line didn’t have enough of it all game.
Even on the two rushing touchdowns, Williams had to dodge tacklers in the backfield and look for a secondary hole, because the simply didn’t open up holes the way they were supposed to.
The offensive line is a tone setter. They’re also vital to success, because no matter the talent at skills positions, you can not win a football game with defensive linemen collapsing on you. As of now, the Irish offensive line isn’t mean enough to do what Notre Dame needs them to over the course of a long season.
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