Blue and Gold Illustrated

December 2018

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

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12 DECEMBER 2018 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED UNDER THE DOME NOTRE DAME OFFENSIVE LINE HONORED One year after receiving the Joe Moore Award as the nation's top offensive line, Notre Dame was named one of the 10 semifi- nalists in 2018. It occurred this time after graduating the No. 6 (guard Quenton Nelson) and No. 9 (tackle Mike McGlinchey) selections in the 2018 NFL Draft, plus losing fifth-year senior left guard Alex Bars, a po- tential first-day pick as well, to injury in the fifth game this season. Alphabetically the 10 semifinalists included No. 1 Alabama, Ari- zona State, No. 2 Clemson, No. 5 Georgia, Memphis, No. 3 Notre Dame, No. 6 Oklahoma, No. 24 Pittsburgh, No. 7 Washington State and Wisconsin. The voting committee will announce its selection of finalists on Dec. 4, 2018, and the selection will be made public after a surprise visit to the winning university's campus in late December. The voting committee judges solely on six criteria: tough- ness, effort, teamwork, consistency, technique and finishing. Evaluations for semifinalists were made primarily through weekly reviews of actual game film and offensive line coach-provided cut- ups on the DragonFly Division I Network. In addition, STATS, one of the industry leaders in sports data analytics, provides advanced O-line data and analytics to give context and clarity, and to help streamline the film evaluation process. Notre Dame's starting lineup is comprised of junior left tackle Liam Eichenberg, sophomore left guard Aaron Banks, fifth-year senior center and captain Sam Mustipher, junior right guard Tommy Kraemer and sophomore right tackle Robert Hainsey. Senior Trevor Ruhland also has shared snaps at guard and is the top backup option at center as well. Regarding the Fighting Irish line, which loses only starting center Sam Mustipher next season, the committee stated: "Solid improvement from week one. Not always pretty or consistent, but rose to occasion against a very good FSU front seven. Shoot hands well and initial footwork is solid. Always looks to finish. Maybe a year away, but it's there." — Lou Somogyi Alohi Gilman's Influence Is Felt Throughout The Defense Junior safety Alohi Gilman was named the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week following his two interceptions and eight tackles in Notre Dame's 36-3 victory over then-No. 12 Syracuse Nov. 17. Head coach Brian Kelly described Gilman's play and leadership — including on special teams — as "infec- tious." His passion for the game and personality has an uplifting presence similar to what fellow Hawai'i native and friend Manti Te'o had throughout the 12-0 regular season in 2012 when he became one of the most decorated players in college football history. "He lights up the room when he walks in because he's got a personality," Kelly said of Gilman. "He doesn't do it when he walks into a locker room; he does it when he walks onto a football field. "Alohi is sometimes a bit dismissive when praise is heaped on him by teammates. He kind of shies away from it a little bit. In the locker room, even at times he'll not keep to himself, he's not the loudest guy. "When you put him on that football field — it's a different guy. That's his office. That's where he goes to work. When he crosses that line, it's a different person. "When I say 'infectious,' it's when he's on the football field. His personality comes out, his love for the game, his energy. His passion starts to affect others who may not be that same personality on the field, but maybe that way in the locker room." It has especially rubbed off on fellow starting safety and junior Jalen Elliott, who started last year as well but has blossomed into a playmaker in part because of the chemistry he's developed with Gilman. "Jalen in the locker room is high energy, but he wasn't playing fast. He wasn't playing with great energy," Kelly said. "… Like hockey, team him up with the right guy, and they look good together. That pair really works well together. Alohi brings a lot of energy. Jalen is playing so much faster and so much more free out there. "It's interesting because Jalen is the guy that's making a lot of the calls back there now. He's influenced Jalen quite a bit." — Lou Somogyi CHIP LONG NAMED TO BROYLES AWARD WATCH LIST Second-year offensive coordinator and tight ends coach Chip Long was one of 15 semifinalists named to the 2018 Broyles Award, presented annually since 1996 to the nation's top assistant coach. Five final- ists will be selected and invited to travel to Little Rock, Ark., where the 2018 Broyles Award winner will be announced Dec. 4. Nominees were selected from around 1,500 assistant coaches representing the 130 Division I programs across the nation and 15 moved on from the original 53 as- sistants nominated. Per the award's site, "The Broyles Award selection process includes nominations from head coaches, the Hall-of-Fame se- lection committee and the Football Writ- ers Association of America (FWAA)." The Fighting Irish offense has prospered despite losing two top-10 selections along the offensive line (Quenton Nelson and Mike McGlinchey), seeing star fifth- year senior left guard Alex Bars sidelined with a torn ACL in the fifth game, having top 2017 rusher (Josh Adams) and receiver (Equanimeous St. Brown) turn pro after their junior seasons, not having top rusher Dexter Williams the first four weeks, and making a quarterback change in the fourth game to junior Ian Book after senior Brandon Wimbush had started 16 of the previous 17 contests. Among the other 14 semifinalists, Notre Dame has faced one this season: Michi- gan defensive coordinator Don Brown. The lone Notre Dame assistant to win the award was former 2010-13 defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Bob Diaco after the 12-0 regular season during which the Irish led the nation in scoring defense (10.33 points per game allowed), recording its lowest total in a regular season in 32 years. Diaco was the head coach at Connecticut for three seasons and the defensive coordinator at Nebraska in 2017. He was hired as a defensive analyst at the Univer- sity of Oklahoma this spring before getting promoted to outside linebackers coach following the firing of coordinator Mike Stoops. — Lou Somogyi Under Long's guidance, the Fighting Irish averaged 34.6 points and 454.5 yards per game during their 11-0 start. PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME MEDIA RELATIONS Through 11 games, Gilman was tied for sec- ond on the team in both tackles (66) and interceptions (two). PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA

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