Notre Dame needs to make a decision about what to do with standout blocker Jarrett Patterson, but Patterson also has a decision to make. The reality is in situations where a position change is an option, the player usually has the opportunity to have the final say in the matter.
Making the decision to move your best returning blocker from a position he's shown the ability to thrive can be difficult for both the coaches and the player. In the latest Irish Breakdown mailbag we discussed which position at Notre Dame is ultimately best for Patterson.
The easy answer to what position is best for Patterson is to say center, because we've seen him do it. That's a bit of a lazy answer as well, and there must be an open and honest discussion on the Notre Dame side of things about moving Patterson, and deciding what is best for him and the rest of the line. It could mean center, but it could also mean a move, possibly to left tackle.
Beyond what we've seen him do, the discussion about what he's best at, or where his skills are better suited, needs to be had. From a coaching standpoint there needs to be a discussion about how moving him is the best thing for the entire line, and the offense as a whole because it could allow the staff to get the best five on the field, with rising junior Zeke Correll stepping into the starting center position.
Being a standout at center means a move to guard would be relatively seamless. I'm not sure moving him to guard would be much of a needle mover, and it would be just as easy to move Correll to guard, which would get two of your better players into the lineup, but Patterson would be able to stay at center, where he can still be the quarterback of the line.
In the video above we talked about the skills that Patterson possesses that should allow him to thrive on the outside as a tackle, especially left tackle, and that is the move that would make the most sense. Patterson not only has the combination of size, length, athleticism and comfort in space to thrive on the edge, it would shore up a position that is a major question mark right now.
For Patterson personally, I believe he has the skillset to be every bit as good at tackle as he was at center. It would also boost his draft stock whenever he heads to the NFL. Proving capable of playing two distinctly different positions at a very high level would do nothing but increase his value with NFL line coaches, and it would enhance his overall resume.
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