Junior Andrew Kristofic has played every position on the offensive line at Notre Dame. Prior to this season, Kristofic, a 6 foot 5, 295-pounder from Pennsylvania, spent most of his time at tackle.
Turns out that Kristofic found his true home at left guard after beginning the season listed as the backup center.
Kristofic moved into that position as a starter against USC after backing up Zeke Correll against Virginia Tech.
Notre Dame had its best game on the offensive line this season in that start, rushing for 170 yards and allowing just one sack. Most importantly, the Irish were able to run the ball on its last drive to put the game away in a 31-16 victory. Notre Dame ran for 39 yards on its final 86-yard touchdown drive. USC helped by committing two penalties for 30 yards.
Kristofic was asked to play center and guard this spring because starting center Jarrett Patterson had a foot injury.
“I think it’s been great learning how to play those two positions,” Kristofic said. “The more positions you know, the faster you can get on the field. It’s also really helped me to learn the offense.”
Injuries to teammates forced Kristofic to get action at guard leading into last season's game against Syracuse; that’s when he got hooked.
“I just didn’t know because I had never played anything else,” Kristofic said of playing guard. ".... It was like, ‘Wow, I like this so much better.’”
Moving Kristofic to guard has been easier because Joe Alt, a freshman, has emerged as the starting left tackle. Sophomores Michael Carmody and Tosh Baker played left tackle after freshman Blake Fisher hurt his knee in the Florida State game. Fisher is likely out for the season.
Kristofic said he has worked at both guard positions and at center this season.
“I was shuffling all over the place,” he said. “I would spend some days at center, some days at left guard, and a little bit at right guard. I was just going where ever I was needed.”
Michael Mayer is a full-go: Notre Dame sophomore tight end Michael Mayer said he’s 100% recovered from the strained abductor muscle that kept him out of the Virginia Tech game. Mayer played against USC last week, finishing with five catches for 54 yards. Mayer aggravated it against Cincinnati.
“It’s back to 100%,” he said. “Throughout the week of practice last week, I worked through a little bit of soreness and a little bit of tightness. I’m feeling good. It’s been three or four weeks since it happened.”
The sack strategy: Junior defensive end Isaiah Foskey doesn’t just try to get sacks.
When he has a clear view of the quarterback, he’s trying to create a turnover. Foskey has forced three fumbles this year.
“Every time I get a sack, I try to throw my hands at the quarterback’s hands because I know the ball is going to be there,” he said. “That’s how I try to go for the ball and try to get a turnover.”
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