Notre Dame's offensive success during the 2020 season has been largely fueled by the outstanding play of the line. Through the first eight games of the season, the offense averaged 233.5 rushing yards per game and was one of the top pass blocking units in the country.
A key ingredient to the line's success was how well it played together as a unit; five guys on the same page snap after snap. It was a unit that had great cohesion, and the experience it had playing together was a key to its success.
After seeing the same lineup for the first eight games, the Irish lineup will likely go through some major reshuffling down the stretch.
Notre Dame saw a new-look offensive line in the 31-17 victory over North Carolina. Injuries forced sophomore Zeke Correll into the lineup at center and senior Joshua Lugg at right guard.
An ankle injury now has Correll's status in doubt, which head coach Brian Kelly discusses in the video below:
Should Correll not be able to go against Syracuse, Lugg will move over to center and senior Dillan Gibbons will step into the lineup at right guard.
Gibbons hasn't played much this season, but when he did get onto the field against Florida State he played quite well.
Correll not being able to go would mean the Irish would start a different lineup for the second straight game, which hurts the ability of that unit to get continuity.
It would also mean the ACC title game would see a third-straight different lineup up front.
Kelly explained in the video below that 34-game starter Tommy Kraemer, the team's right guard the first eight games of the season, practiced this week and could play if needed, but the Irish would choose to use him only as an emergency option, which gives Kraemer time to heal.
Barring any setbacks, Kraemer will be back for the ACC title game matchup against Clemson. That would mean the Irish could possibly have a third straight different lineup along the offensive line when it plays for the conference title.
Kelly noted that a decision on who plays center will be determined later, but Correll missing the game against Syracuse could certainly hinder his ability to seize hold of that job.
New faces in new places, players shuffling around, none of it is an ideal recipe for great line play. But if there is any group that can get it done, it's the talented and deep Irish line.
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