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Sunday, October 16, 2011
Bye week grades: offensive line

By Matt Fortuna

OFFENSIVE LINE

Grade: A

Summary: Notre Dame has a pair of 400-plus-yard rushers. Tommy Rees has been sacked just four times. Both numbers are largely due to the strength of the offensive line, which has played tremendously through the first half of the season. Left guard Chris Watt has settled into his role of starter without any troubles so far, and right guard Trevor Robinson has shown tremendous improvement from last year to this year. The unit has jelled together as one in the season's first six games, and it has, by all accounts, meshed incredibly well with the running backs, who have repeatedly expressed their excitement about running behind such a powerful unit. If there is one area the linemen can improve on it is perhaps discipline, as they have contributed their fair share to an Irish team that ranks 99th in the nation in penalties. But overall, it's tough to complain about the line's first-half performance.

Backups: With three senior starters it will be tough to replicate this year's success in the early going of 2012. Only five reserves have seen time so far this season, and three of them are seniors. Two players on the two-deep are true freshmen who have yet to see the field this season.

Previous report cards:

Quarterbacks

Defensive line