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For the second straight season, the defensive line might be Notre Dame’s strongest single area of the team.
5 Time POTW--Gringo Mafia Director of Guerrilla Warfare
"Having the right to do something doesn't mean it's right to do it." -- Chief Justice Warren Burger
Good to see Day where he's at - and Utopo making it on the 2nd team shows good progression he's a quick body. Nix & Kona will be a strong rotation. Maybe by mid season Jarron will start making an impact I don't see him not showing up soon.
Great mixture of veterans and incoming freshmen and sophomores. Looks like we will be solid on the DL for a while.
I think that if Jarron gets a chance in the field this year, we will see he is like Nix of the past, not a good practice player, yet...but come game time, he will get his mean streak on.
Lou, I know we've been down this road before, but give me a top 5 defensive line. Ross Browner is a unanimous choice at one spot, but then what? Alan Page has to be in there. Then you get to choose between Mike McCoy(most forgotten,) Mike Kadish (most underrated), Mike Fanning, Walt Patulski, Kevin Hardy, and Steve Niehaus. This is modern era only so all of Leahy's great linemen, (who would be a first team all to themselves) are not included.
This post was edited by topgome on 4/9/2013 at 8:08 PM
Chris Zorich and Bryant Young both have to be on that list, and what Nix and Tuitt do this year will also be pivotal to place them among the top 5 since 1964, or when Ara Parseghian arrived.
Brian Boulac said the greatest defensive tackle he's seen in all the years he's been at ND since serving as a grad assistant for Ara the 1960s was Niehaus with his unreal combination of power and quickness. John McKay said of Niehaus, "He looks like a whale but moves like a porpoise." He made his first start as a 17-year-old freshman and made 13 tackles plus blocked a kick. Boulac, who was coaching along the offensive line at the time, said on the first day of pads the 17-year-old brought an older o-lineman (who would become an All-American) to tears because he thought he had to be the worst player in the world to get beat as badly as he did by a freshman. Even with two major knee surges, Niehaus became the No. 2 pick in the 1976 NFL draft (behind Lee Roy Selmon).
Beyond that, it's subjective. Browner was in his own league, and the popular feeling amongst the coaches was that Page was merely the third best lineman on the campus, behind Hardy and Pete Duranko. He was considered better in the pros than in college. I'm a little partial to Zorich because he brought an attitude to the program that was sorely missing and made a profound impact. He might have not had the overall natural talent of some others, but he was a program changer. On my 125-year team last year which had different categories of impact at Notre Dame and in turning around the program, number of years where he starred and consistent production, I had Browner and Leon Hart as the ends and Zorich and Page as the tackles (that's what Page played in the NFL).
Boulac disputed picking Page and Zorich over Niehaus, but I explained that pro career was also taken into account and that Niehaus played only the first four games in 1972 and 1973, and the Irish still won the national title without him in 1973. Take away Zorich from the 1988-89 teams and I don't think they win 23 straight.
Thanks. Why so little love for McCoy do you think? And since I brought it up, how about a pre-Ara defensive line? I can throw Leon Hart and Jim Martin out there but then who? And Hart was just a Giant for his time, 6'4 and 250! That was freak size back then! But I have to say, any players that came back from WWII wouldn't have been afraid of anything on a football field.
I don't think it's a lack of love for McCoy. I think he was 6th in the 1969 Heisman balloting and he was the second overall pick in the 1970 NFL Draft.
Possibly he might have been overshadowed a little because the Hardy-Page-Duranko group before him won the national title, while the Patulski-Kadish-Mark group led a great 1970 unit that upset No. 1 Texas and finished No. 2. In McCoy's three seasons ND never beat USC or Purdue ... not that it was his fault.
Another possibility is Mike was such a massive specimen, especially in his time, that people constantly expected him to dominate, and no matter what he did it didn't seem enough. Like Wilt Chamberlain used to say, "Nobody cheers for Goliath."
Super individual who has been on our Irish Huddle podcast. He certainly belongs among the greats.
I know one individual your father especially thought was the greatest D-lineman was Jim White on the 1943 national champs. He finished high in the Heisman balloting behind Bertelli and Creighton Miller. He said he looked like a doughboy but was the meanest, toughest player he saw. Those three plus George Connor — who Paul Hornung has said was the greatest ND football player ever — could comprise that quartet.
Bob Toneff, Frank Varrichione, Art Hunter were among the star two-way linemen in the 1950s.
What you wrote about Page at Notre Dame and the pros is spot on. IMO, he was the best pro, not the best college lineman. Can never forget tha Det Lion game: They called him for jumping off sides or some infraction, and it seemed he made the initial tackles the rest of the game. McCoy received a lot of attention out of high school, but he never lived up to that enormous attention. Niehaus, seemed to be injured most of his Irish career. Loved them all.
it's great to read all the potential for this year's D-line performance. it's imperative they show more toughness and physicality than the big spanking bama's O-line gave them......and i'm not being negative. words can lie but the film does not......
Run the ball.
Stop the run.
You win, or lose, up front.
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