August 30, 2007

Can Irish afford heavy line rotation?

Don't be surprised if Notre Dame fields a defensive line against Georgia Tech that doesn't include Trevor Laws.

That might sound like a game plan for disaster against the Yellow Jackets' experienced front, but it's one the Irish staff believes it must try to avoid running its best pass rusher into the ground.

From the start of training camp defensive line coach Jappy Oliver talked about using a better rotation at his position this season. Now he's compelled to try it, even if that means subbing out Laws on occasion.

"You have to," Oliver said. "It's a long season. You know how these games are. They last anywhere from 60-to-80 snaps. I definitely don't want him taking that many snaps. I want him fresh in that fourth quarter, so you have to force yourself to (take him out)."

Unfortunately for Notre Dame, it appears the line boasts just five trusted contributors in Laws, Patrick Kuntz, Dwight Stephenson, Justin Brown and Ian Williams. Sans Laws, that group boasts one career start and two career sacks. Oliver said there's a drop off after Williams to the point it's unlikely he'll use another lineman unless the game is already in hand.

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