Quenton Nelson leads Irish through words and actions
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Perhaps no position group in the country asserted its dominance more than Notre Dame's Offensive Line, routinely punishing opponents on the line of scrimmage, averaging for more than 275 rushing yards per game.
"Those guys are the leaders up front and they take their stuff and their preparation very seriously," said Brandon Wimbush, Notre Dame quarterback.
Much of that identity comes from Quenton Nelson, the unanimous All-American selection, who is expected to become a top draft pick in the spring.
"I try to bring a physical demeanor to every game, try to punish my guy that I have to block and do my job and what I was taught to do," said Nelson.
Notre Dame Head Coach Brian Kelly said, "I offered my parking spot to try to get him to come back. He didn't bite on that."
It’s become customary for the Irish to celebrate the biggest plays each game, and Nelson, has become a mainstay on the film.
"We have a punish tape at the end of every week leading into the next week. Coach Long loves the physicality, he harps on that all week, all year,” said Wimbush.
Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame lineman said, "It's more of a competition to see who can keep up with Q. He's mean, he's nasty, he's big and strong and finishes people like nobody else can so you try to keep pace with that.
It's safe to assume that the punish tape included this play against Georgia, perhaps nelson's highlight of the season that has gained national attention.
McGlinchey said, "There was this blitz that they did, we had the protection slid the other way.”
Nelson said, “There was no one for me to block. I figured the blitz was coming from the other side."
McGlinchey said, "This guy was coming, and he went three guys over, found a gap and just de-cleated the guy."
Nelson said, "So I went over there and found some work.”
While Mclinchey is an All-American and top prospect in his own right, these are the plays that leave even the elite in awe.
"You watch that on film and your jaw just drops. How does he have that awareness, the balance, the speed, and the power to finish the block. It's a rare combination and I'd be hard-pressed to find anybody that can do the things he can do anywhere in the country,” McGlinchey said.
To the outside perspective, Nelson may appear to be soft spoken but behind closed doors, he's known to be just as tough as his play on the field.
"He holds everybody accountable, so if somebody's not doing it the right way, he's not afraid to tell them, 'that's not how we do it at Notre Dame.' That's a real good leader to have on your team,” Kelly said.
Nelson will tell you he holds the team to that standard because he cares about what the school and program represent.
Nelson said, "These four years have been the best decision I probably ever made in my life academically, athletically and spiritually. I've developed into such a greater person because of this decision to come to Notre Dame."