Depth Chart: Irish Offense

Updated depth chart and notes for each position for Notre Dame's offense heading into Saturday's matchup with Brigham Young.

Notes: (The number in parenthesis represents each player's remaining eligibility entering the 2012 season.)

LEFT TACKLE

Senior Zack Martin 6'4" 304 (2)
Sophomore Nick Martin 6'4" 290 (4)
Freshman Ronnie Stanley 6'6" 304 (4/5)

Notes: Stanley hasn't played since Game Four (Michigan). Head coach Brian Kelly recently explained redshirt rules in a unique manner, suggesting any Irish player that doesn't appear from Game Six forward, and who hasn't played in more than three of his team's games previously, could be eligible for a redshirt designation from the NCAA. Stanley would fall under that category.

Redshirt-freshman Nick Martin appears to be set as the team's No. 2 left tackle at present.

LEFT GUARD

Senior Chris Watt 6'3" 310 pounds (2)
Sophomore Conor Hanratty 6'5" 305 pounds (4)

Notes: Hanratty saw extended action in the blowout of Miami and would likely be the first guard off the bench should either Watt or Mike Golic (below) go down.

CENTER

- 5th-year senior Braxston Cave 6'3" 304 pounds (1)
- 5th-year senior Mike Golic, Jr. 6'3" 295 pounds (1)
- Sophomore Matt Hegarty 6'5" 296 pounds (4)

Notes: Hegarty is the only varsity center returning for 2013. Golic would replace Cave in an emergent, competitive game situation but Hegarty will likely receive second team work should the Irish pull away in a game as they did vs. Miami in Game Five.

RIGHT GUARD

5th-year senior Mike Golic, Jr. 6'3" 295 pounds (1)
Sophomore Conor Hanratty 6'5" 305 pounds (4)
Sophomore Nick Martin 6'4" 290 (4)

Notes: Martin is technically listed as the team's backup right guard, but his work as the No. 2 left tackle in Soldier Field vs. Miami suggests otherwise. Junior Bruce Heggie filled in at RG with Hanratty on the left side as the Irish went to their second unit in the fourth quarter of that contest. Hanratty, as noted previously, would likely be the first guard off the bench on either the left or right side.

RIGHT TACKLE

Junior Christian Lombard, 6'5" 309 pounds (3)
- Junior Tate Nichols, 6'8" 325 pounds (3)

Notes: Nichols made his college debut in the Game Five win over Miami. After redshirting in 2010 as a true freshman, Nichols redshirted last fall due to knee and shoulder injuries. He missed the first four games of 2012 with a patella tendon injury as well. Lombard has started all six games this season, the first of his career in the opener vs. Navy.

TIGHT END

Senior Tyler Eifert, 6'6" 251 pounds (2)
Sophomore Troy Niklas, 6'7" 260 pounds (3)
Sophomore Ben Koyack, 6'5" 253 pounds (3)

Notes: Niklas is a de facto 12th offensive starter, earning as many snaps as any receiver this season with the exception of T.J. Jones and, of course, Eifert. Koyack played his best quarter of football since the season opener as a run-blocking tight end vs. Miami but played sparingly last week vs. Stanford. During limited action, Koyack executed a first-drive seal block that afforded quarterback Everett Golson room over the left side for first down yardage on a designed run to his side.

(Z) SLOT RECEIVER

Senior Robby Toma, 5'9" 185 pounds (1)
Freshman Davonte' Neal, 5'9" 171 pounds (4/5)

Notes: Toma receives the lion's share of snaps with Neal playing an occasional snap or two in the first half of recent contests. Toma ranks fifth on the squad with 18 pass targets through six games, securing 12 passes to date. The greatest road block to playing time for Neal is likely his perimeter blocking technique as a true freshman, as Toma has improved greatly in that regard as a senior contributor. Neal has not been targeted for a pass since Game Three at Michigan State; he's served as the team's punt returner each week, though with just 10 return opportunities -- precious few offering room to maneuver post-catch.

(X) WIDE RECEIVER

Junior T.J. Jones, 5'11" 190 pounds (2)
Sophomore DaVaris Daniels, 6'2" 190 pounds (4)

Notes: True freshman Justin Ferguson has settled into a special teams role (kick return as a first-line blocker) after catching a pass late in the season opener vs. Navy. Jones ranks third on the team with 31 pass targets, corralling 19 catches including 17 for first down yardage. Daniels is fourth on the team with 14 receptions while leading the regular rotation players at 16.5 yards per catch. He played extensively alongside Jones last week with John Goodman out due to a back injury.

(W) WIDE RECEIVER

5th-year senior John Goodman, 6'3" 215 pounds (1)
Junior Daniel Smith, 6'4" 215 pounds (2)
Freshman Chris Brown, 6'2" 172 pounds (4/5)

Notes: Brown started vs. both Michigan and Miami and was targeted downfield on the first drive of both. He's yet to secure (or touch) his first collegiate pass despite three targets. Smith played more snaps than his usual last week with Goodman out. He's shown quality blocking on the perimeter each week and Saturday vs. Stanford saved the Irish (Golson) from a sure grounding penalty by coming back toward a ball thrown intentionally out of bounds. The grounding call would have resulted in a safety as Golson threw the ball away from his own end zone.

RUNNING BACK

Senior Theo Riddick, 5'11" 200 pounds (1) OR
Senior Cierre Wood, 6'0" 215 pounds (2) OR
Sophomore George Atkinson, 6'1" 210 pounds (3)

Notes: Riddick leads the team in rushing yards, attempts, touchdowns (tied with Atkinson), pass receptions, and pass targets. Atkinson leads the team in yards per carry while Wood is the leading rusher since his return in Week Three from a two-game suspension, amassing 279 yards and two scores on 47 carries (5.9 per rush).

QUARTERBACK

Junior Tommy Rees was announced Saturday morning as the game's starter.
Sophomore Everett Golson, 6'0" 185 pounds (4) OR
Junior Andrew Hendrix, 6'2" 225 pounds (3)

Notes: Kelly noted at his Thursday evening press conference that Golson would be a game-time decision due to his recovery from a concussion suffered last week vs. Stanford.

Rees has appeared in each of the team's six games this season, starting once (due to a violation of team rules by Golson) and finishing all three homes games for Golson due to a trio of disparate reasons. Rees threw his first touchdown pass of the season last week, the 7-yard slant to T.J. Jones provided the winning score in overtime. He and Golson have combined to complete eight straight passes for the position heading into Saturday's contest. Saturday's win vs. Stanford included Golson's fourth, fifth, and sixth turnover in three home starts to date.

Golson's crucial game-tying touchdown pass to Eifert in the fourth quarter Saturday was his first TD toss since Week Three in East Lansing and, occurring on 3rd and 18, one of the best passes of his early Irish career. He's accounted for six scores: four passing and two rushing.


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