Tommy Kraemer got a Pro Bowl glimpse of his future last weekend.
The 6-foot-5, 306-pound offensive lineman returned to Notre Dame for the Irish Invasion on Friday night and stuck around for the lineman camp the following day. Not only did Kraemer get to work with offensive line coach Harry Hiestand, he also mixed with Zack Martin, a four-star starter in South Bend who went in the first round of last year’s NFL Draft. Martin then made the Pro Bowl as a rookie with the Dallas Cowboys.
“It was awesome,” Kraemer said. “It was neat to learn from coach Hiestand and Zack Martin a lot of little technique stuff that I really need to work on to improve my game. I know what I have to do and I’m looking forward to it.
“It was a lot of stuff like on run blocking my backside elbow is in and on pass pro keeping my inside foot vertical instead of turning toward the defensive end, just stuff like that,” he said. “There’s a lot of little stuff that I have to improve before I get there.”
Working with Martin gave Kraemer a high-level look at what it takes to make it at Notre Dame and beyond.
“I really liked being coached by Zack Martin. You have a guy who has had so much success. It’s pretty neat he came back with campers and was really into it. It made me learn a lot. It was pretty neat to see him come back and help out,” Kraemer said. “It’s really inspiring. I’m about the same size, so you don’t have to be 6-8 to play tackle. That was a good thing. He was just so energetic and I think we’re very similar in both our play style and our personality so that was great. He just told me to always listen to coach Hiestand because he always has the best interest of the player and I could have a really bright future there and just keep doing my thing and listen to coach Hiestand.”
Kraemer has spent plenty of time with Hiestand, both in person and on the telephone, but this was his first real interaction on the field with the Irish assistant.
“It was awesome,” he said. “He’s really into it. He’s really good at coaching you up. When you do something wrong he always points it out to you but he’s always positive about it. He never just says, ‘You stink at it.’ He always corrects you when you do something wrong. You know he’s there for the best interests of the player. That was really nice.”
Working with Eichenberg also was a treat.
“It was awesome,” Kraemer said. “Him and I had a great time. He’s a great player and I think it’s going to be a fun four or five years. I’m looking forward to working with him the next couple years.”
“It was neat,” he said. “We were just walking around and talking. I talked to Trevor Ruhland a little bit about the transition to Notre Dame already. It was good to talk to those guys and just hang out.”
Kraemer will compete at The Opening Finals at Nike Headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., beginning July 7 then kick off his senior season with two-a-day practices on Aug. 1.