Is your glass half full, Irish fan?
If so, you’re going to enjoy a fall season featuring one of the program’s top pass rush prospects, sophomore defensive end Andrew Trumbetti, moving up, down, across, and behind Notre Dame’s line of scrimmage in his efforts to get to enemy quarterbacks.
If your glass is half empty, however, you’ll be quick to point out the obvious: that’s not the ideal way to get from Point A (scrimmage) to Point B (the QB).
“I feel like I might not be the fastest pass rusher, but I’m pretty aggressive and when we get to run different stunts I feel like it’s something I’m good at,” said Trumbetti. “I have a high motor, I won’t stop. Sometimes it’s hard to rush the passer because I don’t have 35-inch arms (length) and I don’t run a 4.4. Really when I can be physical and use my best traits it feels good out there.”
Trumbetti’s true freshman campaign was highlighted by five QB pressures (fourth on the team) and 5.5 tackles for loss (sixth) – solid numbers for a player that didn’t start until the Music City Bowl at season’s end.
A promising start, but likely not good enough in the mind of Trumbetti – one that apparently works overtime and leans toward self-flagellation.
“I’m really hard on myself. I always have been,” he said. “I think my problem is that if I get yelled at by a coach or I do something wrong, I let it bother me. I don’t just forget about it. That’s the biggest thing I need to work on. I let it linger, and that’s not something you should do. On the field it’s a bad thing. Move onto the next play.”
MIND OVER (LACK OF) MASS
While Trumbetti will likely learn to suppress his inner critic, a physical issue appears ready to present throughout his sophomore season.
On occasion, Trumbetti will be on the wrong side of a weighty issue – his lack thereof.
“I’m probably 35 pounds under weight at the Big End position, Isaac’s (Rochell) position,” said the 260-pound Trumbetti, a player identified by defensive line coach Keith Gilmore as one of the few that can compete at both Big End and Rush End – the latter his natural position, shared with senior Romeo Okwara.
“I get pushed around a lot because I’m going against double teams and what not. I hate knowing there’ll be a double team, but I love the competition of the position. I love being on the field. At Big End, you’re playing more head up on the (offensive) tackle as opposed to playing outside (Rush End), or the 6-technique.”
Rush and Big End; nickel and dime package situations, Trumbetti will serve the Irish defense in myriad roles this fall. But his season arc was stunted a bit last spring, a 15-practice session that initially saw him compete with Okwara on an even playing field for the starting Rush End role.
That competition ended when Trumbetti was absent – through no fault of his own.
“I shouldn’t really say what it was but it was not just a stomach virus,” he offered. “Everyone thinking I was just out with a stomach virus, I don’t want them to think I’m soft or anything. It was much worse than that, I promise. It sent me back a little bit to be honest. I missed about four practices and it was really unfortunate. I was competing with Romeo and Romeo really took off. I was set back a lot.”
He’s worked his way back, and credits his new position coach for matching his will to work overtime on his craft.
“Coach Gilmore has done a lot for me. There are areas I need to work on and I try it every day through film,” said Trumbetti. “He’s always there. Very understanding. He’ll always be there for us. He’ll stay with you for hours if you need him to.”
Trumbetti and defensive line mates require more of the same if they’re to aid the Irish in pursuit of the program’s singular, lofty goal this fall.