The season has been difficult for Stevenson, but he says the Irish can't think about the losses. "You can never let down, 2-5, 7-0, whatever the record is," said Stevenson. "You've got to keep going, keep pumping; you can never start getting down because that is something that can really go down hill."
The offensive line has gone from inept, to finding their feet. The offensive line appears very close to putting everything together. They still struggle running the football, but have shown signs of coming together. We asked Stevenson what has changed with the offensive line.
"I think it's a little bit of everything. We started to take a little bit of the pressure and put it on ourselves. We want to win the game. We want the coaches to look for us when they need something done, look at the offensive line. The guys are starting to gel, and feel real comfortable in there. I think it's a combination of everything, attitude, and all that kind of stuff."
The Irish will face Florida State on Saturday. The Notre Dame offensive line dominated the Seminoles last year, but none of the current offensive linemen played much in that game. We asked Stevenson how this team will prepare for a defense that will likely be very motivated to prove last year was a fluke.
"You just got to go out there and play. This is one of those big-time games that you come to Notre Dame for. What better match up than Notre Dame and Florida State? We've got to approach it like any other game. As long as we go out there and execute, do the job to the best of our abilities, we're going to win."
Stevenson says he's been impressed with what he has seen in the Florida State front four. "They've got a great front four. Their whole team is obviously a great team. They've got a lot of guys coming back from last year. We've got to go out there and play our game, and execute the way we can."
The junior offensive guard says the Seminoles play a different scheme than Boston College. "They do a little bit of everything. They're not quite the slant oriented team that we've been facing like B.C. They're pretty confident in the guys they have. They basically just try to out-play you."
"They just kind of make it a fistfight," Stevenson continued. "It just may be their scheme. Each defensive coordinator does kind of what he feels is going to work."
The switch to offensive guard was a natural move for Stevenson. He has played most of his career at offensive guard. Stevenson says it doesn't matter where he plays, as long as he's on the field helping his team win. "That allows me to be a little more aggressive which is kind of the way I play, or my style. Whatever, I like it there, I like tackle. I told coach, wherever need move me, I'll play. I don't think I have any feelings about it. To me, it's just another day at the office."
If it's a fistfight on Saturday, expect Stevenson to win his fair share of rounds. Stevenson is at his best when he's physical. Hopefully the rest of the offensive line will follow his lead, roll up their sleeves, and start slugging it out with Seminoles. To win the game, they're going to have to be the nasty offensive line we saw against Pittsburgh.