Stevenson Ready to Go as Fifth-Year Senior

Head coach Charlie Weis is looking to take Notre Dame football back to its rightful place on the map. Other Irish coaches have shared the same sentiments in the past week. For some of them, it was the main reason for their acceptance of taking the assistant positions. Offensive lineman Dan Stevenson sees this as a big plus for the program.

"Coach Weis is really big on the whole tradition aspect of Notre Dame," Stevenson said. "Obviously he went here and he knows what being part of Notre Dame is. Through his experiences, he's really been able embrace that and help us realize what Notre Dame truly means."

Stevenson, a fifth-year senior, has seen it all in his four-plus years here in South Bend. Weis will be his third coach in a career that has seen the highs and the lows. This coaching staff prefers a faster pace in all football-related areas and it shows on the practice field.

"Everything is real quick," Stevenson said. "Everything is at a high energy. It's fast tempo and go, go, go. No one is sitting around. You don't have periods were half the guys are working and half the guys aren't. Everyone is doing something at every moment. Everyone is working hard. We're trying to get better."

The Barrington, Illinois native is plenty experienced to handle the change. Stevenson has seen action in 33 games for Notre Dame, including 22 starts at right guard over the past two seasons. The line has high expectations for itself this year and Stevenson knows how critical their success translates to the team's overall success.

"We expect a lot of good things from us," Stevenson said. "We are all back. We think we have something special up front. We believe that is where the game is won is up front. We're definitely excited to go out there and show people what we can do."

Weis has said that to build inherent depth, a team must have personnel who can play multiple positions. The only concern on the offensive line is depth and if one of the top six goes down, there could be a lot of shaky knees in Irish land. Offensive line coach John Latina hopes to have suitable backups by the end of this week.

"I don't know if there is anyone quite ready to go beyond that (the top six)," Latina said this past Sunday. "But we're making great strides. Everyday you put in a new insertion of plays. Hopefully in another three, four, five days, as we go back and go through these things, we start honing it down and getting more reps with those things. We'll see that progress. I'm hoping by the end of the next week we see a lot of progress, especially with the number two's."

The coach's effort with the veteran line is appreciated, especially in helping learn the new offense and blocking schemes.

"Coach Latina is a great coach and he's doing a great job of getting the offensive line ready as far as installation goes," Stevenson said. "We get a lot of repetition, especially in the meetings going over the material until you get absorb it. The transition is going very smooth. They are doing an excellent job of making us understanding the schemes and the new offense."

Stevenson, who has experience playing tackle but has stayed put this fall camp at guard, has seen the coaching staff moving certain players around on the offensive line. The senior thinks it's valuable in a variety of ways.

"Bob Morton has been playing a little guard and center, Scott Raridon playing both guards and tackle, Brian Mattes playing guard and tackle," Stevenson said. "Everyone is learning to play different positions and it's important.

"It gives everyone an opportunity to show what they can do. So often, you get set on a person playing on position. Being versatile makes you a better player and makes you more valuable. It helps you to understand the offense a little better."

Stevenson comes from a family entrenched in football. His dad, Mark, played in the NFL for the Detroit Lions. The father passed the love of the game on to his sons. While Dan is at Notre Dame, one brother, Tony, played at Arizona State, and another, Joey, played at Arizona Western. Despite being knee-deep in sports, the family likes to talk about other things when they all get together.

"I'm the only one still playing. It revolves around me now I guess. There is a lot of football talk and a lot of stories. You live football so much that when we get together you try to put it behind us and focus on being together. My parents were big on not pushing me towards doing football. I think it was expected but not pushed. It was something growing up and being around it that I wanted to do." Top Stories