September 7, 2006

Time to shine for D-line

For Notre Dame's defensive line, it's so far, so-so.

Defending a mobile quarterback at Georgia Tech robbed the front four of its aggressiveness, but even with lowered expectations for sacks and pressures, the line didn't start the season exactly as planned. Notre Dame's starting defensive line totaled just seven tackles against the Yellow Jackets, none behind the line of scrimmage.

"We didn't play the run particularly well," said defensive coordinator Rick Minter. "We were a little light in the box. The biggest key about our game last week was we made plays at the right time."

Georgia Tech converted just 2-of-10 opportunities on third down, both 3rd-and-1 scenarios. So while the line didn't sparkle on the stat sheet, it helped the Irish defense off the field on third downs and kept quarterback Reggie Ball under wraps. Ball rushed for 55 yards on 11 carries.

"He didn't break too many big runs on us," said Victor Abiamiri. "A lot of times last year a quarterback would break contain and complete a pass downfield. We didn't allow much of that last week."

If last weekend tested the defensive line's patience with a game plan built on containment, this Saturday could showcase the front four. With Penn State employing a drop back quarterback that's also making his first career road start, the line will be asked to rattle Anthony Morelli in the pocket.

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