Martin to guard, Lombard to tackle in OL shakeup

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Rumors of some offensive line tweaks have been confirmed. On Notre Dame’s weekly depth chart, the Irish starting five up front have shifted dramatically.

Captain Nick Martin is moving from center to left guard, trading spots with Matt Hegarty. Fifth-year senior Christian Lombard is shifting outside to tackle, while sophomore Steve Elmer moves back inside to guard, where he played as a freshman.

With Brian Kelly about to discuss the changes during his weekly Tuesday press conference, one thing that’s for certain is that the bye week analysis of the offensive line forced Kelly and Harry Hiestand to find a new combination to help kickstart the Irish ground game, stuck in neutral against both Michigan and Purdue.

Kelly spoke about finding a better push on the interior of the line the last time we heard from him, moments before the head coach and his offensive line coach were set to discuss the state of the offensive line. They believe they’ve found that solution with Elmer shifting inside, bringing another big body into the trenches.

The starting five never seemed in doubt, but the positioning of the five players was still in flux during fall camp, with Notre Dame breaking camp with Elmer at right tackle, shifting outside instead of sophomore Mike McGlinchey, who manned the position during spring football.

Lombard will be at tackle for the first time since the 2012 season, where he started 13 games. Hegarty returns to center, where he filled in admirably after Martin went down with a knee injury against BYU. While the injury hasn’t been mentioned, Martin has been spotted with his hand heavily wrapped, likely to protect an injury.

More to report after Kelly’s press conference, but the first big tweak of the offense comes as expected.