Lost amongst captains, suspensions and quarterbacks, Brian Kelly named senior Colin McGovern Notre Dame’s starting right guard. He won out over fellow senior Hunter Bivin and sophomore Tristen Hoge.
McGovern’s strong camp helped solidify the starting five two weeks before the team heads to Austin, where 100,000 fans will present the most hostile environment the Irish will see this season. His ascent also turned around a situation that had the Illinois native running third this spring after a concussion kept him out of multiple practices.
As camp continued, McGovern ended up winning Brian Kelly and Harry Hiestand’s trust, a veteran who the staff believes is better equipped for the interior job than Bivin and has more strength at the point of attack than Hoge.
Kelly talked a bit about the positives McGovern brought to the job earlier in camp, while also explaining some of the evolutionary changes the offense has made in the past few seasons, a key to McGovern emerging as the starter.
“This offense requires more of a puller, a guy that is more a guy that can get out in space and Tristen can do that, Colin can do that,” Kelly explained earlier in August. “You know even Hunter can do that, he’s pretty athletic. So we’ve changed the nature of the guard position if you will. He’s got to be a guy can get out and run.”
With McGovern winning the job, it appears that Hoge will now serve as the first man in at any of the three interior positions while Bivin will back up both tackle spots. Mark Harrell will also be a safety net, hopefully allowing the staff to redshirt Tommy Kraemer unless major attrition hits.
McGovern played in eight games last season, seeing the majority of his time on special teams while getting extended time in the home victory against UMass. He’ll be making the first start of his career against Texas.