Notre Dame Football: Sheldon Day Needs to Step Up and Anchor Irish D-Line

Sheldon Day Needs to Be Notre Dame's Anchor On D-Line

4/6/14 in NCAAF   |   JonWitte   |   10 respect

Heading into 2013, all the hype about the Notre Dame defensive line was the trio of Stephon Tuitt, Louis Nix III, and Sheldon Day -- three monsters manning the frontline of a 3-4 defense. Blog Photo - Notre Dame Football: Sheldon Day Needs to Step Up and Anchor Irish D-Line

This hype, however, never yielded much substance with rotating injuries to Day and Nix altering the makeup of the line throughout the season.

Now it’s 2014, and both Tuitt and Nix are gone, with one or both likely going in the first round of the NFL draft. Day is still around and has two years of meaningful playing time under his belt, one as a full-time starter. He is by far the most experienced returning defensive lineman on the roster.

New defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder will be switching to a 4-3 front for the upcoming season because it better fits the personnel. Day will be moving from the outside to the interior to anchor the line as a tackle; he was a good end but didn’t really have the speed to get around the edge to blow up the backfield on a consistent basis.

However, at tackle, he should flourish, possessing the size to occupy multiple offensive linemen as well as the power to clog up the middle.

If Day prospers in this renovated system, his confidence level will rise. And with more confidence, the more comfortable he should feel being a vocal leader up front. The front seven needs a leader and Day seems like the logical pick. Linebacker Jaylon Smith might be the most talented member of the group but he is only a sophomore, whereas Day is now an upperclassman and has the right combination of experience and skill.

It is imperative for Day to step up and take control of the Notre Dame defensive front if the Irish hope to get their defense back into elite form. 
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