Over-aggression leads to late Elmer, Hanratty swap for Irish

Over-aggression leads to late Elmer, Hanratty swap for Irish
November 13, 2013, 4:45 pm
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Facing a do-or-die drive against Pitt on Saturday, Notre Dame made a switch on its offensive line, swapping in junior Conor Hanratty for freshman Steve Elmer at right guard.

Elmer, who's playing guard for the first time in his life this year, was getting a little too aggressive for coach Brian Kelly's liking. That's a problem Elmer self-identified last month but one that might only be fixed with experience.

[MORE: Kelly hopes targeting rule changes after Tuitt ejection]

"Steve is an aggressive player, sometimes he gets a little bit out in front of himself," Kelly said Tuesday. "We thought that getting Conor in there would be an opportunity to continue his development as well — (Elmer's) a freshman, you got a redshirt freshman (Ronnie Stanley) at right tackle, you got a freshman at right guard, you got a first-time player (Nick Martin) who's playing hurt at center."

Overall, though, Notre Dame's banged-up, inexperienced offensive line held up well against Pitt's front seven. Specifically, defensive lineman Aaron Donald — who leads FBS players in tackles for a loss — was held to just one tackle on Saturday.