Sept. 23, 2004
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – by Bridget Veihmeyer
Notre Dame junior Bob Morton spent his entire freshman year watching then senior and now Cleveland Brown center Jeff Faine snap the ball. He then spent spring practices vying for the position with teammate Zach Giles and, after establishing his abilities, earned the starting position.
In 2003 he started at center for all 11 games in which he played, only to face competition from current sophomore John Sullivan during the off-season. When coaches ultimately decided to play Sullivan at center, Morton did not complain. He just moved a little to the left.
How did you feel about moving from center to guard?
“I had a feeling the shift to left guard was coming, and I’d always considered myself versatile enough to play that position. I played center and guard during the spring, and more and more I just made the transition to a left-handed stance.”
What are your impressions of the move at this point?
“To be honest, it’s a little easier on the brain. I have a little less responsibility because I don’t have to yell at everyone or worry about snapping the ball. I think it’s gone really well, although I’m a little bitter that I don’t get to touch the ball anymore. Who knows, maybe we can get a pass out to me at tight end or something.”
What were the biggest challenges about moving to guard?
“Definitely losing weight and gaining agility and speed. When you’re towards the outside of the line — not that I’m on the outside, but I’m closer than I was at center – you have to go after the faster defensive ends. My feet have definitely gotten quicker, and while I’ve always had good foot placement, I’ve never been the fastest. Losing weight has definitely enhanced my ability to get outside.”
How would you rate the progress of the offensive line this season?
“We’ve made progress over the first 3 weeks of the season, and we’re happy with that, but we’re developing a hunger to progress more. The small feeling of satisfaction is outweighed by the desire to make bigger improvements than we’ve made.”
What are your expectations for the remainder of the season?
“I want us to be known as that offensive line. I remember the Denver Broncos when they won their first Super Bowl vs. the Green Bay Packers. They had the dominant offensive line in the NFL, and I want to be the dominant offensive line in college football.”