Sept. 19, 2003
by Bridget Veihmeyer
The loss of four of Notre Dame’s five starting offensive linemen to the National Football League Draft left many voids for underclassmen to fill. One player, however, tthe Irish knew they could count on was right tackle Dan Stevenson.
The junior provides some experience up front, returning as one of only three other linemen who made starts last season. Stevenson, who made 10 appearances in 2002 at guard and then switched to start at tackle in the Gator Bowl, is excited about taking on an expanded role this year.
“The coaches are looking for me to step up and be a leader, and I expect the same thing from myself,” he says.
Stevenson did not waste any time in making his presence known, as he was an integral part of Notre Dame’s successful rushing game against Washington State.
This natural shift into a leadership role should not be surprising, considering Stevenson grew up in a football playing family. His father, who played for the Detroit Lions, and his two brothers, who played in college, greatly influenced Stevenson’s drive and desire to succeed.
“They’ve been there for me along the way and I still call my dad when I need advice,” Stevenson says.
In preparation for Saturday’s game against Michigan State, Stevenson has spent practices focusing on improving all aspects of his game.
“We all still have a chip on our shoulders from Michigan, so we’re defintely looking to get a big win this week.”
In addition to leaving his mark on the field this season, Stevenson is looking to influence the newer members of the offensive line.
“I’ve just been trying to help anyone I can, especially Jamie Ryan, my backup,” he says.
He recalls the enormous impact of last year’s veterans while he was an underclassman.
“I was especially close to Jeff Faine, who helped me a lot,” remarks Stevenson. “He’s a great guy to learn from.”
With the combination of Stevenson and Faine’s influence, Notre Dame’s front line has a promising future ahead.