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Notre Dame Football: What to expect when you’re expecting a fullback

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A different name for starters.

Mike Miller/One Foot Down

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have a handful of position battles to sort through this spring. While we are all fixated on the linebackers, wide receivers, cornerbacks, and running backs; no one is mentioning the fullback position.

Well that’s because there is no official “fullback” position at Notre Dame (obviously). Now, before you start throwing beer cans at the computer screen, I mention the fullback position because there actually is a fullback on Notre Dame’s team.

It’s the H-Back.

The H-Back is a modified-mutant-hybrid of a fullback and a tight end. Last year we watched Brock Wright play this position, which has diversified assignments that match the position description. Wright was officially listed as a tight end, but with a pecking order of Alize Mack, Cole Kmet, and Nic Weishar above him, the H-Back is where he found a role.

This year, many have noted that Wright looks slimmer, quicker and more athletic. With Mack and Weishar moving on, Kmet and Wright basically move up into that 1-2 hierarchy. This leaves George Takacs and Tommy Tremble — so what about them?

For Tremble, Brian Kelly addressed his future role after practice on Saturday:

“What he allows you to do from an in-line blocking standpoint, we’re not necessarily on the line of scrimmage and we’re moving that tight end. He’s extremely athletic. He can get out on the zone read to block in space. He’s very agile. There is definitely a role for a guy. Within our offensive structure, we have the tight end who is in an H-position. He suits the H-back position quite well for us. I think that’s where you’ll see used primarily this year.”

So, I think with that, we can virtually slot Tremble into that role Wright occupied last year, and maybe even more so. Outside of the blocking assignments, an athletic player like Tremble gives you some other options in the passing game coming out of the backfield on a fullback dump or the wheel route. It’s a great option to have if the defense is clogging up the middle of the field against a quarterback that doesn’t have a cannon for an arm.

I’m all for it (even if 50% of it is because Tremble wears a running back number and lets me have my real fullback dream for a few moments). I like what the tight end position brings to the table with Kmet, Wright, and Tremble — and maybe that “Tight End U” moniker can truly come back in style (with an assist from the fullback).

Tommy Tremble
Tommy Tremble
Twitter @NDFootball