According to reports, Pat Coogan has surprisingly won one of the guards spots that were up for grabs this offseason along the offensive line. This seems to come as a shock to many "insiders" of the Notre Dame program. The 6'5" 305 pound red shirt sophomore seemed to be the 4th option at guard during spring camp as well as coming out of the blue gold game in April. If Coogan has indeed already wrapped up one of the open spots we need to give him some props.
Rocco Spindler, Andrew Kristofic, and Billy Schrauth all seemed to be ahead of Coogan on the depth chart coming into fall camp but that apparently didn't faze Pat. Consistenly it's being reported by different Irish insiders that the starting offensive line unit appears to already be settled on. That would consist of Joe Alt at left tackle, Coogan at one guard spot, Zeke Correll at Center, Spindler at the other guard spot, and Blake Fisher at right tackle. I think many would be thrilled to see that Rocco won the other guard spot but with the caveat that he would be opposite Schrauth, not Coogan.
It seems to me that Schrauth is the more physical player but it could be as simple as Coogan is more consistent and quite possibly better at understanding the play calls under new offensive coaches Joe Rudolph and Gerad Parker. I think we can give Coach Marcus Freeman the benefit of the doubt that he will put this offense in the best position to succeed ahead of the season opener in Ireland...which is less than two weeks away. It seems that Coach Rudolph may prefer the "safer" option to start the season as opposed to the more talented player fearing mistakes.
Regardless of how it plays out and why, I think we should give Coogan credit for battling and overcoming what seemed to be small odds to win the job. As Irish fans we should all root for the Chicago product to produce in a big way and prove the decision to be the correct one.