The Notre Dame offensive line has established itself as perhaps the most feared in the country. The left side of that line, composed of guard Quenton Nelson and tackle Mike McGlinchey, is its anchor.
If you watch the left side of the Irish line closely, you’ll notice that, before every single snap, Nelson and McGlinchey exchange a small but significant gesture. Before crouching down in their stances, the two tap fists.
Thursday, Yahoo Sports columnist Pat Forde unveiled the story behind the fist bumps, and what they signify to perhaps the nation’s best guard and tackle combo.
Nelson and McGlinchey don’t just bump fists before every snap in games. They do so in practice as well — and have been since Nelson arrived at Notre Dame and began starting at left guard as a freshman. McGlinchey estimated to Forde that the two have bumped fists roughly 10,000 times.
McGlinchey and Nelson said they got the idea from Notre Dame offensive line coach Harry Hiestand, who is in his 36th season coaching college football and his 34th coaching offensive linemen. McGlinchey told Forde the gesture allows he and Nelson to “lock ourselves in” and “look at things through one set of eyes.”
The fist bumps may not be the only reason, but McGlinchey and Nelson have formed a dominant pair next to one another this season. Notre Dame leads the nation in yards per carry with 7.04 yards per attempt and ranks fifth in rushing yards per game — behind three triple option offenses and Arizona. The left side of the line is a big reason why.
Nelson will almost certainly be the first guard off the board in this year’s NFL Draft, and McGlinchey could also go as high as the top 10 picks. Before then, however, the two hope to keep fist-bumping until January, with their team in the College Football Playoff.
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