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‘I still love what I do’: Patterson provides leadership amidst adversity 

In a public display of anger and frustration, fifth-year senior offensive lineman and captain Jarrett Patterson stormed off the field after the clock hit zero in Notre Dame’s devastating 26-21 loss to Marshall last month. Patterson had a rough game at left guard, only adding to his turmoil.  Ripping off his jersey and having to be forcibly pulled back for the alma mater seemed inappropriate to many Irish fans — especially for a captain. Nevertheless, as time has passed, Patterson has taken it as a learning situation and described the emotions he felt that day.

“It’s a combination of seeing the disappointment on those guys’ faces after seeing how hard they work, Patterson said. “And then individually for me, just all the rehab I’ve had to go to since March and had to push through and get to the point where I could play.”

Patterson’s history makes it clear why he got especially emotional. He postponed NFL plans to return to Notre Dame for a final season. But he suffered from a torn pectoral muscle in the spring causing him to miss the Ohio State game. Coming back for a frustrating Marshall loss was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Nevertheless, Patterson continues to remember why he plays the game. 

“A big reason why I came back is because of the guys in that locker room,” Patterson said. “I love playing next to them, I love our coaches and everything about that place. At the end of the day no matter what I’ve gone through, I still love what I do.”

As the leader of a young but talented offensive line, Patterson was pleased with their performance at UNC. Moving from center to guard this season caused Patterson to switch gears, but he has focused on building continuity. The chemistry seen in that game gave hope to the team, especially in establishing the run game. There was much that the offensive line did well against the Tar Heels, yet Patterson also stresses the importance of focusing on the mistakes.

“It is exciting to see all the hard work pay off,” Patterson said. “But we all agreed, we can never be satisfied with our performance. You can’t let winning mask the mistakes you made during the game. When you lose, those mistakes are bright spots. When you win, it kind of gets hidden.” 

According to Patterson, the Irish’s bye week has helped them with their individual critiques. The team has spent extra time at practice focusing on technique and what will allow them to stand up to a competitive opponent in 16th-ranked BYU this weekend. The Irish are ready for Vegas and ready to write the story of the rest of this season. 

“If we take care of business the way we are supposed to, most people are going to forget what happened in the beginning of the season,” Patterson said.

Perhaps this is wishful thinking on Patterson’s part, but only time will tell. This weekend’s Vegas matchup will be the litmus test for the Irish and how they have been able to handle a tough beginning of the season — both physically and emotionally 

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