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Joe Alt ‘brings it from all facets,’ leading offensive line on and off the field

| Friday, October 27, 2023

Sofia CrimiVaroli | The Observer
Quarterback Sam Hartman (10) throws a pass over offensive lineman Joe Alt (76) during the game between Notre Dame and Southern California at Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday, October 14, 2023.

At 6’8 and 322 pounds, junior offensive lineman and captain Joe Alt stands above the crowd. But it wasn’t always that way. Alt, the son of former Kansas City Chiefs legend John Alt, was originally recruited as a tight end weighing in at a “mere” 240 pounds. Upon arrival to campus, Alt immediately made an impact as an offensive tackle and earned a starting role during his freshman year. Due to his work ethic, size and athleticism, Alt is predicted to be a top-10 pick in next year’s NFL draft. 

Alt has been a leader both on and off the field for this season’s offensive line, which added two new starting guards in juniors Rocco Spindler and Pat Coogan, as well as a new coach in Joe Rudolph. In the Irish’s most recent game against USC, Alt continued his stellar left tackle play. According to Pro Football Focus, Alt is the second-ranked offensive tackle in college football this season and has allowed just three quarterback pressures and one sack on the year. Aside from his physical size, Alt’s work ethic and leadership qualities make him a unique player.

“There is a skill set,” Rudolph said of Alt prior to the 2023 Blue-Gold Game. “Some guys just have amazing talent. Amazing athleticism, amazing size, and then there’s some guys that just have the quality of leadership and grit, and the way they’re going to get it done in the moment. They’re going to be great leaders and make guys around them better. You don’t always find that all in one guy. He’s as close as I’ve got to see all of that in one guy. He brings it from all facets, and it’s much appreciated.

As a whole, the offensive line has helped the Irish rank ninth in the nation in fewest tackles for loss allowed and 11th in team passing efficiency. On top of that, the group has paved the way for junior Audric Estimé to lead a formidable rushing attack. Notre Dame’s offensive line was one of 23 units named to the 2023 Joe Moore Award Midseason Honor Roll. Judged on criteria such as toughness, effort, teamwork, consistency, technique and finishing, the team was evaluated based on weekly review of game film and coach-provided cut-ups. 

Alt credits the team chemistry fostered in practice for the unit’s success.

“We are always working with different guys, so you have that chemistry throughout,” Alt said. “We have the utmost trust with anybody that’s playing next to us. Playing with guys and being comfortable allows you to play confidently. The way we do practice and do our drill work allows us to build confidence with everybody. So it wasn’t really a surprise, whenever someone’s in there, you know where they’re gonna be and it works out well.”

Though the offensive line suffered pass protection difficulties against teams like Louisville, Alt emphasizes the importance of confidence and trust on the field as the team moves forward from difficult points in the season.

“For us, it’s just confidence and trusting each other,” Alt said. “As you build confidence, I always think the game slows down a little bit and you kinda trust in yourself and you’re not so jittery at times and you can trust in what you’re doing. And the little things that might get you might not get you.”

Looking toward Pitt, Alt acknowledged the Panthers’ strengths despite their current 2-5 record.

“They’re definitely a good team,” Alt said, specifically praising Pitt’s front seven. “For us, it’s watching the film and watching what they do differently from team to team. We’ll attack in the ways we want to attack that.”

The most important job for a left tackle is to protect his quarterback’s blind side. Alt’s father excelled in doing that during his 13-year, two-time Pro Bowl NFL career, protecting quarterbacks such as Notre Dame legend Joe Montana. Alt will follow in his father’s footsteps as he potentially starts his NFL career next year, and all signs point to him achieving the same success. But for now, when he’s not pass-protecting and run-blocking, Alt studies Mechanical Engineering.

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About Madeline Ladd

Madeline Ladd is a junior in Pasquerilla West Hall majoring in Management Consulting with minors in Sport Media and Social Entrepreneurship. Originally from the Philadelphia suburbs, Madeline is an avid Eagles fan and Wawa lover. In her free time, catch her cheering on the Irish or finding her next place to travel. Reach out to her below to talk all things ND football or Eagles.

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