Posted by BrianBoru at 4/9/2009 2:47 PM EDT

Poring over many accounts of spring practice, I am pleased to read Jimmy Clausen has impressed for the Fighting Irish. He's reportedly in the best shape of his life, has added some extra bulk to his once frail frame, and appears ready to lead his team to a successful season. Clausen, of course, will need a lot of help.

He will need his experienced offensive line to step up and play like angry men. Reports out of practice indicate the left tackle position has been seized by Paul Duncan, and that the senior has been very good.

Though this is comforting to read, please forgive Irish fans if they are skeptical. Far too many times to remember, we Irish fans have been regaled with positive preseason stories, only to be left wondering where all those promises of hope had disappeared.

This team, this season, Charlie Weis' future at Notre Dame, all depend on the offensive line. If they can develop that "nasty" attitude that Weis' promised when he arrived in South Bend - and I'm talking 'CT' from The Real World/The Duel level of nasty - then the Irish can be a force in 2009.

The skills positions - wide receivers and running backs - are stocked with more talent than I've ever seen. Even Lou Holtz didn't have the depth of talent at receiver that Weis has at his disposal. Holtz did, however, have the great stable of backs: Banks, Watters, Johnson, Bettis, Culver, Ismail (played both receiver and tailback) Tony Brooks, and later his brother Reggie et al.

At its apex, Notre Dame's backfield was so deep future All Pro back, Dorsey Levens, decided to transfer to Georgia Tech following the 1988 Championship season.

Skeptics might argue Weis ought to spend a little less time piling up wide receivers and devote a little more time trying to develop a feature running back. Admittedly, I am in this lot. I prefer drab to flash when it comes to ND Football. Give me 75-yard drives while chewing up eight minutes of clock, and I am content with the Irish.